When a young ballerina lost her life, the community rallied to convict the man responsible for her untimely death. The jury overhearing the case of Raymond Cook convicted him of involuntary manslaughter of 20-year-old Elena Shapiro.
The ballerina with the Carolina ballet was driving on Strickland Road on September 11, 2009 when Cook, who was drunk at the time, plowed into the back of her vehicle. He is believed to have been going 80 miles per hour in a 45 zone at the time.
After three days of deliberations, the jury made their decision. However, the judge then informed them that they would need to go into deliberations once more to decide if there was an "aggravating factor" before he sentenced Cook. He explained that since Cook cannot be sentenced for all of the felony death and involuntary manslaughter charges as per North Carolina statutes, he would be sentenced solely on the felony death by vehicle and DWI charges.
The defense team was satisfied with the result as they had already argued that even though Cook was intoxicated and going over the legal speed limit, these factors together do not add up to murder.