Murder Investigation

Feb 17, 2013 11:09 PM

Woman Believes Murder Suspects Are Innocent

A Harlan County woman told LEX 18 the two Harlan County men charged with murder, including one that she's known all her life, are innocent.

"I still don't believe it," said Debbie Bledsoe. "I just don't think these boys were involved in that."

Jody Cooper, 24, of Baxter, KY, and Justin Miller, 28, of Cumberland, KY, were arrested early Sunday morning and charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence. Cooper also faces additional charges of robbery and abusing a corpse.

Kentucky State Police found the body of 30-year-old Damiano Delany in a yard at a home along KY Highway 522 in Baxter, KY around 10 p.m. Saturday.

According to a citation report, Cooper told the first officers who arrived on scene that he had shot Delany. The victim's hands were tied behind his back, the report said.

Miller told investigators he witnessed the crime and watched Cooper take clothes, drugs and money from Delany after shooting him.

The two agreed to split the money, the citation report said, but Miller gave his half back after going next door and telling a family member what happened.

The family member then called 911, the citation report said.

The report also states Cooper tried to wrap Delany's body and asked Miller to help him move it into the woods.

"{Jody Cooper} is a wonderful citizen," said Bledsoe. "he would never rob nobody. I'm definitely sure he wouldn't kill nobody or take nobody's life"

Bledsoe described Cooper as a good boy who always went to church, worked in the coal mines and someone who would help his neighbors. She's also known Miller for several years and said the truth of what happened will come out.

The case is still under investigation by Kentucky State Police.

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