Yoga Teacher Shoots Ex-Husband’s New Girlfriend In Front Of Twin Toddlers

The Utah mom brought a gun rather than the medicine she was to drop off for one of her ill children.

November 27, 2018
By: Aaron Rasmussen

Photo by: Chelsea Watrous Cook mug shot [Salt Lake County Jail]

Chelsea Watrous Cook mug shot [Salt Lake County Jail]

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — A Utah mom bringing cold medicine to one of her sick three-year-old twins instead packed a gun and shot her ex-husband’s new girlfriend — while the toddlers looked on.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Chelsea Watrous Cook, 32, a high school health and yoga teacher, arrived at her ex's suburban Salt Lake City apartment shorty before 7 P.M. on Nov. 25. While he was still in the parking lot, she went inside the home.

Cook "was told to leave the apartment, but she refused to listen," read the affidavit. "[She] remained unlawfully inside of the apartment during this time. [She] then locked herself in the bathroom while [she] was on the phone with the 911 operator."

Emerging from the bathroom, Cook walked over to her coat, got a gun hidden inside and opened fire on Lisa Vilate Williams, striking the 25-year-old woman in the torso multiple times.

Wounded, Williams fell back onto a couch, and the ex-husband, who had returned to the apartment, grabbed the gun from Cook.

Cook "then walked over to their children and sat on the recliner chair while the [ex-husband] tried to help the victim," police wrote in their statement, adding that the twin toddlers "were present during the entire ordeal."

When officers from the Unified Police Department arrived on the scene they discovered the ex-husband had pinned Cook against the wall when she attempted to grab her coat and leave the apartment. "The witness alerted officers that he had a handgun in his waistband and informed [them] that [Cook] had just shot his girlfriend," read the affidavit.

Williams later died in the hospital from her bullet wounds, and Cook was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of aggravated murder.

In October Cook had pleaded not guilty after she was taken in for assault and two counts of domestic violence in the presence of children. She was due in court on Dec. 18 to answer those misdemeanor charges.

Records also show her husband filed for divorce in August 2017 and the couple's marriage officially ended last January.

"Honestly, this news is just shocking and disturbing, I can’t explain it any other way," Kimberly Bird, assistant to the superintendent at Alpine School District, said of Cook, who was fired from her job after the murder. "As an adult, it's hard for me to process, I can’t imagine a 14-year-old freshman having to deal with that information."

Joel Perkins, the principal of Skyridge High School in Lehi, where Cook taught for four years, sent two letters to concerned parents, claiming he and other school officials were "unaware" of the teacher's previous domestic assault charges. "This type of news is hard to comprehend," he wrote.

Read more: Deseret News

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