Cooper Sentenced in Tyler County Circuit Court
On Tuesday, December 3, 2019, Michael Lee Cooper, age 51, formerly of 6684 Tyler Highway, Sistersville, West Virginia, appeared before The Honorable Judge Jeffrey D. Cramer in Tyler County Circuit Court for sentencing upon his convictions for two felony counts of threat of terrorist act, one felony count of arson in the fourth degree, one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty, and two felony counts of attempted murder in the second degree.
Cooper was convicted upon his pleas of guilty to those offenses on September 11, 2019. A jury panel had been summoned for his trial on that day and the pleas were entered prior to voir dire of the panel.
The convictions arose from an incident occurring on December 25, 2018, where Cooper made certain threats to blow up his home and kill law enforcement officers, or anyone else who might be nearby. Cooper saturated his home with propane and gasoline and a standoff with law enforcement ensued, wherein he attempted to lure law enforcement into the home.
He was specifically charged with attempting to kill retired Chief Deputy R. Dean Pratt and Deputy Christopher Satterfield.
The home was ultimately destroyed in a tremendous explosion caused by Cooper.
Prosecuting Attorney D. Luke Furbee told the Court at sentencing that Cooper is a “threat to public safety” and that he is “a demonstrated threat to law enforcement and the public generally.”
The Court sentenced Cooper to the maximum sentence of imprisonment upon each conviction, to be served consecutively, as follows: Count One Threat of Terrorist Act, 1-3 years; Count Two – Threat of Terrorist Act, 1-3 years; Count Three -Arson in the 4th Degree, 2 years; Count Four Animal Cruelty, 6 months; Count Five – Attempted Murder, 2nd Degree, 1-3 years; Count Six Attempted Murder, 2nd Degree 1-3 years.
Cooper was also ordered to pay the cost of prosecution, court-appointed attorney fees, jury fee, and as well is barred from owning animals for at least five years after he is released.
Mr. Furbee makes the following comment on the outcome: “I’m pleased today that justice has been served for these ridiculous crimes which pulled law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel away from their families on Christmas Day, 2018. Mr. Cooper deserved to be harshly punished for putting all of these people in harm’s way to apparently affect retribution for law enforcement’s entirely legitimate response to his own ill-advised and ridiculous conduct earlier in the year. Unfortunately, we seem to be seeing a lot of that kind of conduct in the news across the country these days people motivated by unfounded conspiratorial ideas about the conduct of law enforcement and a general disrespect for authority and orderly process of law. For as long as I am granted the privilege of serving in this office, that is not going to be tolerated in this jurisdiction.”