The fate of a former police officer accused of gunning down a woman while he was on duty is now in the hands of the jury.
Daniel Harmon-Wright is accused in the murder of Patricia Cook.
After making his closing argument to jurors in court, special prosecutor Jim Fisher repeated his claim outside that Harmon-Wright was not acting in self-defense.
“So if you remove self -defense then it’s an unlawful killing. It is a malicious and unlawful killing, which is murder,” he says.
On February 9 last year, former Culpeper police officer Daniel Harmon-Wright was responding to a call about a suspicious person in a school parking lot. Following a verbal dispute with 54-year-old Patricia Cook in her Jeep, Harmon-Wright testified she accelerated, closed the window on his arm and dragged him along with the intent to kill him.
He then shot Cook seven times, killing her at the scene. He claims he did so to protect himself and others.
“I think he was immensely credible,” says defense attorney Daniel Hawes. “He’s one of the best witnesses I’ve ever had.”
Hawes says that as an officer, Harmon-Wright was doing exactly what he was supposed to do, that he not only wasn’t guilty, but might have saved others’ lives.
“That fact she trapped his fingers in the window and then hit the gas made him think that he was under attack, that she was willing to kill him,” says Hawes.
But Fisher argues the details Harmon-Wright gave last week on the witness stand are far different than what he said in a taped interview with an investigator just hours after the incident.
“My argument to the jury is he was not credible and they shouldn’t believe him and when they don’t believe him then self-defense goes out the window.”
Jurors did not reach a verdict Monday evening. Deliberations will continue Tuesday.