Confessed murderer Nathaniel Cook was to get out of prison “on or about Feb. 13, 2018,” under the terms of his 2000 plea agreement, but the date came and went Tuesday without any court motions filed asking for his release.
Murderer Nathaniel Cook during his sentencing at Lucas County Courthouse in Toledo April 6, 2000. THE BLADE/LORI KING
Cook, 59, pleaded guilty in Lucas County Common Pleas Court in 2000 to attempted aggravated murder and two counts of kidnapping in connection with a 1980 attack on Tom Gordon, 24, and his girlfriend. Mr. Gordon was shot to death, but his girlfriend survived after being raped and stabbed.
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As part of his plea agreement, Cook and his brother, Anthony, gave full confessions about numerous homicides they committed in Lucas County. Anthony confessed to a total of nine, while Nathaniel admitted to being involved with three of the killings with his brother.
In exchange for the confessions, prosecutors agreed they would not charge the brothers with any of the previously unsolved murders, and the court would grant Nathaniel judicial release after he served a full 20 years. Anthony Cook was sentenced to a second term of life in prison.
Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates has asked the court to have Nathaniel Cook evaluated at Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center for classification as a sexual predator so that if he is released from prison, he will have to register his address with the county sheriff for the rest of his life. Mrs. Bates said it is one of several conditions prosecutors intend to seek if Cook is released.
Defense attorney Pete Rost said he is not prepared to file a motion for judicial release just yet.
“We anticipate that the court will order Mr. Cook's return to deal with the issues raised in the motion filed by the state regarding registration as a sex offender,” Mr. Rost said Tuesday. “Once he returns to Toledo, we'll discuss with him how next to proceed.”
Because the plea agreement calling for a 20-year prison term was signed by now-retired Judge Charles Wittenberg, it's unclear whether Judge Linda Jennings, who is now assigned to the case, is bound by the agreement.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: email@example.com or 419-213-2134.
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