A North Carolina man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2008 death of his wife has forfeited his parental rights to their two daughters in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Bradley Cooper, 40, was sentenced in Wake County Superior Court to 12 years in prison with credit for five years he already served.
Cooper was originally convicted of first-degree murder of his wife Nancy Cooper in 2011, but the conviction was overturned by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
In a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Monday in exchange for giving up his parental rights to his two daughters, ages 8 and 10.
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Judge Paul Gessner said he found it “repulsive” that Cooper would “bargain away his rights as a parent," the News & Observer reported.
This was the first time that Cooper admitted to killing his wife, who was strangled and dumped near their Cary home. He told investigators in 2008 that his wife went for a jog and never returned.
Nancy Cooper was reportedly planning to leave her husband after their relationship deteriorated and return to her native Canada with their children. According to the Daily News, Cooper was allegedly cheating on his wife with at least one other woman.
“What he did was prevent her from leaving, for among other reasons, because it was going to cost too much,” Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings told the News & Observer.
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Her family says the sentence has given them a sense of "closure."
His wife’s twin sister, Krista Lister, has been caring for the children. They will remain in her custody.
“It’s total relief,” she told the News & Observer. “He doesn’t deserve them. He doesn’t deserve to know them and I’m very happy about it.”
"They're doing good," Lister said of the children.
“When we started this process years ago, I said I wished the person responsible for this crime would come forward and acknowledge guilt and own up to their behavior,” Nancy Cooper's father Garry Rentz told the paper. “That’s happened today.”
"It brings closure to us as a family," he said, "and we can move forward."
Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot, Shawn Rocco/AP