The Cooper case was not about domestic violence

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.

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10 thoughts on “The Cooper case was not about domestic violence

  1. Absolutely outstanding video compilation from the trial and excellent commentary. The fact that this was pursued as a domestic violence case and is continued to touted as such flies in the face of intelligent discussion about the issue. No one could ever say they had witnessed any violence whatsoever and that almost 100 percent (save for Jessica Adams testimony about “a raised voice in the background”) of friends and acquaintances describe Brad Cooper as completely gentlemanly. This is not to say that Brad couldn’t have been abusing Nancy in secret however this is really unlikely because Nancy never complained to anyone about it, yet she had no problem whatsoever complaining in other ways about Brad especially in sensitive and what most would consider “private” financial information. How is it possible that this domestic violence issue gained traction? The answer is the parents and sister’s custody lawsuit. By the way, Nancy had an affair with her sister’s now husband prior to the respective marriages (yes the man who was a family spokesperson). Based on the abuse allegations which were only described as “emotional abuse of controlling via finances” (the $300.00 per week allowance) by Nancy’s friends and family, Judge Debra Sasser awarded custody of the Cooper children to Nancy’s family in Canada!

    Judge Sasser is such a champion of women to be protected from “abusers”. I know of one case in family court where Judge Sasser had a man who in 2006, the only full taxation year the couple was married and cohabiting, earned a total of $7000.00 in support of his wife and child. He is and was a fully able bodied man. His wife during the same year earned $14,000.00. Oh and in that year the woman gave birth to their baby, and breast fed the child successfully for SIX months! Judge Sasser’s comment in court “I’m not interested in what this man earned”. Judge Sasser refused to believe that this man was abusive in any way, even though he had put her in a choke hold, threatened her entire family with “I am prepared to kamikaze this whole thing” and he had two previous convictions for assault on a female (two other women). The key difference, the abuser above is represented in his criminal matters by “Tharrington Smith”, Judge Sasser’s former law firm, the same law firm as Alice Stubbs who represented Nancy Cooper and later the Rentz family. Oh and the man above has a mother who is also a family attorney who used to work with Judge Debra Sasser with Carolina Mediation Services. Nice.Do you think there may be a problem in Wake County courtrooms? Hardly noticeable when it is an obscure family court ruling, but VERY evident when it helps to put an innocent man in prison for life!

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    • Interesting information. The frustrating thing is there is little we can do about it. We can clearly see bias in these judges but they hold so much power. I had no idea before this case that the system was this bad. Very depressing that there are so many people in our justice system who don’t seem to have a conscience.

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  2. My comments above about the friends and family describing Brad differently at the trial are in sharp contrast to the ridiculous affidavits filed for the custody suit. Any chance that Jessica Adam (and others) will be prosecuted for perjury in instances where clear evidence showed these were sensationalistic lies designed to win a custody case? For example the lies about Brad being in Europe with no phone contact with clear evidence of daily phone contact by phone records.

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    • I didn’t want to make the post too long, but it’s important to point out that many of these witnesses who wrote the affidavits against Brad were later shown to be lying. Jessica Adam lied about the ALL detergent, the necklace, that Nancy ran with her keys and phone, the ducks, and the painting plans story had many holes in it as well.

      Hannah lied about the screw-back earrings (under oath) and even updated her statement and it was proven false and then lied about Nancy wearing the necklace that Friday at the pool because the HT video clearly shows she did not have it on. Then there’s that email to Dismukes about rounding up only photos of Nancy wearing the necklace.

      When someone lies like that, they lose all credibility and it’s difficult to believe anything they say. (Did Nancy drink Diet Coke at the pool Friday? Likely not since the witness who claimed that she did is a liar). The question is, why? Why did they lie? And how can they live with the fact that their lies may have put an innocent man in prison?

      The indictment likely consisted of all of Jessica’s lies listed above and every single one of them was false. Why isn’t anyone talking about that? We’re just focused on selling books and writing sensationalized news reports about the case.

      To the media: We want the truth! The way this case was handled is unacceptable!

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  3. The really interesting thing about the Brad Cooper Case is that to any intelligent observer of the actual trial and conviction of this man, and in the sum total of everything that is now before the public, there can be no doubt that this man remains in prison wrongfully. Zero doubt. The prevalence of the dishonesty is quite astounding, from the lies by the neighbours, to the lies of the police, to the corruption in the DA’s office to permit such a dishonest prosecution to the utter bias by the judge. But all are simply content to let this man languish in prison on a conviction that simply cannot stand on its merits. I think that once Brad does get vindicated those neighbours will be very sorry for the way they cooperated with the authorities. They do not enjoy the same immunity from lawsuits as the government officials. Clearly, they got themselves in way over their heads. Eventually they will be able to say goodbye to their nice homes and fancy cars when they will be successfully sued by Brad Cooper. My only prayer is that no one is found dead as a rsult of letting the real killers go free as happened in the case Texas versus Morton. If that happens, blodd will be on these folks hands. Sadly I suspect that this may have already happened, as there are a lot of women “going missing” in the area and we all know that “random killings” (as denied by Chief Bazemore) usually occur in serial fashion. This is the real potential for tragedy in this wrongful conviction as there can be no doubt that Brad Cooper will be exonerated..

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  4. Does anybody know if jurors in this matter are upset now that they know that they were prevented from the crucial evidence about the google search most assuredly having been planted? If I was a juror who decided this case based on the crazy rulings by Gessner and the posturing by Zellinger, I would be incensed. They must know they were fed a crock. I am still amazed that Zellinger was able to say (again with impunity) that “the defence already has this information” knowing full well he was snowing the judge. If I met up with these prosecutors I would have no trouble telling them they are disgusting human beings. For them this was “win at all costs” and there was never any effort for them to seek the truth, especially about the computer evidence. These well educated folks are nothing better than snake oil salesmen. Shame on Wake County.

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    • The jurors have been *very* quiet which is a bit odd. Usually they are comfortable speaking about how they arrived at the verdict. In fact, when you watch Dateline they almost always interview some of the jurors but in this case they all declined to be interviewed.

      If it were me, I would be reading everything I could about the case and I wouldn’t be able to remain silent. There are just so many things wrong about this whole thing. I’ve written approximately 25 blog posts already and there’s still more! It’s just such an outrage that it’s all out there for the world to see and nobody is doing anything to address it. The attorney general should be looking at this case.

      I’m sure in many cases there are a few questionable things that could have influenced the verdict but NOT to such an extreme like this. There’s just so much.

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  5. The question is, why? Why did they lie? And how can they live with the fact that their lies may have put an innocent man in prison?

    This is an excellent question, Lynne, and it’s one that I wish we had the answers to. I get that Nancy’s friends didn’t care for Brad, being that he was a quiet & private person who was not interested in befriending them or their spouses. I believe that Nancy intentionally poisoned her friends’ opinions of Brad by her exaggerated stories and outright lies about how he treated her and the girls. For example, Nancy led her friends to believe that she had to sell her clothing in order to have money to feed Bella & Katie, when we know that Brad was covering the household bills and Nancy was getting $300 weekly to provide food for herself and the girls. Also, as Jim pointed out above, the tales of Brad’s travelling for work and neglecting to contact his wife and daughters for extended periods of time, which was proven false by phone records.

    It seems that Nancy was very convincing in her vilification of Brad, as her friends were willing to sign affidavits for the custody case, so they obviously believed her stories. It makes sense to me that the Cary Clique believed they were doing the right thing at the time the affidavits were written, but did they not come to realize during the trial just how misinformed they were? Perhaps they were so past the point of no return that they couldn’t or wouldn’t realize & admit just how dishonest Nancy had been with them? Did they have an ulterior motive for spreading the lies about Brad? Was it done to protect someone else who was involved in Nancy’s murder?

    I trust that there will be some recourse for Brad in the future. When he is vindicated, I hope that he has the fortitude to seek out all of the people involved in railroading him – the Cary Clique, the Rentz family, the media, the police investigators, the ADAs and the judges (Gesner & Sasser) – and see that they own up to their actions.

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    • Yes, I think they became immersed in all the stories used in the custody case and they tried to carry them through to the trial, but it didn’t work. The truth came out. It always does. None of them could admit that Nancy was afraid of Brad. I don’t know how they can live with themselves with everything that came out in the trial.

      It’s like everyone is going along with a big charade but deep down they have to know that there’s nothing holding it together.

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  6. I think it is very important for all to realize that Nancy Cooper actually was in a really bad situation prior to her death. She was a Canadian living in the U.S. unable to work because she did not have a green card or work visa. As well, she had two little girls, both born in Wake County which established this place as having jurisdiction over custody matters of her kids. Like most women in a bad marriage (if that is where her head was at) her instinct and desire would be to return to her parents and sisters in Canada. Most women leaving a marriage with kids have to do this. Nancy could not just pick up her kids and go home to Mom, as this would be international abduction. This situation is by definition “being trapped”. I think it is easy to speak ill of Nancy Cooper but I think I know enough about her now to believe she would not have supported the persecution of her husband TO THIS EXTENT.

    It is in this context that one has to view what was happening in the neighbourhood and the circle of friends. I really don’t think it is a stretch to suggest that Nancy and her friends, family and lawyer were working on a plan to allow her to return home to Canada with her kids. Desperate times call for desperate measures and everyone knows that domestic violence is often used in custody cases even where none exists and especially when the husband is a good father. I believe that if the question of where the kids were going to be living after separation and divorce had a simple solution, that Brad and Nancy were both intelligent enough to find an amicable solution. One of the true red herrings in the case was the issue of “financial control”. It seems that Nancy’s parents were well enough off to afford many things for her including paying divorce attorney fees. This in itself causes me to question why all the friends and neighbours seemed to know all about “financial control” by Brad. It is really not normal for the whole neighbourhood to be knowledgeable about a couple’s finances as people do not usually share this stuff.

    Can there be any doubt that prior to her death Nancy was circulating what ordinarily would be thought of as private stuff that could be supportive of domestic violence accusations against Brad? What went wrong with the plan was that someone (the men in the van?) randomly picked up a jogger and brutally murdered her. This was BEFORE the plan was fully ready to be used. It seems Brad refused to rise to the bait and instead of getting upset and mean, became more involved with his kids and doing things to appease Nancy. I think it is very clear that Brad did not turn into the monster they wanted. But, and it is the real “but” in the story, Nancy’s family wanted those kids and they along with everyone else decided to pursue the plan as it was formulated even though it had come no where near to fruition. This explains affidavits already written for a custody suit and it explains the “readiness” of Nancy’s friends and family to “jump into the fray” Doesn’t it seem very odd that despite this plan, nearly everyone’s actual testimony was contradictory to actual domestic violence. But the sure way to put on rubber stamp on a domestic violence custody battle is to show actual harm to the wife and mother. In this case it was Nancy’s death. You can be an absolute saint in a marriage, but if you kill your spouse, it is a domestic violence situation.

    It is pretty obvious to all that the marriage was rocky. It is pretty obvious that Nancy wanted to leave the marriage. It is also pretty obvious that Brad wanted her to stay and that he wanted to keep his job here in Wake County. So it should surprise no one that Brad Cooper be a suspect. Also the whole thing went down in an atmosphere poisoned by “the plan”. This is why the Cary Police did what they did. It is indeed very wrong however that they did not pursue other possibilities along with their suspicions about Brad. They may actually have saved Nancy Cooper’s life. They may have prevented other killings had they caught the real culprits. Instead, they failed to look elsewhere and were forced by their own ineptitude to completely fabricate their prosecution of Brad Cooper. When Chief Patricia Bazemore of the Cary Police bought the theory wholeheartedly that “Brad did it”, then all was lost in terms of a real investigation or a real search for the truth. Instead, what happened has been the formation of a house of cards to convict an innocent man, a rush to judgement. This thing cannot stand, it will crumble eventually. It is simply way to wrong from all sides.

    Yes Nancy Cooper was in a bad situation. This is just one very severe example when a “bunch of little lies” come together to from a cloud storm of a huge lie. Let this be a lesson to those who diminish the real problems of domestic violence in our society. Punish severely the perpetrators of real violence, but also punish severely those who would lie and falsely accuse someone of it. Among these I would classify from the Cooper case alone, the Rentz family, Jessica Adam, Diana Duncan, Hannah Pritchard, Howard Cummings, Boz Zellinger, Patricia Bazemore. Not just liars, but PROVEN liars.

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