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NC Supreme Court grants stay in Brad Cooper appeal

Posted September 23, 2013

Brad Cooper during his first-degree murder trial in 2011.
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— The North Carolina Supreme Court on Monday granted a temporary stay in the appeal of the 2011 first-degree murder conviction of a Cary man found guilty of killing his wife more than five years ago.

Nancy Cooper with family Nancy Cooper murder case

The state Court of Appeals ruled on Sept. 3 that Brad Cooper should get a new trial for the strangling death of Nancy Cooper after the judge erred in the 10-week murder trial by not allowing defense witnesses to testify about critical evidence that could have changed the jury's verdict.

Friday's motion for a stay, filed by the North Carolina Attorney General's Office, asked that the process of re-trying the case be put on hold while the state Supreme Court reviews the Appeals Court's ruling.

It's unclear when the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the case.

Brad Cooper, 39, is serving a life prison sentence the crime. He maintains that Nancy Cooper left to go jogging on the morning of July 12, 2008, and never returned home.

Her body was found several days later in a drainage ditch in an undeveloped subdivision a few miles from their Cary home.

But Wake County prosecutors argued that Brad Cooper killed his wife after she returned home from a neighborhood party. Witnesses said the Coopers, who moved to Cary from Canada, were in the process of separating and that Nancy Cooper wanted to move back to Canada with their two young children.

The state's only concrete evidence in the case was a Google Maps search of the site where the body was found.

They contended it was made the day before Nancy Cooper disappeared, but defense attorneys argued that someone tampered with Brad Cooper's computer while it was left powered on in the home while Cary police were searching the house for evidence.

Two witnesses were not allowed to give their expert opinion that someone tampered with the Google Maps files.

"The Google Map files recovered from the defendant's laptop were perhaps the most important pieces of evidence admitted in this trial," the three-judge appellate panel wrote in its 56-page ruling.


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  • ConservativeVoter Sep 24, 2013

    Brad Cooper was convicted because the "cool kids" in the neighborhood didn't like him.

    The bulk of the case was based on rumor, innuendo, and hearsay.

    The one piece of actual evidence was the google search and the two experts who were prepared to show how the search was planted on his laptop were not allowed to testify by the judge who had already decided Cooper was guilty.

  • affirmativediversity Sep 24, 2013

    Brad Cooper is the perfect poster child for "conviction by stereotype"

    Its what more and more LE depend on...rather than undertaking thorough, complete and unbiased investigations. It saves them tons of money and their are next to no skills required.

    Here's how it works:
    Domestic Violence Call = the man is always the abuser and the woman always the victim (no 'real man' would allow himself to be abused)
    Female Murdered = The husband did it (no married woman, especially those in a troubled marriage, can ever be murdered by a stranger...its only single, uncommitted women who suffer that fate)

  • loveyhowell Sep 24, 2013

    @carolinarox: Nancy Cooper drove a nice BMW SUV, had nice clothes, nice jewelry, nice house, membership to the pool, the health spa, a Blackberry, free to go out with her friends, stay late at cookouts, run at her leisure, go on vacations with her family and a 300.00 per week allowance. A nosy member of the clique took it upon herself to call Interact after Nancy Cooper complained she was cut off from the finances. Mom and Dad could have helped, even her Dad testifed he didnt realize how much debt they had incurred.

  • dollibug Sep 24, 2013

    Someone should have *verified* the *google search* before the records were deleted. NSA could have *solved* this case, if indeed, they can do all that has been claimed. Why did someone not get these issues resolved before going to trial? A lot of questions are still unanswered and probably will never be now due to the time that has passed. So many *things* were covered up which might have been the answers that everyone needs about this case. I guess all anyone was worried about was *getting a conviction*, which they did, and now this is on the line as well. Nancy Cooper's murder will probably be one of those crimes which will never be solved, thanks to those who were involved.

  • Alexia.1 Sep 24, 2013

    "678, yes it is true, she was spending all of Brad's money so he killed her. You don't think for one minute that made him angry?" --Obamacare for everyone

    What we learned in the trial was they were significantly in debt, largely due to her spending. But what was done was done. He took control of the finances to get things under control. He didn't kill her for spending money, as she could not spend more than the $1200/mo he gave her.

    The prosecutors also tried to say he had pent up anger over the separation agreement from 3 months prior. That's also making a stretch and almost unbelievable once we all learned that NC never even went back to her attorney to make changes. NC took no steps to move forward with a divorce.

    Meanwhile, there is evidence BC did not do it: tire tracks not his, shoe prints not his, no evidence he was ever near that hole where NC was placed, witnesses that saw NC that morning jogging, phone call, etc. I'd say there is a lot to support his not guilty claim.

  • affirmativediversity Sep 24, 2013

    I'm still wondering how any of the electronic evidence was even allowed at trial...given the fact that the Detective charged with securing and maintaining it was forced to admit tampering with it (at his leisure) and as a result of his tampering a key piece of that electronic evidence was totally destroyed.

    Why is anyone prepared to believe that Detective Young 'only' tampered with the victim's cell phone...or that his bosses' wouldn't fail to take disciplinary action and disclose other tampering that was not so obvious as a totally erased cell phone with a destroyed SIM card?

  • carolinarox Sep 24, 2013

    678, yes it is true, she was spending all of Brad's money so he killed her. You don't think for one minute that made him angry?
    Obamacare for everyone

    Brad did put an end to it without killing her. He put her on an allowance of $300 week. Not stingy in the least, but she cried "abuse". That's what got me interestedin this trial, everyone saying she was abused in one breath and how she constantly berated Brad in public in the next breath. Women who are abused don't berate their abuser in public. It doesn't happen. So it they were lying about that, what else did they lie about?

  • kikinc Sep 24, 2013

    cyndistevenson: Actually, more people think it was someone else from the neighborhood. That was a swinging neighborhood. A friend of mine dated someone who lived there, and when she introduced him to the "neighbors" he discovered that they were VERY friendly. He got out of there. He wasn't surprised to see his ex testifying at the trial.

  • dollibug Sep 24, 2013

    ***I don't see how so many can belive he is innocent.

    I guess you did NOT view the entire trial. You know there are many people who get *RAILROADED* these days - some just cave and accept a plea for a crime that they are NOT guilty of...some are pressured, coerced or forced into *admitting that they are GUILTY of a crime that they DID NOT DO. Jurors are suppose to hear a case with an open mind. The judge is SUPPOSE to make sure that *laws* are followed during trials. Law enforcement are suppose to make sure that they check out any and all leads and protect any *evidence* which might be needed for the case IF it goes to court. And you do not see how so many can believe he is innocent. We can NOT understand how Brad Cooper was indicted, tried and convicted WITHOUT any *SOLID EVIDENCE* -OMG, according to the jury foreman, it was the *42 second goggle search* which *sealed the conviction*. And this was NOT even PROVED in court that Brad Cooper did it.
    No evidence = conviction?

  • Lightfoot3 Sep 24, 2013

    "Perhaps Brad shouldn't have Googled the dump site 24 hours before he threw his wife in a ditch." - Obamacare for everyone

    He allegedly googled the area around his home, something many, many people do all the time. Plus the computer was not secured as evidence. Plus the state didn't allow expert defense testimony. Guilty or innocent, this sham of a trial was guaranteed to win an appeal.

    However, I still find it funny that the state portrays him as some kind of super computer genius, able to fake phone calls and such, but he doesn't know to delete his broswer history? Or use another computer other than his own?