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Court rejects Cook plea for clemency

Court declines to allow ex-bishop time off for good behavior

The former suffragan bishop of Maryland was denied early release from prison today for her seven year sentence for vehicular manslaughter. At an afternoon hearing on 5 November 2018 Baltimore Circuit Judge Timothy Doory rejected Heather Cook’s request for early release.

Today’s ruling follows last year’s decision by the state parole board to deny Cook (62) early release. Cook was not eligible for a second parole hearing, but if she maintained an exemplary disciplinary record in prison, she could have been time off for good behavior.

In 2017 Parole Commission David Blumberg told WBAL radio the board declined to exercise clemency as the former bishop showed no remorse for having killed father of two Thomas Palermo on 27 Dec 2014 when she struck him with her car while he was riding a bicycle.

At the time of the incident, Cook had been texting and was intoxicated, with a blood alcohol level three times over the legal limit. After striking Mr. Palermo with her car, Cook fled the scene, returning more than a half hour later.

Deposed from the ministry of the Episcopal Church following the incident, Cook pled guilty to vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to seven years imprisonment on 27 Oct 2015.  Baring a successful appeal or an act of clemency from the governor, Cook will likely receive two years off her sentence for good behavior and will remain in prison until 2020.


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