Cooper pleads not guilty to wife's murder

Brad Cooper, right, with attorneys during a court appearance Feb. 4, 2011

February 4, 2011 3:26:42 PM PST
Brad Cooper was in a Wake County courtroom Friday morning, as prosecutors and defense attorneys made final preparations for his murder trial later this month.

Cooper is accused of killing his wife, Nancy, in a highly publicized crime that happened in July 2008.

Cooper has been in the Wake County Jail since his arrest three months after his wife’s body was found.

The hearing on Friday lasted about an hour and 15-minutes, as attorneys and the judge mostly discussed pre-trial motions.

Although Cooper was indicted in October 2008, he was formally arraigned for his wife’s murder on Friday. He pleaded not guilty to the crime.

In July 2008, the disappearance of 34-year-old Nancy Cooper, a mother of two, shook the town of Cary.

Police said Brad Cooper initially told them his wife went for a jog and never returned.

Her body was found two days later near a drainage pond in a residential construction area near the couple’s home.

Investigators quickly focused on Cooper, putting evidence together that lead to his indictment and arrest at his Cary home.

On Friday, several issues were discussed, but not all of them were resolved. One of those issues was that the judge wants attorneys to present a list of witnesses who will be allowed to sit in the courtroom throughout the trial. The judge indicated that those witnesses would likely be Nancy Cooper’s immediate family and the lead investigators.

It appears that other witnesses may only be allowed to be in the courtroom after they have testified.

Although the judge is allowing television and newspaper cameras to be in the courtroom during the trial, he ordered they will have to be turned off during the testimony of two undercover investigators who will appear as witnesses.

Cooper does not face the death penalty. Jury selection in his trial begins February 28. Testimony will begin a week later.

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