Doctor trial delayed due to indictment error

Raymond Cook

November 2, 2010 4:40:08 PM PDT
A Wake County judge delayed Raymond Cook's trial Tuesday after learning that Cook's indictment was not worded properly.

Cook, 43, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 20-year-old Elena Shapiro. Police say Cook was intoxicated and driving more than 80 miles an hour just before he crashed into Shapiro's car on Strickland Road in September of 2009.

Cook gave up his medical license and left positions he once held at WakeMed and the UNC School of Medicine.

His trial began Monday with jury selection, but two alternates remained to be chosen. Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cruden realized Tuesday that Cook's indictment was not worded properly. In order to indict for second-degree murder, the words "malice aforethought" are required in the document.

The ADA caught the mistake before opening arguments, thus preventing a dismissal of the second-degree murder charge.

However, the only way the trial can proceed is if the defendant agrees to be tried on "information" and not an indictment.

Cook did not agree to be tried on "information," so the trial will be delayed.

"It is disappointing, but our conviction is still there," Shapiro's father David Shapiro said. "We stand behind the DA. It's just time and we're willing to wait."

Shapiro's parents and the DA say they will accept nothing less than trying Dr. Cook for second degree murder.

Cruden will have to get an accurate indictment when the grand jury meets next week. The trial date will then move to a later date as jury selection will have to start over.

All of the jury members who were chosen Monday, have been excused.

Although it was not made clear who made the mistake on the indictment, Cruden said he would take responsibility for the error.

The trial is not likely to start again before the first of the year.

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