Doctor indicted again after indictment error

Raymond Cook

November 9, 2010 4:47:24 AM PST
The Raleigh doctor charged with murder in the DWI crash that took the life of a young ballerina has been indicted again.

Last week, Dr. Raymond Cook's trial was called off when his orginal indictment turned out to be faulty. So, a grand jury issued a new one on Monday.

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 Raleigh in September of 2009.

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

He was charged with DWI, felony death by vehicle and second degree murder.

Just before the start of evidence presentation in Cook's trial, a prosecutor realized he'd made a mistake on the indictment put before a Wake County grand jury.

The old indictment used the word "slay." The new one substituted the word "murder" for "slay" and added two other words "murder aforethought."

It may not seem like much, but in the legal world, it's the difference between second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

The prosecutor in the case says he's just glad he caught the mistake before the jury was sworn in, then it would have been too late.

Dr. Cook would be, in the prosecutors' words, "getting away with murder."

Cook has pleaded not guilty to the charge. A pre-trial motion even gives him the option of admitting involuntary manslaughter to a jurors to try to convince them that he is not a murderer.

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