A former Cisco employee has pleaded guilty to killing his wife years after investigators found a Google map on his computer zoomed onto the exact spot where her body was discovered.
Ex-Cisco engineer Bradley Cooper was initially convicted of strangling his wife, Nancy, in 2011, but he appealed the verdict and won a new trial.
But instead of that trial, Cooper took a plea deal, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and received a sentence of 12 to 15 years. He also agreed to allow his two children to be adopted by Nancy’s sister.
In 2008, Cooper and his wife were having marital problems. One morning in 2008, Nancy went out running and never came back. She had been strangled, and the police found her body in a nearby park.
Investigators alleged the Google map search that led to her body was done the day before the murder while the computer was connected to Cisco’s network, Cooper’s place of employment.
Prosecutors also alleged that Cooper, a communications technology expert, borrowed a piece of network equipment from Cisco and used it to fake a phone call from his wife after she was already dead. The router was never found, reports Network World’s Paul McNamara.
Cooper’s lawyer wanted to present testimony that the Google map was planted on his computer by someone else. But the judge for the original trial refused to allow those witnesses to testify. The judge even ruled that national security would be comprised if the state’s investigators were questioned about how they found the Google Maps file, according to trial documents posted by blogger Brad Reese.
Cooper appealed, and in 2013 an appeals court sided with him and ordered a new trial.
While he ultimately pleaded guilty, not everyone thinks he really killed his wife.
An anonymous blogger writing a blog called Justice for Bradley Cooper, has been criticising how the computer evidence was handled. “It was quite painful to hear Brad Cooper plead guilty to second degree murder, knowing that all the evidence points to his innocence,” the blogger wrote on Monday.
The prosecuting attorney Howard Cummings disagrees. He said that Nancy Cooper’s death was the result of “mental and psychological domestic violence” that escalated to murder, reports WRAL news.
Cisco declined comment.