Cooper is the Cary man who was convicted in 2011 of murdering his wife, Nancy. The trial was one of the most expensive in Wake County history. More about that below.
Kurtz correctly notes that Cooper’s conviction was overturned unanimously by the Court of Appeals and sent back for a new trial. While Cooper is still in custody, a new trial is expected in the matter.
Kurtz makes the specific allegation that rather than this being a procedural problem, Zellinger’s “dishonesty” (Kurtz’s words, not mine) resulted in an unfair trial. The Court of Appeals central holding was that, because Cooper was unable to have an expert witness testify as to issues related to a Google map search found on Cooper’s computer of the area where Nancy’s body was found, Cooper was denied a fair trial.
Cooper’s case is not the only Zellinger prosecution that has been sent back for re-trial. Joshua Stepp was convicted of first degree murder in the death of his step-child. He will face re-trial, assuming the North Carolina Supreme Court agrees with the Court of Appeals’ 2-1 decision that Stepp’s first trial was flawed.
To put that in context, “a recent study of capital cases showed that only 1 percent of the cases cost more than $200,000 for Indigent Defense.”