The Norman Transcript

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June 13, 2013

Witness in manslaughter trial explains reasons for concealing facts about victim’s death

NORMAN — A witness testified Wednesday in Cleveland County District Court that the fear of no one believing her was the reason she’d lied to police and helped conceal knowledge about the death of the victim in a manslaughter trial.

Danielle Cooley testified in court that she was in the room with defendant Cole Hopper when Kelsey Bransby was shot in October 2011 in south Oklahoma City. She said Hopper, who is being tried for manslaughter in Bransby’s death, was not holding a gun when she heard the gunshot that allegedly caused Bransby’s death.

In questioning from David Smith, the defense attorney, Cooley said she was with Bransby the morning before she was shot. Soon after Cooley and Bransby woke up, Bransby injected about half a gram of methamphetamine into her neck while Cooley snorted half a pill of Opana, a prescription drug combining OxyContin and morphine that has about the same effects as heroin. These were drugs the two of them used regularly, she testified.

Cooley said Bransby had been fronted half an ounce of meth, but instead of selling it to pay the person she’d gotten it from, she was using it.

Hopper, who was dating Cooley and is the father of her child, came over to the apartment around 1:30 or 2 p.m. that day, and the three of them were going to watch a DVD, Cooley said.

Smith asked Cooley to describe how Bransby would act while she was under the influence of meth, and Cooley said Bransby would get “rambunctious.” Many of the people in Cooley and Bransby’s group of friends owned guns, and Cooley confirmed that Bransby would often pose and take pictures with guns while she was under the influence of drugs.

Cooley said she was turning on the DVD when she heard a gunshot, and she turned around and saw Bransby lying on the floor with a bullet hole in her head. She said she didn’t see Hopper shoot Bransby, and when she turned around, she didn’t see a gun in his hand.

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