Va. Violent Deaths Are Mostly Suicides

Rate Highest Among Older Men, Study Finds

Suicides accounted for more than half of all violent deaths in Virginia in 2003, with the majority committed by white men with marital troubles and a history of depression, according to a state study.

The suicide rate was highest among men older than 65, the study found, and one in four of the nearly 800 suicide victims in the state was a veteran of the armed forces.

The 43-page report, released by the state Department of Health, said that of the 1,332 violent deaths in the state that year, 60 percent were suicides and 33 percent were homicides. The remaining deaths were divided among unintentional firearm injuries, terrorism and legal interventions such as police-involved killings. Some causes of death never were determined.

Victims' Daughter Denied Inheritance

Wills Excluded 'Any Child,' Fairfax Court Rules

The daughter of a Fairfax County couple murdered in their Oakton home two years ago is not entitled to inherit any of their million-dollar estate because the couple's wills specifically exclude "any child" of theirs, a Fairfax judge ruled Friday.

Paul and Margaret Cooke drew up separate wills in 1985, when they were childless. They named the same beneficiaries: half of their estate to Paul Cooke's sisters and half to Margaret Cooke's mother, Ethel Jones, and a longtime friend.

The wills named those adult beneficiaries "to the express exclusion of any child of mine now living or hereafter born."

They later adopted two children. In February 2003, one of them, Joshua Cooke, killed his parents. Joshua's sister, Tiffany, filed suit in Fairfax asking to be named the executor of her parents' estate and the sole beneficiary. The first request was denied in 2003; the second was denied Friday.

The Cookes "were well-educated people; they didn't live their lives by default. They basically had 18 years to change their wills if they wanted to do -- which they didn't," said Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge David T. Stitt in his ruling.

Attacks Near Dunn Loring Metro Linked

Police Suspect One Man in Two Rapes, Assault

Fairfax County police believe one man is responsible for three attacks on women in the past three weeks in wooded areas near the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station.

Police have increased their visibility on both sides of Gallows Road, and Fairfax school officials improved the lighting near Stenwood Elementary School, where the first attack occurred last month.

The first incident happened about 10:15 p.m. Sept. 21. Police said a 22-year-old woman had walked north along Gallows Road and then west on a path next to Stenwood Elementary, in the Dunn Loring Woods neighborhood just north of Interstate 66. The most recent pair of attacks occurred just south of the Dunn Loring station on the east side of Gallows Road.

Across the Region

Panda Debut Delayed; D.C. Memorial Opens

* The public debut of the National Zoo's giant panda cub will be delayed until at least December because he is not venturing out of his den yet and his mother does not appear willing to let him do so, zoo officials said. The cub, born July 9, has been outside his den in the Panda House only for medical examinations. The panda's name will be announced tomorrow.

* The Extra Mile-Points of Light Volunteer Walkway was dedicated last week in the District by former president George H.W. Bush, who made volunteerism a national mission during his tenure. The city's newest memorial begins at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, goes north on 15th to G Street and continues right on G Street. It will eventually go to 11th Street, head south for a block to F Street, west along F Street to 15th and back to the beginning.

A Mother's Grief Janet Pelasara leaves the funeral of her daughter, VCU student Taylor Behl, with attorney George Peterson, left, and Bubba Bates, a friend. She wants the killer to be put to death.