Richmond man pleads guilty to killing 78-year-old mother - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Richmond man pleads guilty to killing 78-year-old mother

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A Richmond man pleaded guilty on Friday to killing his own mother in what prosecutors is a disturbingly brutal case.

Ronnie Cook confessed to stabbing 78-yeaer-old Emma Cook in January, though she spent her life trying to save him from a life of crime and drugs.

Prosecutors say Ronnie Cook lived with his mother for just a short time last year. He was unemployed and using drugs and his mother urged him to get help. Finally, she said he could no longer stay with her at her apartment in the 1900 block of Cedar street in Union Hill.

Ronnie Cook was staying in a homeless shelter downtown on the morning of January 4, when he walked across the Martin Luther King Bridge to his mother's home, where he later devised a plan to rob her.

Prosecutors say the beloved great-grandmother willingly handed over her purse to her son, asking him to take the money and call for help for her. He took the purse but prosecutors say he never made that call which could've saved his mother's life. Cook also took her keys and stole her car. 

"He took a knife from her own kitchen and went upstairs. At that point, when she saw the knife she was startled, she jumped up and he stabbed her," said Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Traci Miller, who has dealt with many disturbing cases, but says she never recalls a case where a son brutally murdered his mother.

Ronnie Cook then locked the door to her home and left her dying in her bedroom. Emma Cook was later found by her daughter after she didn't show up for church the next Sunday morning.

People were very emotional at the crime scene, an apartment complex in the 1900 block of Cedar Street in the Union Hill neighborhood. Family members said Emma Cook's daughter found her dead in her apartment just before 5 p.m. Officers arrived on scene just 60 seconds after the 911 call came in.

Emma Cook's car had been missing since Friday, according to one of her grandchildren. Officers spotted the vehicle at a hotel in the 2600 block of Chamberlayne Avenue Sunday night. Ronnie Cook was arrested at the hotel a short while later.

Dozens of relatives and friends gathered, as officers investigated, mourning the loss of someone so well-loved in her community. Many knew Cook as "Miss Emma." Her family says she worked as a custodian at Richmond Public Schools for years.

Emma Cook's daughters are devastated. One even left the courtroom in tears during Friday's hearing. 

"It's such a hard loss for the family because she was such a loving and giving mother," Miller said.

Cook faces life in prison. He will be sentenced September 10.

Court records also indicate Cook has been in trouble for stealing from his mother before. In 1995 and 2004 he was convicted for taking a gold chain- and a camcorder, DVD player, and coin collection respectively.

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