Dirt, clutter in Cooper home focus of testimony Tuesday

March 22, 2011 7:52:19 PM PDT
Attorneys for a Cary man accused of killing his wife did not ask any questions of the victim's mother Tuesday morning.

Brad Cooper is charged with murdering his wife, Nancy Cooper, in 2008.

Nancy's mom, Donna Rentz, offered emotional testimony Monday and was the last witness on the stand for the prosecution. However, the defense chose not to cross-examine her Tuesday.

Instead, the defense focused on other ways to make its point.

The prosecution called police officers to the stand. They repeatedly asked questions related to their theory.

They claim police did a shoddy job of investigating by concentrating on an innocent Brad Cooper and letting a killer go free. They've focused closely on whether police in the Cooper home were wearing protective covers on their feet, which they were not.

Video of the Cooper home, taken two days after Nancy's body was found, shows much of the house visibly cluttered and messy, but some parts seemed exactly opposite.

Crime Scene Investigator Tom Como told jurors he noticed piles and piles of clean laundry all over the Cooper house. He noted some areas were both clean and messy like the garage.

Como said one side had children's toys stacked in a pile and the other side was "pretty open."

Others have testified that the Coopers never parked in the garage because there was no room. Prosecutors have inferred that Brad cleaned out the garage to pull a car in and load a body.

Investigators apparently assumed they might find traces of soil and plant material in the Cooper home that matched samples from where Nancy's body was found.

"I was requested to look for wheat straw and loose soil," Como said.

And Como did find soil in the laundry room which leads to the garage.

"I collected the loose dirt as trace evidence with a trace tape," Como said.

But even if the dirt turns out to be a match, the defense has shown jurors pictures which could nullify that evidence.

The defense says the pictures show Cary investigators in the Cooper house with no foot coverings. Those investigators had been at the remote area where Nancy's body was found and the defense is likely to argue police brought it in on their shoes.

Jurors were sent home for the day after testimony from a second crime scene investigator.

Wednesday will mark the second week of the trial, which is expected to last four to six weeks.

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