Cooper testimony likely to start this week

RALEIGH Brad Cooper is charged in the death of his wife, Nancy Cooper. He has pleaded not guilty and previously told authorities that his wife went for a jog in July 2008 and never returned.

Evidence in the case against Cooper was scheduled to begin Monday, but jury selection has taken longer than expected.

Twelve jurors were selected just before noon on Monday, however the selection of four alternates still needs to be decided.

Normally, juries have two alternates in case any of the 12 main jurors cannot continue to serve. But with the trial expected to last from six to eight weeks, the judge wants to make sure there are plenty of backups.

It took most of last week just to sort out potential jurors who had already formed opinions based on pre-trial publicity.

The massive search for Nancy Cooper made national news. A few days after first being reported missing, she was found strangled near a drainage ditch in a neighborhood under construction not far from the couple's Cary home.

Brad Cooper was arrested three months after the murder of his wife. He has spent every day since then in the Wake County Jail - except for last week when he spent each day in the courtroom.

Before jury selection could begin last week, Cooper's attorneys argued up to the last minute that they still haven't been given information they've asked for and feel they deserve.

His attorneys said they felt two-and-a-half years was plenty of time for the SBI to round up and hand over e-mails and other communication with the Cary Police Department related to the investigation.

"They're able to do it at lightning speed when they want to," Defense Attorney Howard Kurtz said. "In respect to the SBI they've been in the media supposed to be a new chapter all about transparency."

The prosecution said it has nothing to hide, but the judge decided it was too late to ask for the information.

Then on Friday, a new search warrant connected to the murder case was made public.

The warrant, served by Cary police on October 19, 2010, was for a Samsung Blackjack cell phone that belonged to Brad Cooper.

The document said Cooper told investigators he received a call from Nancy on the day she disappeared. Cell phone records indicated that he did receive a call from their home phone.

Investigators, however, suggest in the search warrant that Cooper might have been able to make the call himself due to his knowledge of Voice over Internet Protocol from his job as an engineer for Cisco Systems. He also had the ability to connect to the internet on his cell phone.

Friends of Nancy Cooper's have said Brad Cooper was extremely controlling and had admitted to having an affair and that Nancy Cooper was in the process of getting a divorce.

Her parents have custody of the couple's two children.

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