Local News

Two charged in Raleigh woman's slaying

Bernard Barber is charged with murder in the death of Marla Jean Cook; Jassman Smith is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Police said Friday they have arrested two people in connection with the death of a woman found in her Raleigh apartment.

Bernard Barber, 20, faces one count of murder in connection with the death of Marla Jean Cook, 46. Jassman Nicole Smith, 20, is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

Investigators said they have information that indicates Cook and Barber were acquainted with one another, although they did not say how.
Both suspects were detained Thursday afternoon and were in the Wake County jail Friday without bond. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26.

Officers found Cook's body around 11 a.m. Thursday while responding to a welfare call at 4709-222 Old Plank Road. Investigators believe she died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Cook's boss called 911 Thursday morning, concerned because she had not been to work.

"She's been missing from work, and her friends are looking for her, and no one knows where she is," the caller said. "She had met somebody, I don't know if it was online or whatever, but since she met him, she's been missing."

Police have not released any other information about the investigation, including a possible motive.


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