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Andrew Cooper Found Not Guilty Of Murder
Updated September 21, 2015 7:57 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(BLOOMINGTON) - After 8 hours of deliberations a jury found Andrew Cooper not guilty Friday night of killing 81-year-old Sid Cowden.

Cowden was beaten, strangled and left inside his truck on a street in the Dogwood Estates neighborhood 20 miles from his home.

The jury was unable to agree on whether Cooper was guilty of burglary and robbery resulting in injury, so those charges still are pending against him.

After the verdicts were announced, Cooper was returned to the Monroe County Jail. He has been behind bars without bond since his January 2014 arrest, but will have a bail review hearing next week during which a bond amount likely will be set.

The murder and felony murder charges cannot be refiled.

Monroe Circuit Judge Mary Ellen Diekhoff instructed jurors that even if they think someone else killed Cowden, Cooper would be guilty of felony murder if he was present when Cowden was beaten and strangled.

Cooper testified that he never met Cowden and did not kill him. He could not explain how his DNA got on two cigarette butts found at Cowden's Ellettsville home, or how the print from his left ring finger got on the inside of the driver's side window of Cowden's GMC pickup. But he did say he may have done work at Cowden's home prior to his death.

A second suspect, Bradd Stroup, whose blood was found on Cowden's back door, will be charged with the murder. Stroup is currently is serving a 30-year sentence for child molesting.

Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Kehr believes Cooper and Stroup kicked in the back door of Cowden's home and surprised him in his living room. There was a struggle and Cowden was strangled. After Cowden was dead, the burglars loaded him into his pickup and then drove away, with a second man following in another vehicle. But Cowden was not dead and regained consciousness. That is when Kehr says Cooper beat Cowden to death with a flashlight.

The broken and blood-stained lantern-type flashlight, with a heavy battery, was found in Cowden's truck next to his body. Investigators did not find fingerprints on the flashlight.

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