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Family Frustrated By Delays In High-Profile Murder Trial

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A high profile murder case, that led to sweeping changes for the Dallas 911 system, may be pushed back – and the victim’s family is not happy about it.

The family of Deanna Cook showed up for a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, only to learn that defense attorneys for murder suspect Delvecchio Patrick would ask for more time.  The hearing has been rescheduled for Monday.  The family fears that the trial itself, scheduled for December, could be delayed to February.

Cook was killed last August.  She called 911 before her death, but she did not get the help she needed in time.  On the 911 call, she could be heard pleading for her life.  But the 911 operator did not relay the urgency of the call to dispatchers. Police responded to Cook’s home, but left when no one answered the door.  Two days later, family members forced their way into Cook’s home and found the 32-year-old dead in her bathtub.

After her death, DPD added more street officers and more staff to their 911 call center.  The department changed how the most urgent calls are classified DPD Police Chief David O. Brown also instituted a goal to answer all calls within two rings.

Cook’s sister, Karletha Cook-Gundy, is aware of the changes and thankful for them.

“Nothing is going to bring my sister back.  I don’t want to keep repeating that, but at the same time I have to be thankful they are doing something to avoid what happened to my sister and to my family.”

As part of the overhaul, Chief Brown also announced a new way to classify calls, which would prioritize calls based on their level of urgency.  He’s also ordered additional training, improved equipment and a huge hiring effort to bring on more call-takers.

“As long as they are doing something about now and not trying to cover it up,” said Cook-Gundy.  “I do want them to fix it.”

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