DA: Murder charge will be sought after North Adams woman beaten in July dies

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PITTSFIELD — A North Adams woman who was brutally beaten in her home in July has died, and her husband is facing a potential murder charge.

Charli Cook, 41, died Sunday afternoon at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, where she had been in a coma since the July 11 assault, according to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office.

Her husband, Michael Cook, 42, remains held without bail.

"I send my condolences to Charli Cook's family and friends," District Attorney Andrea Harrington said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. "The investigators, prosecutors, and victim advocates who have been working on this case were heartbroken by her passing.

"We are determined to obtain justice for Charli," Harrington said.

Attempts to reach Cook's family for comment were unsuccessful. Her family has established a GoFundMe page.

Cook told police that he "snapped" over a personal dispute with his wife and "bashed her head in" at their Chase Avenue home.

Based on the state of the room, investigators believe the woman's head was struck against a bedroom dresser, according to a police report.

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A check of Cook's criminal history, which was included in documents obtained by The Eagle, revealed dozens of counts dating to 1995, including multiple charges of child rape, indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, inducing a minor for sex, and aggravated assault and battery. A dozen restraining orders have been taken out against him, according to a police report.

He was released from prison in 2015, after serving five years of a seven-year term on three counts of rape of a child with force, and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

"[Cook] shows a propensity towards sexual and physical violence and a predatory lifestyle going back over 20 years," according to police.

Currently, Cook is charged with assault to murder, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a household member and armed assault with intent to murder.

He was ordered held without the right to bail after a July 17 dangerousness hearing in Northern Berkshire District Court.

Cook's status was unchanged after a second dangerousness hearing in Berkshire Superior Court after his indictment.

In the statement released by her office, Harrington said she will be seeking to indict Cook on a murder charge. A first-degree murder conviction in Massachusetts carries a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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