Del. Supreme Court Nixes Ex-death Row Inmate's Appeal in College - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Supreme Court Nixes Ex-death Row Inmate's Appeal in College Killing

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 7:48 AM Updated:
James Cooke Jr. James Cooke Jr.

DOVER, Del. (AP/WBOC)- Delaware's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a former death row inmate convicted of raping and killing a University of Delaware student. 

Wednesday's ruling involves the latest in a series of appeals by James E. Cooke Jr.

Cooke was initially sentenced to death for the 2005 murder of 20-year-old Lindsey Bonistall of White Plains, New York. Prosecutors said Cooke broke into Bonistall's off-campus apartment in Newark, Del., and raped and strangled her. Court records show that Cooke took her body and placed it in the bathtub before he set the apartment on fire.

He was resentenced to life without parole after the state Supreme Court declared Delaware's death penalty law unconstitutional in 2016.

Cooke then challenged his life sentence, saying his constitutional rights were violated because the judge did not consider a specific number of years in prison. He also argued that a mandatory life sentence without parole for first-degree murder is unconstitutional.

The court rejected Cooke's arguments as being without merit or any legal support.

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