A judge sentenced a cold-blooded burglar to death yesterday for raping and strangling a beautiful University of Delaware student from Westchester before torching her apartment in an attempt to destroy evidence.
The jury convicted James E. Cooke Jr. in March of first-degree murder, arson, rape, burglary and reckless endangering in the death of the White Plains co-ed, whose body was found covered with charred debris in her bathtub May 1, 2005.
Sophomore Bonistall, 20, was white. A handwriting analyst testified at trial that Cooke, who is black, had used a marker to write “KKK,” “White Power” and other phrases on the walls of her apartment.
Cooke, 36, also tried to convince police in a 911 call before his arrest that Bonistall’s death was part of a drug war involving white supremacists.