MADISON – Angel Tanner said that her late father Jimmie Cooper of Peytona was a good man full of mercy for others.
Cooper was murdered in September 2012 by a young woman he was helping. In Boone County Circuit Court today, that young woman entered a guilty plea to first degree murder with mercy.
After that, Cooper’s family showed mercy to the young woman that had killed him.
“We agreed to a plea agreement that included mercy because that is what our father would have wanted us to do,” said Cooper’s son Johnnie Cooper. “Dad wouldn’t want us to hate, then it would make us a bad as her.”
Maura Perry, 22, of Hamlin was accused in the shooting death of Jimmie Cooper, 71, whose body was discovered Sept. 26, 2012, after his co-workers reported that he had not shown up for work.
At the time of the death, Boone County Sheriff’s deputies reported the decomposing body of Cooper was found inside his trailer home in Peytona. The man had been missing for about a week, police said.
Cooper was first discovered when co-workers were concerned because they had not seen him for several days and failed to report to his job. When checking on Cooper, someone found the door to his residence partially open and notified the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, who checked the home and discovered his body.
The home did show signs of a forced entry and Cooper’s car was missing. The vehicle was recovered in Putnam County, investigators said.
In magistrate court, during a preliminary hearing, a deputy testified that Perry had confessed to the crime, saying she shot Cooper with his own .38-caliber gun as he lay in his bed at his home in Peytona. The deputy said Perry said she had been planning to poison Cooper, but she was not able to get the drugs.
During the plea hearing, Perry told the judge that she thought about killing Cooper the day before and then made a plan to kill him. Cooper was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head as he lay in his bed in a back room at his home.
Investigators also said that Perry had an ongoing relationship with the victim and stole property after the alleged murder, which she pawned to facilitate her alleged drug usage.
“I did it for cash,” she told the judge during the hearing.
Deputies recovered Cooper’s car at a park and ride at Scott Depot, in Putnam County, where it had been abandoned. Several items have been recovered from pawn shops in the Kanawha Valley area that belonged to Cooper.
Boone County Circuit Judge William Thompson accepted the guilty plea with mercy and set a sentencing hearing for Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, at 11 a.m. Victim’s impact statements will be heard then, the judge added.
Perry had no family or friends at today’s plea hearing.
“Dad was trying to help her because her family had given up on her,” Johnnie Cooper said.
His sister urged Perry’s family and friends to come to support her at the sentencing hearing in December.
“Dad had mercy on others and would want us to have mercy on her,” Tanner said. “Her family should come to the sentencing hearing to support her.”
Tanner said her dad was a great man who loved people and music.
“He was a good father and grandfather and will be really missed,” she said. “We ask for people to pray for us during this tough time for our family.”