- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 13, 2002

The suspect in the killing of a jogger that stunned that Aspen Hill community of Montgomery County pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree murder.
When sentenced April 3, it is likely Albert Cook Jr. will be required to spend decades in prison for beating Sue Wen Stottmeister and leaving her to die in the snow.
"I'm guilty," Cook, 25, told the court.
Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler said Cook faces either life in prison with the possibility of parole or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Yesterday's guilty plea came after months of psychological evaluation and treatment that satisfied the judge and attorneys for both sides of Cook's competence to make decisions on his behalf.
Mr. Gansler said Cook was not on medication at the time of his arrest. Cook pleaded guilty to seven felony counts stemming from two separate incidents that occurred in his Rockville neighborhood in just over four months.
The murder charge was related to the Jan. 24, 2001, attack on Mrs. Stottmeister, a mother of two who was beaten, stripped and choked in Rock Creek Park near Aspen Hill.
Before accepting the guilty plea, Circuit Court Judge Louise G. Scrivener viewed excerpts from two lengthy videotapes in which Cook confessed to all charges.
"It was incredibly detailed; Mr. Cook was incredibly articulate," Mr. Gansler said.
Mrs. Stottmeister, 45, was killed after she scratched and bit Cook, who dragged her into thick underbrush and assaulted her for up to three hours as she lay naked in the snow, prosecutors said.
"I have a bad temper; I got out of control," Cook said in a videotaped statement voluntarily given to Montgomery County police. Mrs. Stottmeister's widower left the courtroom in tears as the tape played.
Along with first-degree murder, Cook pleaded guilty to a sex offense, attempted rape and kidnapping in the Stottmeister case.
"He wanted to plead guilty," said Harry J. Trainor, Cook's defense attorney. "I believe he understands what he has done."
Mr. Trainor said Cook's history of mental illness and his positive response to treatment could be factors warranting an eventual parole.
Cook also pleaded guilty to a sex offense, kidnapping and attempted rape in a June 4, 2001, attack on a woman who lived just doors away from the Rockville home he shared with his mother.
The woman was attacked as she walked home from a bus in broad daylight.


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