Appeals Court grants new trial for Brad Cooper

Brad Cooper appears in a Wake County courtroom
September 3, 2013 3:16:18 PM PDT
A North Carolina appeals court has ordered that a Cary man convicted of strangling his estranged wife in 2008 should get a new trial.

The decision comes after a three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals heard arguments back in April on whether defense attorneys were thwarted from presenting their best case before Bradley Cooper was convicted of first-degree murder in 2011.

» Click here to view ruling «

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.

A jury later found Brad Cooper guilty of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Last year, Cooper's defense lawyers filed an appeal, stating that Cooper, who has been in jail since October 2008 when he was arrested for his wife's murder, was innocent.

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.

Documents released Tuesday stated the North Carolina Appeals Court found the trial judge should have allowed computer experts to testify for the defense.

The Coopers moved from Alberta, Canada, to Cary in 2001 so Brad Cooper could take a technology-related job at a Research Triangle Park firm.

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