James Franklin Cook, 53, of Boyne City, was charged today, Tuesday June 23, with three counts of assault with intent to murder, three counts of felonious assault, assaulting a police officer causing serious impairment, felony firearm, breaking and entering with intent to commit larceny, unlawful driving away a motor vehicle and malicious destruction of personal property $1,000 or more but less than $20,000.
Cook was arraigned at approximately 3:30 this afternoon in the 90th District Court where his bond was set at $1,000,000. Jodi Doak was appointed as his attorney.
Assault with intent to murder is a felony that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Felonious assault is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a $2,000 fine.
Assaulting a police officer causing serious impairment is a felony with a maximum penalty of fifteen years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony is a felony punishable by two years in prison consecutive to and preceding any term of imprisonment on the underlying felony.
Breaking and entering a building with intent to commit a larceny is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison. Unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle and malicious destruction of personal property $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 are both felonies punishable by up to five years in prison.
The charges relate to incidents that occurred on May 16, 2015.
Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof reviewed reports submitted by Michigan State Police Detective/Sergeant Mark Harris which contained interviews with all witnesses at the scene as well as videos taken at the scene. Additionally the Boyne City Police Department submitted a report regarding the car theft and vandalism.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed in this matter:
On May 16, at 5:05 p.m., it was reported to 911 dispatch that it was believed that James Franklin Cook had stolen a truck from Boyne Irrigation and had driven it to a home on M-75 where he left it and stole another vehicle, a 2000 Ford Focus station wagon.
The Boyne Irrigation truck had been spray painted in an attempt to cover the business’s identification.
At 5:58 p.m., a caller reported to police that they had seen the stolen Focus driving down Addis Road in Boyne Valley Township, Charlevoix County, Michigan.
Deputy William Church responded to the call and was driving down Addis Road when he saw a maroon vehicle across from Drury Lane and a subject, later identified as Cook, pulling the gate closed where Addis Road ends and becomes a “two track” seasonal road.
Cook saw Church approaching in his marked police vehicle then ran to the maroon car and hid behind it. Church was unable to see Cook at that time and ordered Cook to come out. Cook refused.
Since Cook was a suspect in two felony vehicle thefts, had run away from Church to his vehicle for cover, was not visible to Church and was not complying with Church’s command, Church pulled his weapon and ordered Cook to the ground. Cook did not comply.
Church identified himself and turned on the lights in his patrol car to be certain that Cook knew he was a police officer.
Boyne City Assistant Chief of Police Kevin Spate then arrived at the scene and took a position to Church’s right and Cook’s left on a berm. Spate observed a long, black object in Cook’s hands which he was holding as, and appeared to be, a rifle.
Spate drew a weapon and as other officers arrived on the scene, they were informed that Cook had a weapon and they drew their weapons as well.
Cook and Spate could see each other and Spate moved to different locations on the berm for his safety. Cook asked who Spate was and Spate identified himself.
Cook told both Spate and Church that he did not have a weapon but was only videotaping what was happening.
Michigan State Police Trooper Zachary Helton, Charlevoix County Sheriff Department Corporal Fred Hasty and Sergeant George Robert Lasater also arrived on the scene and took positions to the left of Church and Spate.
Hasty was closest to Cook, about 30 to 40 yards away, Hasty estimated. Hasty looked away from Cook for a moment to see how the other officers on the scene were positioned and when he returned his gaze to Cook, he saw Cook now standing, pointing a handgun at him.
Cook fired at Hasty and struck him in his hip. This was observed by Hasty and Helton. Hasty returned fire, but his leg gave out causing him to fall backward and lose sight of Cook.
Undersheriff Chuck Vondra arrived at the scene shortly thereafter and he and Lasater tended to the injured Hasty. While they were moving Hasty into Vondra’s vehicle, more shots were fired.
Church could see that at the time of the second round of shots, Cook was looking toward he and Spate. Church, Spate and Helton then returned fire. Helton observed that Cook was shooting in the direction of Church and Spate using a pistol.
Soon thereafter, Cook told officers that he had been shot and needed help. The officers ordered him to come out but he said he couldn’t comply because he was hurt and shot.
Deputy Travis Williams approached Cook, while being covered by Lasater, and arrested Cook.
The assault with intent to murder charges relate to Cook shooting at Hasty, Church and Spate. The felonious assault charges allege that by shooting, Cook also intended to place Lasater, Vondra and Helton in fear of an immediate battery.
The injuries suffered by Hasty, a broken fibula, which requires him to utilize the assistance of a walker, are the basis for the charge of assaulting a police officer causing serious impairment.
Cook already has a number of other charges pending in the 90th District Court, being previously charged with malicious destruction of police property, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, first degree home invasion, unlawful driving away of an automobile, illegal entry, trespass, driving while license suspended and operating a motor vehicle without security.
Attorney Doak also represents Cook on these matters and filed a notice of her intent to raise an insanity defense in the home invasion case. Judge James N. Erhart entered an order referring Cook for an evaluation by the Center for Forensic Psychiatry.
“I anticipate that there would not be any preliminary examinations or trials scheduled on the charges against Mr. Cook until we have the results of the evaluation by the Center for Forensic Psychiatry,” Telgenhof said.
“It is important to note that we have a very high standard for judging someone not criminally responsible for their actions in Michigan,” Telgenhof explained. “It is not enough to be mentally ill, a defendant must also prove that as a result of this illness, they failed either to appreciate the wrongness of their actions or as a result of the illness, they could not conform their conduct to the requirements of the law.”
The complaints against Cook are mere allegations at this point and he is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.