More than 26 years after a woman reported being raped at knifepoint in Terrytown, a DNA sample submitted by a Gretna man in an unrelated case has has led to his arrest in the 1993 sexual assault, authorities said.
Chad Cook, 54, was booked Aug. 20 with aggravated rape, according to Capt. Jason Rivarde, a spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
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Detectives obtained a warrant for Cook’s arrest in the rape investigation after he was required by state law to submit a DNA sample following his arrest in December in a domestic abuse battery case.
The rape occurred on Oct. 16, 1993, at a residence in the 1900 block of South Forest Lawn Drive. A 22-year-old woman told authorities that two men she had met earlier that night raped her at knifepoint. A third man present, but not take part in the rape, she told authorities.
The woman reported the assault the same day, according to Rivarde. But she only knew the men as “Cookie,” a nickname, and Levi and Troy. Sheriff’s Office detectives weren’t able to identify any suspects in the case back in 1993, Rivarde said.
Cook had to submit a DNA sample to authorities after he was arrested Dec. 23 and booked with domestic abuse battery, false imprisonment and simple criminal damage to property, according to court records. He is accused of punching his 48-year-old girlfriend in the eye and holding her against her will at a Marrero home.
In May, the Sheriff’s Office received notifice of the DNA hit in the rape case, Rivarde said. Cook surrendered on Aug. 19 after he learned of the warrant but did not make a statement to investigators.
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Cook appeared in Jefferson Parish Magistrate Court Friday morning via video conferencing for a hearing on a motion to reduce his $500,000 bond. Cook’s defense attorney, Max Chotto, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
But during the hearing, Chotto asked Criminal Commissioner Paul Schneider to lower the bond to $50,000, arguing that his client was a life-long resident of the West Bank who has regular employment and is not a flight risk.
Cook’s mother and boss testified during the hearing. Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese asked both if Cook ever had any friends named Troy and Levi, the names of the other suspects in the sexual assault. The two said they’d never heard of the men.
Freese argued the bond was appropriate. Though the now-49-year-old victim wasn’t able to identify Cook in a photo line-up, the DNA hit linking Cook to biological evidence collected after the 1993 rape provided probable cause for the arrest, Freese said.
Schneider agreed to reduce Cook’s Bond to $250,000, even though he said he usually sets a higher bond in cases involving felonies, such as aggravated rape, which are punishable by life in prison.
“This is slightly unusual in that it is from a long time ago, and, other than the 2019 case, there hasn’t been a lot of criminal activity,” Schneider said.
The judge ordered that Cook be placed on home incarceration and GPS monitoring if he posts bond.
The case remains open as Sheriff’s Office detectives continue to try and identify the other men allegedly present for the rape, Rivarde said.