October trial date set for Brad Cooper
Posted December 17, 2009 1:18 p.m. EST
Updated December 17, 2009 4:29 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — A Cary man will go to trial nearly two years to the day he was charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife last year.
During a homicide status hearing Thursday, Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens set an Oct. 25 trial date for Brad Cooper, who 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 34-year-old mother-of-two's body in an undeveloped subdivision less than three miles from the Coopers’ Lochmere home. An autopsy found she had likely been strangled.
Three months later, on Oct. 27, Brad Cooper, 36, was arrested in the midst of a very public custody battle involving the Coopers' two young daughters.
Attorneys at Thursday's hearing said they estimate the trial will take about a month.
Defense attorneys Howard Kurtz and Robert Trenkle said that they still need to meet with Wake County Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings regarding how to review the thousands of pages of discovery in the case.
Cummings said investigators are still waiting on some discovery evidence and that the state still needs to review information from a computer that Brad Cooper purchased after his wife's death.
Defense attorneys also have until Feb. 12 to file objections to the state reviewing information the defense considers privileged.
Stephens also discussed with attorneys the possibility of the state calling on Kurtz to testify in reference to information he posted on his law firm's Web site about the case early in the investigation. If so, Kurtz would have to withdraw as counsel.
Stephens also expressed concern over the amount of time it has taken for the case to go to trial.
"This case is over a year old now," Stephens said. "My concern is that we could spend another year reviewing this issue. If we set this case for trial, it's going to be a firm date."
Family members and friends have claimed that Brad Cooper was emotionally abusive to his wife and cut her off from money, which made it difficult for her and her two young daughters to leave.
Prosecutors have indicated that it will not seek the death penalty since there were no aggravating factors in the case, such as the commission of another crime that led to Nancy Cooper's death.