The State Court of Appeals refused a new trial for a man sentenced to two life terms for killing his in-laws at their Warren County home.
Bryan James Cooke asked for a new trial in April, 2019 but that came some 14 months after sentencing. The court said appeals for a new trial must be made within 30 days.
“The Defendant did not file his motion for new trial until more than one year after the judgments were entered,” Judge John Everett Williams wrote. “Because his motion for new trial is untimely, his notice of appeal is also untimely. Despite the fact that the State pointed out the Defendant’s untimely motion for new trial and notice of appeal in its brief, the Defendant failed to file a reply brief or any other pleading providing an explanation for the untimely filings.”
Cooke argued the evidence insufficient to support the jury application of the “heinous, atrocious, or cruel aggravating circumstance.” Cooke also argued the court erred by imposing partial consecutive sentences.
The trial court denied Cooke’s request for a new trial in June, 2019.
On June 28, 2015, Cooke entered the home of his in-laws, Gary and Nancy Dodson, and stabbed them repeatedly. He stole money and the couple’s car and fled to Florida. Cooke was convicted of of two counts of first degree premeditated murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of especially aggravated burglary, and one count of theft of property valued at more than $1,000. Cooke was sentenced to two life terms om February, 2018.