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Cooper limited to phone calls with daughters

Posted November 21, 2008
Updated December 4, 2008

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— Brad Cooper's contact with his children is limited to phone calls so long as he remains in jail awaiting trial on a charge of murdering his wife Nancy, a Wake County District Court judge has ruled.

A temporary custody order in the Cooper case was made public Friday.

Deborah Sandlin, a family law attorney for Brad Cooper, argued before Judge Debra Sasser that although other documents and hearings in the custody case have been made public, releasing this particular order would be prejudicial to her client.

Brad Cooper is charged with the July death of Nancy Cooper. Since her body was found in an undeveloped subdivision near their Cary home July 14, Nancy Cooper's parents and twin sister have battled her husband for custody of the couple's daughters, ages 4 and 2.

Sandlin argued Friday that the press and public’s right to know does not outweigh a defendant’s right to a fair criminal trial.

Releasing the order, she said, could taint a potential jury pool for Cooper's murder trial because of the widespread public interest in his wife's death.

Cooper's criminal attorney, Howard Kurtz, is considering requesting a change of venue for that trial.

"No matter how it is we approach it, it's going to be an extremely difficult hurdle at this point" given the information available to potential jurors via filings in the custody case, Kurtz said.

In October, Sasser granted custody of the girls to Nancy Cooper’s parents, Garry and Donna Rentz, and Krista Lister, Nancy Cooper's twin sister. They all live in Canada.

Their attorney, Alice Stubbs, questioned Brad Cooper's motives in seeking to keep the custody order sealed.

“I’m sure if the court had awarded custody to Mr. Cooper, we would not be here,” she said.

Sasser ruled that the order be released, saying nothing in it could not be addressed properly by a Superior Court judge in the criminal case against Cooper, 35.

The order makes clear that some of the custody conditions are dictated by Brad Cooper's arrest. Specifically, it suspends any personal visits and webcam visits between him and his daughters "for so long as defendant is incarcerated."

He is being held without bond in the Wake County Jail.

He is allowed two 15-minute phone calls with the girls each week and may correspond with them by mail.

The Rentzes also asked for child support, saying they believe Cooper is still receiving income from his employer, Cisco Systems Inc. A Cisco representative said last week that he is still an employee and that the company was still reviewing his employee status.

Nancy Cooper's family also had won a temporary restraining order from Sasser telling Brad Cooper not to try to liquidate any of the couple's assets, including their house in Cary's Lochmere subdivision.

A couple days after the order was granted, a Marrins' M-o-o-ving crew loaded a 26-foot van with tables, sofas, armchairs and a flat-screen television from the Cooper house. Cooper agreed to hand over clothes and toys to the Rentzes.

The order released on Friday is subject to review after six to eight months.


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  • Dr. Dataclerk Dec 1, 2008

    The maternal family wanted the children so bad they was doing everything in order to have them. The judge should without a doubt make her parents and sister support the children. Anything else should go to the husband. If its that much money, put it in a trust fund for the children when they turn 18 years old.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Dec 1, 2008

    When these girls are of age (18), I hope they go to their father and never looked back. Family is something.

  • Alexia.1 Nov 25, 2008


    You mentioned how the custody order showed prejudice -- you are entirely correct. Not only that, but the "findings of fact" contained numerous opinions in addition to facts. It would appear that the judge is incapable of separating fact and opinion.

  • Alexia.1 Nov 25, 2008


    I agree with you that there are too many unanswered questions. The police took a long time to collect evidence -- which they need, I understand. But, then the DA pushed the case before the grand jury at the end of a long day; it was not originally scheduled! I suspect they just wanted to get it out of the way so they could go home.

    And, then after Brad was put in jail, the CPD go back to the house to search for stuff again? Why would that be necessary if you had all of the evidence you need?

    I do not believe they really have enough evidence.

  • chance Nov 21, 2008

    Hey ... I have an idea! ALL OF YOU WHO THINK CISCO IS SOOOOO TERRIBLE FOR STILL LISTING BC AS AN EMPLOYEE SHOULD BOYCOTT BY NOT USING YOUR INTERNET. After all, they make internet equipment and that would show them! It would also give us a break from your ridiculous notions. Ha! You people are so funny!

  • Common Sense Man Nov 21, 2008

    "Jason Young is still walking free, have you read those warrants?"

    They definitely have probable cause to charge Young. I'm thinking they are waiting for enough to get a conviction. Probable cause and preponderance of the evidence (civil) are a MUCH lower standard.

  • DurhamHatesLIEfong Nov 21, 2008

    not all witnesses have came forward. beware, information is still forthcoming...

  • chauncey7381 Nov 21, 2008

    Eduardo1 +++If you got the goods, lets get to the trial. We are guaranteed a speedy trial.

    I concur. It appears at this juncture CPD has a necklace, inconsistent stories about the garage being cleaned, missing tennis shoes---no explanation for phone call to Mr. Cooper from Nancy's cell phone 6:40, and a mystery jogger out there that hasn't come forward to rebut Mrs. Zednick's statement.

    Yes, Brad Cooper is charged with 1st degree and he should be given a speedy trial. At this juncture, it appears LE is still gathering evidence. Hmmmmm. How does one define CLEAN? Is this what determines a man's guilt? How clean a house was at a particular time?

    Jason Young is still walking free, have you read those warrants?

  • chauncey7381 Nov 21, 2008

    Well if the lady Mrs. Zednick saw wasn't Nancy Cooper, then WHO was it? Has this person come forward and CLAIMED it was ME? Where is this MYSTERY JOGGER, inquiring minds want to know? With this much publicity you would think this JOGGER would have come forward, who in LOCHMERE didn't know what they were doing that morning when the search began later that day, and the next? Sorry, but I'm not convinced it wasn't Nancy Cooper.

    What about the phone call made to BRAD at 6:40 a.m. from Nancy Cooper's Blackberry?

    Where is REAL evidence, you know, the SMOKING GUN against this man?

    Was the garage clean the day LE went there or not? So what about the garage, did the garage murder Nancy?

  • lunarmodule Nov 21, 2008

    Chance, the witnesses the judge found not credible were introduced by Brad's attorney in the custody case. That's one of the points the judge makes in her ruling, that his witnesses' affidavits addressed issues related to the criminal case, not his suitability for custody. Think about it. Why would Brad introduce the dog-walking lady as a witness in his Custody Case? And he didn't even testify at the October 16 hearing.

    He also provides no information to the custody court about his job, where he lives or works, or where he plans to live with the children if they are given back to him. As far as I can see, he has not provided a single reason why the children would be better off with him. Of course, it's a moot point now.