Justin Fenton writes for The Baltimore Sun:

Former Episcopal bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook pleaded guilty Tuesday to automobile manslaughter and three other criminal charges related to the December drunken-driving death of a bicyclist in North Baltimore.

Prosecutors said they would ask for a sentence of 20 years, with all but 10 years suspended, to be followed by five years’ probation. Judge Timothy Doory scheduled sentencing for Oct. 27. He said he would not sentence Cook to any more time than prosecutors are seeking but could give her less.

With her guilty plea, Cook, 58, admitted to driving drunk and leaving the scene after striking Thomas Palermo, a 41-year-old father of two young children, on Dec. 27. Cook had been sending text messages while she was driving, Assistant State’s Attorney Kurt Bjorklund said, and did not return to the scene until 30 minutes later at the urging of a friend.

… Palermo’s family, who attended the hearing, declined to answer questions about whether they were satisfied with prosecutors’ sentencing request. In a statement, Palermo’s sister-in-law, Alisa Rock, said the family would “advocate the maximum penalty allowed under law.”

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