Thus far, I’ve devoted the majority of my time toward covering the technical aspects of the case. I felt they were the least understood but the most important because we know from the jurors that it was the alleged (but unproven) Google “search” that convicted Brad Cooper. The jurors made no mention that domestic violence influenced the verdict and it seemed obvious that any allegations of DV were clearly disproved during the trial. But since Amanda Lamb recently released her book about this case and has stated that her intent is to help raise awareness of domestic violence, this issue really needs to be addressed.
How did this case become classified as domestic violence? Well for starters, here are Chief Bazemore’s comments immediately following Brad’s arrest:
With this arrest, it should now be clear to everyone that Cary citizens have been, and are, safe,” Cary police Chief Pat Bazemore said at a news conference Monday evening. “This has really never been the case about a jogger being randomly attacked. It has been a case of domestic violence of the very worst kind.”
Bazemore actually stated this was not a random crime just days after Nancy’s body was found. I believe the police were influenced by Nancy’s “friends” from the very beginning. Jessica Adam made the baseless accusation when she called to report Nancy missing that Brad may have harmed her. From that point on, this case would become a domestic violence case… and it quickly snowballed out of control.
Immediately after hearing Bazemore’s statement that this was not a random crime, Nancy’s family sought temporary custody of the girls. All of the clique “friends” jumped in and wrote affidavits about how Brad was a horrible husband and father. Those who didn’t go along with this were cast out of the circle. They had affidavit meetings to make sure their stories were consistent. They described Brad as an uninvolved parent and controlling husband. As a result, Nancy’s family was granted immediate custody of the children, just 2 days after Nancy’s body was found, when there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Brad had any involvement in the murder. To this day, there is no evidence. Although Brad did his best to address all of the information in his rebuttal affidavit, it’s very difficult to overcome statements such as this. However, one thing that was very clear from the trial was that Nancy often left the girls in Brad’s care. She left them with him while she socialized with friends often and also when she went on vacations with friends. Even the night before she disappeared, Brad was caring for the girls while Nancy stayed at the party. Clearly, Nancy trusted Brad with the girls yet they were taken from him and it was quite a horrific experience for Brad and the girls. Please read the affidavits written by the police officers involved in the custody exchange.
Why would her friends write such horrible things about him? Nancy began complaining about Brad to friends around the time that they agreed to seek separation. She was unhappy about the state of the marriage (they were separating due to an affair she had recently learned about) and she was also unhappy about being placed on a budget and she let it be known to everyone. Early in 2008 (before their decision to separate), the Coopers agreed that they needed to rein in their spending and get their finances under control. They were deeply in debt and both had been spending beyond their means. Even though Nancy had a very generous allowance of $300 cash per week, she continually complained to everyone that she barely had enough money to pay for food and other things. Nancy would often exaggerate when she told a story and convinced many that she had to walk everywhere when they only had one car, but in reality, they were saving up to buy her the one that she wanted. She told some friends that Brad took away her cell phone, but Brad had the phone records to prove that was completely false. There were several similar examples like this, and after she died, all of these “stories”, true or not were written in affidavits and shared with the custody attorney and police.
The reality was that Brad would often care for the girls while Nancy socialized and he was happy to do so. Nancy was able to come and go as she pleased, go to the gym, the pool, out with friends and even on vacations with and without the children. He had recently earned an MBA degree so that he could provide even more for his family. As much as Nancy complained about Brad, he never said a negative word about her to anyone. In a truly abusive marriage, there would have been some apparent signs of abusive behaviors, but I’m not convinced that there was any of it in their marriage.
Finally, my personal opinion about this issue is that domestic violence is not something to be taken lightly. It can be very serious and if I had any belief whatsoever that it occurred in this case, I would be the first person to donate to the domestic violence charities in Nancy’s name. I think one of the main reasons people are so passionate about this case is that many who followed the trial do have friends or know of people personally who were true victims of domestic violence and I think it’s an insult to those victims to classify this as a domestic violence case. Additionally, it’s scary to all who followed this case first hand to witness someone being falsely accused of and then convicted of a crime with no evidence. And it’s also a wake up call that unless things change in our justice system, this could happen to anyone.