For­mer mur­der de­fen­dant guilty in Elkton rob­bery

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON

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

ELKTON

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.

COOPER

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