The prosecutors had three years to put their case together but they waited until the defense rested to introduce evidence of a missing router. It was brought up as rebuttal evidence and it seemed obvious they were making a last minute effort to put the idea in the juror’s heads that Brad could have automated that 6:40AM call.
For those who didn’t follow the case, the State needed to prove that Brad somehow automated a 6:40AM phone call from the Cooper home to his cell phone the morning Nancy disappeared. If they couldn’t prove that he set the call up, that meant that Nancy was alive at 6:40 and that everything Brad said was true – that Nancy went jogging at around 7AM, shortly after he returned from the store. If they couldn’t prove that he set the call up, their case falls apart and Brad is innocent.
The State’s expert computer witness, Paul Giralt described 10 ways to automate a call but the one the prosecutors zeroed in on was a csim-start command, a test call. It’s important to note a couple of important things about this test call. 1)the maximum amount of time this can last is 23 seconds and 2)one must have a server, a specific type of router and an fxo port.
The csim start command was quickly ruled out after defense questioning because the 6:40 call lasted 32 seconds and the routers in the home did not have an fxo port capable of generating a test call from a land line phone. Additionally, Cisco found no trace of a call on their IT managed system AND FBI Agent Johnson found no evidence of an automated call generated from the Cooper’s computers. Despite all of this, the prosecutors still tried to suggest that the call was automated!
I believe the last minute “3825 router is missing” was enough to convince this very non-technical jury that it was possible he automated the call but it shouldn’t have, because even the presence of a router doesn’t address the length of the phone call. It was 11 seconds too long. Even if it had been within the 23 second limit, there should have been evidence of the call on the server or Cisco logs or Brad’s computer but despite three years of searching, nothing was found. It is quite obvious when one takes the time to understand the technical aspect of this evidence that there wasn’t an automated call that morning. That means that the State’s case had serious problems. It is frustrating that the jury didn’t understand it and equally frustrating that Dateline NBC didn’t understand it. It’s very unfair that Brad was sentenced to life in prison due to the inability of the jury to understand the importance of proof in convicting a person.
This video includes footage from Dateline’s “The Day she Disappeared” as well as trial testimony about the router and the complete lack of evidence of an automated call.