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Jury still deciding on Samuel Cooper's fate

Posted April 19, 2010
Updated April 20, 2010

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— A Wake County jury resumed deliberations Tuesday on the fate of a Raleigh man convicted of five first-degree murder charges.

Jurors spent six hours Monday behind closed doors deciding whether Samuel James Cooper Jr. will be sentenced to death or life in prison in the 2006 and 2007 shooting deaths of Ossama Haj-Hussein, 43, LeRoy Jernigan, 41, Timothy Barnwell, 34, Ricky High, 48, and Tariq Hussain, 52.

Jurors asked Superior Court Judge two questions during deliberations Monday. One was whether life sentences would be served back-to-back or at the same time. The other had to do with whether jurors must unanimously vote in favor of a life sentence.

Hight told jurors that they should not be concerned with the way a sentence would be carried out and that a decision on life imprisonment does have to be unanimous.

Cooper, 33, was convicted April 6 after a lengthy trial in which defense attorneys argued that their client, at the time of the crimes, was absent of any emotions and in a delusional state because of years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father.

The state argued that Cooper is a "cold-blooded killer" who was deliberate in the crimes, knew that they were wrong and went to great lengths to hide evidence that could link him to them.

Dozens of witnesses testified during over nearly 20 days in the trial, including Cooper's mother, three of his siblings and family members of some of the victims.

If the jury decides on the death penalty, Cooper would be the sixth person sent to North Carolina's death row since legal challenges effectively put executions on hold in 2007.

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  • twc Apr 20, 2010

    jewgrrl, I know that if sammy was my son I would fight as hard as I could to spare him.

    I also know that at least five families have been devastated by the greed and heartless acts of sammy.

    sammy is an evil person. That does not make anyone happy.

    We have the death penalty for a purpose. As sad as it is to carry out that penalty, the citizens have decided it is necessary.

    There is no doubt here, there is no reason sammy should remain here. As long as he lives, there is no closure to the victims of his conscientious greed. He knew he was committing capital murder. He made the decision; not us! An eye for an eye accusation is insulting; we did not murder a fellow human!

  • jewgrrl Apr 20, 2010

    Deathrow: you do realize that jurors get 12 bucks a day right?

    im sure that they are "milking" hours to get that whole 12 bucks.

    everyone of you needs to think how you would feel if sammy were your family member.

    AN EYE FOR AN EYE LEAVES THE WHOLE WORLD BLIND

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 20, 2010

    twc, well said.

    Moonshadow, from your post, I can't tell if you are for or against Capital Punishment. Maybe you meant to remain neutral. I would definitely be for a Death Penalty vote. I can't possibly see how the people of North Carolina would vote the Death Penalty out.

  • Moonshadow Apr 20, 2010

    Death sentence in NC? What a joke!! I find it humorous that the majority of NC citizens do not oppose capital punishment, yet capital punishment remains on hold. I think the citizens of NC should have a vote on capital punishment, and let the majority rule. Isn't that how democracy is supposed to work?

  • twc Apr 20, 2010

    The death sentence takes about 15 years to be carried out. The benefit of receiving life without parole is that you will have more freedom inside prison. Death row inmates have far less freedom.

    Life without parole is a very unfair sentence for someone who planned in advance, with plenty of forethought, that he was going to end someone's life for whatever money they had on them.

    That had nothing to do with any past abuse. Genetically, he may very well have the same mental makeup as did his abuser; but that only means that one controlled himself better than the other and didn't murder to satisfy his greed.

    The death penalty is the only fair sentence in this case. If the abuse excuse gets him a lesser sentence, then the abuser should be charged for whatever crimes they have been accused.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 20, 2010

    No way this deliberation should take more than two hours. Give him the Death Sentence and move on. Obviously, these jurors are milking the extra days out of work.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 20, 2010

    Bob3425: "death sentence in NC is life, he will die of old age before they execute him."

    krazykristie06: "Bob3425....you have no idea what you are talking about. your statement is all wrong."

    What exactly did Bob3425 say that was incorrect? The Death Sentence in North Carolina IS Life. Capital Punishment is on permanent hold in NC. We haven't put a prisoner to death in years. And it will stay that way as long as we keep putting Liberals without cahunas in office.

  • krazykristie06 Apr 20, 2010

    Bob3425....you have no idea what you are talking about. your statement is all wrong.

    I have a feeling this jury is going to choose life. I hope not! But based on their 2 questions, i'm sure thats what it will be.

  • Bob3425 Apr 20, 2010

    death sentence in NC is life, he will die of old age before they execute him.

  • twc Apr 19, 2010

    If they would consider the value of the five lost lives I don't think it should take this long to decide on lethal injection. Must be a bleeding heart in the mix!