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Second Victim Dies in Sunday’s Newland Assault

 By Jesse Wood

Dec. 31, 2013. A second victim has died from the assault at 200 Summer Haven Street that the Newland Police Department responded to in the wee hours of Sunday morning, according to Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye on Tuesday morning.


After responding and investigating the domestic disturbance call, the Newland Police Department arrested and initially charged an Elk Park man with murder of Ronald William Buchanan, 69, of Summer Haven Street, and attempted first-degree murder of Brandy Rose, 35, address not listed, after finding them assaulted in the living room of the mobile home on Summer Haven Street.

Oscar Martin Cook III was arrested and charged. Cook is currently being held at the Avery County Jail with bond to be set by a judge. 

Officers arrived at approximately 12:40 a.m. on Dec. 29, and according to court documents reviewed by WSOC-TV, “Police kicked in the front door [of the] home after looking through a window and seeing blood, and a badly beaten man and woman on the floor under a comforter … Cook was found inside a bedroom of the home and had blood on his clothes and boots.”

Buchanan and Rose were both transported to Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville. Buchanan died shortly after arriving to Cannon Memorial, while Rose was transported to Johnson City Medical Center in Tennessee with life threatening injuries, according to a release on Sunday from Newland Police Chief Jason Brown.

On Tuesday afternoon, Brown was in Winston-Salem awaiting the autopsy. Brown said he could not yet provide any other updates or information.

“I can’t get into the facts because it’s still an ongoing investigation,” Brown said, when asked about the relationships between those involved and specifics of the assault. 

An updated release is expected later on Tuesday.

Along with the Newland Police Department, the Avery County Sheriff’s Office and the SBI have assisted the investigation.

Law enforcement is familiar with Cook. Sheriff Frye said he was “in our jail up until not too long ago, arrested on drug charges”

In fact, Cook, who has an extensive rap sheet, was released from custody on Dec. 18 – less than two weeks before the incident at Summer Haven Street. 

According to the N.C. Department of Corrections database, Cook has been charged with assault, larceny, breaking and entering, communicating threats and a hit and run – sometimes in multiple cases – since 2005.