Seventeen- year-old Olivia Mackay worked for months to buy a ten-year-old Pontiac Gran Prix with almost 200,000 miles on it. She was still making payments when Daniel Tate and accomplice, Jamari Cook, stuffed her lifeless body into trash bags, then attempted to sell her car for $500.00. Now Cook stands to benefit because Wisconsin law caps the maximum allowable prison term based on the low price of Olivia’s car.
After meeting Olivia on a dating app, Daniel Tate lured Olivia to her death. When she confided that she was self-conscious about her weight, he used that knowledge to build a false sense of trust. That trust was then wielded as bait, drawing Olivia into a death trap so Tate could sell her car- a scheme Jamari Cook has admitted he was at least partially- if not wholly- aware of in advance.
Preying upon Olivia’s self-esteem, Tate convinced her to accept a first date at a local beach. Meanwhile, he surreptitiously promised other women he’d have a new car “as soon as f**ck.” Within moments of arriving at the secluded spot he’d chosen, Tate turned on Olivia and began strangling her.
Jamari Cook, who claims to have tagged along at the last minute, admitted he saw Olivia fighting for her life, but decided to simply look on. Tate choked Olivia until she went limp- then pushed her face down in the water, climbed on her back and knelt there while he tightened a length of cloth around her throat and forced her head below the surface.
Jamari Cook watched for the entire fifteen minutes he, himself, estimates it took to kill Olivia. Despite being much larger and stronger than Tate, he remained silent and simply... watched. Then, the moment Tate finished, Cook sprang into action to help his "best friend" dispose of her. Within hours, Cook and Tate were nonchalantly posting to social media, advertising pictures of Olivia’s car while her body lay concealed by weeds.
Now Jamari Cook has been allowed to take a plea bargain that doesn’t remotely reflect the brutality of Olivia’s murder and his very active, callous role in concealing it. While he may not have knelt on her back, he chose to do nothing as she fought for her life- then manhandled her body as if she was refuse rather than a person. Instead of expressing dismay, Jamari Cook joined Daniel Tate in complaining that the work of concealing Olivia’s body had inconvenienced them with mosquito bites and sore back muscles.
Jamari Cook has admitted that his belated “cooperation” with law enforcement was motivated solely by self-preservation. He has never voluntarily expressed sincere remorse. At no point has he acknowledged the agony and terror Olivia suffered in her last moments when help from him would have required nothing more than a 911 call. He spent days trying to help Tate sell her car for a pittance, hoping to profit from her death.
Now the laws of Wisconsin seem to confirm the morbid notion that the value of Olivia’s life can be weighed according to the value of her car. Because Jamari Cook was allowed to take a plea bargain- the necessity of which is debatable given the abundance of material evidence- the law limits the sentence that can be handed down to a time so short that it adds to- rather than heals- the pain of her still-grieving, traumatized family.
Had Olivia been able to afford a vehicle valued over $10k, Jamari Cook, the man who stuffed her into a trash bag, might receive a prison sentence several years longer. But because her first car was the kind that working class people settle for when they’re just starting their lives, Jamari Cook could slip back out on the streets, back out to the same beach, within just a few short years
For these reasons, we respectfully plead with Judge Schroeder to give Jamari Cook the maximum sentence allowable by law, and to make every possible provision to delay his release back into our community. We believe him to be a danger and in light of his absolute disregard for human life, believe he will always remain so. We ask you, Judge Schroeder, to join us in conveying that the life of Olivia Mackay- and that of any woman- cannot be reduced to the value of what she can afford to drive.