Cooper trial delayed until December

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The second trial of a Porter Gap Road man accused of shooting and killing a neighbor and injuring another man is being delayed.

The trial of William Cooper, 41, of 2827 County Road 21, Ironton, was originally scheduled for Sept. 10 in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. But Wednesday, Judge Richard Walton agreed to delay the trial until Dec. 3 because the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification has not yet completed new tests requested in the case.

“Mr. Cooper is aware of how important this DNA testing is to our case,” Cooper’s attorney. Lynn Grimshaw said.

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Walton said he anticipated the trial would take five days.

Cooper was found guilty in December 2005 in connection with the death of Scott Marcum and the injury of Orlan Harper Jr. Authorities contended Cooper shot the two men because he was angry; Cooper contended he shot the two men in self-defense. He was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison.

But earlier this year the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that the jury should have been given more specific instructions regarding the burden of proof in self-defense cases.

The appeals court ruled that while the state must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, Cooper only had to prove his right to exercise self-defense “by a preponderance of the evidence.”