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Prosecutor: Cooper subpoenas 'fishing expedition'

Posted October 14, 2008

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— A Wake County prosecutor says attempts by Brad Cooper's attorneys to access police evidence in the July 12 slaying of their client's wife is "a fishing expedition" in an attempt to prepare his defense "to a potential criminal charge."

Responding to three subpoenas from Cooper's attorneys for Cary police to turn over all evidence in the murder case, Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings said in a motion to have them thrown out that the request is "not for the purpose of showing his fitness and suitability as a custodial parent of his minor children."

A hearing on the issue is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Cooper, 35, is in the middle of a custody battle with his wife's family over the couple's two young daughters. Garry and Donna Rentz, Nancy Cooper's parents, allege he is an unfit parent and that he had been emotionally abusive to and financially controlling of his wife in the months before she was killed.

A friend reported Nancy Cooper missing on July 12 after she failed to show up for a planned meeting, and a man walking his dog found her body two days later in an undeveloped subdivision three miles from the Coopers' Cary home.

Although police are not calling him a suspect or person of interest in the case, Cooper has denied being involved in his wife's death. He said he last saw her on the morning of July 12 before she left for a jog.

Cooper's attorneys asked police Friday for all evidence relating to the murder case, including notes, personal property, physical evidence, computers and videos. They wanted it by 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Cummings said in his response that turning over the evidence would jeopardize the case and undermine an ongoing investigation. He also said the request did not allow a reasonable time for compliance and that it subjected investigators to an undue burden.

"These subpoenas are otherwise unreasonable and oppressive," Cummings stated in the motion.

On July 16, a judge granted emergency custody of the Coopers' daughters, Bella, 4, and Katie, 2, to Nancy Cooper's family in Canada.

A hearing on temporary custody is scheduled for Thursday, and Wake County District Judge Debra Sasser has said allegations that Cooper was somehow involved with his wife's death would likely have to be addressed if no one is arrested before then.

"We need to have a hearing. We'll hash it out in front of the judge," one of Cooper's attorneys, Seth Blum, said of Cummings' response. "We need to do it as soon as possible."


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  • Proud Young Grandma Oct 15, 2008

    You can't possibly expect someone naming themselves after a sesame street character to understand the complexity of DNA.

  • Common Sense Man Oct 15, 2008

    "Actually, my ex husband is a detective in Richmond, and yes, DNA plays an important part in 99% of crimes committed."

    If he told you that he's full of it.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 15, 2008

    When a civil court judge says that she's going to decide if Brad Cooper was involved in a murder without a conviction in a murder trial. The judge is out of bounds.

    What happened to "innocent until proven guilty".

  • Proud Young Grandma Oct 15, 2008

    Proud Young Grandma - If I remember correctly, a week or so ago, you critized this same judge because you were in front of her for something and she did not judge in your favor or someone close to you. You said then, and now, that you want her off the bench. You are against this judge, period, not matter what case comes before her.

    Nope, not the judge. The judge I had was Alice Stubbs, who is the attorney for the grandparents. I don't know Judge Sasser - just read her comments on the case like everyone else. The difference is, I am appalled with her statements and her obvious bias against Brad Cooper from the get-go.

  • Proud Young Grandma Oct 15, 2008


    "I don't want hearsay, I want DNA evidence, I want no other suspect possible, etc."

    Here we go......... This is what's wrong with this CSI-happy society. Not every case is going to be filled with DNA matches

    Actually, my ex husband is a detective in Richmond, and yes, DNA plays an important part in 99% of crimes committed. The difference being on tv, you get the DNA results back in minutes. In reality, it can take months, and usually does. DNA evidence is what is now getting innocent people out of prison that were wrongly convicted before the technology came out. It's there, the detectives just have to find it and match it to some one. As the LE has often said, there is no such thing as the perfect murder.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 15, 2008

    Cary is implying that Brad Cooper is guilty without enough evidence to charge him with murder. Because they don't want to tell the people of Cary that the murder was random and that a random murderer is wondering the streets of the "safe" community of Cary.

    The Cary PD and the DA need to put up or shut up instead of trying Brad Cooper in the court of opinion with the assistance of the rumor squad in Cary.

  • danofnc Oct 15, 2008

    "Up to you, but this DA didn't have to say anything about this case at all, yet they did and sullied the news waves."

    The DA is responding to a request filed by Mr. Cooper's lawyers. Since they filed something in court, the DA did, in fact, have to say something.

    Most of the inconsistencies and questions about Mr. Cooper's story come from affidavits that he filed in the custody case. NO CHARGES have been filed in the criminal case. Until charges are filed, he doesn't have to be shown any evidence. He WILL be allowed to see any and all evidence that the family judge has at her disposal.

    The family judge is not determining his guilt or innocence. Her job is to decide what's best for the kids. If she thinks that it is likely that Brad was involved in Nancy's murder, I am sure she will not believe that it's in the kids' best interests to have them living with their dad.

  • Adelinthe Oct 14, 2008

    Cookie Me Elmo - "I'll take the DA's law degree over the Rev's whatever degree."

    Up to you, but this DA didn't have to say anything about this case at all, yet they did and sullied the news waves.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Common Sense Man Oct 14, 2008

    "Well I hate to tell this prosecutor, but defense attorneys are entitled to this info."

    I'll take the DA's law degree over the Rev's whatever degree.

  • Common Sense Man Oct 14, 2008

    "Cooper is entitled to any and all evidence that will be used against him in the custody hearing."

    Nope, he doesn't. Not as long as their is an ongoing murder investigation.