James Cooke Jr. – black, age 34

Sentenced to death in New Castle County, Delaware
By: A judge.
Date of crime:
Prosecution’s case/defense response: James Cooke entered the apartment of a University of Delaware student, raped and strangled her with a T-shirt. He then set fire to the apartment hoping to destroy all evidence of the crime. The prosecution was able to provide proof of his DNA at the scene through semen and skin scrapings underneath the victim’s fingernails. A witness also linked Cooke to the scene of the crime. Defense counsel sought to establish that Cooke had a history of mental illness stemming from the repeated abuses that Cooke suffered at the hands of his drug-addicted mothers frequent boyfriends. Psychologists examined Cooke and discovered sixteen risk factors which lead to mental illness.
Prosecutor(s): Stephen Wood
Defense lawyer(s): Brendan O’Neill
Sources: The Review via U-Wire 9/4/2007 (U-WIRE); New York Times 3/18/2007 (2007 WLNR 5097776); AP Alert – Delaware 2/2/2007

Allison Lamont Norman – black, age 23

Sentenced to death in Sussex County, Delaware
By: A judge.
Date of crime: April 7, 2005
Prosecution’s case/defense response: Lamont Norman went on a two-state shooting spree after claiming that aliens were attempting to kidnap his daughter. Norman shot and killed a fellow parent at the bus stop after dropping off his daughter, stole a vehicle and began to drive erratically. Throughout the rest of the day Norman ditched the vehicle only to hijack another vehicle and kill the owner. During this rampage, Norman donned a bullet-proof vest and carried a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol. Defense counsel contended that Norman believed he was protecting children from the imminent alien threat after watching an episode of “X-Files” the prior evening.
Defense lawyer(s): Brendan O’Neill
Sources: AP Alert – Delaware 9/28/2007, 6/28/2007, 6/22/2007; Baltimore Sun 5/30/2007 (2007 WLNR 10098646); Desert Morning News 520/2007 (2007 WLNR 10083374)