Attorney: Husband Didn't Kill Jogger

The attorney for Brad Cooper, the husband of the North Carolina mother whose body was found Monday, defended his client's innocence in a press conference today, asserting that the grieving father of two "did not kill his wife."

Brad Cooper "is not a suspect, not a person of interest, and he has been very, very clear with the police: He did not kill his wife," said attorney Seth Blum, according to North Carolina's News & Observer. "The bizarre and unsupported theories floating around television and the Internet have made it impossible for us to sit quietly and to say nothing."

Repeated calls to Brad Cooper's lawyer by were not immediately returned.

Blum described his client as a "very private man" who is not "accustomed to the hot glare of the media spotlight," the paper reported.

"Brad Cooper is also a man in mourning," said Blum. "He's lost his wife. He is grieving. Different people grieve in different ways. Mr. Cooper wishes to mourn privately. He does not want to do it at press conferences."

Speculation about Cooper's involvement in his wife's death has grown during recent days and peaked Thursday when custody of the Cooper's two young children was taken away from the husband after his wife's family said he posed a danger to the children.

The parents and sister of Nancy Cooper won custody of the Cooper's two young children after alleging that her husband was abusive toward his wife and kids before she was killed, according to a custody petition obtained by Thursday.

According to the petition filed in Wake County, N.C., Wednesday by Cooper's mother and father, Garry and Donna Rentz, and her identical twin sister, Krista Lister, Brad Cooper would routinely deny his wife money needed for grocery shopping and was unfaithful to her in the months leading up to her murder.

Brad Cooper "engaged in a pattern of emotional abuse," "frequently yelled at Nancy Cooper and belittled her in the presence of the minor children," and was unfaithful to her in the months leading up to her death, according to the petition.

When her husband would allegedly withhold financial support from Cooper, the mother would become so desperate for cash that she was forced to borrow money from family members, according to the petition.

Cooper's family also claims that Brad Cooper is "mentally unstable" and threatened to commit suicide in the winter of 2008.

Brad Cooper has not been named a suspect or a person of interest in his wife's murder, police said.

In a press conference Thursday, Cary, N.C., police announced that Cooper's family had succeeded in retaining custody of the children after filing an emergency custody petition.

"Late yesterday custody of Nancy and Brad's two children, Isabella and Gabriella, was officially transferred to [Nancy's family]," said Bazemore.

"This custody issue is a private civil matter,"said Bazemore, who declined to take any questions from reporters, citing an agreement with the district attorney's office. "It was not initiated by the town of Cary and was not a part of the investigation into Nancy's murder."

Despite investigators' combing of the Cooper's home, authorities have still not made any arrests in connection with the homicide.

"We have still not named a suspect or a person of interest," Bazemore said. "Everyone in this case is still cooperating."

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