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Prosecutors wants ‘bad acts’ evidence in Aurora murder case

Delbert K. Cooper faces four counts first degree murder slaying his girlfriend their Aurorapartment.

Delbert K. Cooper faces four counts of first degree murder in the slaying of his girlfriend in their Aurora apartment.

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Updated: December 6, 2012 6:07AM

ST. CHARLES — Prosecutors seeking to bolster their case against Aurora murder suspect Delbert Cooper want to use his history of domestic violence and having a propensity for choking victims at a future trial.

Cooper is accused of strangling and stabbing to death Renee Perry inside her Second Avenue apartment on Aurora’s East Side nearly a year ago.

Police found Perry dead after her mother asked for a well-being check when she didn’t hear from her daughter. Cooper and Perry argued over Cooper’s use of crack cocaine on Dec. 19, 2011, before Cooper choked her for several minutes and then stabbed her in the neck, according to court documents.

Cooper has pleaded not guilty and remains in the Kane County jail on $525,000 bail.

At the time of his arrest in Perry’s murder, Cooper was wanted on an arrest warrant for failing to abide by his probation in a domestic battery conviction involving Perry in 2010. That conviction, as well as three other incidents, are pieces of information Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Bill Engerman wants to introduce as evidence.

“The defendant’s prior conviction is related to the issue of his anger toward the victim and how he reacts when the two of them engage in a verbal argument ... He lashes out with an act of hostility,” Engerman wrote in one of two motions he has filed in the case.

Engerman also cites Cooper’s 1999 arrest for punching his then-girlfriend in the face after bursting into her Jericho Circle apartment because he thought the woman was flirting with another man; a 2000 incident where Cooper punched and choked the same woman; and a 2006 case in Cook County involving a female relative.

In that incident, Cooper was charged with attempted murder, aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery after he choked the relative until she passed out. According to the motion, Cooper touched the relative inappropriately and then offered her money to not tell anyone. When she declined to stay quiet, he choked her. She later awoke to find her underwear had been removed. In a deal with prosecutors, Cooper pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic battery and was sentenced to four years in prison.

“The 2006 and 2000 convictions involve the defendant choking the victim, which is the method of physical abuse the defendant employed in the present case,” the motion states.

During a brief hearing this week, Cooper’s attorney, Herb Hill, asked Judge Timothy Sheldon for additional time to consider the motion, in addition to his own pre-trial motions. The case returns to court Dec. 6, at which time a hearing date is expected to be set for a judge to consider the prior bad acts motion.

At the time of Perry’s death, Cooper was wanted on probation violations tied his arrest for spitting in Perry’s face in 2010 during visitation with the couple’s son. Twice a judge issued arrest warrants for Cooper, the second of which came in July 2011 after he missed court twice, tested positive for marijuana and failed to show up for probation meetings.

But he was not arrested until shortly after Perry’s body was discovered five months later.

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