Local News

Brad Cooper asks for court-appointed attorney

Posted October 28, 2008 2:47 p.m. EDT
Updated October 28, 2008 6:31 p.m. EDT

— Brad Cooper stood expressionless and said nothing Tuesday afternoon as he faced a judge for the first time since being charged with murder in the July death of wife, Nancy Cooper.

Speaking on his behalf were his attorneys, Howard Kurtz and Seth Blum, who asked Wake County District Judge Jane Gray to appoint their client a public defender, saying he is not in a position to hire his own attorney.

Gray granted the request and ordered Cooper – wearing an orange and white jumpsuit – back to jail, where he is being held without bond.

Both lawyers are among a team of attorneys that represent Cooper in the custody dispute with his wife's family over the Coopers' two young children.

Kurtz will continue to represent him, according to the Office of the Capital Defender, the part of the state's court system that ensures defendants who need it have legal representation.

A Wake County grand jury on Monday indicted Cooper, 35, more than three months after his wife's body was found in an undeveloped subdivision three miles from the Coopers' Cary home. A state medical examiner's autopsy found she had likely been strangled.

Cooper told police Nancy Cooper went jogging around 7 a.m. on July 12 and never returned home. Through his attorneys, he has denied being involved with her slaying, but has admitted to police that he and his wife were having marital difficulties.

Claiming Cooper was emotionally abusive to his wife in the months prior to her death, Nancy Cooper's family filed for and gained granted temporary custody of the children.

That temporary custody is still intact, said Alice Stubbs, an attorney representing Nancy Cooper's family, and a judge is still working out the details of the order.

Back in court, a handful of Nancy Cooper's friends, as well as Brad Cooper's mother, Carol Cooper, attended the first court appearance.

Carol Cooper did not comment as she left the courthouse, but friends said they wanted to be there to represent Nancy Cooper's family in Canada.

"We figured someone needed to be here to represent that side," said friend Hannah Prichard. "We just felt like we wanted to come."

Prichard said now that police have made an arrest, they feel like they can begin the healing process of losing a friend.

"I think everyone is feeling good that we have taken a step in the right direction," she said.

"The tears, they're coming. We laugh, we yell, we cry within minutes of each other, and it's definitely an emotional roller coaster."