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Billings murder victim identified; suspect jailed

Jonah Dean Bergman
Crime Watch
Posted at 5:44 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 12:32:06-05

BILLINGS — The Yellowstone County Coroner's Office on Monday identified Cynthia Cook, 67 years old, as the woman who was stabbed to death on Saturday, December 4, 2021.

Coroner Cliff Mahoney said Cook died of multiple stab wounds.

Cook was found dead inside her home in the 1200 block of Claim Jumper Lane shortly after 5 a.m. on Saturday after officers arrested a man acting suspiciously in the Heights.

Police said the man, 29-year-old Jonah Dean Bergman, was reported to be trespassing at the Country Inn and Suites after he refused to leave the business.

A short time later, police received another call that Bergman was at a nearby Town Pump. He was found and detained by police while walking on Main Street.

When an officer approached Bergman he noticed the man appeared to have blood on his hands and shirt. The officer asked Bergman where the blood came from.

"I just stabbed and killed my mother," Bergman allegedly replied, according to charging documents filed by prosecutors.

Bergman was handcuffed and officers found a wallet in his pocket with an identification that showed his address to be 1222 Claim Jumper Lane. The officer noted that Bergman "showed no emotions and had a glazed over look about his face" during his interaction with officers, court records state.

Officers then went to the residence on Claim Jumper Lane and while looking through the windows one officer saw a large bloody knife and Cook's body on the floor of a room.

The Cook family has created a GoFundMe account to help with final expenses; it reads, in part:

On December 4th, 2021, at age 67, Cynthia Cook lost her life violently at the hands of her youngest son, Jonah Bergman. This senseless tragedy has left the Bergman-Cook family shaken and deeply traumatized. We are raising money to help support her sons, Micah and Isaiah Bergman, as they take on the responsibilities of managing her estate and memorial services.

Cynthia lived in Billings, MT, for many decades, in the same beautiful home she raised all three of her children in. For the last several years she lived with and was caretaker for her son Jonah, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. This illness ate away at his mind for many years, and the family struggled to find a safe home for him or a treatment that was truly effective.

Click here if you would like to make a donation.

Fundraiser for the family of Cynthia Cook

Bergman pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a charge of deliberate homicide.

Bergman appeared before Judge Jessica Fehr for arraignment in Yellowstone County District Court.

During the arraignment hearing, Fehr denied a request from Bergman to plead guilty to the charge.

"I can't just plead guilty?" Bergman asked.

"You can not," the judge replied.

Bail was set at $500,000.