A Langley man was given a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the stabbing death of his older brother two years ago.
Jacob Cook killed his brother Jesse Cook on May 30, 2021 in the family’s home after an argument turned deadly.
Jacob, 20 at the time of the incident, lived at home with 28-year-old brother Jesse, and their mother and stepfather.
According to the Nov. 24 sentencing by Justice Paul Riley, the family home was “chaotic.” Jesse had struggled with opioid addiction and in the days leading up to the killing, he had relapsed.
“This frustrated Jacob,” Riley wrote. “Jacob’s mother recounted a conversation in which he told her that he wanted to stab Jesse to death and wished that Jesse would die of an overdose. That was a matter of days before the offence.”
The day of the attack, Jesse and his mother got into an argument and Jacob intervened.
The two brothers began fighting in the bathroom. Jesse punched Jacob several times, hard enough that later Jacob was left with visible bruises.
Jacob retreated to his room, but Jesse entered and attacked again.
At that time, Jacob got out a folding knife and began stabbing his older brother. A pathologist would later count 36 stab wounds, most to the neck, shoulder, and upper back. Jesse was not armed during the incident.
The investigation was not lengthy.
When RCMP and BC Ambulance paramedics arrived at the house, they found Jacob sitting with his head in his hands. He told a police officer that he was responsible and that he had stabbed his brother.
In a statement he gave to the police the following day, Jacob admitted to retrieving the knife before his brother entered the bedroom.
“Jacob also said that he put a glove on his hand, knowing that if he used the knife, it could cut his hand,” Riley wrote.
Following his arrest, Jacob remained in pre-trial custody for two and a half years. He was initially charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Riley noted that growing up, Jacob had been the victim of sporadic violence, including from his biological father. Members of his family suffered from substance abuse, which left him with a sensitivity about drug use.
Jacob was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder as well as depression. Before the attack, he had never held a job outside of the home and was unable to even bring himself to fill out job applications. Riley noted that over the last two years, Jacob has been going through a number of programs in custody, including anxiety management, and was working within the prison.
The judge noted that a pre-sentencing report found that Jacob was a moderate risk to re-offend. Riley said he hoped that Jacob would continue counselling that would help him gain insight into his own risk factors.
In considering a sentence, Riley said he took note of the “brutally violent” nature of the offense, as well as the impact on the entire family, including the victim, their mother, and other family members.
In Jacob’s favour were his immediate confession and his remorse.
“Mr. Cook took responsibility for the killing of his brother more or less immediately and has never equivocated,” Riley wrote. “He made statements to the author of the pre-sentence report expressing remorse for taking his brother’s life.”
The 10-year sentence is at the longer end of the sentencing recommendations for manslaughter, but “for good reason, as it needs to be,” Riley wrote.
With time already spent in pre-trial custody, which counts at a rate of 1.5 times for time served, the remaining sentence for Jacob Cook will be six years, three months.
“You said in your statement there is nothing you can do to make up for what you have done,” Riley said, addressing Jacob at the end of the sentencing. “I think it is fair to say there is nothing you can do to put things back the way they were, but there are things you can do to move forward with your life and make a positive contribution to society.”