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Suspect now faces hijacking count

Days after being arrested on charges that he killed a 93-year-old woman, 20-year-old Russell Eugene Bright faces a new charge of hijacking.

Tampa police officers said Hal and Mytrice Cooke's great-grandson dropped Bright at their home Jan. 1. They said Bright asked the couple, ages 75 and 80, to give him a ride home about 7:30 p.m.

As they drove him in their 1997 Dodge Intrepid, he told them to stop near Hugh and Nebraska avenues. Police said Bright then got out, approached Hal Cooke's window and demanded that the couple give him the car.

They said that when Cooke did not respond quickly enough, Bright began to beat him furiously through the window. Investigators said Mytrice Cooke began fighting with Bright over her beaten and slumped husband.

After a few moments, she realized the car was still in drive, and she stepped on the gas and fled the scene, according to police reports.

Hal Cooke suffered extensive injuries and required surgery to reattach part of his right ear, the reports said.

Bright has been in jail without bail since Jan. 2, when officials say he killed Rosina Seigel.