Man arrested in beating death of Ranchos resident
March 19, 2018
A South Lake Tahoe man is in Douglas County custody in connection with the July 2017 beating death of Gardnerville Ranchos resident Brian Cook.
Adam Anthony Bernard, 40, faces a charge of open murder after being taken into custody Friday night on a warrant issued out of East Fork Justice Court.
According to court documents, Cook died July 30 after being in a medically induced coma for three weeks.
Deputies responded to Manhattan Way just before 10 p.m. July 9 on a report of two people dragging someone out of the street.
When they arrived, deputies saw two men walking toward an open garage when one of them waved the deputies down.
Cook was wearing only a pair of shorts and was on his back in front of a pickup with a large amount of blood on his forehead, according to deputies.
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He was breathing, but unconscious, and responded to pain.
According to deputies, Bernard had blood on his right knuckles and had been drinking. A preliminary breath test indicated he had a .182 percent blood alcohol content.
He told deputies the trio had been drinking at Cook's home. The two other men walked to the other's home, and Cook allegedly called and threatened Bernard.
Bernard claimed Cook arrived looking for a fight, and that he punched Cook once, and that the other man fell down in the street.
Investigators visited the hospital on July 13 and learned from doctors that Cook's brain was swollen from a traumatic injury.
Cook’s blood alcohol content was .45 percent when he came in.
In October, after Cook's death, the only witness told investigators that Cook approached Bernard and that Bernard knocked him to the ground with two punches. Bernard then allegedly struck Cook again while he was down.
Bernard told investigators Cook grabbed his shirt and that they both went down and were continuing to struggle when he hit him a third time.
A neighbor's security footage shows Bernard knock Cook down and then kneel next to him and start punching him about 30 times while Cook lay there, and then after getting up, kicking Cook several times. The deputy then reports the video shows Bernard knelt back down and struck Cook several more times.
When confronted with the video, investigators said Bernard claimed he must have blacked out.