Accused claims self defense in death of Aurora girlfriend - FOX 32 News Chicago

Accused claims self defense in death of Aurora girlfriend

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Delbert Cooper. (Photo courtesy of the Aurora Police Department) Delbert Cooper. (Photo courtesy of the Aurora Police Department)
AURORA, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

After an earlier ruling limited how much of Delbert Cooper's past could be used at trial, prosecutors have again asked to admit Cooper's prior "bad acts" because of his claim of self defense in the 2011 death of his girlfriend.

Cooper is accused of strangling and stabbing Renee Perry inside her Second Avenue apartment in west suburban Aurora in December 2011 during an argument over his drug use, the Aurora Beacon News is reporting.

Police found Perry's body after her mother called authorities seeking a well-being check on her daughter.

Cooper has pleaded not guilty and remains held on $525,000 bail. His attorney, Herbert Hill, formally filed a notice last month stating generally he would assert self defense at trial, records show.

Kane County Judge Clint Hull has scheduled a trial for January.

Prosecutors, noting Hill previously made a verbal mention of the self-defense claim, filed a second motion seeking to use four separate cases from Cooper's past involving domestic violence. The judge ruled earlier this year that prosecutors could only reference either a 2000 case in which he punched and choked a former girlfriend or a 2006 aggravated domestic battery conviction in which he choked a female relative.

Hill has asked the judge to reconsider that ruling, but Hull denied the request, according to court records.

In the most recent motion, Assistant State's Attorney Bill Engerman states the other incidents, including Cooper's 2010 domestic battery conviction involving Perry, are all relevant pieces of evidence now that Cooper plans a self-defense claim.

"This evidence establishes the defendant's propensity to react with violence to resolve an issue as opposed to the defendant acting in a fit of passion or self-defense," Engerman said in the motion.

Hull is expected to rule on the new "bad acts" motion during a Dec. 6 hearing.

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