Local/State

North Carolina Supreme Court clears way for Brad Cooper retrial

Friday, January 24, 2014

The North Carolina Supreme Court declined to review an appeals court ruling Friday, clearing the way for Brad Cooper to get a new trial.

Last September, the appeals court ruled the trial judge who oversaw Cooper's 2011 conviction should have allowed expert witnesses called by the defense to testify.

Prosecutors say Cooper strangled his wife. Nancy Cooper, 34, disappeared on July 12, 2008. Her husband said she went out for a jog and never returned. Her body - clad only in a sports bra - was later found in a drainage ditch at the end of a cul-de-sac at an unfinished subdivision less than three miles from the couple's home.

During his trial, prosecutors said Brad killed Nancy because he was angry she planned to divorce him and move with their two daughters to Canada.

Witnesses testified the couple argued at a party the night before she disappeared and that both had each had affairs outside their marriage.

Cooper was convicted of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In his appeal, Cooper's lawyer, Ann Petersen, claimed the trial judge wrongly denied two witnesses who would have testified someone could have remotely tampered with Cooper's computer. Cooper's lawyers also said someone planted a map onto the Canadian native's computer showing where Nancy's body was found.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby released a statement saying, "I'm disappointed that the Supreme Court didn't take the matter and address some of the important legal issues involved. There's some very important issues we would like to have resolved before we commit to having the taxpayers pay for another expensive trial."

Since Cooper's first trial, Wake County has built a new criminal courthouse a block over. That's also where Cooper will go next week to find out if he can get bond while he awaits a new trial.

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(Copyright ©2014 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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nancy cooper, wake county news, north carolina news, raleigh news, local/state
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