James Franklin Cook, 55, of Boyne City, was sentenced to a minimum of 469 months in prison this morning for a crime spree that occurred on May 16, 2015 culminating in a shootout with officers from the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office, Boyne City Police Department and Michigan State Police, where he shot and permanently injured Charlevoix County Sheriff Corporal Fred Hasty.
Cook pleaded guilty to multiple charges committed on that date – assault with intent to murder, resisting and obstructing a police officer causing serious impairment, five counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, first degree home invasion, breaking and entering a building with intent to commit larceny, two counts of unlawful driving away of an automobile and malicious destruction of property.
In his plea hearings, Cook admitted entering onto the property of another to steal one vehicle, spray painting that vehicle to change its appearance, stealing a second vehicle, unlawfully entering into a home where he stole money, guns and ammunition, then engaging in a shootout with police where he shot at officers and wounded Hasty.
Cook was sentenced to serve 285 months to 50 years on the assault with intent to murder charge, 80 months to 20 years on the home invasion, first degree, 80 months to 15 years on the resisting and obstructing charge and 24 months on the felony-firearm charge. All of these sentences will be served consecutively – resulting in a minimum prison term for Cook of 469 months or 39 years and 1 month.
He will receive credit for the 554 days he has served in the Charlevoix County Jail. As a result he will be eligible for parole in the year 2054 when he is 92 years old.
Mark Fruge, the victim of the home invasion and a relative of Cook by marriage, said that he had forgiven Cook for taking his property but that the officers involved would never be able to forget what Cook had done to them. He spoke of the tremendous respect he had for the law enforcement officers involved.
Corporal William Church, one of the officers who Cook shot at, said that as he was the first officer on the scene and Cook was claiming he didn’t have any weapons, as a younger officer he might have walked up to Cook’s vehicle and been shot and killed.
He credited his training, specifically Sheriff Don Schneider and Undersheriff Chuck Vondra, for the recognition that the “tactical position” taken by Cook should cause him concern. Cook had three loaded weapons and a cache of ammunition in the vehicle at the time.
Church said that he considered retirement immediately after the incident and that he sought a job in northern Michigan to avoid circumstances like this.
Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof asked the court to consider the fact that Cook appeared to plan the standoff with police. A Cook family member had filed a court document two weeks before the shooting stating that Cook “had a high contempt for all laws and law enforcement” and that they had “on several occasions heard him say that one day he would get even with several law officers who he felt did him wrong and by saying getting even, I mean he means to kill them.”
Cook drove to the end of Addis Road onto a two-track where he cut the lock off a gate, re-closed the gate then ran to his vehicle where he had his weapons and ammunition while officers arrived.
Circuit Judge Roy C. Hayes III indicated that for the safety of the public he believed that Cook is a person who cannot be free without being a danger. Hayes said that Cook’s actions not only impacted the officers involved but affected our entire community.
The sentencing guidelines provided for a minimum sentence as low as 195 months in prison but Hayes not only imposed the maximum sentence on the assault with intent to murder charge but also exercised his discretion in imposing consecutive sentences.
Cook was also sentenced on the remaining charges but those sentences will run concurrent, or at the same time, with the other charges.