Trial date set for Bishop Heather Cook


Bishop Heather Cook appeared in Baltimore Circuit Court and entered a plea of not guilty to charges in the hit-and-run death of Thomas Palermo last December.  June 4, 2015 has been set for her trial.


Bishop Heather Cook appeared in court Thursday morning, entered a not-guilty plea and received a trial date set for June 4.

Prosecutors said they have evidence that Cook did not apply the brakes on her Subaru during the crash that killed cyclist Tom Palermo in December. Cook’s blood-alcohol content was 0.22 — nearly three times the legal limit — and she was texting right before the crash, prosecutors said.

The 58-year-old is facing more than a dozen charges, including manslaughter, driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident.

The Baltimore Sun has an account of the proceedings here.

Washington Post:

Cook hasn’t spoken publicly since her arrest, and her lawyer, David Irwin, hasn’t commented except to say that she acknowledges she was involved in the crash and that she has been in a residential treatment center since the incident.


“The plea at the moment is not guilty to all charges but we’re still going through discovery. Miss Cook can’t say anything base upon the legal situation and advice of council, but of course we’re all saying prayers, it’s a horrible situation,” Dave Irwin, Cook’s attorney said Thursday.

Specifically, for the Palermo family.

“We know this is the first step in a long process so we’re looking forward to having this resolved and to see justice,” Elisa Rock, a Palermo family member said Thursday.

In the Washington Post piece, Michelle Boorstein also discusses the frequency of hit-and-run incidents, the psychology of drivers who hit someone and drive away, and the legal implications. She also discusses the case in 2012 of Lutheran Bishop Bruce Burnside in Wisconsin who was convicted of DUI and manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of a jogger, Maureen Mengelt.

Posted by Andrew Gerns

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