Nancy Cooper

Sources: Brad Cooper weighing plea deal in wife's 2008 murder

Posted September 8, 2014

— A plea deal could be in the works for Brad Cooper, a Cary man awaiting a new murder trial for the strangling death of his wife and the mother of his two children.

Sources told WRAL News Monday that Cooper, 40, is considering a bargain in which he would plead guilty to second-degree murder for the July 2008 death of Nancy Cooper, whose body was found several days after she was reported missing.

Cooper was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being convicted in May 2011. The North Carolina Court of Appeals last September, however, ordered a new trial after finding that jurors should have been allowed to hear critical defense evidence.

Prosecutors declined to comment on or confirm a possible deal Monday, and defense attorneys did not return calls seeking comment. Nancy Cooper's father in Canada, however, said that he and his family are planning to travel to Raleigh for a Sept. 22 hearing in which a guilty plea is expected.

Garry Rentz said it is his understanding that his son-in-law could receive a sentence of 13 to 16 years in prison and receive credit for time served, making him eligible for release in a minimum of seven years.

"We're pleased to have closure for the girls and for our family," Rentz said, referring to the Coopers' two young daughters, who have been in the Rentzes' custody since 2008.

The children are now 8 and 10 years old.

"It's a matter of getting closure for them and not having to wonder," Rentz said. "They worry about what their future is until this gets solidified."

Brad Cooper has maintained that his wife left their home at 104 Wallsburg Court on the morning of July 12, 2008, to go jogging and never returned home.

A friend reported her missing the same day when she never showed up for a meeting, and a man walking his dog two days later found her decomposing body facedown in a drainage ditch in an unfinished subdivision 3 miles from the Coopers' home.

Nearly 100 witnesses testified over 36 days in the high-profile trial as prosecutors sought to prove that Cooper, angry, tired and fed up with his wife, planned her death and carried it out after she returned home from a neighborhood party.

Defense attorneys argued, however, that Cary police never looked beyond Cooper as a suspect and that detectives were careless in their investigation by destroying or mishandling evidence.

The state's case was mostly circumstantial with the exception of Internet files on Brad Cooper's laptop of a Google Maps search that state computer experts said was made the day before Nancy Cooper disappeared.

That was the basis of the Court of Appeals granting Cooper a new trial, because the judge didn't allow defense attorneys to call experts to support their theory that someone had tampered with the laptop.


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  • cbearcat60 Sep 17, 2014

    If I were innocent, there is no way I would ever plea.

  • Lightfoot3 Sep 12, 2014

    "Why keep focusing on a trial that was thrown out?" - In Decisive

    Because that has already set a precedence that every juror will know. The state already knows the game plan of the defense and only have to address the computer. They'll have their "experts" and he'll have his, but he'll still have the albatross of having already being found guilty by the previous jury. And he's already seen he can be convicted without real evidence. He's got a second trial, but it's still going to be a long shot.

  • Lightfoot3 Sep 12, 2014

    "Innocent men do not plead guilty to killing the mother of their children. They fight like heck to clear their name." - HeelFanF0rLife1

    If it meant the difference between getting out of prison, and spending the rest of my life there, and dying there, I would. I'd plead guilty to being Hitler's secret lover if that's what it took!

    And if he does plead guilty, what makes you think he's going to keep claiming guilt once he's out? He'll tell his kids he's innocent, and pleaded guilty so he could get out and spend time with them.

    Of course, none of this has anything to do with his actual guilt or innocence.

  • HeelFanF0rLife1 Sep 11, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Oh yes, I do understand that.

    It is you folks who are clamoring that the total trial was a farce, was a travesty.

    Yet only one procedural item was mentioned.

    And it is important to note that the evidence in question was not questioned, it was the procedures the judge followed. The evidence is not tossed, it can still be presented.

    Innocent men do not plead guilty to killing the mother of their children. They fight like heck to clear their name.

  • HeelFanF0rLife1 Sep 11, 2014

    An innocent man would never confess to killing the mother of his children. From all the comments here, there is no evidence at all to convict him, yet somehow he was convicted.

    Maybe there is more to this then you folks want to accept.

    But I can't imagine any real man admitting to killing the mother of his children because he is scared of the truth coming out. If he pleas, he is back in jail for 7 more years.

    If there is no evidence, then he can walk free and face his kids.

    No comparison.

  • HeelFanF0rLife1 Sep 11, 2014

    View quoted thread

    LOL.....then why did the COA mention one item alone as reason for the retrial?

    Seems to me if the procedures were so flawed, the judge himself would be reprimanded for the case and the COA would have had more comment than just on one item.

    Funny, huh?

  • Deb Rodgers Sep 11, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Don't you understand that it takes ONLY ONE! #1 area/topic that a judge rules wrongly to grant a retrial! There's not a requirement of 5 ...poor judgements by a judge! IT ONLY TAKES ONE!

  • solarcableguy Sep 10, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Your assumption that he will get a fair trial the second time around is just that; an assumption and clearly not based on previous experience. How do you know he would definitely get a new judge? How do you know the next pool of jurors will not be worse than the first? You don't know any of that and that is why, if he is innocent, he is probably struggling with what decision to make regarding the plea.

    Yes; we want Brad and everyone else that goes on trial to have a fair trial. Who wouldn't? However, it is not that cut and dry in this instance now due to poorly executing the process initially that is our right as Americans.

  • Michi Gauss Sep 10, 2014
    user avatar

    Why keep focusing on a trial that was thrown out? Didn't you all say you wanted Brad to get a fair trial? This is a new day and he can have a new trial, a "fair" trial. His team will help pick the jurors just like his prior team did. They accept the jury or not. There will be a new judge, not the same one. He'll be able to show all his evidence. Why would anyone want him to take a plea? Don't you want to see everything you can in a trial you say you wanted him to have? If he folds now then maybe it's because he is guilty and this is his golden ticket out someday.

  • Broken Scales Sep 10, 2014

    View quoted thread

    The trial was absolutely poorly done. They literally spent weeks going through information that was entirely irrelevant. what we all learned was that infidelity ran rampant in that neighborhood. We also learned that the Cary police are inept investigators (e.g., sitting on a bed and then opining that it looked like nobody slept in it, can't get dress color right, did not talk to witnesses for months, erased cell phones, connected BC's computer to the Internet). We also learned that the used "classified" methods to investigate the hard drive (which is truly nonsense) and refused to share information about the analysis, claiming "national security". We learned the prosecution witnesses look like a bunch of liars (heard that from one of the prosecuting attorneys). Refusing to allow testimony from expert witnesses who can prove that the hard drive was tampered with was icing on the cake.

    The case and trial were disasters.