Virginia Cop Sentenced To A Mere 3 Years For Killing Unarmed Woman

When policemen break the law, then there isn’t any law – just a fight for survival. Billy Jack

(Hat Tip to Joseph Norton for the following case)

She has a name; Patricia Cook. She was killed in Culpeper, Virginia on February 9, 2012.

patricia-cookPatricia was 54 years old. No one knows why she was in the parking lot of Epiphany Catholic School, but while there, she was approached by Culpeper Police Officer Daniel Harmon-Wright.  Officer Harmon-Wright said he received a call of a suspicious vehicle.

Wright fired two shots into Patricia’s vehicle. The first two rounds, fired at point-blank range, tore into Cook’s face and arm. Patricia managed to drive away, but Harmon-Wright did not stop shooting. He shot Patricia 5 times; a round entered her brain, and the another round severed her spine and veered into her heart.

Harmon-Wright claimed that he shot Patricia in self-defense, opening fire after Patricia rolled up her car window, catching his fingers inside the car window and dragging him as she drove off. An eyewitness said otherwise; that Patricia had rolled up her car window before shots were fired.  The evidence asked the logical question of how Harmon-Wright’s hand was caught in the window since he shot through the window of Patricia’s vehicle.

Almost 4 months after he killed Patricia, Harmon-Wright was indictedcopconvict-320x347 by a grand jury on one count of murder. At his bond hearing, it was revealed that Harmon-Wright had a tarnished military record, a drinking problem, and a history of harassing Culpeper residents. Daniel Harmon-Wright, 32, had also been disciplined as an officer, including once for forcing his way into a home and brandishing his weapon without probable cause or a warrant, according to a prosecution motion in opposition to his request for bond.

A jury of 8 women and 4 men convicted Officer Harmon-Wright on four charges; voluntary manslaughter; malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle; malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle resulting in a death; and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Harmon-Wright had faced up to life in prison on first-degree murder. The voluntary manslaughter charge carried a sentence of 1 to 10 years, and Harmon-Wright was sentenced to three years.

Patricia’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit, against Harmon-Wright, Police Chief Chris Jenkins and former Police Chief Dan Boring. It was settled for $300,000.

Knowing the Wrong People In The Right Places

It was recommended that Harmon-Wright not be hired for the police force, but that was overruled. Bethany Sullivan, Harmon-Wright’s mother and an administrative assistant to the former Culpeper police chief, has been charged with forging Harmon-Wright’s entrance exam for the Town of Culpeper and one of his annual reviews.

Politics and connections or rather, knowing the wrong people in the right places, seems to be a part of Culpeper. A Facebook Page has continued since the conviction of Harmon-Wright. It is now titled “Justice for Culpeper.”

 

To read more:

The Washington Post

NBC Washington

 

Posted on 08/28/2014, in Cops Gone Wild, Trials & Cases and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. Two sides to a story

    Considering that so many cops walk when charged with responsibility in a death, three years looks pretty good. However, until cops are held to a higher standard and prosecuted the same way regular citizens are, as well as be required to wear vest cameras, we’re going to continue to see unnecessary homicides, in my opinion. And why the heck do PDs hire such troubled people?

    Like

    • Two sides,
      Thanks for bringing in a harsh look at reality. You are so right — it’s amazing that he was indicted and then found guilty of voluntarily manslaughter.

      Like

  2. Xena,thank you for following Patricia Cook execution by a cop.

    All those execution by cops could be avoided if they are held accountable for their action.

    Impunity and immunity need to be stop it and the federal government need to step up
    and protect America people,the killings goes beyond,race,gender,economical status,
    it’s Them vs US!

    There is relation between execution by police and state agencies,”justify” murder
    is an aberration,we are the only nation on the world where killing a citizen for
    no obeying a police command citizens are been executed on broad daylight.

    We need to learn to behave all over again,police disregard anyone that not comply
    with their orders.

    Ex chief lee working for FDLE something to think about it as why there are so many
    abuses,and cover up by police and state agencies all over United States.

    Shame!

    Like

    • Joseph,
      Excellent points, especially this one;

      We need to learn to behave all over again,police disregard anyone that not comply
      with their orders.

      Police do not want to be questioned, and unless people immediately obey their orders, they are subject to physical punishment and death. No, I’m not speaking of arguing with cops (if that is what some might assume), but killing someone because they are not robots operating by remote control, is carrying the law too far. Cops are not gods. People are not robots. Any person unsuspecting that a cop is going to show up and address them might ask “What” because their attention was not on having anyone speak to them. They should not be tazed and have knees put on their head, handcuffed, or shot, just because they did not hear what a cop said.

      Like

  3. yahtzeebutterfly

    A mere three years…I have no words.

    Like

    • It is hard to understand what rationale the Judge used to justify the light sentence. Police officers are given such a “benefit of the doubt” even when there is little doubt. Apparently, that extends to sentencing as well as indictment and conviction. It seems to me that police officers, aware of their “elite” status are feeling as if they can say and do anything and the consequences will be inconsequential.

      Like

      • Here is what I wonder. I wonder if statutes and requirements to prove 1st and 2nd degree murder should be changed whenever a gun is used and the victim is unarmed? Statutes for manslaughter seem to carry sentences that are less than those for shoplifting and suspending licenses for DUI.

        Like

        • Well the sentencing guidelines, as I understood it, called for a sentence up to 10 years, yet the judge sentenced him to only three.

          Like

          • Mysteryquest,
            Yes, I understand, but what I meant was why these cases cannot be tried as 1st or 2nd degree murder rather than voluntary manslaughter. Maybe the requirements to meet those convictions should be changed, especially when the accused is an armed member of law enforcement and the victim was unarmed.

            Like

            • Well they have to be indicted by the grand jury for 1st or 2nd degree murder and grand juries are reluctant to return that charge when a cop is involved. The prosecutor could return file an information for a Murder charge but int the Martin case that backfired. It is simply hard to indict a cop for murder and even harder to convict one of that charge.

              Like

  4. ladystclaire

    It’s as if, this woman’s life didn’t even matter so it was alright, for this officer to take her life. SMDH, what is this country coming to, when things like this can happen, and the punishment for the perp, is nill and none. These LEO are treating those who pay their, salaries as if they are less than animals. Why haven’t the racist media and their loyal following, been beating up their gums about this case?

    We now have to fear them (LEO) more than, other criminals who mean to cause us harm. THIS WOMAN OR, ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING, DO NOT DESERVE TO BE TREATED LIKE THIS. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO START FIGHTING LE PERSONEL BACK AND, THEY ARE NOT GOING TO TRY TO, WEED OUT THE BAD, FROM THE GOOD EITHER.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ladystclaire,
      Excellent comment! I think that we’re picking up a pattern; i.e., when a suspect has killed and is armed, police are afraid, do not shoot, and take the suspect alive. When suspects are unarmed, police get to use their guns. When suspects are suspected of having a gun, but have not killed, police get to use their guns.

      What I think we’ll see in the very near future, are people who no longer call the cops for every little thing, and people who do not cooperate with cops, because no one should want it on their conscience that their call or participation lead to a person being killed by cops.

      Like

      • “When suspects are unarmed, police get to use their guns. When suspects are suspected of having a gun, but have not killed, police get to use their guns.”

        And when a suspect is subdued, as we’ve seen, we hear “stop resisting, stop resisting, stop resisting.” I think that’s when some officers begin setting the stage for fists to the head and face and knees to the ribs…and the crux of an arm into a choke hold against a non-resistant citizen in fear and pain.

        Too often now, whether by excessive force or weapon, the outcome can be lethal. And too often the cloak of Blue is given an excuse…a right of passage for self-protection. I cannot help but feel that the “protect and serve” motto is eroding into mistrusting their intent outside of the laws they expect citizens to adhere to while the police, actually, are becoming the actors, subjects or suspects without consequences.

        This Virginia incident along with many other states where citizens are reduced to expendable objects says to me that the internal operations of police agencies are failing from the top, sideways and down. The courts aren’t that far behind them with the revolving doors of money makers and shakers. I think until there is continued exposure by technology, the media and our voices, nothing will change. Civil service isn’t very civil anymore and they do not care if you lean to the left, center or right – you’re going down one way or another. I don’t think we should back down without a fight.

        As a side note Xena, I have something I’d like to email to you…where shall I send it? Thanks…

        Like

        • Pilcher,

          And when a suspect is subdued, as we’ve seen, we hear “stop resisting, stop resisting, stop resisting.” I think that’s when some officers begin setting the stage for fists to the head and face and knees to the ribs…and the crux of an arm into a choke hold against a non-resistant citizen in fear and pain.

          Oh yes — just like the old “he reached in his waistband” setup, and “I thought it was my taser and not my gun” excuse when the suspect is already face down and still.

          This Virginia incident along with many other states where citizens are reduced to expendable objects says to me that the internal operations of police agencies are failing from the top, sideways and down.

          BINGO! That is the actual betrayal to citizens. Citizens elect a mayor who then appoints a Chief of Police, and when the community is terrorized by a cop or cops, the Chief of Police and mayor blame the community and then let others, such as unions and State Attorneys decide what to do.

          Like

    • I wonder what life is like for a cop who’s in prison….

      Like

      • I don’t think they’re placed in the general population. It’s definitely better for them if charged and convicted under federal law where they are sentenced to a club fed rather than state prisons.

        Like

  5. It’s as if your life has less value if you are murdered by cop, based on the punishment, if any, they receive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mindyme,
      Exactly! The badge gives them privileges where they are no longer seen as people with all human frailties.

      Like

      • yahtzeebutterfly

        Yes, cops have human failings.

        On top of that, when interacting with the community, too many cops have the attitude of “it’s us against them.” They do not view the community as their employers who want to be served by them but, instead, view the community members as “the opponent.”

        These cops take their power and use it to take over and RULE a community.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think they all need to be tested for steroid use.

        Like

  6. yeseventhistoowillpass

    It’s Virginia need we say more? Billy Bob grew up thinking this stuff… Thank God I’m in California

    Like

    • Juan,
      I’m learning that states that I no longer thought of as “the South” are still the South. 🙂

      Like

      • yeseventhistoowillpass

        I was astounded when I spoke to this guy by phone outside of Atlanta and he said, “She brings her negro friends over.” (If you read my previous blog it would have made sense).. I couldn’t believe someone says that still… Oh brother!

        Like

        • Juan,
          I know a White farmer who is 76 years old. He still says “colored.” His reason is because he was taught as a child that to say “black” was an insult and that using “Negro” was too close to using the “n” word. There are White Supremacists who still use “Negro” and actually, that would be find with me if they also used “Caucasian” instead of “White.” They don’t want to be called “Caucasian” however. I do not understand why.

          Like

  7. Dreamer9177

    The country has been on this course since 9/11 with the insane emphasis on security. Obviously, the first casualty has been Liberty.

    Like

  8. chuquestaquenumber1

    Compare the 3 yr sentence to what this cop faced for shooting an unarmed white person to death.

    http://nypost.com/2013/11/04/nj-cop-in-road-rage-slay-law-is-on-my-side/

    Like

    • Chuquestaque,
      Just read it. Drinking and calling someone the “n” word does not justify death. The man was unarmed. Driving away would have been the responsible thing for Walker to do rather than killing Harvey. But, evidently Walker, being a cop, thinks that people mouthing off at him justifies murder. I hope he’s convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

      Like

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