A B.C. man convicted of manslaughter for the brutal killing of his 28-year-old brother, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, less time served.
The sentencing came two and a half years after Jacob Cook was involved in a “severely violent incident” at the family’s Langley, B.C., home, wrote B.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Riley in a recent sentence.
“The victim was brutally killed in his own home. And this took place in the presence of other family members,” wrote Riley in his decision.
Cook, who was 20 at the time of the incident, came from a “chaotic” home where disputes were common and often tied to his older brother Jesse’s struggle with substance abuse.
In the days leading up to the incident, Jesse had relapsed and was actively using opioids, something that frustrated the younger Cook. In one conversation their mother had with the younger brother, she said Cook “wanted to stab Jesse to death and wished that Jesse would die of an overdose,” wrote Justice Riley.
On May 20, 2021, an argument broke out between Jesse and the mother. Cook intervened and the two brothers began fighting in the bathroom. Cook retreated into his bedroom, where he put on a glove for protection and armed himself with a knife.
Jesse entered the room.
“I’m going to kick your head in,” Jesse said, according to a statement Cook later gave to police.
When Jesse began hitting Cook, the younger brother stabbed his sibling 36 times.
Cook “snapped,” he later told police in a warned statement.
Jesse stumbled out of the room and collapsed, the mother would later tell the court. When police and ambulance crews arrived, Cook was sitting with his head in his hands.
Jesse was dead.
A pathologist later found wounds to the senior Cook's neck, shoulder and upper back.
In a pre-sentence report, the mother told the interviewer that since the incident she “has lost the joy in her life and feels that life has no meaning for her.”
The home, said the mother, is now silent, “and even basic aspects of daily life like shopping are a constant reminder of the loss.”
“After the incident, she has lost one son for good and the other has been in jail facing the consequences of his actions,” wrote the judge.
The mother and extended family members wrote letters to the court speaking to the character of Cook, while expressing their sorrow over the loss of the older brother.
Cook had no previous criminal record, and while he was subjected to traumatic violence at the hands of his father, he was described as “a good person, soft spoken, and caring.” His actions were out of character, according to extended family.
Justice Riley noted that since his arrest, Cook has found ways to cope with his anxiety — completing a number of institutional programs and securing a supervisor role on a maintenance crew.
Riley wrote that “before this tragedy Jacob appeared to have little prospect of finding work or living a productive life outside of his own home.” But now, Cook has “developed skills and had experiences that show him he can be a contributing member of the community.”
Cook “feels he owes it to his brother Jesse to do what he can to make the best of his own life, so that his brother’s death will not have been in vain,” wrote Riley.
On the other hand, the judge said that any opportunity Jesse had to “turn his life around was cut short by his brother Jacob’s brutal act of violence.”
The justice banned Cook from possessing any firearms for life, and ordered he provide a DNA sample to authorities.
Crown prosecutors and defence agreed a 10-year jail sentence was appropriate. After credit for time served, Cook will spend another six years, three months in prison.