Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio decided against reducing a $250,000 bond in place for a woman accused of hindering the Conway Police Department’s apprehension of a capital murder suspect.
Sierra Cook, 18, appeared before Maggio on Wednesday morning after her defense attorneys, including Frank Shaw, filed a motion to have her bond reduced, citing it was “extremely high” for a class B felony.
Cook’s father, David Cook, revealed during his testimony that his daughter had received various threats since her arrest, including some from other inmates. The defense argued Cook would be better suited with her father in Oklahoma while awaiting trial.
Cook’s father told the court he could guarantee, that if his daughter was released on a reduced bond, she would be with him at all times, which the prosecution contested.
Cook’s father stated he worked on various oil rigs in Oklahoma and would be able to take his daughter with him wherever he went, which would include trips to different rigs in a 100-mile radius.
The defense further argued that class B felonies, punishable by five to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000, are usually accompanied by a $20,000 bond.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Troy Braswell said Cook’s felony charge was part of a serious case and was therefore, “not most class B felonies.” Braswell also indicated that further charges against Cook were being discussed by prosecution.
After deliberating the possibility of reducing Cook’s bond for more than 20 minutes, Maggio returned his decision, which resulted in the applause of some audience members. Braswell apologized to the court for the “outburst.”
Cook was arrested and charged June 20, along with Lee Foster, 27, who faces a capital murder charge in the Father’s Day shooting death of Quenton Alexander, 23, at a local motel.
A detective assigned to the homicide case also appeared as a witness at the hearing.
Testimony from Conway police Sgt. Tracy McDermott, called by the prosecution, revealed details from a police interview with Cook, which had not previously been made public.
Cook’s defense team objected to the entry of some of McDermott’s testimony into the court record, on the grounds of its relativity to the bond hearing. Maggio overruled the defense’s objection, and allowed the detective to continue.
McDermott testified that Cook admitted, while being questioned by police, to an altercation, that had taken place for several hours leading up to Alexander’s murder, between herself and Foster, and Alexander. McDermott said the altercation included several threats being exchanged between the two parties.
Cook also admitted to driving Foster in her car, from Morrilton, to a location near the Motel 6, at 1105 Skyline Drive, where Alexander was found shot to death by police, McDermott said.
According to the detective’s account, Cook said she was not sure of Foster’s intentions while traveling to Conway, but knew Foster planned to kill Alexander when Foster gave her specific instructions on where and how to park the vehicle. McDermott told the court that Cook said she did not leave because she believed she was “too deep into it to leave.”
Cook stayed in the vehicle while Foster exited, and proceeded to shoot and kill Alexander, before he returned to the vehicle and drove back to Morrilton, with Cook, McDermott testified.
McDermott’s testimony also revealed that Cook admitted to police that she and another male were present, in Morrilton, when Foster burned a set of clothes after the murder.
During cross-examination, McDermott admitted that Cook did not say she was involved in burning the clothes, but was present. The defense also attempted to argue when its client hindered Foster’s apprehension, since Cook was questioned after Foster was already in custody.
Braswell told the court he disagreed with the defense’s claim, pointing toward Cook’s admittance of driving Foster to Conway, her decision to leave the scene with Foster and her presence while Foster burned his clothes, which Braswell called “the destroying of evidence.”
After Maggio’s ruling, Braswell stated the prosecution had recently received 400 pages in discovery items and 20 CDs, which contained various interviews and pictures. Braswell said the prosecution had sent the 400 pages of documents to the defense, and was in the process of making copies of the CDs for the defense.
Cook’s next pre-trial hearing was set for Sept. 25.
Foster, who also faces charges of first-degree battery, possession of a firearm by a certain person and aggravated assault, is next due in court Sept. 9.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)