Nancy Cooper

Detective didn't initially suspect Cooper in wife's disappearance

Posted March 29, 2011
Updated March 31, 2011

— Defense attorneys for a Cary man on trial for his wife's death nearly three years ago began Tuesday cross-examining one of the lead detectives in the investigation.

Brad Cooper, 37, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 12, 2008, strangling death of his wife, Nancy Cooper, 34, who he has said went jogging that morning and never returned home.

Cary Police Detective Jim Young Full video: Day 14 trial testimony

Her disappearance prompted a massive two-day search of jogging trails and lakes in Cary until a man walking his dog found her body in a drainage ditch in an undeveloped subdivision 3 miles from the couple's home.

Cary police detective Jim Young told defense attorney Howard Kurtz on Tuesday that he never considered Brad Cooper a suspect in his wife's disappearance until a July 14, 2008, interview, during which Brad Cooper's statements raised red flags for him.

Until that point, Young said, he was conducting a missing persons investigation.

Defense attorneys have said that Cary police investigators set their sights on Brad Cooper early on in the investigation and ignored evidence that could have proved he did not kill his wife.

Prosecutors have said that Brad Cooper and Nancy Cooper were in the process of separating and that he became financially controlling of her when she wanted to move to Canada with their two children.

He allegedly killed her in the early-morning hours of July 12, 2008, shortly after she returned home from a neighborhood party, they have said.

Young also testified Tuesday that investigators searched the Coopers' home in August and October but never recovered a pair of shoes that Brad Cooper had been wearing in Harris Teeter surveillance video on July 12, 2008.

It was one of two shopping trips he says he made between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. for his wife that day. Defense attorneys have said the grocery store visits prove Nancy Cooper was still alive before the time Brad Cooper has said she went jogging.

During cross-examination, Young said that because of the quality of the surveillance video, he couldn’t say for sure whether Brad Cooper’s shoes were clean or whether he left dirty footprints on the store floor.

Young also testified that that during an Oct. 29, 2008, search of the Cooper home – two days after Brad Cooper was arrested –investigators also seized a number of pieces of jewelry, including a diamond pendant necklace and a diamond ring that belonged to Nancy Cooper.

Those items, he said, were found in a drawer of clothing belonging to Brad Cooper's mother in an upstairs guestroom, the same room Brad Cooper had used when his wife was alive.


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  • craig615537 Mar 30, 2011

    Don't understand how a detective doesn't know what a SIM card is or if his phone has one.

  • ebeamer7472 Mar 30, 2011

    This doesn't seem right. You send BC's phone to FBI but not NC's phone from the beginning rather than having an inexperienced detective working on it?

  • scrimpin Mar 30, 2011

    "We are not talking about an hour here scrimpin. This is week 3."

    Would you like them to rush this case and risk freeing a guilty man or putting an innocent man behind bars Jonara? Something of this scale takes ALOT of time.

    Monday morning quarterbacking is easy when its someone else your talking about...

  • jonara Mar 30, 2011

    "REAL court cases arent solved in 1 hr with commercial breaks" scrimpin

    We are not talking about an hour here scrimpin. This is week 3.

  • ebeamer7472 Mar 30, 2011

    Jurors are probably very happy back there. I know I have been when serving on trials

  • Knock Mar 30, 2011

    Worried about the jury being kept hostage? Really?

  • scrimpin Mar 30, 2011

    fyi.....REAL court cases arent solved in 1 hr with commercial breaks...this isn't Matlock. For those that are growing tired of the case,..heres an idea turn off your computer, your getting a green screne tan. All good cases take awhile and the DA has to show a time line before they present their "smoking gun" would be bad form to give up your Ace prematurely. It's easy to bash the cops and the DA's office when you havent got clue how to do their job...

  • ebeamer7472 Mar 30, 2011

    Whoa, did Young just say someone would have to punch in the numbers from home phone to make that call?

  • jonara Mar 30, 2011

    "anyone know, how many witnesses from each side, how much longer of this nonsense do we have left." paketstorm

    I guess that depends. Do you really think this judge is going to let the defense call any witnesses?

  • BostonCollegeMom Mar 30, 2011

    Sorry about the English is the previous comment. Trying to do 10 things at one time and hit enter too quickly.