Former Culpeper officer's murder trial goes to jury - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Former Culpeper officer's murder trial goes to jury

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Daniel Harmon-Wright (center) Daniel Harmon-Wright (center)
Daniel Harmon-Wright Daniel Harmon-Wright
Patricia Cook Patricia Cook

Jury deliberations will continue Tuesday in the murder trial of Daniel Harmon-Wright. The former Town of Culpeper police officer is on trial in connection with the Feb. 9, 2012 shooting death of 54-year-old Patricia Ann Cook.

The jury must decide whether Harmon-Wright shot Cook with "intent to kill" or whether he used his weapon as an act of self-defense and to protect the public.

Harmon-Wright has said he shot Cook after she trapped his hand in the window of her vehicle and dragged him. The former policeman kept firing after the car moved away from him.

Special Prosecutor Jim Fisher told the jury Harmon-Wright has a history of using excessive force, including a reprimand exactly a month prior to the incident in question. Fisher says his actions were "unjustified and excessive."

Defense Attorney Daniel Hawes says he was doing his job in shooting a "fleeing felon."

Both sides agree that Cook had a metallic sunscreen sitting across her windshield. When she pulled away, it was still there. The defense says she was heading onto the street, essentially driving blind, so Harmon-Wright kept shooting because she was a threat to the public.

In total, prosecutors say Harmon-Wright fired seven shots. Cook was struck by multiple bullets, then crashed into a telephone pole. She died at the scene.

Harmon-Wright was terminated from the Culpeper Police Department last June after an internal investigation. He is charged with murder, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle and several other charges.

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