Murder case heads to grand jury

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

The fate of an Ironton-area man will be in the hands of a Lawrence County Grand Jury.

The jury will have to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to indict William Cooper, a Porter Gap Road man accused of a double shooting that killed one man last weekend.

During a preliminary hearing Thursday, Ironton Municipal Court Judge O. Clark Collins ruled sufficient evidence exists against William Cooper to warrant sending his case to Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

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Cooper is charged with murder and felonious assault. He is accused of shooting and killing Scott Marcum of Ironton and shooting and seriously injuring Orlan "J.R." Harper Jr., also of Ironton, who remains hospitalized at Cabell-Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va.

Lawrence County Sheriff's Office Detective Aaron Bollinger testified Thursday that Cooper's son, William "Bub" Cooper Jr., had come to his father's house shortly before the shooting took place.

Cooper's son told his father he had been in an altercation with some people and that he had threatened to kill those people, but the older Cooper prevented his son from taking a gun when he left home, Bollinger said.

Later, Bollinger said Cooper told investigators that he went looking for his son and that is when the shooting occurred.

"He said he saw the Blazer (Bub was driving) parked in the road beside Fred Sisler's house," Bollinger testified.

"And he said he could see Fred and his wife on the ground with Bub and it looked like they were fighting. He told me he parked the car and fired a shot in the air.

Bub got up and took off. … He (Cooper, Sr.) saw two other people (the victims) come up on a 4-wheeler and they walked toward him. … and they started pinning him up against the car. He shot Harper and (Harper) rolled to the ground, Marcum was still pinning him (against the car) and then he started firing at him."

But Bollinger said when he spoke with Harper later at the hospital, Harper told a different story: that Cooper had begun firing on him and Marcum before they were even close to Cooper's vehicle.

Cooper sat beside his attorney, Chris Delawder, during the proceedings, occasionally glancing back into the gallery at family members seated behind him. The defense did not present evidence during Thursday's hearing.

Cooper remains in jail under a $1 million bond.