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Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

Slaying conviction is upheld by court

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

SPRINGFIELD - An appeals court on Tuesday affirmed the murder conviction of a former Arkansas man for the 1999 murder of his wife in Dunklin County.

Jimmy Cook, formerly of Paragould, Ark., was convicted in a bench trial in Pemiscot County of first-degree murder and armed criminal action for the shooting death of his third wife, Linda Cook of Cardwell, Mo. Circuit Judge Fred W. Copeland sentenced Cook to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Cook claimed on appeal that the trial judge erred by allowing incriminating statements he made to police to be admitted as evidence. Cook argued the inclusion of these statements violated his state and federal rights against self-incrimination.

A three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals Southern District disagreed.

Writing for the court, Judge Kenneth W. Shrum noted that Cook had asked for an attorney prior to making the incriminating comments and police then stopped their questioning. However, Cook soon initiated further questioning by stating to police that he wanted to tell his side of the story. Therefore, the court, citing ample precedent, found Cook's statements admissible despite his invocation of the right to counsel.

He wrote. "... The trial court did not err in overruling the motion to suppress and admitting the statements into the evidence at trial."

The content of Cook's statements to police are not included in the court's opinion.

According the facts of the case presented in the opinion, Jimmy and Linda Cook separated after a tumultuous relationship. Linda Cook moved to Cardwell, in the southwestern tip of the Bootheel.

On Aug. 17, 1999, Jimmy Cook visited his wife's apartment. After a 35-to 40-minute conversation, she tried to walk away and he shot her in the back. After she hit the ground, he shot her twice more.

Jimmy Cook fled to Arkansas, where he was captured. Copeland found him guilty after a one-day trial in September 2000.