Cooper's twin sister testifies

Nancy Cooper's twin sister Krista Lister testifies

April 5, 2011 4:13:02 AM PDT
Nancy Cooper's twin sister Krista testified Monday about Nancy's relationship with her husband.

Brad Cooper is on trial for allegedly killing Nancy. Her body was discovered next to a storm water retention pond in an unfinished subdivision July 14, 2008 - two days after she was reported missing. An autopsy showed she was strangled. Prosecutors say Brad killed Nancy because he was angry she planned to divorce him and move with their two daughters to Canada.

Krista Lister - who lives in Canada - told jurors about a 2008 visit to her sister in Cary before she was murdered. She described fights she witnessed between Brad and Nancy and talked about the couple's disputes over money.

Lister said the divorce was proceeding as planned until Brad learned how much he would have to pay in support. Then, she said, he began stalling. She spoke of how Brad had Nancy on a $300 per week cash budget and cut off her access to credit cards and bank accounts.

Lister described Nancy's state of mind as desperate.

"She was looking for any help," said Lister. "She just needed out."

Lister also related a conversation she had on the phone with Brad in the day Nancy was reported missing.

"I said 'What have you done to her' and hung up," said Lister.

Lister said a storms kept her from flying from Canada to North Carolina so she rented a car and drove all night.

Also Monday, a geologist testified that a mineral found on a pair of shoes in Brad Cooper's home was similar to a mineral found at the place Nancy Cooper's body was found.

Expert witness Heather Hanna told jurors that the White Mica mineral was found in soil samples from the crime scene, but it was not found in soil samples taken around the Cooper home. She also said she couldn't determine if it was an exact match because of the sample type.

Monday's testimony was the second mention of physical evidence in a trial that's seen a heavy emphasis on testimony about the Cooper's relationship and circumstantial evidence.

Also Monday, Cary police officer David Hazelzet finished his testimony about straw he said he observed on a doormat at the Cooper home that he said was similar to straw he observed at the crime scene.

"It drew my attention because earlier in the morning I was on Fielding Drive and observed what appeared to be the same substance," said Hazelzet in testimony Friday.

On cross-examination Monday, Cooper's attorney Howard Kurtz asked Hazelzet why what he saw was wasn't recorded.

"You do not take that opportunity to photograph what you've characterized as hay on the carpet?" Kurtz asked.

"No, sir."

And Hazelzet admitted he didn't tell detectives about it.

"You don't collect it as potential evidence in the case?" asked Kurtz.

"No, sir. I did not," said Hazelnet.

And, Hazelzet said he revised his case notes a year and a half later to mention the straw even though he couldn't see it in any of the pictures taken at the Cooper home.

He also said detectives who had been walking around at the crime scene earlier in the day had also visited the Cooper home that morning.

"They were not, at that point, wearing any kind of protective shoe covering, were they?" asked Kurtz.

"No, sir," Hazelzet replied.

Under cross-examination of geologist Heather Hanna Monday, defense attorney Robert Trenkle asked her if it was possible for the White Mica mineral to be found in the other areas soil samples were taken from besides the crime scene. Hanna said was unlikely, but was possible.

Trenkle also pointed out that analysis of other minerals found on the shoes were not consistent with the crime scene.

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