RALEIGH — The trial of Raymond Cook took an unusual turn Tuesday when prosecutors asked for a delay so they could go back to the grand jury on the second-degree murder charge.
In a glitch that could have affected the way the case proceeded, the grand jury failed to include pertinent language in the official indictment.
Jeff Cruden, an assistant district attorney, persuaded Judge Osmond Smith to give him time to go back to the grand jury.
Roger W. Smith Jr., a defense lawyer representing Cook, did not protest.
Cruden caught the error before a jury was seated. The lawyers had selected 12 jurors to hear the case and were picking alternates.
"I'm just glad I caught it now," Cruden said.
Otherwise, prosecutors would have had difficulties when the case went to the jury.
Prosecutors have accused Cook, 43, of acting with malice when he got in his black 2005 Mercedes-Benz on Sept. 11, 2009, after spending hours at the Raleigh Country Club and Piper's Tavern in North Raleigh.
They have alleged that he was driving on Strickland Road at almost twice the posted speed limit with a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit. He slammed into the back of car being driven by Elena Bright Shapiro, a 20-year-old in training with Carolina Ballet.
Shapiro was killed in the crash.
Cook, a physician who has surrendered his license, was charged initially with death by vehicle and driving while impaired. Prosecutors went to the Wake County grand jury several days later and received a murder indictment.
Cook, who has lived in Georgia and North Carolina, had been charged previously with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Under the second-degree murder charge, a jury would be asked to decide whether a man with a history of drunken driving charges acted with malice if, as investigators allege, he left the North Raleigh bar sped along Strickland and Lead Mine roads while impaired.
To prove malice, North Carolina law requires prosecutors to show that the defendant intended to drive in a reckless manner that reflected knowledge that injury or death would likely result.
Cruden will take the indictment back to the grand jury on Monday and asked for a superseding indictment.
The trial is not likely to pick up again, Cruden said, until early next year.
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