Man charged with raping 13-year-old

September 10, 2005|By CANDICE BOSELY


A Martinsburg man is charged with holding a 13-year-old girl down and raping her a week after he was released from jail on unrelated charges, court records and a county prosecutor said.

Justin B. Cook, 25, of 15 Radiant Drive, was charged with first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault and third-degree sexual assault. Magistrate Harry Snow arraigned Cook on the charges Friday and set bail at $750,000.

Because Cook previously has been convicted of at least two felony charges, the state is considering trying to obtain a life sentence against him, Assistant Berkeley County Prosecutor Joshua Henline said.


"The state is most likely going to pursue a 'three strikes, you're out (life sentence),'" Henline said. "That's our intention at this point."

Under state law a person who has been convicted of three felony offenses can be sentenced to serve life in prison. A jury trial must be held to prove the same person was convicted of the charges.

On July 27, Cook was released from Eastern Regional Jail after pleading no contest to two felony counts of receiving/transferring stolen property and entering an Alford plea to two misdemeanor counts of intimidation of a public official, according to court records.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but agrees that the prosecution has enough evidence to gain a conviction.

The rape happened a week later on Aug. 3 at Cook's home, court records state.

West Virginia State Police Trooper Nathan Harmon investigated the case, which involved the 13-year-old girl, her 14-year-old friend, Cook and his friend Matthew Clark, 21, of Ranson, W.Va.

According to a three-page criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court by the state trooper, the two girls told their parents they were going to spend a few nights at a girlfriend's home.

After leaving their parents' houses, they called another friend, a "guy friend," who called Cook and asked him to pick up the two girls, records state.

Over the next couple of days, the group hung out with Cook and Clark, drinking alcohol and going to various places in Berkeley and Jefferson counties, police said.

On Aug. 3, the group was in the backyard of Cook's house, drinking vodka mixed with Hawaiian Punch. After getting tired, the girl told police that she got into Cook's bed to go to sleep, police said.

About five minutes later, Cook got into the bed with her. When he took her clothes off, she told Cook, "No, I don't want to do anything!" court records state.

Although the girl said "no" several times, Cook held a hand over her mouth and raped her for around 20 minutes. The girl said she did not scream for help because she remembered Cook telling her he previously had beaten an ex-girlfriend, court records state.

Cook was taken into police custody Wednesday night in Morgantown, W.Va., and brought back to Martinsburg by jail personnel, Henline said.

Cook's friend, Clark, of 308-B E. 12th Ave. in Ranson, also was charged with first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault and third-degree sexual assault.

Those charges were filed in connection with the rape of the 14-year-old girl. That assault also happened on Aug. 3, records state.

Clark is being held on $90,000 bail.

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