Nancy Cooper

Trial testimony focuses on phone call to Brad Cooper

Posted March 18, 2011

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— Defense attorneys in the first-degree murder trial of a Cary man charged with killing his wife continued on Friday cross-examining a Cary police detective, focusing partly on two trips the defendant made to a grocery store the morning his wife disappeared.

Detective Adam Dismukes testified on Thursday that he believes Brad Cooper, 37, killed his wife, Nancy Cooper, 34, inside their house when she returned home after midnight on July 12, 2008, and transported her body in his car to a construction site approximately 3 miles away.

But defense attorneys, who say Nancy Cooper went jogging and never returned home, tried to counter Dismukes' theory, saying that Brad Cooper's cell phone received a call from his home landline phone at approximately 6:40 a.m., while he was driving to a Harris Teeter less than 2 miles from his home.

Harris Teeter surveillance video

The call lasted 38 seconds, Dismukes testified, and by that time, Brad Cooper was in the store's parking lot. Surveillance video shows Brad Cooper entering the store and leaving minutes later.

Defense attorney Howard Kurtz has said the call was from Nancy Cooper, asking her husband to buy some juice for their daughter, in addition to the Tide laundry detergent he had set out to buy.

"It would not be possible to actually drive form the Cooper residence to that Harris Teeter in a one-minute period of time?" Kurtz asked.

"No, I don't believe so," Dismukes answered.

During opening statements, Kurtz said prosecutors would try to argue that the call was automated but that there is no evidence to support the accusation.

Brad Cooper was an expert in Internet telephony at Cisco Systems Inc. and would have had access to equipment to make the call, investigators have said in search warrants.

But Kurtz said in his opening statement that the Cooper's landline phone didn’t have the technology to place an automated call.

Also on Friday, Dr. John Butts, the retired chief medical examiner for the state, testified that the right, back portion of Nancy Cooper's hyoid bone was fractured, indicating to him that she had likely died from asphyxiation by strangulation.

Her body had been badly decomposed and had been infested with insects, he said, making it difficult to determine if there was any minor trauma, such as bruising or markings.

Upon cross-examination, Butts said there was no indication of sexual assault. It was also possible that caffeine in her system could have been from the morning of July 12, 2008, or left over from the previous day, he said.

He said it was impossible to determine whether she had vomited before her death, therefore clearing her stomach of all food with the exception of a piece of onion. But Butts said it couldn't be ruled out either.

Witnesses who last saw Nancy Cooper at a neighborhood party the night before her death have testified there had been no caffeine at the party and that they only saw her drinking wine and beer and eating food, including lemon cake and an avocado salad that contained onion.

But it wasn't uncommon, the defense has said, for her to go jogging on an empty stomach and only having a cup of coffee.

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  • chub Mar 22, 2011

    You think a VOIP engineer from Cisco (arguably the number one IT hardware company in the world) could handle this?:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_6152130_use-windows-fax.html

  • itsmyownopinion Mar 21, 2011

    There's a new article posted:

    http://www.wral.com/specialreports/nancycooper/story/9301596/

  • itsmyownopinion Mar 21, 2011

    "Anyone know if Kurtz has been before this judge before and any history there? This judge seems to have contempt for this attorney. Just my opinion but his tone is certainly angry when addressing Kurtz."
    BostonCollegeMom

    I don't know, but the facial expressions and body language of the judge are very telling. Even a deaf person could see that.

  • StevenNC Mar 21, 2011

    greywolf11 - "Plese see in Harris Teeter video that BC made his 1st purchase (milk) with cash, then when he came back in for juice and Tide he used his debit card! Seems a little strange to me, like maybe he meant to use his debit card the 1st time but was so flustered he forgot and then realized after the fact and came back, OR maybe that was the whole plan to begin with!"

    ---

    That's the sort of mental gymnastics that the prosecution wants jurors to make. Ironically, these kinds of reach is usually the purview of defense attorneys defending guilty defendants.

    I believe a gallon of milk at HT costs under $4. That's all he bought on his first visit. Most people don't pull out a credit or debit card for purchases of only a few bucks.

    Without knowing the price of a bottle of Tide detergent and Green Machine juice, it's safe to say that the second purchase transaction totaled about $20. I for one rarely pay cash for anything over $10.

    Again, nothing to see her, folks. Move along.

  • BostonCollegeMom Mar 21, 2011

    @ greywolf If BC forgot to use the debit card the first time then that blows the whole set up the phone call theory out of the water.

    Also, we live less than two miles from a grocery store and often either my husband or son have gone for me and forgotten the one major thing I wanted just to turn around and go back five minutes later. I do believe this is normal for lots of households.

  • busterbluth Mar 21, 2011

    This poor girl looks like she's playing dress up. Her uniform is a little big, IMO.

  • BostonCollegeMom Mar 21, 2011

    Anyone know if Kurtz has been before this judge before and any history there? This judge seems to have contempt for this attorney. Just my opinion but his tone is certainly angry when addressing Kurtz.

  • StevenNC Mar 21, 2011

    canoma: "Is it more likely that the CPD doesn't have the homicide rate as other areas and the police simply didn't conduct an investigation correctly?"

    ------

    No, actually, Cary's homicide rate would be the same whether or not CPD mishandled homicide investigations, arrested the wrong guy, etc. It's hard to under report homicides.

    If anything, as it's been becoming increasingly apparent that BC did not kill his wife, somebody else did. If somebody else did, we don't know WHERE Nancy was killed. If she was killed outside the Town of Cary limits, than Cary's homicide rate is, technically, INFLATED as a result of an arguably mishandled investigation.

    That said, pinning a homicide on a disgruntled spouse does alleviate fears that there might be a killer on the loose targeting victims at random.

  • itsmyownopinion Mar 21, 2011

    It appears this case was not thoroughly and properly investigated. It seems the CPD relied heavily on gossipy "friends" and neighbors to solve this case with speculation. Could it be the Lochmere Housewives wanted Brad out of the neighborhood once Nancy was gone?

  • greywolf11 Mar 21, 2011

    Plese see in Harris Teeter video that BC made his 1st purchase (milk) with cash, then when he came back in for juice and Tide he used his debit card! Seems a little strange to me, like maybe he meant to use his debit card the 1st time but was so flustered he forgot and then realized after the fact and came back, OR maybe that was the whole plan to begin with! He wanted to leave a "bank card transaction" trace for himself that morning! Of course there is the video of him, I just find this detail very interesting!

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