• 63°

State won't seek death penalty in murder of Daniel Cooper

By Shavonne Potts and Nathan Hardin
spotts@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for three suspects charged in the May 21 murder of Daniel Cooper.
Cooper’s family members at the Monday afternoon hearing were not happy with the decision, though they were notified ahead of time.
The decision was made in a Rule-24 hearing in Rowan County Superior Court to determine whether the district attorney’s office would seek the death penalty. After reviewing statutory aggravating factors, it was determined to proceed without capital punishment.
Darius Jamal Smotherson, Damarick Lamar Harper and Reginald Javae Clark have all been charged with first-degree murder.
Cooper was shot in an apparent robbery attempt in Kannapolis. He was sitting in the passenger seat of a Honda on Snow Street when he was shot in the neck. The driver of the Honda drove away from the scene and pulled into a nearby home on West 22nd Street.
Cooper later died of his injuries at Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast.
Cooper’s mother, Laura Tucker, who was emotional throughout the hearing, wiped away tears.
“We were really looking for that,” Tucker said about the death penalty. “I hate to say it that way.”
“We’re going to pay for them to live the rest of their lives. It’s rotten,” she said.
Todd Cooper, Daniel’s father, felt the shooting was premeditated because he said the suspects called his son before the shooting.
It’s easier for the district attorney’s office to not pursue the death penalty, he said.
Smotherson, 19, was the first suspect authorities identified in the shooting and last to be taken into custody. He was arrested June 26 getting off a bus that had just pulled into a Maryland welcome center.
Harper, 17, was charged May 28, a week after the shooting following a short foot chase with police. Authorities said at the time of his arrest, Harper’s family was on their way with him in a car to turn himself in when he jumped from the vehicle.
Superior Court Judge W. David Lee said because Harper is 17 years old, he is ineligible for the death penalty.
Clark, 35, was picked up and charged June 14, nearly a month after the shooting.
Kannapolis Police have said they believe Smotherson may have shot Cooper.
Clark, Harper and Smotherson are also charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Cooper was a senior at A.L. Brown High School. The shooting occurred just days before his 18th birthday and weeks before he was to graduate.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

Comments

Comments closed.

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day

Elections

In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising

Business

From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community

Elections

In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help

Local

Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system

Education

School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures

Elections

Republicans rally supporters at Saturday lunch

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice

Elections

Budd holds wide lead over Huffman in fundraising, cash on hand

BREAKING NEWS

UPDATED: 1 shot, 5 in custody after shooting at haunted house that attracted 1,000 visitors

Nation/World

Trump picks conservative Amy Coney Barrett to fill Supreme Court seat

Coronavirus

Deadly September propels Rowan County to 100 deaths from COVID-19

Crime

Highway Patrol charges man in hit-and-run after finding vehicle hidden in woods

Elections

NC elections board, Republicans at odds over absentee ballot rule changes

News

Voters struggling with witness rules in early voting

News

Trump expected to announce conservative Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Coronavirus

County reports COVID-19 percent positive rate of 8%

Local

Rowan County United Way sets $1.5 million goal at drive-in kickoff event

Crime

Blotter: Adult daughters accused of beating up mother

China Grove

China Grove firefighters injured after truck overturns

Business

Salisbury VA to reopen entry, exit gates

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for suspect in Burlington Coat Factory theft

Elections

Requests for absentee ballots top 9,000 in Rowan

Local

Spencer approves supplemental USDA loan for Park Plaza project