Former bishop Heather Cook to be jailed for ten years for killing cyclist while driving intoxicated

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The Independent US

A former bishop is to jailed for ten years after pleading guilty to manslaughter and drunken driving in an incident in which she killed a cyclist.

Under an agreement with prosecutors, the state will ask a Baltimore Circuit Court judge next month to sentence Heather Cook to 10 years in prison.

Cook, then a newly installed bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, struck 41-year-old Tom Palermo on December 27 in a bike lane near her North Baltimore home. Her blood-alcohol content level was 0.22 per cent, while Maryland’s limit is 0.08 per cent.

Cook, 58, entered her pleas the day before her trial was scheduled to start. She pleaded guilty to automobile manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, driving while intoxicated and texting while driving.

Cook resigned from her post as bishop shortly after charges were filed, and the Episcopal Church revoked her clergy credentials.

The plea deal calls for the judge to sentence Cook on October 27 to 20 years in prison, with 10 years suspended. She would be on probation for five years. Cook had pleaded not guilty in April to 13 counts against her.