Daniel Harmon-Wright pleads not guilty
The Culpeper officer facing charges in the fatal shooting of a 54-year-old woman pleaded not guilty Friday and was granted $100,000 bond during a court hearing Friday.
Daniel Harmon-Wright, the officer facing charges, was also hired to the Culpeper police force over the objections of a sergeant and lieutenant who conducted a background check on him, said the commonwealth's attorney, Jim Fisher, Friday.
Harmon Wright, a Marine and veteran of the Iraq war, was earlier indicted on one count of murder, malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle resulting in death and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He is accused of killing Patricia Cook during a traffic stop. She was unarmed at the time.
Sticking with the claim cook rolled up her window trapping Harmon-Wright's left hand, his lawyer referred to Cook as a fleeing felon during the hearing.
“This woman had such a degree of recklessness in her behavior that it evidenced an intent, at least a willingness to kill other people,” Harmon-Wright’s attorney, Daniel Hawes, said.
New details of the Culpeper fatal shooting emerged during Friday’s bond hearing. Prosecutors said Harmon-Wright has a history of alcohol abuse and added that an issue of truthfulness was raised six months after Harmon-Wright was hired as a police officer.
Also, there was a use-of-force allegation that was brought up against Harmon-Wright in January.
Authorities Friday also said that on the day of the fatal shooting, the defendant discharged a total of seven rounds. The first two shots were not fatal while the remaining five shots, including the fatal rounds that struck Cook’s head and spine, were fired as Cook was driving away.
Bethany Sullivan, Harmon-Wright's mother, was also charged in connection with the case. The 55-year-old Orange, Va. woman is accused of forging public records to get negative information out of her son's personnel file. Sullivan was a secretary for the chief of police until 2010.
Harmon-Wright left the county courthouse in shackles Friday morning. His wife and supporters left the hearing without commenting.
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