WARNER ROBINS -- A Kathleen man was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison for shooting his two elderly grandparents in an attack in their home last fall.
Both survived the incident, but the grandmother has since died.
Joshua Allen Cook, 26, also was sentenced in Houston County Superior Court to 20 years of probation upon his release from prison. He also is prohibited from owning or possessing any firearms and is banished from Houston County and all surrounding counties.
Cook was sentenced immediately by Judge George Nunn after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated assault.
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On Oct. 20, Cook shot his grandmother, Rosylin Livingston, twice in the head before shooting his grandfather, Tom Livingston, once in the head. Tom Livingston was able to wrestle the .22-caliber Beretta handgun away from his grandson and subdue him until Houston County sheriff’s deputies arrived. Rosylin Livingston had crawled to a bedroom to call 911.
In a news release, District Attorney George Hartwig noted that the Livingstons had allowed Cook to live with them for several months prior to the attack.
“They were trying to help their grandson, and this is what he did,” Hartwig said. “It is truly amazing that none of these people were killed that night.
“The Livingstons showed great courage and resolve. ... She crawled through the house to call for help, and he disarmed the much-younger Cook and gave him a good pistol whipping. The Livingstons were not ready to just lay down and die. The fought for their lives. My hat is off to them both,” Hartwig said.
A statement from 71-year-old Tom Livingston was read aloud in court.
“My sense of security is gone,” the statement read in part. “I haven’t left the house for anything except doctor visits. I haven’t driven a car or truck this year. I have no incentive to go anywhere.
“The main thing is that I just can’t sleep at night. I hear a noise, and I am wide awake. I come around the corner and if someone is there, I am scared to pieces. I survived that night, but it scared the hell out of me. I feel that if he had gone from the house that night, he was going to hurt someone else besides us. My life will never be the same -- ever.”
Livingston also said he knows his grandson has a problem and that he doesn’t want him to hurt anyone else or to be hurt himself.
Cook’s attorney Robert Surrency said, “I just think it’s another act of gun violence where the toxic mix of alcohol and a form of mental illness mixed with guns to produce a tragedy.”
Cook, who suffered from alcoholism and depression, had nothing but love for his grandparents, said Surrency, an assistant public defender.
“They were his only hope in this world,” Surrency said.
Just five hours before the assault, Cook had expressed his appreciation for his grandparents, Surrency said.
“But then the alcohol and the depression took over and the next thing you know, there’s gunfire,” Surrency said. “I think that this is an act of a gun violence and just a horrible tragedy for someone who was already in distress.”
Cook had been treated for depression and alcoholism at an addiction and rehabilitation treatment center prior to the attack, Surrency noted.
“Everybody, including the grandparents, knew that he was a distressed individual,” Surrency said. “But no one could predict this event. There’s just no explaining certain things.”
Based on the plea agreement and sentencing guidelines, Cook is expected to serve most of his prison sentence before he is eligible for parole, Surrency said.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.