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After three years, ex-doctor's sentence complete for DWI death

Posted February 28
Updated March 2

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— A former Raleigh doctor was released from prison Friday, exactly three years after he was sent there for his role in the death of a young ballerina.

Raymond Cook was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter, felony death by motor vehicle and driving while impaired in the death of Elena Shapiro, who danced for the Carolina Ballet.

Cook, who worked as a facial plastic surgeon, had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.24 when he rear-ended Shapiro's car on Sept. 11, 2009. Under North Carolina law, a driver is considered impaired with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.

Shapiro had just left a rehearsal for "Swan Lake," and Cook had been drinking all day, according to prosecutors, who sought a second-degree murder conviction.

Jurors deadlocked, and Cook was convicted on the lesser charge and served a minimum sentence. He was able to work outside the Wake Correctional Center and spend regular weekend visits with family during that time.

Cook surrendered his medical license after the crash, but he is eligible to apply to the North Carolina Medical Board for reinstatement.

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  • greg69innc Mar 3, 6:04 p.m.

    The same thing happened to my dad and this will be the outcome i am sure of it in his case. He was all I had left and not only is he gone forever but my life is changed forever as well. I hate drunk drivers

  • greg69innc Mar 3, 6:02 p.m.

    I lost my dad to a drunk and he may only pull 3 yrs but he cant hide behind a fence forever.

  • alanon Feb 28, 7:22 p.m.

    This is definitely a "money talks" case. This guy had the resources to hire a private lawyer,... View More

    — Posted by alanon

    -

    That was a child!!!

    This is a GROWN man!!!

    — Posted by DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves

    Yes, I know. The point is that money made a difference in the punishment they received.

  • Mom2two Feb 28, 7:22 p.m.

    Ok, so he has "served" 3 years. When? He worked outside prison, spent weekends with his family, so when did actually serve time? Just dinner and bedtime? What a joke.

  • Wake1 Feb 28, 7:07 p.m.

    What a crock!! He was able to buy himnself a very light sentence! If he only gets three years, why shouldn't everyone else who is convicted of the same thing get that light of a sentence???

  • Serendipity5 Feb 28, 6:32 p.m.

    A man guilty of murder will be a fugitive for the rest of his life.

  • dwr1964 Feb 28, 6:11 p.m.

    Killing someone, while driving drunk, nets you 3 years. Failing to pay taxes, nets you 10, or more. In what part of justice, does this make sense?

  • cphs1 Feb 28, 5:29 p.m.

    What I want to say about him you will not print and I think others feel the same. He should not be let out, he'll do it again!!

  • heard-it-all-before Feb 28, 5:09 p.m.

    condolences to the family of the victim. they have been completely and totally ripped off here.

  • mikeyfan5600 Feb 28, 5:04 p.m.

    They should reissue him a Drivers license immediately, give him back his Medical license and oh, don't forget his right to vote. After all he has done his time, right? Sound ridiculous? Well it was ridiculous a couple of weeks ago when a lot of you were backing the rights of convicted felons to get their right to vote back. So how many hypocrites do we have here today, condemning the doctor but stated a convicted felon should have the right to vote?

    BTW I feel this man should still be in jail, and no felon should ever have the right to vote again.

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