DALLAS –– The pre-trial hearing of the Balch Springs man accused of strangling his ex-wife while she was on the phone with a 911 operator is delayed until Monday.
Dallas County Judge Larry Mitchell of the 292nd Criminal District Court paused the hearing at the behest of the accused, Delvecchio Patrick, who was upset that he’d be seen on television and in photographs wearing a prisoner’s uniform rather than a suit.
Tuesday's hearing was to be the first time the family of the victim, Deanna Cook, faced her accused attacker. The delay may mean that the trial won't begin until February, said First Assistant District Attorney Heath Harris.
In August 2012, family members found Cook dead in her home. She’d been strangled and left in the tub two days prior. Soon, her family would learn that Cook called 911 moments before her death. The 11-minute call captures a man saying he’s going to kill her. She also names "Red" –– one of Patrick's nicknames –– as her attacker on the call.
Cook had restraining orders against her ex-husband. She moved and visited domestic violence shelters attempting to avoid him.
On the emergency call, Cook is heard pleading with another person while speaking with a Dallas Police Department dispatcher, who upgraded the call to “urgent” nine minutes after it was placed. The dispatcher, Tonyita Hopkins, was suspended and resigned after the murder. She told her supervisors that she was listening to the call and searching for a good address to dispatch officers while Cook was strangled.
“She basically did everything and became overwhelmed with everything and trying to expedite the call,” said Dallas Police Chief David brown last year.
Dallas police also fired another operator, Angela-Herod Graham, who declined to send police to Cook’s home days after the incident when her family called asking for a welfare check.
Herod-Graham sued the department over her firing, arguing that she followed her training by asking the family to check hospitals and jails before sending police to the home. When officers were finally dispatched to the residence, they knocked on the door and left when there was no answer. They were not notified that they were being sent to a domestic disturbance call.
Cook’s family eventually kicked in the door to her south Dallas home upon seeing water pouring out of it.
Patrick was arrested and charged with murder. He’s been held without bond at the Dallas County Jail since August 2012.
Meanwhile, Cook’s family sued the city of Dallas and its police department in federal court in September 2012, alleging that the 911 system failed the 32-year-old woman when she needed it most.
News 8's Matt Goodman contributed to this report