Cooper enters guilty plea in death of realtor

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Nearly four years after he was first arrested, 25-year-old Grant Cooper returned to court Thursday. This time was to plead guilty to his role in a murder case from September of 2010.

Prosecutors say Cooper and Robert Brooks lured Youngstown real estate agent Vivian Martin to an address on the city’s east side by telling the 67-year-old woman they wanted to look at a house for sale. The two robbed and strangled Martin and then set the house on fire to cover up the crime.

Both Cooper and Brooks were facing the death penalty if convicted at trial.

“In exchange for the defendant’s full cooperation and truthful testimony against Robert Brooks, the state would be willing to recommend 29 years,” said Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa.

Prosecutors agreed to drop the murder count and let Cooper plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter as well as aggravated robbery, kidnapping and arson.

While Cooper is set for sentencing in early October, co-defendant Robert Brooks is scheduled for trial September 22.

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