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Doctor sentenced to 3-4 years in DWI death of NC ballerina

Published: Mar. 1, 2011 at 5:03 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 31, 2011 at 4:04 PM EDT
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Elena Bright Shapiro (Source: WRAL)
Elena Bright Shapiro (Source: WRAL)
Raymond Cook (Source: WRAL)
Raymond Cook (Source: WRAL)

RALEIGH, NC (WRAL/WBTV/AP) - After two days of deliberations, jurors found a Raleigh doctor guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the September 2009 death of ballerina Elena Shapiro, WRAL reported on Tuesday.

Raymond Cook was also found guilty of felony death by motor vehicle and DWI in the wreck that killed the woman in 2009, WRAL reported.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys both agreed that Cook, a former facial plastic surgeon, was drunk and driving at least 75 mph in a 45 mph speed zone on the evening of Sept. 11, 2009, when he crashed into the back of Shapiro's Hyundai Elantra at Strickland and Lead Mine roads in Raleigh.

Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III sentenced Cook  to between 36 months and 53 months in prison to -- the maximum -- after hearing pleas from family members of the victim.

Wake County jurors meeting in the case asked a judge Monday for the definition of the word "malice." The jury must have found the presence of malice to convict Cook on a charge of second-degree murder.

Prosecutors blame Cook for a September 2009 car crash that killed Elena Bright Shapiro of Winston-Salem. Shapiro was in Raleigh working with the Carolina Ballet.

Copyright 2011 WBTV and WRAL. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.