Slain Jogger's Husband Indicted for Murder

Brad Cooper, whose wife Nancy was found strangled in July, is arrested.

ByEMILY FRIEDMAN
October 28, 2008, 10:01 AM

Oct. 28, 2008 — -- Brad Cooper will be arraigned later today on charges of first-degree murder of his wife, Nancy Cooper, who was found strangled in July in an undeveloped subdivision near her North Carolina home.

Cooper was arrested Monday at his Cary home and held without bond at the Wake County Jail, Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore said in a press conference Monday night.

He was not given an opportunity to turn himself in to authorities, Cooper's lawyers told ABC News affiliate WTVD. A grand jury handed down the indictment on Monday, according to court filings obtained by ABCNews.com.

Repeated calls to Cooper's attorneys by ABCNews.com were not returned.

In a written statement, lawyer's representing Nancy's family expressed their gratitude toward the Cary investigators.

"The Rentz and Lister families are grateful that an arrest has been made and that Bella and Katie are safe with them in Canada," said Alice Stubbs, the family's attorney. "The Cary Police Department has done an outstanding job with the investigation."

Bazemore also lauded her police force for their dedication to the Cooper case.

"With the possible exception of saving a life I can't think of anything more important than investigating the loss of a life," said Bazemore.

"This was never a case of a jogger being randomly attacked but of domestic violence of the very worst kid," added Bazemore, reassuring the Cary community of their safety.

Nancy's father, Garry Rentz, spoke to reporters via telephone during the press conference, expressing his gratitude for the hard work of the Cary Police Department.

"Today our family needs to say thank you very clearly to all those people who stood with us and led us and supported us during the most complex 108 days of our history," said Rentz.

Under North Carolina law, Cooper could face life in prison without parole or death. He will make his first appearance in court tomorrow, Bazemore said.

The police department took no questions regarding the case and said that this will be their last briefing on the murder, turning all questions over the North Carolina District Attorney's office, which will handle the proceedings from here on out.

Cooper's 34-year-old wife was found strangled in an undeveloped subdivision July 14.

Since then, Cary, N.C., police had not named a person or interest or suspect in the killings, but had searched the couple's home and Cooper's office – questioning Cooper at least five times at his home.

The arrest comes on the heels of a heated custody battle over the Cooper's two young daughters, 2-year-old Katie and 4-year-old Bella. A judge decided last week to award temporary custody to the family of Nancy Cooper, whom the girls had been living with in Canada since their mother went missing July 12.

Police investigating the murder said last week that parts of the sworn testimony made by her husband earlier this month were "inconsistent" with the statements he made to authorities immediately after her death.

George G. Daniels, the lead detective in the Cary, N.C., murder case, said in a sworn affidavit filed Oct. 9 and obtained by ABCNews.com, that not only did some of Brad Cooper's statements conflict with what he'd told investigators around the time of his wife's disappearance but that Cooper has stopped talking to police.

"Bradley Cooper has not fully cooperated with our investigation into the murder of Nancy Cooper and has not been willing to come to the police department to assist in the investigation and provide information despite formal requests from the Cary Police Department that he do so," said Daniels in the affidavit.

Daniels did not specify in the court papers what information provided by Brad Cooper was reportedly inconsistent.

Daniels didn't respond to a call seeking comment.

But in eight hours of videotaped sworn testimony given by Brad Cooper, 34, earlier this month for use in the custody hearing over the couple's two daughters, clips of which were viewed by ABCNews.com, he asserted his desire to assist the investigation into his wife's murder.

"My primary focus [in the months since Nancy's murder] has been trying to get to see my girls again and helping in the investigation about Nancy," he says.

"I have answered every question [the police] have," Cooper says on the tape.

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