FRANKLIN, Ind. — The Indiana Supreme Court has received a recommendation to issue a public reprimand to Johnson County prosecutor Bradley Cooper. Hearing officer Charles Todd made the recommendation after reviewing comments Cooper made about a northern Indiana judge after a ruling in the Kelly Eckart case.
Cooper played a role in the prosecution of Michael Overstreet in the 1997 murder of the Franklin College student. Overstreet received the death penalty in 2000, but in 2014 St. Joseph County Superior Court judge Jane Woodward Miller granted Overstreet’s petition for post-conviction relief.
Cooper was quoted in the media as saying, “I was angry and suspicious when this case was sent to a distant judge who is not accountable to the Johnson County citizenry or a grieving mother who couldn’t even afford to drive up for the hearing. The idea that this convicted murdering monster is too sick to be executed is nothing short of outrageous and is an injustice to the victim, her mother, the jury, and the hundreds of people who worked to convict this animal.”
In his opinion Todd wrote, “This case has considerable mitigation, and it is difficult to imagine a case with much more by way of mitigation. The hearing officer is left with the firm and well supported impression that respondent Cooper is a hardworking, honest and ethical public servant and has been so for many years.” Todd also noted that a mitigating factor was that Cooper wrote a letter of apology to the judge.
The Indiana Supreme Court will decide what action to take, if any.