Special to Holmes County Advertiser

A familiar face is returning to the 14th Judicial Circuit to become the new head of its Bonifay office serving Holmes County residents, State Attorney Larry Basford recently announced.

Jacob “Jake” Cook, who previously worked in the Office of State Attorney (SAO), 14th Judicial Circuit’s main branch in Panama City, is now chief prosecutor in charge of the Holmes County office, the SAO said in a news release.

“It is an honor to be prosecuting again under Larry Basford,” Cook said. “I am fortunate to be able to work for an administration that values doing the right thing, whether that is seeking the maximum penalty under law for criminals who are true threats to the citizens of our circuit or giving that kid who made a mistake a chance to turn his life around.” 

Jacob “Jake” Cook (left) has rejoined the 14th Judicial Circuit to be the new chief prosecutor in charge of the Holmes County office. Cook is seen here shaking hands with State Attorney Larry Basford. [CONTRIBUTED] 

During his earlier tenure with the SAO, Cook prosecuted thousands of cases ranging from homicide, sexual abuse, and contractor fraud in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, to a 25-year prison sentence for a fentanyl trafficker with enough of the drug to reportedly kill 23,000 people.

“Fentanyl is deadly in such small amounts that it has created an epidemic in terms of overdoses and deaths both locally, statewide and across our country,” Cook said at the time. “We want drug traffickers to know that if you bring fentanyl to Bay County that our office will do our very best to make sure they go to prison for a long, long time.”

It was the excitement of the courtroom and the chance to again put his energy into directly helping others by prosecuting those who victimize them, while helping keep the community safe that brought Cook back to prosecution, according to the SAO. 

“I am one of the lucky ones who gets to do a job they love, and make a positive impact on our community at the same time,” he said. 

Cook grew up in Cedartown, Georgia, but he has lived in Florida for almost 20 years.

Cook graduated from the University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 2015 and his previous experience includes working in private practice at Dunlap & Shipman in Panama City. Cook, along with his wife and son, live in Southport. 

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