Nancy Cooper

Brad Cooper defense pokes holes in state's case

Posted April 28, 2011
Updated April 29, 2011

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— Brad Cooper's defense attorneys showed jurors video Thursday that contradicted earlier testimony that Nancy Cooper always wore her cherished diamond pendant necklace.

Brad Cooper purchased the necklace for his wife in October 2007, Nancy Cooper's friend, Hannah Mathers Prichard, testified in March, and she wore it at a pool on the day before her death.

But Richard McGough, a private investigator for the defense, said she was not wearing it when she was paying for groceries at a Harris Teeter that same day.

Richard McGough Full video: Day 35 trial testimony

The surveillance video comes as attorneys attempt to cast doubt on the case of prosecutors, who claim Brad Cooper, 37, strangled his wife in the early hours of July 12, 2008, after she returned home from a neighborhood barbecue.

"I looked at this. I don't see a necklace," McGough said. "I can see there's no necklace there."

Police found the necklace in the Cooper home several months after Nancy Cooper's death, and the state has implied that Brad Cooper must have removed it from her body after he allegedly killed her and kept it.

Defense attorneys have said Nancy Cooper went jogging around 7 a.m. on the day she died and that Cary police ignored evidence that could have led them to her killer, including accounts from more than a dozen witnesses who saw a jogger matching her description that morning.

According to McGough's testimony, at least three people, including a Cary police officer, said they saw a woman jogging along the same route around the same time that Nancy Cooper would have been running.

Nancy Cooper surveillance video Trial excerpt: Nancy Cooper's necklace

One of those witnesses, Curtis Hodges, testified that he was 90 percent sure the woman he saw was Nancy Cooper. Another witness, Rosemary Zednick, said she was confident of it.

Testimony resumes Friday morning. Court was abbreviated Thursday to accommodate the needs of one of the jurors.

Attorneys spent the afternoon in a special hearing about a last-minute computer forensics expert for the defense.

Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner ruled on Monday that Giovanni Masucci could not be called to testify about a Google Maps search on Brad Cooper's work laptop, in part, because prosecutors would not have time to prepare for adequate cross-examination.

Witnesses have said the search in question was made on July 11, 2008, of the site where Nancy Cooper's body was found.

The so-called "offering of proof" is important for the appeals process, if Brad Cooper is found guilty.

Masucci testified that Cary police didn't follow typical forensic protocol when they seized the computer, which was left on for 27 hours after it was in police custody.

Hundreds of files had invalid timestamps, Masucci said, indicating files had been dumped onto the computer from another file system.

Files modified prior to June 23, 2008, had no invalid timestamps, he said. About 83 percent of those modified from July 10-12, 2008, and every file from the Google Maps search had invalid timestamps, he said.

"It is my opinion that with all the suspicious activity that I found on it, the files that were altered, that there's definitely spoliation on that computer, which would lead me to believe it was tampered with," Masucci said. "I couldn't tell you who exactly did it, but I can tell you it's been tampered."

Thursday marked the 35th day of testimony in the trial, and it's unclear how many more days remain.

Prior to going home for the day Thursday, one of the jurors sent Gessner a note asking him to encourage the attorneys to be more efficient.

"Please encourage the attorneys to use time more wisely. Shortened days prolong this process," the note read. "We are hoping to finish this soon! Please ask them to have their witnesses ready to go. We want our lives back."

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  • lorene572 May 5, 2011

    When I saw this testmony ....

    "It is my opinion that with all the suspicious activity that I found on it, the files that were altered, that there's definitely spoliation on that computer, which would lead me to believe it was tampered with," Masucci said. "I couldn't tell you who exactly did it, but I can tell you it's been tampered."

    I was shocked when the Judge said that he wouldn't allow the jury to hear it. The Judge could have allowed the State time to prepare themselves for cross-examination. I think it stinks and it is very unfair that this testimony wasn't allowed. It could help towards a not guilty verdict.

  • Everyonehasone Apr 29, 2011

    Post from anti-mako II on April 29, 2011 9:06 a.m.
    "I still chuckle about the ducks. When DA wnated to know why Mrs. Cooper never said anything........picture this:"
    I think there is a typo here.:) Point is..No one is perfect.

  • HyeAghcheg Apr 29, 2011

    "I will Add that If Brad Cooper is Guilty and Ms. Alice Stubbs Advise Nancy Cooper to stay in the home knowing that she was feeling she had to sleep fully dressed with her car keys in her pocket..should'nt be held as an accessory since its her job to protect thier client?"

    I think the fact the Stubbs advised NC to remain in the home is indicative of the fact that BC had never been violent, nor did NC harbor genuine fear of him. The story of her sleeping in her jeans, along with keys, appears to be another embellished tale. Think logically: if NC was truly fearful for her own well being or that of her daughters, do you really think she would have remained with him? If that were the case, she would have had him legally removed from the home immediately.

  • Everyonehasone Apr 29, 2011

    lol yes yourwish. Wanted to give anti-Mako II something to hang me with but you beat him to it.

  • yourwish Apr 29, 2011

    "IF they had actually STOLED the children, they would be in jail as well. Kidnapping is a serious charge. The courts GAVE the children to them. There is a big difference here."

    I agree that we need to be more civil to each other here but, 'STOLED the children?' You're being funny right???

  • Everyonehasone Apr 29, 2011

    My last post was directed to BCGuilty. Thought I made that clear but maybe not.anti-Mako II

    Well I guess that statement proves your not perfect.:)

  • Mrs.DarylDixon Apr 29, 2011

    im thinking a possible scenario couldve been that BC actually WAS NC's jogger attacker, so that there WOULD be witnesses seeing her jogging that morning.

  • Everyonehasone Apr 29, 2011

    anti-Mako II..I know it happened before he got arrested. I didn't say it didn't. You need to focuse on the issue being stated not the grammer itself. This isn't english class and you are a very rude, closed minded person. You base your so called facts on your opinon as I do as well. IF they had actually STOLED the children, they would be in jail as well. Kidnapping is a serious charge. The courts GAVE the children to them. There is a big difference here. Get the facts right before you lash out at others voicing an opinon. Thank you.

  • anti-Hans Apr 29, 2011

    My last post was directed to BCGuilty. Thought I made that clear but maybe not.

  • cdhrtp Apr 29, 2011

    WRAL TV
    BREAKING NEWS: Brad Cooper defense rests case
    Keep up with breaking news at http://www.wral.com/

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