Nancy Cooper

Brad Cooper was in shock, mother testifies

Posted April 27, 2011

— Brad Cooper was in shock and was traumatized in the days following his wife's strangling death, his mother said Wednesday, as she testified about life with her son in the months prior to his arrest for first-degree murder.

Carol Cooper, of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada said that after Nancy Cooper's body was recovered from a drainage ditch on July 14, 2008, that she and her son would go on walks, go shopping and do housework, including painting and organizing the Coopers’ Cary home, to stay busy.

Carol Cooper Full video: Day 34 trial testimony

They grieved Nancy Cooper's death privately, she said, and chose not to attend a July 19, 2008, public service in her honor.

"Bradley had bought a bouquet of flowers and he had put a picture of Nancy at the front door – and her running cap," Carol Cooper said. "We wanted to be out of the public eye."

By that time, he was already involved in a high-profile custody battle with his wife's family over his two children. A family court judge had granted them temporary custody of Bella, 4, and Katie, 2, two days after Nancy Cooper's body was found.

"He was very sad. Very quiet," Carol Cooper said. "He couldn't believe his children had been taken and his wife, all in the same week."

Brad Cooper, 37, has said Nancy Cooper went jogging on the morning of July 12, 2008, and never returned home. Prosecutors contend that he killed her because of pent-up aggression and anger and dumped her body 3 miles from their Cary home.

Defense attorneys have said Cary police ignored evidence that could have proved Brad Cooper didn't kill his wife and have accused investigators of being dishonest.

Excerpt: State questions Brad Cooper's mother about ducks Trial excerpt: Missing wooden ducks

Carol Cooper's testimony was their latest attempt at discrediting police work in the case.

Detectives said they were never able to find wooden ducks that sat on a table in the foyer of the Cooper home and thought that they might have been broken during a struggle.

But Carol Cooper testified that she remembered seeing them packed in a box several weeks after Nancy Cooper's death.

They were part of several pieces of artwork that Brad Cooper had given to his attorney in the custody case to help pay his legal bills, she said.

Earlier Wednesday, longtime friends Laura and Mike Hiller testified that the couple was often cordial to one another in public and that they had no indication of physical or emotional abuse in the relationship or that Nancy Cooper was scared of her husband.

Excerpt: Witness read Nancy’s autopsy, posted theories online  Trial excerpt: Witness's autopsy theories

The testimony differed from that of earlier witnesses, who said Nancy Cooper often talked about her failing marriage after her husband admitted to an affair with a friend of hers and her desire to divorce him and move with their two children to Canada.

Although they were aware the marriage was in trouble, the Hillers said they never knew information that other witnesses have testified that Nancy Cooper told them about.

Among those details were that Brad Cooper gave his wife a weekly cash allowance and took his daughters' passports to keep his wife from leaving the country. Nancy Cooper also had suspicions that someone was listening in on her phone calls, other witnesses testified.

Defense attorney Howard Kurtz said in opening statements in March that, in the year prior to Nancy Cooper's death, she developed close friendships – many with mothers she met at her daughters' preschool – and aired to her new friends the marriage's "dirty laundry" and embellished stories about her relationship with her husband.

Mike Hiller Trial excerpt: Encounter with Jessica Adam

Friends, like the Hillers, Kurtz said, weren't "fed the same distorted information."

"Nancy had some distinct groups of friends," Mike Hiller testified Wednesday.

In the hours and days following her death, there was disagreement among the friends, Hiller said, about what might have happened to her and what her plans had been the day she went missing.

"We didn't get together and disagree, but there were different beliefs," he said.

One of those beliefs was whether Nancy Cooper had planned to help paint at 8 a.m. the home of one of her friends, Jessica Adam.

Laura Hiller testified that Nancy Cooper never mentioned plans to paint on July 12, 2008, but did talk about going to the pool and possibly having a game night that evening with the Hillers.

Mike Hiller said that he also had plans to play tennis with Brad Cooper that day at 9:30 a.m. and that Nancy Cooper knew about them.

He and Adam got into a confrontation outside the Cooper home shortly after Adam reported her friend missing, he recalled Wednesday.

"I don't understand how you could have painting plans, because Brad and I were going to play tennis,” Hiller said he told Adam.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • lesp37 Apr 29, 2011

    Wow! Great input cbeetee, thanks! No, I don't know anything about him, just googled him because I thought it would be relevant for everyone to know facts about him.

  • cbeetee Apr 29, 2011

    Lesp37, you seem to know much about R. Gilmore's expertise, would maybe the fact he was in the Raleigh police academy along side Judge Gessner have anything to do with the testimony not used? Conflict of interest. Defense should have done their homework on this guy Gilmore or Risk Management for that matter who is made up almost entirely of ex-cops and ex-SBI pencil pushers. Instead of divulging this information to the Defense team, RM just took the money and ran. They need it to wine and dine the area police departments soliciting their "services". If people really knew the truth of what goes on.

  • Alexia.1 Apr 28, 2011

    'what a mess..... why don't people just get a divorce and call it "quit" !' --mjlt3

    They were going to, but somebody killed her.

  • mjlt3 Apr 28, 2011

    what a mess..... why don't people just get a divorce and call it "quit" !

  • zeppy2827 Apr 28, 2011


  • zeppy2827 Apr 28, 2011

    THE judge IS NO GOOD..........................

  • zeppy2827 Apr 28, 2011


    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- About 10,000 people in the United States may be wrongfully convicted of serious crimes each year, a new study suggests.

    The results are based on a survey of 188 judges, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, sheriffs and police

    chiefs in Ohio and 41 state attorneys general.

    The study also found that the most important factor leading to wrongful conviction is eyewitness


    These findings are included in the new book Convicted But Innocent: Wrongful Conviction and Public Policy (Sage Publications, 1996). The book was written by C. Ronald Huff, director of the Criminal Justice Research Center and the School of Public Policy and Management at Ohio State University; Arye Rattner, professor of sociology at the University of Haifa, Israel; and the late Edward Sagarin, who was a professor of sociology at City College and CityUniversity of New York.

    The survey asked respondents to estimate the

  • pixleme Apr 28, 2011

    For those of you who think that innocent people going to jail is a rare thing, read this study done in Ohio. The title says it all.


    Underline this part because it so fits this trial:

    The next most common main cause was perjury by a witness, which contributed to 11 percent of the convictions. Other problems included negligence by criminal justice officials, coerced confessions, "frame ups" by guilty parties, and general overzealousness by officers and prosecutors.

    Overzealousness can lead authorities to make careless, if unintentional errors, and cause some authorities to bend rules to get a known criminal off the street. Failure to keep an open mind can cause errors that become rubber-stamped by trusting colleagues as the case moves through the judicial process, Huff says. By the time the errors are discovered, the trail to the real offender is cold.

    Public pressure to s

  • Trueman Apr 28, 2011

    This is really unbelievable! How could it have been rejected to have this expert to testify. Why is it not purpose of the justice system to seek and to show the truth? The testimony that the computer files were changed and put in defendant's system is very important and critical to be heard by the Jury...

  • nevergo55mph Apr 28, 2011

    I cannot BELIEVE he judge refused to allow this witness to testify!!