Nancy Cooper

State rests its case in prosecution of Brad Cooper

Posted April 18, 2011
Updated April 19, 2011

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— Prosecutors in the trial of a Cary man accused in his wife's slaying rested their case Monday after 28 days of testimony and more than five dozen witnesses.

Jurors hearing testimony in Brad Cooper's lengthy first-degree murder trial also reviewed state evidence, including photos, computer equipment, phones, running shoes and Nancy Cooper's green summer dress she wore the night before her death.

Cary police Detective George Daniels Full video: Day 28 trial testimony

Brad Cooper, 37, is accused of strangling Nancy Cooper, 34, in the early-morning hours of July 12, 2008, and dumping her body in a drainage ditch in an undeveloped subdivision 3 miles from their home in Cary's Lochmere subdivision.

Defense attorneys have said that Nancy Cooper went jogging at 7 a.m. that morning and never returned home.

The state's final witness, George Daniels, a detective with the Cary Police Department, testified that the crime was the result of longstanding marital issues over money and a lack of trust because of an extramarital affair by Brad Cooper.

"The motive that I saw was a motive of anger – a motive of pent-up aggression – and at some point, (Brad Cooper) just couldn't take it anymore," Daniels said.

A witness from the FBI testified that computer evidence found on Brad Cooper's password-protected IBM laptop indicated that someone had searched maps of Fielding Drive, where Nancy Cooper's body was found, the day before she disappeared.

Daniels said that Brad Cooper, an expert in Internet telephone technology, also had the knowledge and ability to stage a phone call from the Coopers' home phone to Brad Cooper's cellphone to make it appear that Nancy Cooper was still alive when prosecutors say she wasn't.

"We were looking at the totality of the whole circumstances, and looking at that, it became evident to me, at the time, that this was a domestic issue," Daniels said.

Daniels faced tough questions during cross-examination on Friday and Monday about that phone call and about a lack of evidence to prove that Brad Cooper staged it.

Brad Cooper has said his wife called him at 6:40 a.m. the day she disappeared as he was driving to a grocery store for laundry detergent.

“What specific evidence do you have that shows that phone call was automated?” defense attorney Howard Kurtz asked.

“I don’t have any specific information, and I think that’s one of the unusual issues here, because there were so many different ways he could have done it," Daniels said. "He had the motive. He had the means. He had the opportunity.”

Kurtz has said that Cary police's work on the case was inept and dishonest and that investigators, early in the case, focused solely on Brad Cooper as a suspect and ignored evidence that could have helped find his wife's killer.

Daniels was questioned at length about the number of interviews police did with Brad Cooper while the investigation was still classified as a missing persons case. Kurtz suggested that made his client feel like a suspect.

But Daniels said it wasn't unusual for detectives to conduct multiple interviews and that detectives repeatedly tried to get Brad Cooper to go to the Cary Police Department for an in-depth interview, but he declined each time.

Kurtz also questioned Daniels about the defense's claims that police ignored for three months more than a dozen people who said they saw a woman matching Nancy Cooper's description jogging on the morning of July 12, 2008.

Daniels defended the police work, saying all information was gathered when it was reported and that any credible information was followed up on.

He did have detectives interview those witnesses three months later, he said, to ensure they had no other information to assist in the investigation.

“There was never any information that wasn't followed up on," Daniels said.

Defense attorneys could begin calling witnesses to testify as soon as Tuesday.

The trial, which began with opening statements on March 9, could last several more weeks. A list of potential witnesses for the defense includes 227 names.

If convicted, Brad Cooper faces life in prison.


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  • MikeTysonsPunchOut Apr 22, 2011

    Does anybody find it strange that so many defense witnesses say they directly recognized Nancy as the jogger they saw? Weather records for Cary NC for that day say conditions were quite foggy...especially during the morning hours. I'm not saying they didn't see a jogger. Or that it's impossible that Nancy was the jogger, but fog is a severely impairing factor in reference to visibility. If she was jogging and somebody hit her because they couldn't see herI could see how that's possible...but she was strangled, not hit by a car.

    Not to mention, if she was in as great of shape as everyone says she was in, and out jogging around so many people and someone tried to grab her, she: A.) probably could have outrun them...B.) would have put up a heck of a fight...and C.) would have been heard screaming by one of the many people that saw her.

    Also, nobody jogs while wearing diamond earrings.

    Just my two cents.

  • dogwonder Apr 19, 2011

    *anyone can go. it's in room 3C. you don't have to stay the whole day but you are only allowed to come in and leave during breaks and lunch-busterbluth

    I was in the courtroom last week, wed and thursday. Anyone could enter or leave at any time (no break required).

  • dontgetmestarted Apr 19, 2011

    But thanks for playing, Johnny has some nice parting gifts for you....

    Yeah, and I'm sure BC will send you a lovely gift for believing his innocence. I'm not saying the court will be able to find him guilty based on this sorry excuse for a trial, but I do believe he did it. I understand that the burden of proof is upon the prosecution and I appologize for using the wrong "wording" but I believe beyond a reasonable doubt that he did it. Did the prosecution prove that? No. Still doesn't change the facts just they way they are presented in court.

    "unexplained things like the 6:40AM phone call - no evidence that he faked it." Just because they can't prove it doesn't mean he didn't do it.

    Yes, that is exactly what it means. If they can't prove it, it didn't happen.

    I disagree, it just means they don't have the knowledge or resources to prove it. There are alot of things we know to be fact but just can "prove" .

  • Intrepid Apr 19, 2011

    solarflare40: now that is thinking like a lawyer...however I am not sure gessner has that kind foresight and intelligence. Remember he is a refugee from the DA's office; not really qualified to practice law. I hope you are right nevertheless...

  • solarflare40 Apr 19, 2011

    I have a new theory about Judge Gessner. Maybe he is not as inept as it appears. Maybe he really believes BC is innocent, but wanted to give the prosecution every chance to prove their case, while guaranteeing that a guilty verdict will certainly be overturned. I'm trying to justify him clearly denying BC his rights!

  • busterbluth Apr 19, 2011

    dogwonder - i think they have to sit on that side b/c they can't show the jury

  • _kommon_sense_ Apr 19, 2011

    new article

  • cdhrtp Apr 19, 2011

    bradcooperisinnocent - anyone can go. it's in room 3C. you don't have to stay the whole day but you are only allowed to come in and leave during breaks and lunch

    That is typically the rule, but I have seen Nancy's family come and go without any problem. Made me kind of wonder why nothing was said.

    The rules should be consistent for all parties

  • nufsaid Apr 19, 2011

    Jonara, I hope that our government never gets to the point when they have "tight controls" on the internet or any other outlet for information. And I find it disturbing when attempts are made to accomplish that.

  • ArmyWife456 Apr 19, 2011

    New story...get a load of this headline!!