Man who threatened judge gets time served
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Wyoming County Press Examiner
TUNKHANNOCK – A man who admitted Tuesday he threatened a Wyoming County judge with bodily harm last summer, also asked the court for lenience at his sentencing because he wanted to get home to be with his father who is dying from cancer.
Douglas L. Cook, 41, of Monroe Twp., fought back tears during a sentencing hearing and told Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth Seamans, “I’m very sorry for what I did, and I’ll never do it again.”
“I don’t have any violent thoughts now, and I pray if you would let me go today to be with my father, you will never have any problems from me.”
Judge Seamans, who presided over the hearing because Wyoming County judges recused themselves from the case, said “violence against anyone let alone a judge is pretty serious. You can’t be calling up people and say you’re going to do this, do you understand you have to follow mental health treatment?”
“Yes sir,” Cook said.
“I understand you called the police and also made these charges,” Judge Seamans said.
“I realized I was guilty for what I did, and needed to be picked up,” Cook said.
According to a police criminal complaint one of the voice messages left last Sept. 13 for Judge Smith stated, “I’ll screw your bloody f—ing head off.”
The complaint notes that Judge Smith had previously heard five cases involving Cook, all of which he pleaded guilty to, and the judge had no idea of the source of Cook’s anger.
It’s pretty clear that he’s upset with me for some reason I don’t know,” Judge Smith noted.
Under the plea agreement worked out between District Attorney Jeff Mitchell and Cook’s attorney, Patrick Johnson, Cook pleaded guilty to only one misdemeanor count of terroristic threats.
He originally had been charged with one felony count of aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of simple assault, stalking, and harassment.
Johnson said during the sentencing hearing that it was clear that Cook’s behavior was a result of a mental health diagnosis combined with problems with alcohol.
“My experience is that when he’s on his medication he is actually quite pleasant,” Johnson said.
Cook’s attorney asked the judge for the low end of the sentencing range, to no more than the 138 days already served in the Wyoming County jail because his client was anxious about getting home to his father, Stanley Cook, who has advanced cancer and is in hospice care.
Judge Seamans sentenced Cook to 138 days to 23 months and 29 days incarceration, a $300 fine, continuance of mental health treatment and no contact with the victim.
He then asked if a parole plan was ready so Cook might be released.
Johnson made an oral motion for parole, and DA Mitchell said he did not object.