Jurors deliberated for approximately 3 hours.
CHARLES TOWN - The jury in the Ray D. Cook trial deliberated for approximately three hours Friday afternoon before finding Cook guilty of murder in the first degree. The sentence for first degree murder is life in prison.
Following pleas from the victim's friends and family not to approve a mercy stipulation that would allow Cook to be eligible for parole in 15 years and a second round of deliberation, the jury denied mercy.
Cook, 38, was indicted last September by a Jefferson County grand jury on charges of first-degree murder and misdemeanor brandishing a firearm in connection with the July 15, 2011, shooting that killed 36-year-old Jenny Lou Perrine outside of the Southern States store on North Mildred Street in Ranson.
Today would have been Perrine's birthday, according to friends and family present.
The prosecution characterized Cook as an obsessive ex-fiance who killed Perrine because he couldn't bear the thought of someone else taking the victim away from him. Kevin Mills, Cook's attorney, maintained his client was in a "trance-like state" and did not know what he was doing when he shot Perrine.
During his closing argument Friday morning, Jefferson County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Laurence Crofford said that there was "motive all over the place" for Cook to commit the crime. Crofford add that, even if Cook was suffering from bipolar II disorder or adverse affects to medication - as the defense claimed - it did not stop Cook from premeditation or acting with malice.
"This is one angry person getting his revenge for how he feels he's been treated," Crofford told the jury. "There was no provocation on Perrine's part."
Mills, during his closing argument, said that while the case appeared "open and shut" on the surface it had a great deal to do with Cook's mental state before and during the murder.
"That's what this case is really about. What was going on inside his head," Mills said, adding that it was a "case full of contradictions" and contradictions, to Mills, meant reasonable doubt.
During a statement asking the jury to deny Cook a mercy stipulation, Cheryl Perrine said her daughter was an adventurer, independent, fun loving and a people person who was never alone.
"Jenny never had peace with (Cook). He showed Jenny no mercy and he deserves no mercy," Cheryl Perrine said between tears.
George Perrine, in a statement read by a victim advocate, stated that Cook should not appeal his sentence so that his family and the Perrine family don't have to go through this process again.
Before the jury began deliberation on the mercy stipulation, Jefferson County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Hassan Rasheed told the jurors that Cook did not deserve mercy and the chance for parole since he showed Jenny Perrine no mercy.
Following the verdict Mills said that, while disappointed with the outcome, he knew it would be an uphill battle to present Cook's mental capacity at the time of the shooting to the jury. Mills added that he plans to appeal the verdict in an attempt to force a new trial.