Del. Court Upholds Death Sentence in Rape-Murder - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Court Upholds Death Sentence in Rape-Murder

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James E. Cooke James E. Cooke
DOVER, Del. (AP/WBOC)- Delaware's highest court has upheld the conviction and death sentence for a man found guilty of raping and killing a University of Delaware student.

The Delaware Supreme Court ruled Thursday that none of the claims raised by lawyers for 43-year-old James E. Cooke had a basis for overturning his 2012 conviction and sentence.

Cooke was convicted of the 2005 rape and killing of 20-year-old Lindsey Bonistall of White Plains, N.Y. According to court documents, Cooke broke into the sophomore's off-campus apartment in Newark, Del., and sexually assaulted and strangled her. He then placed her body in a bathtub and set the apartment on fire, court records show.

The Supreme court overturned Cooke's first conviction in 2007 because his public defenders, without Cooke's consent and despite his repeated claims of innocence, argued he was guilty but mentally ill.

Kathleen Bonistall, Lindsey's mother, said the family is relieved by the court's ruling and grateful that justice has been served.

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