Tag Archives: Steven Andrews

Jury recommends life for Fred Cooper (Update)

(Scroll down for update)

About 2:30 p.m. today a jury recommended sparing the life of Fred Cooper and sentencing him to life without parole.

Lee County Judge Thomas S. Reese makes the finale decision but he will likely follow the recommendation of the jury when he sentenced Cooper on March 16th.

Cooper, 30, convicted of killing Steven and Michelle Andrews, both 28, showed little reaction to the news, despite an emotional day that at times brought him to tears.

cooperverdict12Fred Cooper guilty of the murders of Steven and Michelle Andrews in their Gateway home in December of 2006.  Today the jury recommended a life sentence.  He will be sentenced on March 16th.

See Orlando Sentinel.

UPDATE: On March 16th:  Convicted murderer Fred Cooper will spend the rest of his life behind prison bars, a Lee Circuit judge ordered Monday.

“It is the intention of this court that you never again be able to look at the light of day except through steel bars and barbed wire,” Judge Thomas S. Reese told Cooper.

Cooper showed little emotion as the sentence was delivered. He stood before the bench, handcuffed and clad in an orange jail jumpsuit. He stared directly ahead. Four deputies surrounded him and his attorneys.

Posted:   03.05.09  Updated:  03.29.09

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Fred Cooper guilty on all charges

A few minutes after 8:00 p.m., after about six hours of deliberations, the jury has found Fred Cooper guilty of all counts.

Count 1 — Guilty as charged of first degree murder of Steven Andrews with a firearm.

Count 2 — Guilty as charged of first degree murder of Michelle Andrews with firearm.**

Count 3 — Guilty as charged of first degree armed burglary.

His first trial had ended in a mistrial after four days of deliberations.

Cooper closed his eyes as the verdict was read. Other than that, he showed little reaction to the verdict and didn’t seem to look at his family. A few jurors looked in his direction.

He was fingerprinted at the defense table before being escorted away.

Cooper could face the death penalty.

The penalty phase is set for Thursday at 8:45 a.m.

The jury will recommend either life imprisonment or the death penalty. The judge will make the final decision.

Synopsis: Fred Cooper was on trial for two counts of first-degree murder in the December 2005 deaths of a Gateway couple. Police received a 911 call the morning of Dec. 27, 2005, and the discovery of a toddler, Lucasz Andrews, alone in a home in Gateway in south Lee County with the bodies of his parents. Steven Andrews, 28, had been shot in the head. Michelle Andrews, 28, had been beaten and suffocated.

Jurors heard final arguments in the case on Tuesday, October 14. The judge was forced to call the case a mistrial Friday, October 17 after the jury couldn’t decide Cooper’s fate. The trial has moved to Pinellas County and will begin Feb. 17, 2009.

**I thought she was beaten and strangled, so the firearm may be an error.

Posted: 03.03.09

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Fred Cooper trial II to resume Monday

Testimony ended for the week about 6:00 p. m. today.

fredcooper

The DNA evidence was introduced.  In my opinion, the DNA was confusing and does not nail Cooper.

Analysts compared the samples against DNA standards for the four major players in Cooper’s case: Cooper himself, Steven Andrews, Michelle Andrews and Kellie Ballew.

The Andrewses were found dead in the bedroom of their Gateway home on Dec. 27, 2005. Prosecutors say Cooper killed them out of jealousy over an affair between Ballew, his longtime girlfriend, and Steven Andrews.

Both samples showed mixed profiles, DNA analyst Julie Heinig said. That is, each showed characteristics not only of Cooper’s DNA, but Steven Andrews’.

Outside the presence of the jury, Barbara Andrews, Steven’s mother, gave some testimony that could have been more damaging to Cooper than any DNA.

It was after January 11, when Cooper was arrested. Barbara and Russell Andrews came back down to Fort Myers to take care of some of their son’s business and estate matters.

The couple spent a day at the ocean with Lukasz, after which they returned to the hotel.

As he was running around their hotel room, he caught sight of a newspaper hanging off a table. Fred Cooper’s picture was on the front page, she said.

He stopped “dead in his tracks” and stared at it, she said.

She took him outside to get a snack. On the way out, she told her husband to put the newspaper away.

“He looked frightened to me,” she said.

Considering that Lukasz was in the house during the murders of his mother and father, this would not have been good for Fred.  Defense attorney objected to admitting this testimony and the judge agrees and says it can’t come in.  Hope the jurors don’t read the papers this weekend.

Trial will resume at 8:45 a.m. on Monday.

See Naples News.

Posted:  02.27.09

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Kellie Ballew, the other woman, testifies in Cooper trial II

The first degree murder trial of Fred Cooper continues today in Saint Petersburg.

Kellie Lynn Ballew, 29, testified today and told jurors that her boyfriend, Fred Cooper, was distraught, if not devastated, when she ended their relationship in December 2005. She and Cooper had been together for 6-and-a-half years and had a daughter together.

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He wrote personal notes for her and left them around the Bonita Springs home they shared. He threatened to kill himself at one point, grabbing a gun and ammunition from a closet and running to the basement. She talked him out of it.

Ballew hid her new relationship with Steven Andrews, 28, a married coworker, from Cooper. On the night of Dec. 26, 2005, when she left home to meet Andrews at their office and have sex with him, she told Cooper she was meeting a friend.

“I didn’t feel as if he was stable enough mentally and emotionally to know I was meeting Steve,” she said.

The bodies of Steven Andrews and his wife, Michelle, 28, were discovered in their Gateway bedroom the next morning. Steven Andrews died of a gunshot wound to the head. Michelle Andrews was badly beaten and asphyxiated to death.

Cooper, if convicted of the killings, could face the death penalty. His first trial, in October 2008, ended when a Lee County jury failed to reach a verdict. The case was moved to St. Petersburg to escape heavy media coverage.

See previous post for more details on Kellie Ballew.

More on today’s testimony, Here.

Posted:  02.24.09

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Fred Cooper jury selected, trial II begins

Jury selection was completed today in the Fred Cooper trial in Saint Petersburg.

Nine women and five men comprise the jury. Two African-Americans. One Hispanic-American. Also, an indication Cooper will probably testify in this trial: One of those selected is the man who said he would hold it against Cooper if he didn’t testify.

Steven Beardsley of the Naples News is live blogging the trial.

Some of the officers who discovered the bodies testified this afternoon.

They testified that Steven and Michelle Andrews were found on the second floor of their home in the master bedroom and there was “a lot of blood. It was apparent there were no signs of life.”

The couple’s 2-year-old son, Lukasz Andrews, was found in the home unharmed.

The trial was adjourned about 5:20 p.m. and will resume on Monday.

Posted: 02.20.09

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Fred Cooper’s second trial to begin Feb. 17th in St. Pete

Update:

The second murder trial in the case of a Fred Cooper who is accused of killing a Gateway couple in 2005 is on schedule to begin in two weeks tomorrow in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Both parties say they are ready to proceed to trial on February 17th. (And wouldn’t you know, I have appointments on Wednesday and Thursday. Darn.)

Fred Cooper, 30, is charged with first degree murder for the deaths of Steven and Michelle Andrews, who were found killed in their Gateway bedroom in Lee County two days after Christmas in 2005.

michellesteve1

Cooper’s original trial, in October, ended in a hung jury.  This second trial has been moved to Pinellas County from Lee County.

In some DNA testing that has been done since the first trial, results show that Cooper’s DNA profile did not match any of the 12 blood, hair and tissue samples that were found on a sheet and pillow case at the scene of the crime in the murdered couple’s bedroom.

In the first trial, as I recall, there was some DNA testimony of material underneath the fingernails of Michelle Andrews that did not exclude Fred Cooper, which sounded pretty weak to me.  Now we have further and more extensive DNA testing that does not match Cooper.

I hope this trial will be covered by TruTV as the first trial was.  Cooper will face the death penalty if convicted.

This case has a few twists and turns involving infidelity, a small child left at the crime scene with his murdered mother and father on the day after Christmas with Christmas tree and decorations still up, with no murder weapon ever being found, and now no conclusive DNA.  It should be a trial worth watching.

Short synopsis:

Fred Cooper is on trial for two counts of first-degree murder in the December 2005 deaths of a Gateway couple. Police received a 911 call the morning of Dec. 27, 2005, and the discovery of a toddler, Lucasz Andrews, alone in a home in Gateway in south Lee County with the bodies of his parents. Steven Andrews, 28, had been shot in the head. Michelle Andrews, 28, had been beaten and suffocated. Jurors heard final arguments in the case on Tuesday, October 14. The judge was forced to call the case a mistrial Friday, October 17 after the jury couldn’t decide Cooper’s fate. The trial has moved to Pinellas County and will begin Feb. 17, 2009 in Clearwater.

For more background, see previous posts Here and Here.

Update: 02.16.09

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