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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Daughter fears sex offender's killing was a case of vigilante justice

6-10-2012 Virginia:

DINWIDDIE - When Donald Olynn Cook, a repeat sex offender who twice pleaded guilty to assaulting teenaged boys, asked his daughter for another chance this year, she said yes.

Weeks later, the 23-year-old finds herself mourning the loss of a father shot dead before she could re-learn how to love him.

"I was trying to get back to that faith I had in him when I was growing up, but here we are," said Anna Cook, sitting beside a wilting white rose bush that he gave her for her birthday last month.

The gift would become Cook's last grand gesture, given in a fleeting moment of calm between two tragedies that befell the 53-year-old McKenney man this spring. The first destroyed his home. The second ended his life.

It was a life that his daughter says he had been working to reclaim after spending decades in the shadow of actions that she fears may have emboldened a vigilante.

"He made his mistakes, yes, but he paid for it," Cook said. "He was a human, he didn't deserve to be gunned down like a dog."

Donald Cook was found shot to death beside his vehicle on a remote stretch of Cherry Hill Road near the Brunswick County line on May 22. He was pronounced dead at the scene when Dinwiddie County deputies arrived just after 4 a.m. He had just moved to a home in Dewitt after lightening struck his longtime residence on Cutbank Road in McKenney, minutes from where he was killed.

The Richmond native had lived in Dinwiddie for 25 years, but electrical contract work took him out of state on a regular basis. The last time he came home from a job, he called his daughter and offered to help her out around the house. Cook uses a wheelchair and said that she was grateful for his assistance.

They spoke several times in the weeks leading up to his death. The last time she saw him, he appeared to be troubled, which was not uncommon.

"He was in an unsettled mood like he gets sometimes and I told him that if he needed anything to just give me a call," she said. "He never did."

Cook was waiting on a return call from him when her grandmother told her that he was dead. She dropped the phone.

"My first thought was that he must have had a heart attack," she said. "He weighed 260 pounds and didn't take good care of himself."

As more details emerged, Cook vowed not to cry until he has been laid to rest and his killer has been apprehended. She said that she wants to be strong for him and plans to keep fighting until his murder has solved.

"It wasn't right for someone to try and take justice into their own hands," she said.

Cook's penance for past crimes ended in April 2009 in the eyes of the law, when he was released from probation after completing court-ordered sex offender treatment with Scott Huisman at the Center for Psychological Assessment and Therapeutics. Cook was ordered to check in for roughly three years following the completion of a two-year active prison term at the Lawrenceville Correctional Center, according to court records.

He was sentenced in 2005 to serve 15 years with 13 suspended after pleading guilty to the aggravated sexual battery of a boy between the ages of 13 and 15. Court records show that Cook admitted himself to the psychiatric wing of CJW Medical Center in Richmond less than 48 hours after the assault.

He was sentenced to five years in prison with four years, four months suspended in 1998 after pleading guilty to taking indecent liberties with a 15-year-old boy. Case records from the assault cite a previous conviction for sexual battery.

Cook's daughter says that she does not want her father's past crimes to undermine the investigation into his slaying.

"I don't want him to become just another statistic, because he's not a name on the list. He was someone's father. He was my father," she said.

Dinwiddie Sheriff's spokesman Maj. William Knott declined to comment, citing an ongoing investigation. ..Source.. by K. BURNELL EVANS (STAFF WRITER)


Investigators search for clues in Dinwiddie’s first homicide of 2012


DINWIDDIE, Va. (WTVR) – Officials have released the name of a man found dead in the road near the Nottoway River in Dinwiddie County.

According to the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office, 53-year-old Donald Olynn Cook, of the 15000 Block of First Street in Dewitt, was found Tuesday around 4:15 a.m. on Cherry Hill Road and the Brunswick County line.

Investigators said gunshot wounds were found on Cook’s body and that his death is being investigated as a homicide.

Cook’s death marks the county’s first homicide of 2012.

The man’s daughter, Anna Cook, talked with CBS 6 News senior reporter Wayne Covil Wednesday.

Cook said that her father lived within a few miles of where he was found dead until a few months ago. That was when he was forced to move after a lightning strike destroyed his home.

“Despite the fact he had his own problems… he was a human and he was a good man,” said Cook. ..Source.. by Wayne Covil and Nick Dutton

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