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Update: Union County Triple Homicide Defendant Pleads Guilty; Sentencing Pending
10/23/2009
Union County District Attorney's Office
(541) 963-1007

Union County District Attorney Timothy Thompson announced Thursday that GREGORY ALVIN COOK (aka MITTS), age 42, appeared in the Union County Circuit Court on October 22, 2009. COOK was arraigned on five (5) criminal charges contained in the First Amended Information filed by the Union County District Attorney's Office. This accusatory instrument supersedes the previously filed Information charging COOK with one (1) count of Murder and two (2) counts of Aggravated Murder. The new charges faced by COOK are:
 
Count 1 – Aggravated Murder – an unclassified felony - maximum penalty of death, life imprisonment with no possibility of parole or release, or life imprisonment with the possibility of parole or release after serving a minimum of 30 years imprisonment. This charge is based upon the killing of Shannon McKillop during the course of kidnapping her.
 
Count 2 – Aggravated Murder – an unclassified felony - maximum penalty of death, life imprisonment with no possibility of parole or release, or life imprisonment with the possibility of parole or release after serving a minimum of 30 years imprisonment. This charge is based upon the killing of Frank Scaramuzzi during the same criminal episode in which Jeremiah Johnston was killed. This was a criminal episode separate and distinct from the criminal episode in which Shannon McKillop was killed.
 
Count 3 – Aggravated Murder – an unclassified felony - maximum penalty of death, life imprisonment with no possibility of parole or release, or life imprisonment with the possibility of parole or release after serving a minimum of 30 years imprisonment. This charge is based upon the killing of Jeremiah Johnston during the same criminal episode in which Frank Scaramuzzi was killed. This was a criminal episode separate and distinct from the criminal episode in which Shannon McKillop was killed.
 

Count 4 - Abuse of a Corpse in the First Degree – a class B felony (maximum penalty 10 years prison and/or $250,000 fine). This charge stems from the mutilation and dismemberment of Shannon McKillop after her death.
 
Count 5 - Felon in Possession of a Firearm – a class C felony (maximum penalty 5 years prison and/or $125,000 fine). This charge relates to COOK's possession and use of a firearm during the murders of Frank Scaramuzzi and Jeremiah Johnston after COOK had been previously convicted of a felony crime.
 
Following his arraignment, COOK waived his right to a grand jury indictment and a preliminary hearing and entered guilty pleas to all five charges. The guilty pleas were entered pursuant to a negotiated settlement. The terms of the agreement included COOK's agreement to be sentenced to three (3) consecutive terms of imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole on the Aggravated Murder charges, followed by a consecutive maximum sentence of ten (10) years imprisonment on the Abuse of Corpse in the First Degree charge, followed by a consecutive maximum sentence of five (5) years imprisonment on the charge of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. COOK will not be eligible for any forms of alternative programs nor be eligible for any form of release from custody. The state agreed to not seek the death penalty on the Aggravated Murder charges.
 
Pursuant to the negotiated plea, COOK agreed to waive all appeals, as well as any post-conviction relief or collateral remedies or appeal options. COOK also agreed to provide a truthful and complete recitation of the details of the crimes and to verify that account by polygraph. COOK will be prohibited from profiting, by any means, from these crimes. Any income, royalties, payment or consideration of any kind will accrue or be paid to the relatives of the victims. COOK will be ordered to pay restitution, in an amount to be determined, during the sentencing hearing.
 
The arraignment and entry of pleas were handled by Presiding Union County Circuit Court Judge Russell B. West. COOK is represented by Baker City attorney Ken Hadley and Ontario attorney Mark Rader. Union County District Attorney Tim Thompson, Union County Chief Deputy District Attorney John Schilling, and Senior Assistant Attorney General Scott Jackson represented the interests of Union County and the State of Oregon.
 
Sentencing will occur on Monday, November 9, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.