Home Page Table of Contents Update Page Lindsey Bonistall

- University of Delaware Student Raped and Strangled to Death -

- Lindsey Bonistall - Age 20 -

- 1985 - 2005 † -


- James E. Cooke Jr. - Age 34 -

- He Faces Life in Prison -


- James Cooke Has Been Charged With First Degree Murder -


- Details of the Crime -

On May 1, 2005, James E. Cooke, Jr., 34, broke into the apartment of University of Delaware student, Lindsey Bonistall, 20; he proceeded to rape and strangle her to death, then he put her body in the bathtub. In an attempt to throw off the police detectives, Cooke scrawled white-supremacist graffiti on the walls of Lindsey's apartment before setting it on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime. Cooke used a blue magic-marker to write "KKK" in several places near the front door of Lindsey Bonistall's Towne Court apartment, Newark Police Detective Andrew Rubin said. Rubin, the lead detective in the case, testified Friday during a hearing in Superior Court.

Cooke was arrested June 7 and held on more than $50,000 bail in connection with the home invasion before being charged yesterday with first-degree counts of murder, rape, arson, burglary and reckless endangerment. Surveillance cameras recorded images of a man using an automated teller machine card belonging to the victim of the first home invasion.

James Edward Cooke, 34, an unemployed shoe store clerk, who lived a block away from Bonistall's off-campus apartment in Newark, Del., faces the death penalty if convicted of slaying the popular young woman, who was mourned by several hundred friends and relatives at her funeral May 7.

Cooke, who Nefosky said lived with his girlfriend and four children, has a criminal record in New Jersey that includes convictions for theft, resisting arrest, riding in a stolen vehicle, drug possession and distributing drugs on school property.


Lindsey M. Bonistall, a 20-year-old UD sophomore, English major from White Plains, N.Y., has been identified by Newark Police as a homicide victim. Her body was discovered after an arson fire in her Towne Court apartment early Sunday, May 1.

After completing the investigation on Murray Road, the fire marshal returned to 81 Thorn Lane to resume the investigation of that fire. During the investigation, the fire marshal found that that fire also was arson. He then contacted the Newark Police Department. Upon further investigation, Ms. Bonistall’s body was discovered in the bathtub under a large pile of debris from the fire.

“The entire University of Delaware community is shocked and saddened by this terrible tragedy,” UD President David P. Roselle said. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the members of the Bonistall Family, as well as to her family of friends here on the University campus.

“Miss Bonistall was a popular student, and our Center for Counseling and Student Development will be available to provide assistance desired by any of her many friends,” Roselle said.


Attorneys representing James E. Cooke Jr., accused of raping and killing a University of Delaware student last spring, argued Wednesday, February 1, 2006, to suppress evidence collected during a search of their client's former Newark residence.

Defense attorney Brendan O'Neill said Wednesday that the search warrant used by Newark police had deficiencies, therefore evidence collected from the home of James E. Cooke Jr.'s former girlfriend should not be used at his trial scheduled for September.

Cooke is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 20-year-old Lindsey M. Bonistall. Police have said Cooke broke into Bonistall's Towne Court apartment early on May 1, then raped and strangled the UD student, leaving her body in the bathtub and setting the apartment on fire. He also allegedly used a blue magic marker to write "KKK," "White Power," and other phrases on the walls of her apartment.

Cooke was charged with the murder June 13, a week after police searched the residence of Rochelle Campbell, where Cooke had been living when the killing occurred.

Campbell, who has four children by Cooke, testified Wednesday that when police asked to search her Lincoln Drive apartment on June 6, she told them to get a search warrant. She said she would have allowed police to search her home without a warrant, but she was still upset that officers stopped her for more than 30 minutes the day before. She was walking to the apartment, carrying her laundry, and with four children in tow, when officers approached her. She was also nine-months pregnant.

"It was embarrassing," she said as she started to cry, "because everyone in our neighborhood got a chance to see us."

After investigators returned with a warrant and began searching her home, Campbell said she was asked to go to the police station. Campbell also said an FBI agent implied that if she didn't go she would be arrested. So, she went willingly.

When she returned, police asked her to sign a consent form allowing them to take certain items, such as a handwriting sample, from the home. She signed it.

Campbell gave several answers as O'Neill repeatedly asked her if she was aware police had already seized the items before getting her written consent. Some items were removed by police before she signed a form authorizing them.

Defense targets DNA evidence

Campbell, who at one time said she didn't know what she was thinking, would eventually say that she felt it was OK for police to take them because they were doing their job.

In order to keep this evidence in, state prosecutors must convince Superior Court Judge Jerome O. Herlihy that the search was not faulty or that there was consent to take these items.

Defense attorneys are also trying to suppress Cooke's DNA samples. Police have said they found two samples of DNA belonging to Cooke on Lindsey Bonistall's body.


- Lindsey Was an English Major at The University of Delaware -

Lindsey Bonistall


“Miss Bonistall was a popular student - the entire University of Delaware community is shocked and saddened by this terrible tragedy,” UD President David P. Roselle said.


- White Plains dad recalls an All-American girl -


(Original publication: June 1, 2005) This article was written one week before James E. Cooke Jr. was arrested.


White Plains — Mark Bonistall drives his daughter's car to work. He listens to her compact discs. She was Daddy's girl, and proud of it, and he'll grab anything he can to hold on to her memory.

One month ago today, the body of Lindsey Bonistall was discovered in the bathtub of her Newark, Del., apartment, a mile from the University of Delaware, where she was a sophomore. The 20-year-old from White Plains had been strangled. Her killer, trying to cover up the crime, had set fire to debris piled on top of her.

A sketch and surveillance photo of a possible suspect, a man believed to have broken into another coed's home the night before, are on fliers posted all over Newark. Mark Bonistall said he doesn't know for sure if that's his daughter's killer, but he's fairly certain she was the victim of a random slaying — that she could not have known her killer.

"Lindsey never had a cross word to say about anyone. She couldn't sleep if she wasn't on good terms with someone," he said. "I don't want to paint the picture of her as the all-American girl but, damn it, she was."

Bonistall, 50, spoke at his office in Valhalla, where he is a vice president for Oakleaf Waste Management. He has leaned heavily on his huge family and his close-knit Westminster Ridge neighborhood in West Harrison. Yesterday, he was ready to talk publicly about her life, needing to urge people to help catch her killer.

The reward for information in the case is now $50,000, thanks to $25,000 Bonistall's friends and business associates have kicked in. Of the original amount, Lindsey's landlord put in $10,000, and the college and anonymous donors put in $15,000.

He said he speaks daily with Capt. William Nefosky of the Newark police — who said yesterday that there were no updates in the case — and knows that learning all the details of the investigation will have to wait until someone is apprehended.

"Obviously, I want this maniac in jail, or at least off the streets, so he can't do this to anyone else, take away someone else's best friend or daughter," he said.

Father and daughter had a particularly close relationship.

"She was actually mini-me," he said. "She told me everything. We were like best girlfriends. ... The girls at UD used to tease her from time to time, 'Daddy's girl,' though it would get under her skin. But that was like her badge of honor."

He spoke of her infectious smile, her Will Ferrell impersonations, the St. Anthony's talent show when a 7-year-old Lindsey had everyone in such stitches that his buddy couldn't get it on videotape because he was laughing too hard.

Lindsey liked to flash the peace sign, and frequently ended phone conversations and e-mails by proclaiming "Peace, Out."

Her family is creating the Lindsey M. Bonistall Foundation, which will use the theme "Peace Out-side Campus" to promote personal security in college towns.

Bonistall said it would not reinvent the wheel but use existing programs and agencies that teach young men and women self-awareness and self-defense and encourage the extension of free ride programs to off-campus housing.

"If we can save one other person, it will all be worth it in Lindsey's honor," he said.

Lindsey lived in the Towne Court apartments, quintessential off-campus housing. Bonistall said he had concerns about security there.

There was no lock on the front door, and he often reminded his daughter to keep her balcony door locked, because the terrace was just a few feet off the ground.

Lindsey, a 2003 graduate of Good Counsel Academy in White Plains, started college expecting to become a doctor, but realized she couldn't stand the rigorous science courses. She settled on English as a major, with a concentration in journalism, and was further hooked every time she had an article published in The Review, the campus newspaper, Bonistall said.

She could have transferred to Cornell, her older sister's alma mater, after her freshman year. But the lure of the Ivy League was not strong enough to pull Lindsey away from the friends she had made and the life she loved at Delaware, her father said.

The last time Bonistall saw his daughter was April 12, when he stopped off for a visit on the way home from a business trip to Baltimore. ...

"They say time heals all wounds, but this one won't heal over time," Bonistall said. "How do you get over the pain of something like this?"

See the complete article:




- Lindsey Worked as a Waitress to Help Pay her Expenses at College -

- Lindsey was Daddy's Girl & proud of it -



- Mark Bonistall, Lindsey's Father, was still grief-stricken in October - Six Months after Lindsey's Death -


- Mark Bonistall drives Lindsey's car to work & listens to her CDs -


Mr. Mark Bonistall (left), father of slain University of Delaware student Lindsey Bonistall,

 is consoled by family members outside Superior Court on Friday, October 28, 2005.



Original articles

This is the Lindsey Bonistall Memorial Website:


Photo of Lindsey: http://www.udel.edu/PR/UDaily/2005/mar/death050205.html











Lindsey Bonistall was selected at random for this brutal crime. Lindsey had absolutely no relationship with James E. Cooke Jr., although Cooke lived just one block away with his common-law wife and four children.  Cooke broke into Lindsey's apartment in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 1, 2005. He probably surprised her while she was sleeping. He raped Lindsey and then he strangled her to death. According to police reports, Lindsey was already dead when Cooke dragged her to the bathroom and dumped her in the bathtub. Since Lindsey was buried under many objects and debris, police surmise that Cooke wanted to make sure that her body was completely burned up so as to destroy any evidence, and so he piled flammable material on top of her body before he set it on fire. Cooke failed on this point, and it is his DNA which was found on Lindsey's body which will likely be the most damning evidence against him. That is, unless Cooke's defense attorney is successful in suppressing the DNA evidence.


Although the police have not used the term "home invasion" in conjunction with Lindsey's murder, they should, because she certainly did not invite him in. The police can add this charge to those charges already filed: first-degree counts of murder, rape, arson, burglary, reckless endangerment - and home invasion. This type of random home invasion, rape and murder should have the special classification of "Black Domestic Terrorism." This type of crime is occurring more and more frequently, to such an extent that the whole of the country is having to change its lifestyle, because we are living in fear and terror of being attacked by Black males. And it evidently doesn't make any difference if they are genetically half Caucasian, as James Cooke clearly is - it evidently doesn't take too many Black genes to make a male excessively aggressive.


Mark Bonistall, Lindsey's father, was not satisfied with the security of Lindsey's apartment building, and with good reason: there was no lock on the front door and her balcony was only a few feet above ground level. All fathers should advise their daughters never to rent an apartment on the ground floor, and also, never to rent in a building that does not have a lock on the front door and adequate lighting around the entrance. How many more of our daughters and sisters must we lose before we start getting serious about the excessive amount of crime being committed by Black males in our society.


Can you imagine what it must feel like to have your young daughter, who you have tenderly and lovingly raised from the time she was a small infant, suddenly taken from you. It is heart-wrenching enough when this happens as the result of an accident, but when she is brutally raped and murdered and set on fire under a pile of trash in her own apartment - what could be more horrible. And now Mr. Bonistall and his wife and their whole family have to sit through the trial for this heartless killer as his court-appointed attorney tries to suppress evidence that the police took from Cooke's common-law wife's apartment. They have to listen as Cooke's attorney argues that Cooke's common-law wife was embarrassed because the police questioned her outside in public view. She doesn't want her neighbors to know that she has been living with a brutal killer.


The Bonistalls will have to sit in court and listen to days of quibbling about whether certain items can be allowed into evidence, because the police didn't follow the correct procedures. And all the while, they will know that none of this legal wrangling will bring their beautiful daughter back to life; they'll know that she will never have a chance to get married and to raise a family of her own; they'll know that they'll never be able to hold grandchildren on their laps and know that these children are a result of the years of love and care that they had invested in Lindsey. All of that is gone now. All that is left is memories of her childhood and what a beautiful young woman she was. All that is left now is the quibbling in court in an attempt to exact justice; as though the life of the miserable James Cooke is equivalent to Lindsey's life. No more would Mr. Bonistall be able to joke that his Lindsey was "daddy's girl." All of that was over now; the Bonistalls' world has changed - it has changed forever.


And even if James Cooke is convicted and put in prison for life, that will not be the end of it. As I have said many times on this website: the domestic terrorism will not cease with the arrest and conviction of one or two Black males. There are tens-of-thousands more malcontented Black males to take the place of James Cooke. Perhaps the reason that so many Black males become aggressive is that they are not happy living together with White people. Perhaps they see us as descendents of those who brought them here and held them as slaves. Maybe many of them would be happier if they had a chance to live in Africa. Perhaps, rather than sending Black males to prison to languish for many years, we can negotiate with one of the sub-Saharan African countries to accept some of our prisoners in exchange for forgiving their financial debt to us.


Many of these countries now need young men, because so many of their own young men are dying from the Aids virus. This would not be the first time that such an arrangement were made: Australia was settled by criminals released from the prisons of England, and look what they have accomplished over the years on that continent. Perhaps some of these African-American males need a new start in a new environment - an environment in which there are no White people to remind them of the slavery and discrimination of the past. Things have gotten to the point that we have to think creatively and look at all possibilities. This idea might help solve both of our problems, and it would be a new opportunity for Black males who would otherwise spend long years in prison. It deserves looking into. Contact your local and national politicians and present this idea to them; we urgently need to start a national debate on this subject.


Yours Faithfully, Liberty



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