Janesville man in heroin case charged with attempted homicide

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Friday, March 16, 2012
— A Janesville man accused of selling heroin in the city is now accused of trying to kill the Janesville police informant who testified against him.

Demetrius L. Cooper, 31, of 327 Linn St., Janesville, was charged Thursday with two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, endangering safety with reckless use of a firearm and felony intimidation of a witness, according to a criminal complaint filed in Waukesha County Court.

Cooper on Nov. 11 rented a truck in Janesville and drove to Ottawa Township in rural Waukesha County where he shot three times—once accidentally—at the informant and the informant’s wife, according to the criminal complaint.

The 34-year-old informant and his 31-year-old wife had Janesville addresses in mid-2011, according to court records. The man had testified against Cooper in an ongoing heroin delivery case and was scheduled to do so again in December.

Cooper has been in custody at the Rock County Jail since he was arrested Dec. 7 in Janesville on bail jumping charges. His bail remains at $110,000.

According to the criminal complaint, the informant and his wife returned to the Ottawa Township home after a trip to Beloit late at night Nov. 11. Both had been living in Janesville, according to court records.

The couple and their dogs were outside when the woman heard a bang. She thought her husband had lit a firework in the yard as a joke, according to the complaint.

She saw a flash and realized a man was standing in the driveway, the woman told Waukesha County investigators. Her husband grabbed her, and they stumbled into the house, according to the complaint.

Police found what appeared to be two gunshot holes in the home. The woman’s parents and two small boys were in the home at the time the shots were fired, according to the complaint.

Police found three shotgun shell casings in the yard. The couple said they had seen a large, silver pickup truck driving past the residence when they returned from Beloit.

Deputies called Janesville police, who stopped a silver pickup truck two days later. The driver said Cooper was letting him use the truck before returning it to Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

The driver also told Janesville police that Cooper previously had gone to the Rock County Job Center to use a computer to write a letter to the informant. Investigators found the letter at the informant’s home. The letter directed the informant to go to Rockford, Ill., to collect a $10,783 inheritance. A phone number in the letter belongs to a prepaid cellphone that was purchased in September at a Family Dollar store in Janesville, according to the complaint.

Cooper told the man who had been driving the pickup that if the informant went “to Rockford in response to the letter, Cooper would kill him there,” according to the complaint.

The informant told police he did not respond to the letter.

The criminal complaint does not indicate how Cooper got the address of the Ottawa Township home where the informant was staying.

Another person told Waukesha County sheriff’s detectives that he drove Cooper to rural Waukesha County on Nov. 10 in exchange for a tank of gas. Cooper said he was looking for someone.

Cooper on the afternoon of Nov. 11 showed a gun to another person and said he was angry because someone had “snitched” as a witness against him, according to the criminal complaint.

Cooper on Dec. 24 gave his girlfriend a letter when she visited him in the Rock County Jail, according to the complaint. In the letter, he directed her to write a letter to Rock County Assistant District Attorney Gerald Urbik. She should write the letter as if it were from the informant and write that the informant and his wife had moved to Las Vegas.

He directed her to wear gloves when she wrote the letter and have someone else address it to the Rock County Courthouse. She was to burn his instructions and not tell anyone about the letter, according to the complaint.

A correctional officer made copies of the letter. Waukesha County detectives found a copy in the girlfriend’s home.

Cooper’s initial appearance in Waukesha County court is scheduled for March 29.

He faces several charges in Rock County as well. Cooper was arrested in March 2011 in Janesville and faces four counts of delivering heroin, four counts of maintaining a drug trafficking place and one count of felony bail jumping. The informant testified against him on those charges.

In April, Cooper posted a $15,000 cash bond, according to online court records. The heroin case is scheduled to go to trial in Rock County Court on May 7.

Last updated: 7:56 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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