Restaurant cook convicted of raping server

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David Lyndel Cochran. Source: KCSO

A restaurant cook who had sex with a female co-worker while she was too drunk to consent has been convicted of rape by a Knox County jury, officials said Wednesday.

David Lyndel Cochran, 49, was convicted of one count of aggravated rape, two counts of rape, and one count of aggravated kidnapping at the conclusion of a three-day trial. Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword revoked Cochran’s bond and scheduled a sentencing hearing on May 26.

The rape took place on August 25, 2019, when the staff of Pero’s on Emory Road was given access to the bar for a celebration while they were closing the restaurant, according to Knox County DA’s spokesperson Sean McDermott. 

“The victim was a server at the restaurant and became extremely intoxicated, vomiting and passing out in the restaurant. Cochran was a cook at the restaurant and offered to take the victim home:” McDermott explained. 

“The victim was carried to Cochran’s car. Instead of taking her home, Cochran took the incapacitated victim to the Super 8 Motel off Emory Road,” he continued. “While the victim was unable to give consent, Cochran raped her. The next day, the victim felt pain and discomfort, but did not know what happened.”

The victim then went home and contacted police, he said. 

Captain Steve Sanders of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office interviewed witnesses and sent the victim to the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee, explained McDermott. While she was there, a sexual assault exam was performed that ultimately revealed Cochran’s DNA.

McDermott said that prosecutors plan to ask Sword to impose the maximum sentence: 37 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

“This offender preyed upon a young woman when she was most vulnerable, but he has been held accountable thanks to the hard work of everyone involved in this case,” said Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen.

Published on April 8, 2022.