Jason Cooke Sentenced in Starke Circuit Court

Jason Cooke was sentenced in Starke Circuit Court Monday afternoon.

Cooke pleaded guilty in an amended plea agreement to count of robbery as a Level 2 felony. Cooke admitted to robbing Sescoe Wireman of Knox of money, prescription medication, an Indiana ID card, and multiple credit cards. Cooke hit Wireman during the robbery causing severe injury. Wireman was hospitalized and later died. The incident happened on or about Oct. 6, 2015, at Wireman’s home in the 100 block of East 500 South in Knox.

While entering factual basis into the record, Cooke admitted to taking heroin at the residence prior to this incident and didn’t have a clear memory of what happened. Defense Attorney Richard Ballard noted in court that he and Cooke reviewed all of the evidence in the case, including a blood-stained shirt, and reached the conclusion that Cooke did commit the crime.

Cooke was previously charged with murder, but the charge was dropped in February of 2017. Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff said at the time the forensic pathologist determined that she could not connect the battery with his death.

Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall accepted the second amended plea agreement between the state and the defense in this case. The agreement sentenced Cooke to 30 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections, the maximum amount of time allowed in a Level 2 felony charge. No part of the sentence was suspended. The victim’s representative was notified of the sentence prior to Monday’s hearing and agreed with the terms of the agreement.

Credit time will be determined by the Starke County Probation Department as there are conflicting start times for days served pertaining to this case. Cooke was sentenced in two other plea agreements at the time the court proceedings in this case were in progress. That calculation will be submitted to the court when determined. If there is an objection concerning credit time, all parties will return to court to hear arguments in the matter.