LaMonte Cooke in his early law enforcement years. Source: Dixonhistory.com

This Week’s Kent County History Quiz Question: Who was the Kent County lawman who single-handedly captured the murder suspect Duke Blackiston in July 1986?

A. Allan Blizzard
B. LaMonte Cooke
C. John Price
D. None of the above

This Week’s Answer: LaMonte Cooke

July 31, 1986 was a steamy afternoon. Charles W. “Duke” Blackiston had come to visit his estranged young wife, Melody Lynn Lohr Blackiston, and their ten-month-old son at her parents’ home in Sandy Bottom across from St. Paul’s-Kent. Other members of the Lohr family were at the house as Duke and Melody spoke on the porch. Duke reportedly went to his pick up truck, returned with his shotgun, and the gun was discharged. Duke claimed it was an accident.

A Kent County jury would find him guilty of First Degree Murder the following November. Judge George B. Rasin, Jr. sentenced him to Life in prison.

On that afternoon, Duke reloaded the weapon and took off in his truck down Ricauds Branch Road heading towards Chestertown. Then-Kent Sheriff Chief Deputy, Major LaMonte Cooke, responded to the alarm. He met Blackiston on Airy Hill Road. With his service weapon still holstered, Cooke approached Blackiston’s truck and convinced Duke to surrender. Cooke cuffed him by the time back up arrived. The arrest occurred without incident.

Cooke was originally hired by long-serving Sheriff Bartus O. Vickers. He served as Chief Deputy to Sheriff Allan Blizzard. He played an important role in the design of the new Kent County Detention Center before leaving for his current post as Warden of the Queen Anne’s County Detention Center in 1987.

The Kent County History Quiz is a weekly local brainteaser sponsored by The Peoples Bank. Kent County historian and author Joan Horsey contributes to the quiz’s development. Our goal is to create an opportunity for local learning and discussion. If you have a quiz idea, send it to steve@kentpilot.org.