Harpers Ferry man charged with first-degree murder of his former girlfriend in Ranson, W.Va.

July 15, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • Police from several local agencies were on the scene of Friday's murder at Southern States on N. Mildred St. in Ranson, W.Va.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

RANSON, W.Va. — A Harpers Ferry man has been charged with first-degree murder after he allegedly shot and killed his former girlfriend Friday afternoon in the parking lot of the Southern States Cooperative store in Ranson, W.Va., according to city Police Chief William "Bill" Roper.

Ray Cook, 37, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., was being held in Eastern Regional Jail without bond after he was arraigned by a Jefferson County magistrate on the capital offense, according to Roper and jail records.

Jenny Perrine, 36, of Martinsburg, W.Va., was shot while she apparently was parking her car in the parking lot of the agricultural business at 222 N. Mildred St., Roper said.

The shooting was reported by witnesses a little after 2 p.m., he said.

Multiple shots were fired, but it was not clear how many times Perrine was struck, Roper said. No one was with Perrine, and only her vehicle was damaged.  

Perrine and Cook had arranged to meet at the store, possibly to discuss property, he said.  She appeared to be parking her car when Cook approached from the driver's side and allegedly shot her with a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, which was recovered at the scene, Roper said.

Cook, who drove to the Southern States in a sport utility vehicle, was walking away from Perrine's car when he was detained by Ranson and Charles Town police officers, Roper said.

"If he had any thoughts of leaving, he wasn't able to do so," Roper said. "We were there that quickly."

Perrine and Cook apparently had been in a relationship for a number of years, and it only recently ended, probably within the last few days, according to Roper.

Originally from Webster Springs, W.Va., Perrine had resided in the area for the last five to seven years, he said.

Her death at the scene was certified by county Medical Examiner Donald Shirley who arranged for an autopsy to be performed in Charleston today, Roper said.

West Virginia State Police, Jefferson County Sheriff's Department deputies and Harpers Ferry police also assisted with the shooting investigation, Roper said.

 A ladder on a Citizens Fire Co. truck was raised above the parking area for the Southern States to allow police to take aerial photographs of the crime scene, which was cordoned off with yellow police tape, the chief said.

Motorists were detoured from North Mildred Street onto Preston Street at 7th and 10th avenues for more than three hours, Roper said.  Pedestrians also were cautioned from getting to close to the scene.

Two people who were nearby at the time of the shooting said multiple shots had been fired.

A man living in the 300 block of North Mildred Street said he was sitting in a recliner in his house, which is within view of the Southern States. He said he was watching a hunting show on television when he heard seven shots — four at one time, and three more about five seconds later.

"I'm ready to move back to the country," said the man, who declined to give his name.

The last domestic violence-related homicide in the small Jefferson County community occurred in 1998, according to Roper.

He said the circumstances of the homicide were "very unusual" for the community, which is next to Charles Town off W.Va. 9.

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