Nancy Cooper

Trial focuses on evidence seized from Cooper home

Posted March 22, 2011
Updated March 23, 2011

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— A crime scene investigator testified Tuesday morning that he tested several items inside the home of Brad and Nancy Cooper for blood but that the tests were negative.

Thomas Como, an agent for the City-County Bureau of Identification, which processes evidence at crime scenes in Wake County, said during his testimony that streaks on the floor of the garage, red spots on a bed sheet in the master bedroom and on floors and countertops in an upstairs bathroom all were tested but showed no indication of blood.

Thomas Como Full video: Day 9 trial testimony

Prosecutors, however, haven't said how the evidence could be relevant to the case.

Brad Cooper, 37, is accused of first-degree murder in the July 12, 2008, death of his wife. Two days later, her body was found in a drainage ditch outside Cary's town limit, about 3 miles from the couple's home. An autopsy found she had likely been strangled.

The type of questioning in Tuesday's testimony is typical in murder trials to show how law enforcement collected, preserved and stored evidence. The testimony isn't necessarily meant to draw conclusions about how the items might be connected in the case.

Como also found a men's extra-large white, pullover Nike shirt on a staircase railing in the Cooper home, he said. The shirt had what appeared to be three small rust-color stains on the front left side of the collar and some light tearing in the fibers of the chest that he characterized as stress marks.

Among other items seized from the Cooper home were soil samples from beneath a shoe rack in the laundry room, a black sports bra and red woman's shirt found on the dining room table, two car seat covers from the garage, hairs from a staircase and a pink oval rug.

From Brad Cooper's BMW, investigators found a brown substance on the driver-side door handle that came back negative as blood. Inside the trunk, they observed vacuum streaks in the carpet and also found hair on the interior trunk lid.

There were no smells of gasoline in the trunk, and it was "extremely clean," Cary police investigator James Grier testified.

On Monday, Nancy Cooper's mother, Donna Rentz, testified that her daughter never expressed to her that she was afraid of Brad Cooper but that she was distraught in the marriage over finances and an extramarital affair he admitted having.

Defense attorneys did not cross-examine Rentz, when given the chance, Tuesday morning.

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  • solarcableguy Mar 25, 2011

    The trial isn't over yet. But, considering all the circumstantial evidence we've seen and heard presented so far, I'd say that anyone other than Brad Cooper having killed Nancy is next to nil. I'm still waiting to hear the rest of the story before completely making up my mind on how I feel about his guilt or innocence though.
    sagraham349
    March 24, 2011 8:59 a.m.

    What circumstantial evidence are you referring to that is so damning that the odds of him not doing it is next to nil? I don't think there is any solid circumstantial evidence worth deliberating over. It's just a bunch of gut feelings and assumptions from her friends and neighbors which are nothing, but gut feelings and assumptions from friends and neighbors. That is not evidence. Its a bunch of extremely biased opinions which is a joke!

  • waterUser Mar 25, 2011

    I think the evidence will show beyond an unreasonable doubt that she strangled herself.

  • superman Mar 24, 2011

    The testimony showed how they collected evidence. Seems to me they collected some stuff and there was no evidence to collect. They were just on a witch hunt. If they have any evidence at all-- they have not presented it yet. Just a lot of speculation which in no way can prove beyond any doubt that he did anything. He cant be tried but once. He probably did kill her but I wouldn't convict him to life in prison based on that. I have been married a long long time and sometimes my wife is gone all day. I dont feel she needs to tell me where she is or when she will return. Sometimes she will be gone all day and late into the evening if she is babysitting the grandchildren. In addition to that most police departments dont consider a person missing until they are gone at least 24 hours unless there are special circumstances. I noticed several weeks ago one of the bolts had come off my license tag.

  • sagraham349 Mar 24, 2011

    The trial isn't over yet. But, considering all the circumstantial evidence we've seen and heard presented so far, I'd say that anyone other than Brad Cooper having killed Nancy is next to nil. I'm still waiting to hear the rest of the story before completely making up my mind on how I feel about his guilt or innocence though.

  • solarcableguy Mar 23, 2011

    He gonna walk because there's no hard evidence and no witnesses. But he did it. The cleaning of the house and garage late at night, not reporting her missing, not contacting her family , the tags on the car it all addds up. But like I said he'll get off, in man's court.
    toughtiger
    GOLO member since March 12, 2009
    March 23, 2011 4:50 p.m.
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    Not reporting her missing? She was gone for a few hours when the nosy neighbor decided to call the police. I don't know of any spouse who would call the police after the other spouse was gone a few hours especially since she was thought to be running. 'Cleaning late at night' is speculation. There is nothing illegal about cleaning whenever you do it and he may have done some of it the morning after returning from the store. The tags on the car? What do you mean by that one? Don't tell me that everyone that has a missing bolt off there license plate is guilty of murder. Nothing adds up at this point. Nothing!

  • Alexia.1 Mar 23, 2011

    To add to dollibug's statement, who is the one who brought this empty case before the Grand Jury? Clearly, they were not being entirely honest about the facts of the case. Are their actions not illegal? Seriously... they've ruined this fellows life.

  • dollibug Mar 23, 2011

    GRAND JURY is not worth the time and effort....DO AWAY with it...I can not even imagine how in the world 12 plus citizens thought that should be a indictment for this to even go to trial.....I guess all cases are RUBBER STAMPED....so they really DO NOT EVEN NEED THE GRAND JURY to begin with....THIS CASE PROVES THIS....

  • Alexia.1 Mar 23, 2011

    "I bet he will go home tonight and read all night about computers ." --RTP_Tech

    No, I bet he will remain ignorant. What motivation does he have to become an expert?

    Hearing the testimony does scare you, no? Geez, enter the wrong word in Google and you get your hard drive filled with porn and then they declare you view porn because they found it on the computer.

    Then, who knows what and how individual files are modified while these guys try to extract data off the drive. It would not surprise me if they didn't use machines with malware on them during the whole process.

  • yourwish Mar 23, 2011

    This poor kid said he's been doing this computer forensic stuff for 4 years. That means he was 1-2 years new in 2008, trained on the job. Now he is taking one for the team because the CPD sent a rookie to the most important case they have had, ever? We are about to find out how bad the PD botched this case.

  • Alexia.1 Mar 23, 2011

    "The cleaning of the house and garage late at night, not reporting her missing, not contacting her family , the tags on the car it all addds up. But like I said he'll get off, in man's court." --toughtiger

    You're right there is no hard evidence so far. But, what does cleaning the house have to do with anything? It has been proven that she was choked, so there is no blood to find -- and they found none. License place tag. Missing screw is some kind of evidence? Even when there is no evidence it was removed from the car? (And as if a missing plate would not get some attention from police.)

    He didn't report her missing, as this was apparently not terribly unusual. Also, her friend did that way earlier than he could have. Heck, my wife has gone off for more hours than she was gone.

    I don't think anything adds up to him killing her. They were going to get a divorce and that's all the "evidence" they really have. Given that he has never exhibited violence before... what can I say?

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