Man convicted (again) of killing University of Delaware student

James Cooke has been found guilty of raping and killing UD student Lindsey Bonistall in 2005.

A Wilmington jury found Cooke guilty of ten out of eleven charges he faced, including first degree murder, rape and arson.  A sentencing hearing is expected to begin next week.  Prosecutor Steven Wood issued a brief statement following the verdict, “We are grateful for the jury’s careful consideration of the evidence and their verdict.”

It’s the second time Cooke has been convicted in this murder.  The Delaware Supreme Court overturned his first conviction in 2009 because his public defenders argued that he was guilty but mentally ill, despite the fact that Cooke repeatedly claimed his innocence.  

In both trials, Cooke tested the patience of both his lawyers and the judge.  He would make frequent outbursts and had to be removed from the courtroom on numerous occasions.  At the start of his trial this year, Cooke attempted to serve as his own attorney, but after days of outbursts from him in court, Judge Charles Toliver ordered his former back-up lawyers to take over his defense.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal