Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 14, 2012

First-degree murder: Tazewell suspect arraigned

KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

TAZEWELL, Va. — A Tazewell County man was arraigned Thursday on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the death of a Cedar Bluff, Va., man.

Willard Dell Cook, also known as Willard R. Cook, 34, of Cedar Bluff, is charged with the Nov. 29 death of Timothy Wade Mitchell, Sr., 54, also of Cedar Bluff, Commonwealth Attorney Dennis Lee said.

Lee said Cook is presently in custody without bond.

“He has been appointed an attorney, and he is being held without bond at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Tazewell,” Lee said. “He was arraigned before substitute Judge Shannon Cooke — no relation. The next step is a preliminary hearing, for which a date has not been set. During that hearing we will determine whether this case should proceed to the grand jury.”

Lee said it is believed Mitchell’s death was caused by apparent head trauma.

“I cannot go into a lot of detail at this point, but (Mitchell) was brought to his home by some individuals,” Lee said. “He was unresponsive when he was brought to his home and subsequently an ambulance was called. He had passed away by the time the ambulance arrived.”

Due to the ongoing investigation, Lee said he was unable to go into details about any motive, if any weapons were used during the incident or if additional suspects were being sought.

“The case is an ongoing investigation,” Lee said. “Mr. Cook and Mr. Mitchell are believed to be acquaintances. As it is an ongoing investigation, we are not in any position to make any further statement.”

Lee said several law enforcement agencies are working on the investigation.

“The investigation is being conducted by Special Agent D.G. Ramey of the Virginia State Police Wytheville detachment and Chief Detective Neil Turley with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office,” Lee said. “Numerous other members of the Virginia State Police and Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office are continuing to work on this case.”