Former murder defendant guilty in Elkton robbery
cahamilton@ cecilwhig. com
— A man is awaiting sentencing after accepting a plea deal in an Elkton robbery — a crime that he committed one month after his March acquittal in the double murder of an elderly Glen Farms couple.
The robbery case marked the first of three arrests for the defendant, Kevin Eric Cooper Jr., 26, of Elkton, after his acquittal in that double- murder case. Two of those criminal cases have been adjudicated by way of plea agreements, both resulting in Cooper receiving no active incarceration.
Cooper pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery Tuesday during a Cecil County Circuit Court hearing. As part of the binding plea deal, prosecutors dropped all related charges against Cooper, including first- degree assault.
Also binding reached
as part of the plea agreement by Assistant State’s Attorney Amanda Bessicks and Cooper’s assistant public defender, John K. Northrop, Cooper will receive a suspended four- year sentence and two years of supervised probation during his Jan. 4 sentencing.
Prosecutors offered the plea deal to Cooper on Tuesday — the day his jury trial was scheduled to start — after cooperation and availability issues with the victim and other state witnesses persisted, according to Bessicks.
In lieu of dropping the criminal case altogether, however, prosecutors opted to forge a binding plea agreement in which Cooper would be under the supervision of a probation agent for two years, Bessicks said. Moreover, she added, Cooper would face up to four years of prison if he violates his probation.
The criminal case stems from an incident in which Cooper and two women — Nichole Elaine Wilson, 31, now of Chesapeake City, and Nicole Francis Burns, 36, of Elkton — robbed a man about 1: 30 a. m. April 5 on Huntsman Drive in Elkton after the victim had agreed to give Cooper and the women a ride to a nearby bar, police said.
Once inside the victim’s vehicle, the trio forcibly robbed the man and then fled with his wallet, which contained $ 1,300, a debit card and his driver’s license, police added.
Wilson is awaiting a Feb. 16 sentencing after she, too, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery as part of an Oct. 12 plea deal, according to court records. Burns, meanwhile, is awaiting for her trial to be rescheduled after she allegedly failed to appear for a Nov. 28 pretrial hearing and was later arrested, court records show.
Investigators captured Cooper on April 6 in that robbery case.
On March 6, exactly one month earlier, Cooper was released from the county jail after a Cecil County Circuit Court jury had found him “not guilty” of two counts of first- degree murder and several other charges earlier that day at the conclusion of weeklong trial.
Cooper had stood accused of breaking into a home in the 100 block of West Parkway in the Glen Farms neighborhood on the night of Feb. 22, 2015, and killing the homeowners, Earl Loomis, 79, and his wife, MaryAnn, 76, by asphyxiating them, before stealing numerous guns, credit cards, money and a pickup truck.
One of his three codefendants, Derrick Lamonte Carroll, 27, also of Elkton, also stands accused of breaking into that home before suffocating the couple and robbing them. Charged with two counts of first- degree murder and eight other offenses, Carroll’s jury trial is scheduled to star t April 27.
Cooper’s other two codefendants in that double- murder case — Azu Azuewah, 27, and Azuewah’s purported live- in girlfriend, Ellen Lough, 29, of Port Deposit — are serving prison sentences after accepting plea deals. Both participated in the planning of the crime, and Azeuwah served as the driver to the victims’ Glen Farms home.
Cooper spent 11 days in the Cecil County Detention Center after his arrest in the April 5 armed robbery case, before posting the $ 150,000 bond on April 17 — three days before he allegedly burglarized an Elkton dwelling and was arrested shortly after it had occurred, court records show.
( Charged with fourthdegree burglary and trespassing in that case, Cooper is awaiting a Jan. 30 jury trial.)
Cooper remained in jail about 10 days after his arrest in the burglary case before posting a $ 5,000 bond, according to court records, which indicate that Cooper was free on that bond when he allegedly robbed his father, Kevin Cooper Sr. on July 6 — resulting in his third arrest since his March acquittal in the double murder case.
As with the conditions of Tuesday’s binding plea deal relating to the April 5 robbery case, Cooper did not receive active incarceration in the July 6 robbery case — one in which he stood accused of snatching $ 45 from his father’s hand in the 200 block of Main Street in Elkton, as the elder Cooper was obliging his son’s request to lend him a dollar. Cooper also stood accused of trying to grab a nearby woman’s purse before running away.
On Nov. 18, Cooper received a suspended 18- month sentence and was placed on one year of supervised probation, after he pleaded guilty to theft of less than $ 1,000 as part of a plea deal in which prosecutors dismissed related robbery charges against him, court records show.