On January 10, 2017, the body of Jullisa Cooke was discovered by her uncle in the drivers seat of her car near her home in Temple, Georgia. Jullisa had been stabbed over fifty times and left to die in her vehicle. Earlier that morning, Jullisas ex-boyfriend, William Denzel Thornton, knocked on the front door of Jullisas grandmother and was seen by the grandmother and others to be wearing clothing that was later discovered to be soaked in Jullisas blood. Jullisas cell phone was missing from the scene.
Investigators later that day travelled to the apartment where friends of Mr. Thornton were allowing him to stay temporarily. While near a garbage dumpster at the apartment, they called the number of Jullisas cellphone and heard the device vibrating inside the container. They recovered the telephone along with Mr. Thorntons bloody clothing, a bloody knife, and a pair of bloody Kevlar gloves issued to Mr. Thornton by his employer. DNA testing identified the blood as that of Jullisa Cooke. The murder weapon was identified by Mr. Thorntons friends as having been taken from their home.
Today, a Carroll County jury convicted William Denzel Thornton of the murder of Jullisa Cooke after a week-long trial. In addition to Malice Murder, the jury convicted the defendant of Armed Robbery and Possession of a Knife During the Commission of a Crime. The case was prosecuted by District Attorney Herb Cranford. Judge Bill Hamrick presided over the trial and sentenced the defendant to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the murder, life imprisonment for the Armed Robbery, and five years for the possession of the knife. These are the maximum penalties provided for these offenses. Under Georgia law, the defendant will never be eligible for parole.
The District Attorney wishes to thank the jurors for the hard work they put into this case. They had to wade through a great deal of unsettling and distasteful evidence in reaching their verdict. Our laws enshrine the faith we have in regular citizens directly participating in the administration of justice. This jurys verdict reaffirms that faith. These good citizens have made it perfectly clear that Carroll County will not tolerate the behavior of violent and dangerous criminals, like this defendant.
The District Attorney finally wishes to commend the investigative team at the Carroll County Sheriffs Office for their superb professionalism in building a rock solid case against this defendant. Their tireless efforts were essential to the successful prosecution of this dangerous criminal.
The Office of the District Attorney
Coweta Judicial Circuit