Local News

Media appeal sealing of Cooper search warrants

Posted August 25, 2008 5:49 p.m. EDT
Updated August 25, 2008 9:07 p.m. EDT

— WRAL News and the News & Observer appealed Monday, a week after a judge ordered three search warrants in the Nancy Cooper case to stay sealed until Sept. 2.

Cooper, 34, was found dead in an undeveloped subdivision just outside Cary’s town limit on July 14, two days after a friend reported her missing.

In the appeal, the media attorneys assert that the Wake County district attorney has not made an adequate case for sealing the warrants.

Prosecutors have argued that making information in the warrants public could hurt the case.

Amanda Martin, an attorney representing Capitol Broadcasting Co. – the parent company of WRAL News – and The News & Observer Publishing Co., said it was the state's burden to prove why the integrity of the investigation could not be protected any other way.

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens said in sealing the warrants that he needs to balance all interests in the case.

One of documents allowed police to search the home and vehicles of Nancy Cooper and her husband, Brad Cooper, as well as to obtain DNA samples from Brad Cooper. That warrant originally was sealed for 30 days and had been expected to be released Monday.

Another warrant was for Brad Cooper's office at Cisco Systems in Research Triangle Park. The third was for an undisclosed location.

Authorities have said they do not believe Nancy Cooper's slaying was a random crime, but they have not named a suspect or person of interest in the case. They've said little else about the case since then.

The warrants are of interest because they include affidavits in which investigators explain to the court why they believe the warrant is justified, possibly including their theories of a case or explaining why a named person is being targeted for the search.