Appeals court grants new trial for Brad Cooper - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Appeals court grants new trial for Brad Cooper

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CARY, N.C. -

The North Carolina Court of Appeals is granting Brad Cooper a new trial for the death of his wife Nancy.

Cooper was found guilty in May 2011 of first-degree murder in the July 2008 death of his wife. Cooper claimed his wife went out for a jog and never returned. Her body was later found in a ditch a few miles from the couple's home.

Coopers attorneys argued for a retrial in April, saying two experts were not allowed to tell the jurors that someone could have planted evidence on Cooper's computer.

The evidence refers to a Google Map search that was done by someone using the laptop while it was at an office at Cisco, where Cooper had worked.

The state's experts said the search was completed by putting in the zip code associated with defendant's house and zooming into a spot on Fielding Drive where Cooper's body was found.

In response, the defense called Jay Ward, who specialized in computer network security, to testify about the incrementing Google Map search. The state objected to Ward's testimony, challenging Ward's lack of training and experience as a forensic computer analyst.

The judges said the trial judge made a mistake in limiting the testimony of Ward.

The court said the Google Map files recovered from Brad Cooper's laptop computer were perhaps the most important pieces of evidence in the trial.

The Google Map evidence led to Cooper's conviction in May 2011.

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