BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook, who was sentenced to seven years in 2015 for killing a cyclist in Roland Park while texting and driving drunk, will be released from jail next month.

Thomas Palermo died On Dec. 27, 2014 after Cook struck him while he rode his bike along Roland Avenue and left the scene. The father was left injured in the roadway.

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Cook was drunk by almost three times the legal limit and texting.


The former bishop was supposed to serve seven years behind bars but will be released sometime next month.

She served 3 1/2 years of her seven-year sentence.

The news of Cook’s release drew scrutiny on Twitter.

“Wow. Served way too little of her sentence,” one person wrote.

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Last year, Cook pleaded with a judge to release her early, but the request was denied.

In a letter from last year, Palermo’s father said, “I have received a life sentence of grief and sorrow.”

Palermo’s wife also spoke.

“For those who have lost a loved one due to crime and for whom their case is still unsolved, my heart is with you,” Rachel Palermo said.

The last time a judge denied Cook’s request for early release, her attorney said that she was remorseful.

“We advocate for the damned,” David Irwin, Palermo’s attorney said. “That’s our job and we make no apology for that.”

Officials said that Cook is getting out early because she has gotten credit for good behavior.

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After Cook is released, she’ll be on probation for the duration of her sentence until October 2022, according to Gerard Shields with Maryland Department of Safety and Correctional Services.

Ava-joye Burnett