Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Sunday, May 1, 2016


We, the comrades of Unit 1012, will always remember Lindsey Marie Bonistall every year on her birthday on March 20 and also on the date where she departed the earth on May 1. Please also support the family by donating and endorsing the foundation

Lindsey Bonistall
(March 20, 1985 to May 1, 2005)
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.


Mary Cairns, a family friend of Lindsey Bonistall, a University of Delaware student murdered in 2005, on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at the Statehouse in Dover speaks about legislation being considered by Delaware House members to end the death penalty. Lawmakers rejected the legislation following emotional testimony.(Photo: JASON MINTO/THE NEWS JOURNAL)

Mary Cairns, a friend of the Bonistall family, testified against the repeal bill. She read a letter from the family, who could not be there, about what it was like to lose their daughter, Lindsey Bonistall, a University of Delaware sophomore who was raped and murdered in May 2005 by James E. Cooke Jr., who is now on death row.
Cairns, while holding a picture of Bonistall, said Cooke deserves to be on death row not only for murdering Bonistall, but for constantly berating judges, jurors and the victim during his trials.
"He victimized Lindsey again and again," she said. "Her killer deserves the death penalty. Please don't fail us now.”
Cooke is one of the 14 inmates on death row in Delaware. The state is one of 32 with capital punishment.


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.


Lindsey Bonistall
(March 20, 1985 to May 1, 2005)
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.

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