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Crime The Internet

Murder Trial May Turn On Missing Router 214

Posted by samzenpus
from the hardware-witness dept.
bgood writes "The outcome of a murder trial taking place in Charlotte, NC, may turn on a missing router. State prosecutors believe that Brad Cooper may have used the router (never recovered by investigators) to make it appear his wife made a phone call from the house the day she disappeared. The trial is in its 8th week."
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Murder Trial May Turn On Missing Router

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  • Story Error (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:21AM (#36011242)

    This trial is in Raleigh, NC, not Charlotte, NC. Fact check much, people?

    • by moberry (756963)
      Aye. Hour north of here, only thing I've heard on the news for 2 months now.
      • by cosm (1072588)
        Hour south, haven't heard a thing.
        • by bsDaemon (87307)

          News from the North is always more interesting. It's like a rule or something, so that's probably why.

          • by cobrausn (1915176)

            News from the North is always more interesting. It's like a rule or something, so that's probably why.

            Unless you're South of DC, then it's usually all just drivel.

        • Raleigh? Charlotte? Aren't they somewhere in all that nasty stuff east of Lake Tahoe? :-)
          • by JWSmythe (446288)

            Where? I heard everything East of Palm Springs and North of Santa Clarita was destroyed in Y2K.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DoomHamster (1918204)

      This trial is in Raleigh, NC, not Charlotte, NC. Fact check much, people?

      Are you sure? Maybe they are using a router to just make it look like its in Raleigh....

    • by sjames (1099)

      Clearly the story was bounced through a router in Charlotte...

  • by hoboroadie (1726896) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:23AM (#36011274)

    Sounds like some iron-clad conjecture.
    He'll fry.

  • VOIP? Router? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:26AM (#36011316) Journal

    Cary police investigators have theorized that Brad Cooper, an engineer in Voice over Internet Protocol, had the expertise and ability to use the router to stage a remote call from his home phone to his cellphone so that it appeared that Nancy Cooper, 34, was alive on the morning that she disappeared

    That's an awfully complex way of doing it. You could accomplish the same thing with a simple modem. I'm disinclined to believe the prosecutions simply because any phone engineer would not need a router.

    • Re:VOIP? Router? (Score:5, Informative)

      by BagOBones (574735) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:34AM (#36011428)

      Complex? Impersonating the home line is actually a FEATURE sold with many of these services so you can call from lets say, your cell phone but have the call appear to come from your home. It often also works like a calling card does, making the cell call a local call. It is trivial to do.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        I didn't mean technologically complex, but logistically complex. Why misappropriate hardware from your employer, when you probably already have the hardware you need in a box in the attic?

      • by Amouth (879122)
        just so you know - all of that type of call spoofing works with Caller ID not ANI which you have to be the bell to spoof.

        ANI will show exactly what device called what device no matter what the caller id said.
    • by chaim79 (898507)

      True, but a cheep router is handy for it because you can use it then toss it in the dump. There are many out there that are relatively cheep and can be modded with custom firmware.

      Set a router up with the right firmware, configuration, and connections and I can easily see a VoIP engineer using it for that general purpose, then tossing it in a dumpster never to be seen again.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        True, but a cheep router is handy for it because you can use it then toss it in the dump. There are many out there that are relatively cheep and can be modded with custom firmware.

        Set a router up with the right firmware, configuration, and connections and I can easily see a VoIP engineer using it for that general purpose, then tossing it in a dumpster never to be seen again.

        Cheap? FTA it was a Cisco 3825S router which runs about $4k refurbished.

        • by bickle (101226)

          Seems all the more strange that such an expensive router would go missing. If I had some rackmount hardware that cost 4k, I can pretty much guarantee that I'd always know where it is.

        • by JWSmythe (446288)

              It was cheap in that he borrowed it from work, and it was never seen again.

              That's circumstantial though. It could have been borrowed from his desk by someone else, who installed it somewhere to be found in about a decade. :) Retail value of $4k at Cisco is nothing in comparison to most of their product lines.

      • True, but a cheep router is handy for it because you can use it then toss it in the dump. There are many out there that are relatively cheep and can be modded with custom firmware.

        Set a router up with the right firmware, configuration, and connections and I can easily see a VoIP engineer using it for that general purpose, then tossing it in a dumpster never to be seen again.

        It was a Cisco 3825S - which retails for a couple thousand dollars.

      • by delinear (991444)
        True, but at the same time if their best piece of evidence is that he could have done it because he had the know-how, then god help anyone who is a VoIP engineer, knows anything about computers, or has ever used Google. I'm not sure I'm convinced that the fact that he supposedly borrowed the router from work and then never returned it points to his guilt. If it was pre-meditated enough that he borrowed a router for the purpose, why the hell would he raise a huge flag by not returning it - why not buy a chea
        • True, but at the same time if their best piece of evidence is that he could have done it because he had the know-how, then god help anyone who is a VoIP engineer,

          From what I read, it's the other way around. *His* best piece of evidence that he *didn't* kill her is that his wife called him from home when the prosecution alleges she was already dead, which suddenly makes his VoIP experience very relevant. It is Columbo-esqe however, in that the accused has apparently tried to play the "I'm smarter than you,

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          From the little detail in the article the question at hand is the time of death of his wife.

          Apparently there was a phone call made from their home to the man's mobile, presumably from the wife, proving that she was alive at that time, and about to leave home for her normal morning jogging. The prosecution obviously believes the woman was dead already at that time, and they think the call was staged by the man.

          So it's not the thing they prosecute on, on the contrary even: they appear to try to find a way t

      • by Hydian (904114)

        A Cisco 3825 is not a cheap router. It is also complex, large, and heavy (2U rackmount.)

        And he borrowed it from the office. It would be dumb to use it for that purpose (not that it excludes the possibility.)

      • by icebike (68054)

        True, but a cheep router is handy for it because you can use it then toss it in the dump. There are many out there that are relatively cheep and can be modded with custom firmware.

        Set a router up with the right firmware, configuration, and connections and I can easily see a VoIP engineer using it for that general purpose, then tossing it in a dumpster never to be seen again.

        Except you don't need a special router for this.
        Voip/Sip is just not that hard.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ephemeriis (315124)

      Cary police investigators have theorized that Brad Cooper, an engineer in Voice over Internet Protocol, had the expertise and ability to use the router to stage a remote call from his home phone to his cellphone so that it appeared that Nancy Cooper, 34, was alive on the morning that she disappeared

      That's an awfully complex way of doing it. You could accomplish the same thing with a simple modem. I'm disinclined to believe the prosecutions simply because any phone engineer would not need a router.

      The router in question is a Cisco 3825S, which he apparently borrowed from work.

      If the guy worked at Cisco, in VoIP, I have absolutely no doubt that he could actually do what they claim. I could probably manage it myself if I had the right hardware and spent some time looking through documentation.

      But it seems kind of silly to borrow a relatively expensive router from work to fake a call to try to prove your innocence...

      Like you, I'm thinking he could probably accomplish this in a much simpler manner. Get

      • It seems to me that if he was thinking ahead enough to borrow that router from work to cover his ass, you'd think he might realize that there'd be a paper trail involved in borrowing that router, and that his ass wouldn't be so nicely covered.

        You would think that, but sometimes very technically smart people are dumb about murder, especially with regards to what makes them look guilty in court.

      • by g0bshiTe (596213)
        Why does everyone say router router router? Wtf happened to setting up a regular run of the mill telephone modem and calling task manager. Wow guys does it really need to cost $200 to pull this off? I bet most of you have access to an old analog modem or two, and a computer. Fresh install Win XP have the thing place the call, that night slick it, or install a new drive, lose the modem. Why a router?

        Occam's razor.
        • Why does everyone say router router router?

          Well, the summary mentions a router because the article mentions a router because the court case involved a router because the guy worked for Cisco and borrowed a router from work but that router has now gone missing...

          Wtf happened to setting up a regular run of the mill telephone modem and calling task manager. Wow guys does it really need to cost $200 to pull this off? I bet most of you have access to an old analog modem or two, and a computer. Fresh install Win XP have the thing place the call, that night slick it, or install a new drive, lose the modem. Why a router?

          Or just a regular dial-up modem, a Linux box, and a shell script...

    • by vlm (69642)

      That's an awfully complex way of doing it. You could accomplish the same thing with a simple modem. I'm disinclined to believe the prosecutions simply because any phone engineer would not need a router.

      A real VOIP engineer would falsify the SS7 logs. Why F around with hardware?

      Or if you want to F around with hardware, get a surplus security dialer and a simple timer...

      He might be a "VOIP engineer" in that he pulls cable and the employer doesn't want to pay him overtime, so he's now an "engineer". Or he might be a real switch engineer. I don't know.

      • by billcopc (196330)

        A real VOIP engineer would have rented a cheap SIP line from the Ukraine and fired off forged packets with his wife's caller ID.

        Or he could have used a trusty old USR Sportster plugged into the landline. You know, like we did in the 80s and 90s.

        I'd say the big problem with techies murdering their wives is they fail to plan for the social ramifications. Sure, you can launch the body into outer space, never to be recovered, but how solid is your alibi story ? Do you have the acting chops to lie right to he

    • by icebike (68054)

      Cary police investigators have theorized that Brad Cooper, an engineer in Voice over Internet Protocol, had the expertise and ability to use the router to stage a remote call from his home phone to his cellphone so that it appeared that Nancy Cooper, 34, was alive on the morning that she disappeared

      That's an awfully complex way of doing it. You could accomplish the same thing with a simple modem. I'm disinclined to believe the prosecutions simply because any phone engineer would not need a router.

      I too don't understand what is so special about this router.

      Well he probably had his own router at home anyway. There is nothing special about VOIP or SIP phones that require anything beyond what is available in your average user grade home router. Even for simulating a call from a remote location; opening a simple inbound SSH port would allow you to make an outgoing call by launching a soft-phone clients on a computer in the house.

      On the other hand, the prosecution seem to be arguing crime of passion in t

    • Wonder what he was working on, must have been exciting to kill his GF and so deftly curb his alibi. This reminds me of some conversations I've had, I'm a kind of remote person, it really helps with "cold reading". But as soon as people learn I have a comp sci degree they look at me like I figured it all out with "hacker tricks".

      It's possible he's guilty, if so a loss to VOIP, our best bet for free anonymous communications.

      But maybe he's being penalized for his specialized skills. This is why the stupid
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by muckracer (1204794) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:32AM (#36011396)

    Is the router running ReiserFS?!

    • the file system of choice for murdering psychopaths everywhere

      • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

        But is it merely correlative or is it actually causative, and if so, which is the cause and which is the effect? More data points are needed...

        • you are saying simply using the file system causes one to become a murdering psychopath?

          let me look at the warning label...

          body odor due to infrequent bathing, involuntary celibacy, paleness due to lack of sun exposure...

          nope, nothing about murder

          • by Coren22 (1625475)

            I can see someone being driven to murder the first time they lose a file system to Reiser (this used to happen, but I believe it has been fixed...)

    • by tgd (2822)

      That joke killed!

  • Well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wrought@g ... m minus language> on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:33AM (#36011424) Homepage Journal
    Murder Trial May Turn On Missing Router

    If the router is missing, how will you know whether it is actually turned on or if it's still off? Or are they implying that the antanae will be raised? (giggity)
    • how will you know whether it is actually turned on or if it's still off?

      It's a Schrodinger 9200 model, of course.

    • Ask google or apple, they probably know it's MAC and location.
    • by houghi (78078)

      If the router is missing, how will you know whether it is actually turned on or if it's still off?

      Was the router owned by Heisenberg?

    • If the router is missing, how will you know whether it is actually turned on or if it's still off? Or are they implying that the antanae will be raised? (giggity)

      Apparently this isn't the first time something like this has happened: [bash.org]

      <BradCoop> hm. I've lost my router.. literally _lost_. it responds to ping, it works completely, I just can't figure out where in my incriminating evidence stash it is.

      Next thing you know they'll be questioning if everything was well at home, and the frequency that he put on his robe and wizard hat... [bash.org]

    • no actually its the court case that will be turning

      i see 3 possible outcomes

      1 they never find the router (or it takes to much time)
      case fails

      2 they find the router and it does not show what they need it to (and does not look like it has been reflashed/wiped/ect)
      case fails

      3 they find the router and it does show the evidence needed
      case JAILS

  • "Murder Trial May Turn Off Missing Router."

  • by Pecisk (688001) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:43AM (#36011528)

    This is really long stretch and will require recording of actual call and other details. You can fake voice message, but faking actual call is very difficult, never mind Hollywood showing simple voice changers as hot cakes available for everyone. Interesting legal theory though. As usual, needs facts and sound arguments why they are binding together.

    • They aren't saying the call was faked (as in a false entry of the call was placed in the teleco logs), they are saying that a real call occurred but it was not made by his wife, but by an automated agent, making it seem like his wife was alive after a time when he was already seen to be at work and therefore not a candidate for the crime.

  • by envelope (317893) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:43AM (#36011530) Homepage Journal

    Trial is taking place in Raleigh. Not anywhere close to Charlotte. Although I'm sure some non-NC people think that Charlotte is the only city in NC.

    • by Triv (181010)

      I'm sure some non-NC people think that Charlotte is the only city in NC.

      You're assuming that most non-NC people think about NC enough to get the geography wrong, where the truth is we can't be bothered even that much.

    • by Kushana (206115)

      There are states other than California?

    • Although I'm sure some non-NC people think that Charlotte is the only city in NC.

      You mean Florida has cities outside of Orlando? Nevada has cities outside of Las Vegas? New York has cities outside of New York City? Michigan has cities outside of Detroit?

      It happens with most states, with the possible exception of California (because it has several well known cities).

      • by jandrese (485)
        Nevada pretty much doesn't have any cities outside of Las Vegas. Reno is the only thing close, and it's still under a quarter million residents IIRC.
      • First off, who told you that Orlando was a city, it is just an amusement park. Second, everybody knows that Tampa Bay and Miami are in Florida, they have football teams.
    • is the only city I can think of in New Caledonia

    • by martas (1439879)
      Well, it kind of is the only city in NC, and I say this as someone who lived in the triangle area for 4 years...
    • There are cities in NC?
    • by PPH (736903)
      I'm heard of Dogpatch. There are other cities in NC?
  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @11:56AM (#36011674) Journal

    So a guy has some experience, someone from years ago has a missing router, and we jump to "Aha! He stole a router and killed his wife." TFA doesn't say if there is any other evidence. A witness (who did tell different stories) said she saw the wife at the supposed time the husband was murdering the wife. They better have some better evidence than conjecture, because I don't want to get blamed for some crime just because I have an engineering degree and some guy I used to know stole a router and then covered it up by saying I stole it. Where is CSI when you need them? They can do magicky stuff!

    • by Cytlid (95255)
      I agree Brian. I'm a network engineer as well, and uh, even if they find the router, unless it's logging itself to flash, they won't find any evidence. Maybe if it's configured for voip that's some pretty pressing evidence. I think if they want to find out where the call came from, the "stolen router" isn't the key to the technical piece of the investigation. The routing of the phone call is. It would be routed through the telco system a certain way, and if he did fake it, the origin of the call would
      • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

        I'm a network engineer as well, and uh, even if they find the router, unless it's logging itself to flash, they won't find any evidence. Maybe if it's configured for voip that's some pretty pressing evidence.

        I suspect they're hoping it'll have a custom firmware that prints out "click here to call your cell phone and make it look like your wife's still alive" when it boots.

    • The only reason that the router is relevant to the case is that he claims that his wife called his cellphone while he was driving somewhere and after the time at which the prosecution claims that he killed her. The prosecution is arguing: A.) the router in question is capable of creating the call to his cellphone. B.) he was the last person to be in possession of the router before it went missing from his company. To me this looks like a case where if the rest of the prosecution's case is solid, it is a gui
  • Next thing you'll know they'll claim an IP address doesn't correspond to a person or something.

    Heh.

  • They should build a GUI Visual Basic interface to track the ip to find the router...

  • by somethingwicked (260651) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @01:10PM (#36012748)

    I could spit to the courthouse from here, and these are only a fraction of all the twisted facts:

    All kinds of things SUGGESTING he did it, BUT-

    This trial is ALL over the place from the prosecution...They have argued he both did it in a fit of rage, and that he premeditated it (such as acquiring the router)

    The router is the Prosecution's response for his "alibi"- She was still alive that morning and called him from home while he was at the store before she went jogging.

    Computer showed Google Map searches from his computer showing where the body was found before the authorities found the body
    BUT- The Defense has offered that the time stamps are an invalid format. However, the Judge would not allow the jury to hear the testimony of the defense witness for this fact.

    They said the victim was murdered after returning from a neighborhood party where she had been drinking quite a bit.
    BUT-Defense says then her BAC would have still been elevated, which it was not.

    He is missing a pair of shoes that he was video taped wearing after she disappeared.

    A diamond necklace that witnesses testified she never took off was found in the house, suggesting he killed her then removed the valuable item. BUT-Store tape from two days before shows she was not wearing it then.

    A set of supposedly really expensive decorative ducks were missing. The prosecution contended they were broken in a struggle in the house. BUT-Mother of the accused had them somewhere else.

    Wife was divorcing the husband who was cheating on her and going to move back to Canada with the kids. BUT-She had had affairs as well and potential divorce proceedings could have outed someone else who wanted to keep things quiet.

    The husband bought a tarp the day before- BUT the wife was expected the next morning to help paint a friend's house.

    An exterminator says when he was in the garage, there was clutter everywhere, and no room to pull a vehicle into the garage. BUT-Police found a cleared space in the garage where a vehicle may have been pulled in to load a body.

    What's crazy about all this the Prosection has gotten away with "It COULD be this, but it COULD be that"

    I honestly feel this will hinge on the Judge not allowing the testimony for the defense that the Google Searches are suspect as well. I will contend that looks really bad if you are then not told something doesn't seem right about the dates.

    • by Cytotoxic (245301) on Tuesday May 03, 2011 @02:18PM (#36013798)

      I did a quick read of the case coverage over at WRAL and it does appear pretty darned sketchy for the state. In addition to denying the testimony about the invalid timestamps because the prosecution wouldn't have time to prepare a rebuttal, the reason for the late witness was apparently the fact that the judge disallowed the first defense witness as "not an expert". So their argument that they wouldn't have time to rebut is a little sketchy, if that story is right. The judge apparently did allow the prosecution to present the router evidence at the very last minute in the person of Chris Fry as a rebuttal witness. So disallowing the defense rebuttal witness on the computer files (apparently lots of files had altered timestamps after being taken into police custody, not just the google maps files). There was also some stuff about the police erasing data from cell phones.

      The whole thing sounds really sketchy for the prosecution. They claimed quite a few things definitively that the defense was able to absolutely prove false. It sounds like there was a pretty good PR campaign afoot to prove the guy guilty in the media as well.

      Having invested less than 15 minutes in the case, I couldn't say anything useful about whether the guy killed her or not. But I can say that I'm not at all impressed with the police/prosecution/judge team in the case. There seems to be a lot of disregard for a dispassionate arbiter of justice. From what I can glean from the press reports, there's a fairly unified team of police, prosecutors, press and judge all working to ensure a conviction, with a defense team and some of the guys friends working for an acquittal.

      I really didn't like the last minute inclusion of a second lesser charge of 2nd degree murder by the judge. This smacks of trying to get the jury to compromise on 2nd degree murder - a charge that would be entirely incompatible with the case the prosecution has presented (a case for premeditated murder). The jury is apparently fed up with the trial and wants to go home. So the judge offers them a way to compromise between guilty on first degree murder and acquittal - just convict on 2nd degree and you can all go home! Pretty sketchy stuff.

  • by b4upoo (166390)

    An autopsy report that she was most likely strangled is identical to a report saying that she might not have been strangled at all.
    Then we have speculation about a router and how the supposed router might have been used by the suspect.
    No way that any kind of guilty verdict would come from me on this case. Proof, not speculation, of the murder, the circumstances at the time of the murder, the place where the murder occurred and some

  • by sjames (1099)

    If the whole case hinges on "evidence" of similar quality, the DA's office should be charged with malicious prosecution. It should also be forced to pay heavy compensation to the defendant AND the jury. It really sounds like they have no clue, so they blame the husband (always the go-to suspect in a murder). They have multiple witnesses and a phone record showing her alive after her husband allegedly killed her. Occam suggests that she was in fact alive at that time. The DA seems to prefer the theory that a

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