Sick NH man accused of killing sister with hammer

Posted Nov. 21, 2011, at 10:27 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 23, 2011, at 9:02 p.m.

CANDIA, N.H. — An architect diagnosed with suspected early onset Alzheimer’s disease told police he fatally beat his visiting sister in the head with a baseball bat and a sledgehammer after she overstayed her welcome and started talking about money, a prosecutor said Monday.

Jeffrey Cook is accused of second-degree murder in the Nov. 9 death of Sandra Griffin at his home in Deerfield, a small town a little more than an hour’s drive north of Boston.

Assistant Attorney General Jane Young told a judge in nearby Candia on Monday that Cook, 55, said the siblings were chatting on the porch and when the conversation turned to money he “snapped” and struck his older sister in the head with a baseball bat, WMUR-TV reported. Cook told police he then dragged her behind his house while she pleaded for mercy and hit her with the sledgehammer, the station reported.

Young said Cook, who complained his sister would visit him and stay too long, told police “I did it” and when they asked him what he had done told them: “I killed her.” His sister’s body was found covered with a tarp.

Cook was held without bail Monday. As he was being led away by court officials, his relatives said, “Love you, Dad.” His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment by telephone. His wife, Barbara Cook, declined to comment.

Griffin, 58, had traveled from Locust, N.C., to try to help arrange care for Cook, her husband told the Concord Monitor newspaper. She had planned to help her brother’s wife, who was trying to get him “into some kind of care facility,” Lane Griffin told the newspaper.

Cook’s condition was deteriorating after his diagnosis, and his sister decided to visit him after getting a call from his wife, Lane Griffin said.

“Sandy was the one who said, ‘I’m coming up,”’ he said. “Barbara said no, and she said, ‘I’m coming.”’

Jeffrey Cook had a firm in Lowell, Mass., but hadn’t worked in six months, Griffin said. Cook’s wife was working two jobs, one as a teacher at Deerfield Community School, and was trying to sell his architectural business and find a care facility for him, Griffin said.

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