Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ex-Doctor Gets 3-Year Term In Ballerina's Death

Crash Killed Elena Shapiro In 2009

POSTED: 11:58 am EST March 1, 2011
UPDATED: 5:15 pm EST March 1, 2011
A Raleigh doctor accused in the death of a 20-year-old Winston-Salem ballerina has been found guilty in a Raleigh courtroom of three offenses. View Slideshow Raymond Cook was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, felony death by motor vehicle and driving while impaired and sentenced to three to 4 1/2 years in prison."My beautiful daughter Elena (Shapiro) has always been foremost in our minds," Shapiro's father, David Shapiro, told the media after the sentencing. "Our love for her and our family's love for her has always sustained us."Shapiro, frustrated by Cook's demeanor throughout the trial, called Cook a narcissist whose only concern is for himself.
"I hope that in his incarceration he has time to reflect, and his family has time to reflect," David Shapiro said.Cook was drunk and driving a vehicle in the September 2009 crash that killed Elena Bright Shapiro.Elena Shapiro was in Raleigh working with the Carolina Ballet.At the time, Cook was an assistant professor at the UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill and a doctor at WakeMed Hospital. Cook is a 1986 graduate of Forsyth Country Day and a former Winston-Salem resident.According to the Raleigh police report, Cook was traveling at 85 mph when his car rear-ended Shapiro's car near the intersection of Lead Mine and Strickland Roads in Raleigh.Prosecutors were arguing for a second-degree murder conviction, which required them to prove Cook acted with malice.Cook's lawyers conceded he had been drinking and was driving above the speed limit but argued that he was not acting maliciously. His blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal North Carolina limit of 0.08.Cook was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon as the jury unanimously decided there is an aggravating factor to consider in his sentencing.The jury had been deliberating on the case since Friday afternoon."I have somehow found if helpful and comforting to look not to the circumstances, but to the spirit of that lost child," Elena Shapiro's mother, Brantly Shapiro, said.

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