Former Culpeper, Va., police officer charged with murder was hired despite objections

It’s good to see action being taken to remove a corrupt, murdering, drunken police officer. Unfortunately the arrest is too little too late for Patricia Cook. Falsifying entrance exams also appears to be a major problem across the country.

This is an update of the story of the Culpeper VA cop who shot and killed a woman in front of a church school in Feb 2012.

“A Culpeper, Va., police officer charged with killing a Sunday school teacher was hired despite the objections of superiors who said his excessive drinking and attitude made him a poor choice, prosecution filings show. Daniel Harmon-Wright, 32, had also been disciplined as an officer, including once for forcing his way into a home and brandishing his weapon without probable cause or a warrant, according to a prosecution motion in opposition to his request for bond. The details emerged Friday as the Gainesville resident was granted a $100,000 bond by a Culpeper judge. Harmon-Wright, who has been suspended without pay, is facing a murder charge and three other charges in the shooting of Patricia Cook, 54, of Culpeper while responding to a suspicious-person call in February. “Two officials after a full background [check] recommended that Mr. Harmon-Wright not be hired as a police officer,” special prosecutor James Fisher told reporters after the hearing. “That was, of course, overturned.” Harmon-Wright, a five-year veteran of the force, was hired in 2006. During a background check, Harmon-Wright told police officials that he had been disciplined for excessive drinking in the Marine Crops and had driven under the influence of alcohol three months before his interview, according to prosecution filings. It’s not clear why Harmon-Wright was hired despite the objections of two police officials. Bethany Sullivan, Harmon-Wright’s mother and an administrative assistant to the former Culpeper police chief, has been charged with forging Harmon-Wright’s entrance exam for the Town of Culpeper and one of his annual reviews.

More details at:

A more recent article states Harmon-Wright has since been indicted and fired:

As someone who resides in the area where this terrible shooting happened, I found it very strange that the local media in the area – various weekly newspapers, including the Washington Post – shared NOTHING about this incident for *months.* One had to dig deep on the web to find any snippets of information from blogs or alternative news sites, and even then there were very few details. The Culpeper area and counties outside it are very rural and local news is usually mundane and boring. When a murder occurs anywhere within 30 miles of the county and it does not involve a cop, it ALWAYS and immediately gets front page news for weeks at a time, even in the local section of the Washington Post. But not for this story. I wonder why?

Very interesting that establishment media was so silent on this killing from Feb – May, almost nothing in them. Was the reason because it involved a cop? But that reason begs the question, why is the media so silent when a cop kills, and in this case, an unarmed woman? Surely the strange and sensational aspects of this story would have made some interesting reading for the public, and sold more papers? Yet they chose to remain completely silent for a long time, and I checked very carefully. This is a question that should be investigated in its own right, say by 60 Minutes?


Other CopBlock links concerning this story can be found at:

  • spirit of 46

    “prosecution filings show. Daniel Harmon-Wright, 32, had also been disciplined as an officer, including once for forcing his way into a home and brandishing his weapon without probable cause or a warrant” – I wonder if it is too late for the Prosecutor to file charges for that armed break-in as well?

  • The_Lakewood_4_are_Burning_in_Hell

    But note, even though he was a complete piece of garbage, he benefited from Team Blue’s reflexive defense of even pieces of garbage. 4 incidents of gross misconduct from this alcoholic, mysonginist bum and it took murdering a Sunday school teacher to get anything done. She would not be dead if Team Blue policed themselves.

  • Ray

    Note for future:
    Problems in the military, problems in the militarized law enforcement? Surely the last time we will have to see that.
    Why do I suddenly get a whiff of PTSD? Did the aroma of alcohol block it in the past?
    No need for spin because this was a genuine win – No ‘civilians’ (or their dogs) were killed in the earlier incident. This incident – ‘enemy was engaged’ and almost everybody went “home safe at the end of the shift”. Civilian was parking unnecessarily and would have been listed as collateral damage.

  •!/pages/Justice-for-Patricia-Cook/405709186116293 James Jennings

    Cliff, if you live near Culpeper, we definitely need your help. I started the Facebook page and petition calling for the indictment. The town is circling their wagons and patting themselves on the back for a job well done. The Culpeper Star Exponent has printed two editorials in the last week saying great job and there should have been no criminal charges. Please encourage all to join our Facebook page and go to the CSE website and politely make their voices heard. We especially need locals to speak up. Currently, I’m about the only resident speaking up. We’ve had a few nearby, but only one town resident. Please join us. We are being bullied and they are doing their best to sweep this under the carpet. Please, no cop bashing, but join us.
    James Jennings

  • sandalwood

    I’d like to see Dateline do a story on this with Keith Morrison as the host. I would also like to see Dateline address the Michael Wayne Hash case.

  • Bobby Jarrells

    Having been a long time resident of culpeper ,Im not surprised by the actions of our police dept or our local newspaper.There has always been a kind of protection of certain people or groups of people because they are in the same circle of high minded friends.Not reporting on these types of things are a silent way of protecting even those not directly involved by not exposing that this person was hired even after a history of problems and was not a good person for this job.In culpeper youre in or youre out.I now live near Houston Texas and its no different here,just a larger scale

  • Joey

    I’m glad to see that justice is being served. I hope this rouge cop has to protect his asshole on a daily basis for the next 30 years. Looks like he had a history of violating citizen’s rights, illegal entry and searches.