Prosecutors to seek life term in slaying


Prosecutors plan to seek a sentence of life without parole for a 21-year-old man charged with fatally shooting his cousin during a dispute over money.

Cornelius Marcellous Cooper's trial begins tomorrow in Harford Circuit Court. He is charged with the March 28 slaying of 22-year-old Richard Anthony Cooper in Havre de Grace.

State prosecutors will try to prove to a jury that Cornelius Cooper killed his cousin after threatening to do so in a dispute.

Among witnesses expected to be called to testify for the prosecution is Mary White, former girlfriend of Cornelius Cooper. Policesaid she told them that he intended to shoot his cousin and that she tried to warn Richard Cooper.

Court records also indicate that Richard W. Carrell, attorney for the defendant, will try to have certain state's evidence suppressed, contending that it was obtained as a result of an illegal arrest and unlawful search and seizure. He further plans to contend that the police acted without appropriate warrants or probable cause in arresting his client.

The police report indicates that Officer Christine Skarzenski was leaving a building in the 200 block of Bloomsbury Ave. when she heard two gunshots. She then spotted one man approaching another, who was stumbling.

From about 50 yards away, Officer Skarzenski yelled at the man, later identified as Cornelius Cooper, to stop and throw down his weapon, according to police. She reported seeing him fire a round at the victim, which struck him in the face, police said.

The victim, later identified as Richard Cooper, fell onto his back, police said.

The gunman fled, and Officer Skarzenski administered first aid to the victim.

About 25 officers from the Havre de Grace Police Department set up road blocks and searched for the suspect, who was arrested without incident as he left a house in the 200 block of Seneca Ave.

L The victim was pronounced dead at Harford Memorial Hospital.

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