Local News

Judge has questions about Cooper's statements

Posted September 7, 2010 11:59 a.m. EDT
Updated September 7, 2010 1:45 p.m. EDT

— A judge on Tuesday wanted to know if statements submitted to police by the attorneys for Brad Cooper, a Cary man accused of killing his wife more than two years ago, actually came from Cooper.

Cooper has told investigators that his wife, Nancy Cooper, went jogging on the morning of July 12, 2008, and never returned home.

A man walking his dog two days later found the body of the 34-year-old mother-of-two in an undeveloped subdivision less than 3 miles from the Coopers’ Lochmere home.

An autopsy determined that she had likely been strangled.

Brad Cooper was arrested in October 2008 and charged with first-degree murder.

On Tuesday, Brad Cooper told Judge Paul Gessner that the statements, submitted to police before his arrest, were made by him.

Another issue discussed were e-mails exchanged between Brad Cooper and his attorneys. His attorney argued that they the e-mails, which are located on a computer purchased after police searched Cooper's home, are privileged communication, but prosecutors say some of the e-mails might be evidence.

Gessner has assigned a third party to look over the e-mails. No decision was made on whether the e-mails should be turned over to the prosecution for discovery before Brad Cooper's Oct. 25 trial.

On Friday, Brad Cooper's attorneys will be back in court as they argue a motion for a change of trial venue.

The attorneys contend that local news reports, specifically those of WRAL News and The News & Observer, could keep their client from getting a fair trial in Wake County.

According to the motion, "extensive pre-trial publicity" might give jurors "preconceived impressions" of the case. Cooper's attorneys called the coverage of his case "inflammatory" and "prejudiced" regarding his potential guilt.

As police investigated Nancy Cooper's homicide in 2008, her family successfully fought a public battle for custody of the couple's two daughters. It included testimony from family and friends who asserted their beliefs that Brad Cooper killed his wife and claims that he had been emotionally abusive to her in the weeks before her death.