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Jury selection begins in Brad Cooper murder trial

Posted February 28, 2011
Updated March 7, 2011

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— Jury selection began Monday in the trial of Bradley Graham Cooper, the Cary man accused of killing his wife, Nancy Cooper, nearly three years ago and dumping her body in an undeveloped subdivision not far from their home.

It is expected to take about a week before opening statements begin in what is expected to be a lengthy trial. The state is not seeking the death penalty.

Brad Cooper, 37, was arrested Oct. 27, 2008, following months of police work and a high-profile child custody battle that captured news headlines across the United States and Canada and also provided a glimpse of the couple’s troubled marriage in the months leading up to Nancy Cooper’s death.

Nancy Cooper Nancy Cooper case images

Brad Cooper told police that his wife went jogging around 7 a.m. on July 12, 2008, but never returned home.

It was a friend of Nancy Cooper’s who called 911 that same day to report her missing, which set off a massive search for the 34-year-old mother of two.

Hundreds of volunteers posted fliers around the town and helped police search jogging paths and areas that Nancy Cooper, who was training for a half-marathon, frequented.

Two days later, on July 14, 2008, a man walking his dog just outside Cary’s town limits found her body near a cul-de-sac in what would become the Oaks at Meadowridge subdivision, three miles from the Coopers’ home in Cary’s prominent Lochmere neighborhood.

According to a medical examiner’s report, Nancy Cooper was likely strangled.

Over the next few months, Cary police kept quiet about the investigation, but details of the couple’s family life poured out into the news media and on the Internet as Nancy Cooper’s parents and sister in Canada successfully sought custody of the couple’s two young daughters.

In hundreds of pages of civil court filings, witnesses described Brad Cooper as an emotionally abusive and controlling husband.

The couple had been going through a divorce, and some friends and family of Nancy Cooper asserted their beliefs that her husband was involved in her death.

Jury selection under way in Cooper trial Jury selection under way in Cooper trial

Brad Cooper’s team of attorneys sought to defend their client against the allegations, challenging witness statements and providing their own witnesses, including a woman who said she saw Nancy Cooper jogging the morning she disappeared.

On July 18, 2008, days after Nancy Cooper’s death, Brad Cooper's attorneys defended him in a news conference against what they called "wild speculation" and "bizarre unsupported theories" on TV and Internet blogs.

They subsequently set up a website about the case, and in September 2008, they posted surveillance videos from an early-morning shopping trip on July 12, copies of receipts and photos of their client in an effort to dispute the allegations of Nancy Cooper's family and friends.

In October 2008, Brad Cooper was deposed for more than seven hours in the custody case, during which, a Cary police detective states in an affidavit, some of Brad Cooper’s statements were inconsistent with what he told investigators after his wife’s disappearance.

About three weeks later, Brad Cooper was indicted on a first-degree murder charge, and he has been awaiting trial ever since.

The trial was expected to start in October but was delayed because more time was needed for the prosecution and defense to share evidence.

Earlier this month, in what observers have called a rare legal move, defense attorneys unsuccessfully asked the North Carolina Court of Appeals for another trial delay, citing concerns that they were not getting all the evidence from the state.

Prosecutors contend they have turned over all discovery and have said they will continue to do so if additional evidence becomes available.

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  • Isabella13 Mar 8, 2011

    Anyone know who his team of attorneys are??

  • twoloddogs Mar 2, 2011

    The local media has a great story, but they are going to miss the entire thing. I think the national media will pick it up first. Nancy's attorney encouraged her to claim abuse. Nancy's sister can't have children, so she was encouraging Nancy to be a surrogate mother for her. Now, the only way that she can have children of her own blood is to have Brad convicted of murder.
    This case, when the national media breaks it will remind you of Greg Taylor, Alan Gell, Mike Niphong, and the Little Rascals Day Care cases.
    There is a reason that Nancy's attorney, her best friends, and her family needed to hire Wade Smith.
    Brad wouldn't give her money for food??? She had a new $50,000 BMW, an $8,000 painting, a collection of Tiffany jewelry, a swim and tennis club membership. And she was running 6 miles at a time.
    She was healthy and lived a life of leisure and luxury.

    Maybe the national media will pick up the video of the Public speaks out at the Cary town council meeting on Feb 11, 2010.

  • twoloddogs Mar 2, 2011

    Nancy Cooper had no defensive injuries. She had a faint mark on her neck and a fractured hyoid bone which caused her death. Brad Cooper had faint scratches on the back of his neck, but no scratches or bruises which you would expect from a fight. They were both athletic. She was portrayed as starved and abused. She ran 6 miles three times per week at 8 min 30 sec per mile. She left the children with him each of those times. Yet she claimed he was an abusive father.
    Nancy Cooper used the choking game to fake the bruises on her neck. Her hyoid bone fractured because of calcium loss which is common in female distance runners. Whoever killed her was a close trusted friend. She allowed herself to be choked.
    Women who fake abuse increase their alimony, child support, and property settlement. They had reached a settlement on paper. That was her base line. She was going to fake the abuse, call the police, and go to Judge Sasser to have her settlement improved beyond the baseline.

  • waterwarrior8 Mar 1, 2011

    Normally I comment on environmental issues but this story got my attention since I know firsthand how quickly the deck can be stacked against a person when there's bias involved. The bias I see here is the fact that the judge was a cop and then went to work at the DA's office. So it's no surprise that the prosecution hasn't shared all the evidence.

    This is the back story that all media should be investigating and reporting on due to the simple fact that our state's SBI has been exposed to have some serious issues that have been continually swept under the rug.

    @paulej....you hit the nail on the head w/ your comment.

    The media has either ignored or given very little attention to so many other stories and has had to back track once alternative media does their journalistic duty of unbiased reporting.

    Dale Swiggett
    Waterfront Sportsman & the Environmental Investigation Coalition

  • Alexia.1 Feb 28, 2011

    So, evidence was erased, the state will not provide some evidence to the defense, witnesses who saw her running were ignored by the police, police getting evidence after the indictment, rushing the indictment at the last minute into the court, etc. All of this sounds really suspicious to me.

  • anti-Hans Feb 28, 2011

    Ana, you want to know how she was spending out of control? Go back and read the archives. WRAL has it all in their archives.

    apples - I am not trying to bash the deceased victim here. It was well known that both of them had or were having affairs, plural.

    Do I think he killed her? Most likely - BUT I am also for a fair trial and want him to have his day in court. It could have just as easily been a lover that she dumped that killed her, knowing he would have the perfect excuse and alibi in Brad. If BC is not guilty, and it is possible, he certainly has been a victim as well, and he is getting bashed repeatedly.

  • Coolbeans11 Feb 28, 2011

    I didn't know overspending was an excuse to murder someone.
    Bendal1
    GOLO member since July 7, 2008
    February 28, 2011 4:19 p.m.
    Ignore Report abuse

    Good one!

  • Coolbeans11 Feb 28, 2011

    "Nancy was doing side jobs in more ways than one, and I will leave it at that." Anti-Mako

    What is that supposed to mean?? What an ugly thing to say about a woman who was brutally murdered. What is wrong with you?? Have some compassion and stop spreading gossip. If you have something relevant then contact the defense.

  • Bendal1 Feb 28, 2011

    I didn't know overspending was an excuse to murder someone.

  • katgotyertongue Feb 28, 2011

    Odds are he did it in a fit of rage. She sounds like a difficult person to deal with. From early reports in 2008, she was into buying art and other necessities which she complained that she had to sell to get groceries since he would no longer give her money due to these buying binges. People who are going through a divorce really shouldn’t live in the same house…
    I think the prosecution has a big burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Brad Cooper actually murdered his wife and dumped her body. For all anyone knows she could have been involved with another man..and he strangled her..and since the SBI is under it’s own suspicion regarding evidence and how it communicates to discovery….unless they have proof I don’t buy it. I really don’t like murder convictions totally based on circumstantial evidence. To many people serving to many years have been freed.

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