Nancy Cooper

Nancy Cooper's twin details sister's troubled marriage

Posted April 4, 2011
Updated April 5, 2011

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— Nancy Cooper's twin sister took the stand Monday afternoon in her former brother-in-law's first-degree murder trial, recounting her sister's longing to get out of her troubled marriage and the day she found out that she had disappeared.

Krista Lister said she was at a baseball game in Toronto on the afternoon of July 12, 2008, when she received two calls from friends wanting to know if she had heard from Nancy Cooper.

Wes Watson Full video: Day 18 trial testimony

Around 3:30 p.m. that day, she said, she called her sister's home in Cary. Brad Cooper answered.

"(I asked) if Nan was there, and he said, 'No,'" a tearful Lister recalled. "I said, 'What have you done to her?' And I hung up."

Brad Cooper, 37, is accused of killing his wife, Nancy Cooper, 34, and dumping her body in an undeveloped subdivision 3 miles from the Coopers' home. He contends that she went jogging that morning and never returned home.

Lister testified Monday that the Coopers were in the process of separating after Brad Cooper admitted to an affair and that Nancy Cooper, a Canadian citizen, had planned on returning to Canada with her two daughters in April 2008. (Watch Krista Lister's full testimony.)

But when Brad Cooper found out preliminary details of a separation agreement outlining his financial obligations to Nancy Cooper and his daughters," he freaked out," Lister said.

"He just halted everything," she said. "(Nancy) was lost. All we knew was that she had to get the separation agreement done and that she needed to get out of the house, but she didn't know what she was going to do."

Excerpt: 'What have you done to her?' Trial excerpt: 'What have you done to her?'

The relationship was rocky and tense, Lister said, adding that she heard the couple yell, scream and argue over money several times during a visit in early 2008.

Unable to obtain a visa to work legally in the U.S., Nancy Cooper was financially dependent on her husband, witnesses have said, after he cut her off from their bank account and credit cards, allotting her $300 a week for groceries and gasoline.

Lister said that, when she offered to give her sister money, Nancy Cooper begged her not to, telling her "that her life would be hell" and that "she would have to deal with the repercussions."

"It had gotten really bad and she needed out," Lister said of the Coopers' relationship. "She was looking for any help, any idea. She just needed out."

Monday marked the 18th day of testimony for the state, which contends that Brad Cooper, killed his wife sometime after she returned from a neighborhood party around 12:30 a.m. on July 12, 2008.

Excerpt: Coopers were fighting Trial excerpt: Coopers were fighting

Wes Watson, an entomologist for the North Carolina Program for Forensic Sciences, testified Monday that fly larvae on Nancy Cooper's body indicated she had been dead anywhere from 68 to 72 hours before her body was found, putting her time of death sometime between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. on July 12, 2008.

On cross-examination, he said he wasn't completely confident in the results because he had so few samples with which to work. The larvae weren't properly preserved, he said, and all but 12 of the living specimen died before he had a chance to examine them.

Heather Hanna, a geochemist with the North Carolina Geological Survey, also testified that she found white mica on a pair of Brad Cooper's shoes that was similar to white mica at the site where investigators recovered Nancy Cooper's body.

But she said she could not reach a conclusion as to whether the two samples had the same chemical composition.

Defense attorneys have accused Cary police of focusing solely on their client as a suspect, tampering with evidence and ignoring other information that could have helped find Nancy Cooper’s killer.

They questioned Cary police officer David Hazelzet on Monday about why he did not take photos or collect pieces of straw he observed on the front hall rug of the Cooper home on July 15, 2008, the day after Nancy Cooper's body was recovered.

Hazelzet testified Friday that the straw on the rug caught his attention because it was similar to straw he saw covering grass at the site where Nancy Cooper was found dead.

He said that he never seized it because a search warrant hadn't been issued and he had no legal authority to do so. When he went back inside the residence later that day, he didn't look for it again, he said.

No straw has been entered into evidence, so far, and it's unclear whether it was ever recovered from the home.

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  • Genie v2.0 Apr 6, 2011

    "but I do know, by law, a company must pay an employee reg. salary while out on jury duty.' Deb

    SOrry, but that info is TOTALLY wrong. NO one has to pay you while you are on jury duty and MOST do not. Now county gov employees usually get paid, but they have to also turn the jury pay back over to the county.

    But Jury duty can get VERY expensive if someone does NOT have vactation time because NO Law says you must be paid

  • Deb1003 Apr 6, 2011

    @vrickle...I don't know how much they are paid, but I do know, by law, a company must pay an employee reg. salary while out on jury duty. The little they are paid for jury duty is to cover misc. expenses. My husband has served on the jury in Wake Co a couple times...the pay is minimal.

  • annieaamrm Apr 6, 2011

    I have to believe the prosecution has a very important card yet to play (I sure hope so). They are probably waiting to pull it out near the end of presenting their case so that this card will be fresher in the jury's mind when listening to the defense. And hopefully all this 'she said' will support the intent of this card that is yet to be played.

  • concerncitizen Apr 5, 2011

    "Trial watching is a time-honored pastime. I, for one, don't think that either of them is 'innocent'. I've said repeatedly that neither BC or NC is a sympathetic character, they were both headed for a train wreck of a divorce that would only damage the kids. The real problem here is watching the prosecution parade witness after witness to the stand to testify about what a lousy marriage the two of them had, and in the final analysis they are destroying any sympathy the jury might have for the dead woman and failing to produce any corroborating evidence beyond the circumstantial that he did it. My concern is to see justice done, and I ain't seeing it here.
    bgcoving"

    I agree! Sometimes the guilty must go free in order for our justice system to survive! Here in NC alone we have several examples of the not guilty being locked up, because of a rush for revenge! What's wrong with a few guilty going free... our justice system is built on the fact that the guilty might go free for awhile... W

  • Skydiver2 Apr 5, 2011

    How much do you get paid for JURY DUTY now per day? Will some jobs pay you even when you are away for jury duty? Imagine how much money they could be losing? The one time I went I spent 3 days and was paid very little to nothing and my job paid me nothing as well. IT IS TIME TO GET TO EVIDENCE OR END IT.
    RM24
    I'm sure it's no where near $300 a week! NC would've had a fit if she ever went to jury duty.

  • b8esfan Apr 5, 2011

    What happened with the BMW lady and the tracking device? I got a phone call and missed it..anyone, please?

  • StevenNC Apr 5, 2011

    If Brad had killed Nancy, it sounds like he might have had a viable defense in asserting battered husband syndrome.

  • homebrewer Apr 5, 2011

    DA only cares about getting a conviction - even if that means they have to show how CRAZY she was, and that some otherwise reasonable spouses could easily 'snap' under those circumstances. Maybe he should have pled Temporary Insanity. Honestly knowing all we know now...I would have bought that defense! ctkane

    Lack of evidence aside, with her character as an abusive spouse revealed, I think they would have had better luck going after him for second degree. If he all of a sudden had enough of her abuse and snapped and killed her it was not premeditated.

  • bgcoving Apr 5, 2011

    I can't understand why so many of the people posting on here think this man is totally innocent. Were you there in the house the whole time? Did you hear every word spoken between these two? Sounds like a bunch of armchair sleuths to me.
    driverkid3

    Trial watching is a time-honored pastime. I, for one, don't think that either of them is 'innocent'. I've said repeatedly that neither BC or NC is a sympathetic character, they were both headed for a train wreck of a divorce that would only damage the kids. The real problem here is watching the prosecution parade witness after witness to the stand to testify about what a lousy marriage the two of them had, and in the final analysis they are destroying any sympathy the jury might have for the dead woman and failing to produce any corroborating evidence beyond the circumstantial that he did it. My concern is to see justice done, and I ain't seeing it here.

  • ThinkingPerson Apr 5, 2011

    http://www.wral.com/golo/page/1896337/?id=9388299

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