Deposition focuses on Cooper murder

Brad Cooper seen in a video deposition from 2008.
April 11, 2011 9:58:32 AM PDT
Jurors in the Brad Cooper murder trial watched his answers to specific questions about the morning his wife was reported missing on Monday.

Cooper didn't testify in person. Instead, jurors saw a video of his deposition filmed in late 2008 when his late wife's parents were trying to win custody of his daughters.

Brad is charged with killing Nancy Cooper in July 2008. Her body was discovered next to a storm water retention pond in an unfinished Cary subdivision July 14 - two days after she was reported missing. An autopsy showed she was strangled.

Cooper told detectives that his wife went out for a run the morning of July 12 and never returned. In the video played Monday, Cooper said he did not see Nancy leave the house around 7 a.m. He testified that between 7 and 10 a.m. he played with his daughters, did laundry, and scrubbed the downstairs floors in his home on his hands and knees.

Asked about rearranged furniture in the home, Cooper said he moved the kitchen table and a large vase as he cleaned.

Cooper was asked about the place that his Nancy's body was found.

"Have you ever driven there?" asked attorney Alice Stubbs. "No," Cooper responded.

Asked how he knew the location, Cooper said he read about it in news coverage and said he had no interest in seeing it. Cooper said it was not a place Nancy usually went on her runs.

"I cannot imagine her running across that road," he said.

The video deposition was introduced into the trial through the testimony of Nancy's father Gary Rentz. He continued his stint on the witness stand after the tape was played with cross-examination by the defense.

Rentz said on the morning Nancy was reported missing, he did not get a phone call from Brad. Instead, he learned of it through his other daughter.

Rentz also talked about the Cooper marriage. He said an affair Brad had with a friend of Nancy's was a down point, but he said there were others and the couple failed to get along. Rentz said he offered to talk to Brad about the marriage in conversations with Nancy, but that never happened.

FBI expert testifies

Later Monday, FBI electronics expert Chuck Wilmore testified about Brad Cooper's cell phone. He said it was protected with sophisticated encryption software from Cisco and that all the contacts and call history had been deleted from the phone.

Wilmore said that could only happen if the user deleted the data or switched out the phones SIM card.

But while cross-examining Wilmore, Cooper attorney Howard Kurtz pointed out that many companies that provide cell phones to employees routinely delete data from them if they change users or fall into the wrong hands.

"There are programs in which you can remotely delete the information from a phone," Wilmore testified.

The next witness after Wilmore was an undercover officer, and courtroom cameras were switched off.

Prosecutors allege Brad killed Nancy the night before because he was angry she planned to divorce him and move with their two daughters to Canada. Coopers lawyers say he is innocent and have characterized the investigation by the Cary Police Department as inept. They say detectives focused on Cooper from the beginning of their investigation and never looked at other suspects. Nancy's family did win custody of the Cooper children. They now live in Canada.

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