Local News

Massive evidence cited for delays in Samuel Cooper trial prep

Posted July 10, 2009 12:19 p.m. EDT
Updated July 10, 2009 2:42 p.m. EDT

— Prosecutors and defense attorneys will meet next month to go over the massive amount of evidence collected in the case of a convicted felon accused of killing five people.

Defense attorneys told a Superior Court judge Friday that they have not been receiving discovery evidence quickly enough and that the delay has prevented them from effectively working on their client's defense.

Samuel James Cooper, 32, was arrested in November 2007 and charged with five counts of murder in connection with five unsolved homicides dating to May 2006. Investigators said they believe robbery was a motive in each case.

Prosecutors said Friday that they have a conference room full of evidence relating to the case and that they are trying to get it to Cooper's attorneys as quickly as they can.

Both sides agreed to meet the week of Aug. 17 to take lay out all of the evidence in the case.

Cooper is slated to go to trial Sept. 14, and the trial could last several months.

Earlier this year, Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens appointed a third attorney to Cooper's defense team to help go through more than 59,000 pages of discovery material.

Cooper has a criminal record in Wake County dating to 1993 that includes 10 arrests on 19 charges, including assault on a police officer, escape from prison, robbery, assault on a female, drug charges and larceny.