Judge limits details of murder suspect’s domestic troubles
By Dan Campana For Sun-Times Media August 30, 2013 11:08AM
Delbert K. Cooper faces four counts of first degree murder in the slaying of his girlfriend in their Aurora apartment.
Updated: October 2, 2013 6:28AM
Kane County prosecutors will be limited as to how much of Delbert Cooper’s domestic violence history can be shared with jurors at a future trial on murder charges, according to court records.
In a motion filed last year, prosecutors sought to bring in details of incidents Cooper was involved in prior to the 2011 murder of his girlfriend, Renee Perry. Cooper is accused of strangling and stabbing Perry inside her apartment in Aurora. He remains held in Kane County Jail on $525,000.
Kane County Judge Clint Hull, in separate rulings on Aug. 23 and a few days ago, said prosecutors will not be able to use information about a 1999 arrest on allegations he punched his then-girlfriend or a 2010 conviction involving Perry. In the latter case, Cooper spit on Perry during a dispute over child custody, the motion states. Cooper was wanted on a warrant for violating his probation in that case at the time of Perry’s death. However, Hull noted a lack of similarities between that incident and the murder could be viewed as prejudicial evidence.
“The two offenses are very different,” Hull wrote in his ruling.
However, prosecutors will be able to reference one of two incidents from Cooper’s past, Hull ruled. In 2000, Cooper was charged with punching and choking the same woman involved in the 1999 altercation. In 2006, Cooper was accused of attempted murder, aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery in Cook County after he choked a female relative until she passed out. Cooper, according to the motion, 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.
Prosecutors, in the motion, had highlighted the choking aspect of the two incidents as a common thread to Perry’s murder.
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 before Cooper choked her for several minutes and then stabbed her in the neck, according to court documents.
Hull scheduled a Sept. 6 hearing at which a trial date could be set.