Update (10/26/14): Yesterday when I first noticed the Edmonton Journal article about this case, I posted a response and pointed out the multiple inaccuracies. They quickly removed all comments to the article and the ability for one to post new comments. I guess they do not want people to know the truth
Update: (10/27/14): The comments at the article are enabled again. I also received a response from The Edmonton Journal’s editor who is going to discuss my concerns with Jana when she is back in town next week.
The article was never corrected.
Jana Pruden of the Edmonton Journal published an article titled “Missing the Signs: Nancy Cooper began to disappear long before she went missing.” I believe it is Jana who is “missing the signs” of a wrongful conviction. The article is filled with multiple misstatements and I am requesting that the Journal retract the article. I will point out each inaccuracy and I must say that I am extremely tired of having to constantly correct the vast amounts of disinformation that continues to be published about this case. Not only is much of the information inaccurate, the way things are worded completely misrepresents the truth about the case and about the relationships. The crux of the case – the computer evidence – is barely mentioned in this article even though it was the only evidence linking Brad to Nancy’s death. The defense of course found multiple signs that the files in question were planted on the machine. The state spent a great deal of effort thwarting the truth about this evidence at trial – So much so that the Court of Appeals in a unanimous decision overturned the conviction. That happens in only 1% of all cases. It was very clear that the judge improperly blocked Brad Cooper’s entire defense. The verdict could not be trusted. As well, there was rampant police and prosecutorial misconduct that contributed to what can only be described as a wrongful conviction. That is the story that needs to be told.
This article is all about sensationalism but there was no evidence whatsoever of any domestic violence in the Cooper’s relationship. If Jill Dean wants to run a domestic violence shelter, more power to her but she is incorrect to tout it as a tribute to her sister. The facts speak for themselves. Not only is there a great deal of evidence pointing away from Brad Cooper, it would have been impossible for him to have committed the murder with not one trace of evidence left behind. Not one witness saw anything, no physical evidence at the scene, multiple witnesses claimed to have seen Nancy that morning. The cloth that her body was wrapped in had fibers on it — none of them matched fibers from Brad’s trunk. The time of death determination is much more consistent with Nancy having left to jog at 7a.m. than the state’s theory – that she was killed after returning home from the party. This includes the blood alcohol level, the presence of caffeine and the fact that her stomach was empty because she had adequate time to digest all of the food she had consumed that evening. There is so much more. This article does nothing to highlight the truth about this case. I am still waiting for that brave journalist to tackle the real story here. No one dares to publish an article that paints public officials in a bad light.
“Brad and Nancy Cooper and their two young daughters were at the party that night. It was the last time Nancy’s friends saw her alive.”
Fact: It is not however the last time Nancy was seen alive. Brad saw her up until 7a.m. the morning of July 12th. Bella Cooper (age 4 1/2 at the time) saw her sometime that morning as reported by the Coopers’ friend, Clea Morwick. Sixteen people saw a woman they believed to be Nancy jogging that morning. One of them was a Cary police officer (Officer Hayes), another (Rosemary Zednick) identified Nancy Cooper out of a photo line-up and was close enough to exchange greetings with her that morning and another (Curtis Hodges) was 90% certain the woman was Nancy Cooper. Detective Daniels told Rosemary Zednick that another witness reported they were 150% certain they saw Nancy that morning.
“They met working for IBM in Calgary in 1999…”
Fact: Nancy did not work for IBM. She worked for her father’s company which was contracted by IBM to do application package training for its employees.
“She loved jewelry, art and fashion, and ran her own clothing store…”
Fact: Yes, she opened a clothing store in the fall of 1999 with the help of Brad who contributed some start up funds and helped with major renovations to the store space. However, the store closed down a few months later due to a lack of inventory.
“Nancy had been seriously involved with a prominent Calgary businessman when she met Brad…”
Fact: The prominent businessman, Brett Wilson was married at the time.
“They had a small ceremony at a restaurant in Calgary on a Friday night in October 2000. Only Nancy’s family, Brad’s brother, and a few friends were there.”
Fact: This is outright false. Brad’s brother Grant was not present. He was in Lethbridge preparing for his convocation the next morning which Mr. and Mrs. Cooper attended. The reason for the sudden wedding ceremony was that Brad had just found out that he couldn’t bring Nancy to Raleigh full-time unless they were married and he had to leave the next week. That is the reason it was “rushed”.
“Jessica Adam called 911 early on the afternoon of Saturday, July 12, 2008. She was almost breathless, panic swirling in her voice. Nancy was supposed to be at her house at 8 a.m., but hadn’t showed up. Brad said Nancy went jogging with another friend but he was vague on the details, and it wasn’t like Nancy to miss plans.”
Fact: There is NO evidence that Nancy ever had plans to paint that morning. She had agreed the evening before to watch the children so that Brad could play tennis at 9:30a.m. Nancy attended a party the evening before and told not one person that she planned to paint the next morning. She did tell three guests that she planned to jog the next morning though.
Jessica outright lied about multiple things beginning that day when she first called 911 and pointed the finger at Brad with no justification and no reason to believe he would ever harm Nancy. SHE is the one who should have been investigated. She told police that afternoon that she made paint plans with Nancy at 5p.m. the prior evening and she told them the same thing again 3 days later. A week after that police asked her again about the plans. There was a problem — There was no record of the 5p.m.phone call. She then changed her story to “Oh, I made the plans with Nancy in-person. Yeah, I was at the Cooper’s home that afternoon.” This should have raised red flags to investigators but instead they simply said “She clarified her answer.” She went on to misdirect them about multiple things throughout the investigation. Read more here: https://justiceforbradcooper.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/false-witness-statements-led-to-instant-tunnel-vision-for-investigators/
Brad told Jessica that Nancy “may have” gone running with Carrie. Carrie and Nancy were training together for a half marathon. In fact Nancy had plans the previous morning to run with Carrie but one of them cancelled the plans so it was not unusual that Brad believed Nancy may have gone running with Carrie. Nancy ran 5-6 mornings a week so it was certainly not unusual for her to have gone running that Saturday morning. It is misleading for Jana to describe it as “vague on the details”.
There are also many examples of Nancy missing plans that she made with people so that statement is outright false as well.
“Nancy had been strangled, choked so hard a bone in her neck broke.”
Fact: She was possibly strangled but the medical examiner could not confirm that. Death was due to asphyxiation. That is all we know.
“She wore only a tangled sports bra and one diamond earring.”
Fact: And the fact that she is found in only a bra is an indication that she did indeed go running that morning and was assaulted. She had both earrings but one fell out due to decomposition. Nancy’s running shoes and the shorts that matched the sports bra have never been found by investigators, despite extensive searches.
“There were no signs of sexual assault.”
Fact: It was impossible for investigators to determine whether or not sexual assault (or consensual sex) had occurred because the body was too decomposed.
“The psychologist noted Brad gave the impression of “some detachment with little emotional warmth” when he spoke of his family. Nancy’s family had always found the relationship odd.”
Fact: This information was not a part of the trial and the origin of this statement is unknown.
“You know, this woman, Nancy Cooper, was a real star, Dr. Bethany,” said Grace, describing Nancy as an Olympic hopeful who was “excellent at ice sports in Canada.” “Yes, can you imagine the envy, the jealousy that that must have stirred up on his part?” Marshall said. “And that`s why with intimate homicides, we look at the family members, often. Because it`s in the context of attachment that envy, rage, the wish to be like the other gets stirred up. “And she was a star. Maybe he felt he wasn`t.”
Fact: There was never any testimony at trial that Nancy was an “Olympic hopeful”. I am skeptical about this statement. It is ridiculous to suggest that Brad was “jealous” of Nancy and I do not understand why this information is repeated in this article.
“Cummings took note of the fact Brad had never called the police, and wasn’t checking for updates about the case. His reactions seemed muted and dull.”
Fact: Brad was well aware that he was a suspect. What could have possibly come from him calling the police asking for updates? The way they twisted his words in unrecorded interviews, he would have been wise to have avoided ever speaking with them.
“And they often tend to be volatile, and be public in their criticism of their spouses,” Cummings says. “That part of it is sort of classic psychological domestic abuse.”
Fact: There is no testimony of Brad ever raising his voice to Nancy or criticizing her in public. He did not even speak a single negative word about Nancy to friends. There was however a considerable amount of testimony about Nancy yelling at Brad in public.
“Nancy knew Brad had cheated on her with more than one woman, including a close friend.”
Fact: Brad had one indiscretion that occurred 3 1/2 years prior to Nancy’s death. “Cheated on her with more than one woman” is simply not true and there was no testimony about any other indiscretions on Brad’s part. Nancy, on the other hand, had at least two indiscretions. The affair with possible significance to the case was with John Pearson in October, 2005 — this is important because the Cooper’s younger daughter may possibly be John’s child since she was born nine months after Nancy slept with him. Cary police never bothered to order DNA testing even though the SBI requested it as part of the investigation. Phone records and testimony confirm that Nancy was seeing Pearson again in the months before her death. He knew her running route and Nancy had invited him to run with her. Police never investigated Pearson as a suspect. This is despite the fact that he changed his story in his subsequent interview about the nature of his relationship with Nancy.
It was also verified that Nancy had another affair early in the marriage with a man she met in Florida. The man followed her to Canada for her sister Krista’s wedding and Nancy told her friend, Kristy that she was in love with him. Nancy began asking Kristy to “cover” for her while so she could sneak around and see him and Kristy testified that it ended the friendship because she did not feel comfortable with that.
“They knew Brad had taken one of their daughter’s passports, and was listening in to her phone calls.”
Fact: It was only fair that each parent should hold one of the girls’ passports to avoid either of them fleeing the country with the children. Brad was concerned because Nancy was keeping the passports in the car and that is not a secure place to store important documents. He believed it was a reasonable solution for each parent to hold a passport.
There is absolutely no evidence to support that Brad ever listened in on any phone calls.
“They learned Brad had never applied for her work visa, intentionally making her unable to work and dependent on him.”
Fact: It is not easy to simply request a work visa for a spouse. Certain job skills are typically required. Nancy did not even have a college degree and had little work experience. The article makes it appear that he was purposely preventing her from working and that is simply untrue. Nancy took care of the home and the girls while Brad worked. She never expressed interest in working until the decision was made to seek a separation.
In the year before her death, the financial control he exerted had escalated to the point where she was quietly selling her clothes and painting friends’ houses just to buy groceries for her and the children.
Fact: The truth is that Nancy was still purchasing expensive clothing items up until the time of her death. Brad bought her a $700 suit for job interviews. Nancy purchased a $9000 painting and told friends it was “payback” for the affair. He purchased her a $3000 diamond pendant necklace in the fall of 2007, despite the Cooper’s strained financial situation. Nancy overdrew the bank account with her constant spending, driving the Coopers deeply into debt. They had to take out a home equity line of credit to pay off debt. They also had to borrow money from Brad’s 401K at Cisco. Nancy had a pool membership, a gym membership, children both in private preschool and a $300 per week cash allowance (documented with bank records). It is irresponsible to suggest that she had to sell clothing to purchase groceries!
“It began to appear Nancy had as well. Friends in Cary said she slept with her daughters with the bedroom door locked, and her car keys in her pocket.”
Fact: Nancy exaggerated a lot of things to various friends. If it’s true that she slept with the girls locked in her room, how was it that she was out with friends every night while Brad gave the girls their baths and put them to bed? There is nothing to support this claim.
“She had a good relationship with her mother and her other sister, Jill, who became particularly close to both Brad and Nancy as a teenager, staying with them at their apartment in Calgary nearly every weekend.”
Fact: There was a witness statement during the investigation that indicates that Nancy slept with Jill’s now husband, Chad Dean and it caused a rift in their relationship that wasn’t repaired until after Jill had her first baby.
On a beach vacation in South Carolina with her parents and sister in July 2008, the happy, confident, larger-than-life Nancy had faded into someone almost unrecognizable. Her parents left the vacation knowing something had to change. They had retained a lawyer for Nancy in Cary, and were making plans to figure out custody of the children and get Nancy her out of the house, or buy out Brad’s share. Donna was going to go to Cary to help.
Fact: Seriously?! “Almost unrecognizable?” Nancy’s friends who saw her every day didn’t describe her that way. Yes, her parents funded the attorney but that was months prior, back in April. Nancy hadn’t been in contact with her attorney for months. The Coopers had plans to play Sequence with Mike and Laura Hiller the evening of July 12th. Things were not dire.
“An ex-girlfriend of Brad’s from Calgary came forward and filed an affidavit describing him as emotionally abusive and “mentally cruel.”
Fact: Actually, Brad left this woman, who was his fiancee at the time, because he himself was physically abused by her. It was soon after that Brad met Nancy. In fact, they used Nancy’s car to remove his possessions and transport them to his apartment.
“That directly contradicted the evidence of FBI investigators, who had forensic computer evidence that Brad did a Google Maps search of the area on his laptop the day before Nancy went missing, zooming in to that exact spot where her body was found.”
Fact: Perhaps Howard Cummings should explain how he personally blocked Brad’s defense team access to the laptop until it was too late to verify the IP address. No cookie was found, Howard. That is impossible in a normal search. Further, Cary police did nothing to verify that Brad did the search even though the FBI told them to do so.
“The scenario that emerged at trial was of a murder both calculated and cruel: Brad came home early from the party, secured their children inside a room, then grabbed Nancy from behind or while she slept and choked the life out of her. He dumped her body at a spot he had already chosen, then cleaned the house and car, washed her clothes, and used his telephone skills to fake a phone call to make it appear she was still alive.”
Fact: There is ZERO evidence to support ANY of the state’s theory. No evidence of a struggle, no evidence a murder took place in the home, no evidence of a body in the trunk, no evidence of the Cooper’s tire tracks at the scene (though there were other unidentified tracks), NO evidence of a spoofed call. The entire case was based on “could haves” that were completely unsubstantiated.
As well, Brad never claimed to have washed the dress Nancy wore to the party that night. Original police notes stated “Brad found dress in bedroom hamper”. Six months later, the lead detective “updated” his notes to include “Dress smelled “fresh”. Brad stated that he washed the dress.” This didn’t work because the SBI agent testified that there were deodorant streaks in the arm area of the dress and a grease-like food stain on the dress. NO body fluids, no blood. The dress was not washed and that is consistent with Nancy arriving home from the party, removing the dress and going to bed.
“At one point, there were T-shirts being sold with pictures of other supposed suspects in the murder, including Nancy’s family. Nancy’s family and friends tried their best to ignore the things that were being said about them, and about Nancy. Nancy’s youngest sister, Jill Dean, was on vacation in Hawaii when she saw a young man wearing a “Free Brad” shirt. When she approached him, he told her he got it at a thrift store.”
Fact: This t-shirt was not created by Justice for Brad. Someone local who followed the case wrote a blog post after the trial and he created a t-shirt that showed all the interconnections of people involved in the case. There is nothing inaccurate about it. Here is the blog post: http://www.itbinsider.com/?p=1212
Here is an image of the graphic that he had printed on the shirts.
“There was no apology from Brad, no explanation or acknowledgment, nothing but a slight glance and what looked to Jill like a smirk.”
Fact: It’s difficult for one to apologize for something they did not do. A smirk?! Seriously? Interesting that everyone else missed that. The travesty continued with the debacle at the hearing. The judge and the ADA made fools of themselves once more.
“The Journal is not publishing the name of the program because it operates almost invisibly: Women are able to go there without their family or friends knowing what it is.”
Here is the “secret” program. I guess it’s not so secret. http://www.litinc.ca/
All of the facts related to this case can be found at this blog site. The media simply can’t be trusted to report what really happened in this case. Understand this – There is absolutely nothing linking Brad Cooper to Nancy’s death. Nothing.
I realize that it is mostly Canadians viewing this particular blog post. You need to understand that Brad Cooper was completely railroaded by a corrupt judicial system in Wake County, North Carolina. I urge you to watch the trial. It is all available on video. You will be quite shocked.