CARY — The months-long trial of Brad Cooper was an unrelenting probe of two groups: the Cary Police Department, accused of incompetence and bias, and the web of friends whose infidelity was dredged up and displayed for thousands of people.
And on Thursday, only one of those groups - the police - got a public defense.
In the hours after the jury announced a guilty verdict, the town of Cary broke a long silence to defend its officers, who were depicted by defense lawyers as a bumbling bunch of law-enforcement know-nothings.
"With today's verdict and despite the very public and hurtful allegations to the contrary, it's clear that they are exemplary, and Cary is served by the best," Ben Shivar, the town manager, said in a written statement. "They worked tirelessly, professionally, and with unimpeachable integrity."
The jury's decision continued an unbroken streak of convictions in murder cases that the Cary department has maintained since Chief Pat Bazemore joined the force as a patrol officer in 1986, Shivar wrote.
Neither Bazemore nor Shivar were available for interviews.
The neighbors who were forced to reveal trysts and affairs probably won't be issuing news releases.
The trial revealed secrets that now are known to people abroad and next door.
Angie Barfield, a Cary woman, watched hours of testimony that unwound the lives of the most sociable people in her neighborhood.
"I would never dream up half the things they got themselves into," she said.
She lives only a few hundred yards from the Coopers' former home - she had seen them and their friends touring the neighborhood with wine glasses in hand the year before Nancy Cooper died, and she attended a cooking class with the woman, she said.
"We dress the same ways, drive the same cars," said Barfield, 43, a Lochmere resident of 16 years.
But it was during the trial, years later, that she came to know her neighbors truly. "I can sit and watch what you did, look inside of your homes," she said. "To see that you can have that much of your life on parade is sobering."
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