Sunday, April 17, 2011

Google Maps images used as evidence in murder trial

Images from Google Maps are being used as evidence in a murder trial. Zoomed-in satellite images of the wooded dirt road where Bradley Cooper's wife was found slain were found on his computer. All of them had been accessed while Nancy Cooper was still alive.

Bradley Cooper, 37, is on trial for the murder of his wife in their home in July 2008. Authorities allege that afterward, he dumped her strangled body in a then-undeveloped subdivision only three miles away from their home. Nancy Cooper was 34. said:
Chris Chappell, a Durham investigator who works with the FBI cybercrimes task force, testified that his analysis of the laptop showed that the Google image appeared to have been viewed at 1:15 p.m. on July 11, 2008, the day before Nancy Cooper was reported missing.
The defense's response has been to question the timestamps on Cooper's laptop. The defense said that "72 percent of the time stamps on the 3,627 files bearing information from July 9 through July 12 were marked as invalid."

However, in addition to the Google Maps images, the prosecution has a large amount of other digital forensic evidence. Cooper was reading his wife's emails, and those could have given him motive in the murder: she had plans to move with their children back to Canada. They also have emails that showed Cooper was having an affair, as well as some between the couple themselves that show angry exchanges between the pair.

Full coverage of the case can be found here.

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