Raymond Cook, once a prominent plastic surgeon, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, felony death by motor vehicle and driving while impaired. A judge sentenced him for involuntary manslaughter because Cook could be sentenced for only one of the charges under North Carolina law. He could spend up to 4 1/2 years in prison.
Prosecutors said the hospital found Cook's blood-alcohol content to be 0.24, three times the legal limit, on the night of the accident, The News and Observer reported. The defense challenged that reading and said police measured Cook's blood-alcohol content as 0.19, more than twice the legal limit.
The Wake County jury was only two votes away Tuesday from convicting Cook of second-degree murder. But defense lawyers argued that Cook, who gave up his medical license a week after the crash, was not acting with malice.
After the trial, one juror told reporters she believed Cook deserved life in prison. "He knowingly sped through an intersection with a very high chance that he would take a life. So, we felt like second-degree murder was very appropriate," juror Wendy Smith told WRAL.
"Dr. Cook consciously got into that car drunk, sped 90 miles an hour down a residential road, putting Lord knows how many other people in harm's way, until he killed Elena," Annie Bright, Shapiro's aunt, told the courtroom Tuesday before Cook's sentencing, according to ABC/WTVD. "To me that's no different than standing in front of her and shooting her with a gun."
But Shapiro's mother, Brantly Bright Shapiro, said no sentence would bring her daughter back.
"We don't get Elena back. We don't get any kind of better rest at night because of somebody going to jail for a longer or shorter period of time," she said, according to NBC's "Today" show.