MADISON (WKOW) -- A Dane County prosecutor tells 27 News the plea bargain of a burglar with ties to the 2008 homicide of UW-Madison student Brittany Zimmermann brought no, new leads in the woman's unsolved killing.
Judge Stephen Ehlke sentenced 22-year old Ryan Cook to an additional two years in prison Wednesday for a series of burglaries in a Madison office building in 2008. Cook's submission of DNA led to identification of him as the thief in the past crimes.
Cook is already serving prison time for crimes, including the 2008 burglary of the Blue Moon bar in Madison. Court records show DNA collected from the bar burglary matches DNA from the Zimmermann homicide, although there is no match from that DNA to Cook, or two other burglars.
Assistant Dane County District Attorney Shelly Rush tells 27 News she made no effort to use plea negotiations with Cook over the office building crimes to try exact information on the Zimmermann killing, because past attempts had gone nowhere. Rusch says she consulted with the prosecutor who handled the Blue Moon crime before deciding to abandon any discussion with Cook on the student's murder.
"There were other, (past) discussions from the team of people involved in the Brittany Zimmermann (homicide), and there wasn't that sort of leverage going to be played out on this one," Rusch says. "They believed it was dried up."
Before being sentenced for the office building burglaries Wednesday, Cook told the court he took "...full responsibility for immature mistakes."
Cook's attorney, Laura Breun, declines comment to 27 News on whether she discussed the Zimmermann crime with Cook.
Authorities say Zimmermann was killed in April, 2008, with someone breaking into her campus apartment shortly after she returned from a test. A 911 call by Zimmermann was botched by an operator, delaying police response time to the crime.
Another man convicted with Cook of the 2008 Blue Moon bar burglary, Darrielle Banks, told 27 News earlier this year, there was no one else involved in the crime who has yet to be caught, despite the unidentified DNA discovered at the bar.
Authorities say Cook's sentence Wednesday pushes his prison release date to late 2019.