Excerpts from the Testimony of Larry Cooper, U. S. Marshal
[from Ruby Ridge: The Truth and Tragedy of the Randy Weaver Family by Jess Walter]
(used with permission of the author)

Direct examination by U. S. Attorney Ron Howen:

Howen: "Had you evef been aware [prior to Degan's weapon being examined after the shoot-out] that he had even fired his weapon?

Cooper:  “No, sir. I had not.”

Howen: ....“Is that [the red light on Cooper's gun that Harris's attorney (Nevin) had referred to in his opening statement as a 'laser sight"] not what we commonly call a flashlight?” [Howen, holding the gun, shines the white light shining on Cooper's suit].

Cooper:  “It is, sir.”

Howen: “It is not a laser sighting device as counsel stated in his opening statement?”

Cooper:  “No, sir, it’s not.”

Howen: “You can buy something like that for about thirty dollars or forty dollars at any Kmart or Fred Meyer store?”

Cooper:  “I believe so.”

Cross-examination by David Nevin, counsel for Kevin Harris:

Nevin: “Did you know that Mr. Rampton led me to believe that was a laser sight on—”

Howen: “I object to counsel testifying at this time.”

Nevin: “[Did the witness know] Mr. Howen was going to do a little demonstration with the gun pointed at him?”

Cooper: “Yes, sir.”

Nevin: “You guys kind of planned that out before you started?”

Nevin: “It sounds like you’re using the term t["compund", in referring to weaver's cabin] to imply that it’s a highly fortified area designed to be defended and strategically protected, that kind of thing. Did you mean to imply that?”

Cooper: “It certainly was well defended.”

Nevin: “You know about the luck that Mr. Weaver had in trying to defend that property?”

Nevin: “....Up here on Ruby Ridge was the first time you ever fired a gun in the course of duty, except on the shooting range, right?”

Cooper: “That is correct, sir.”

Nevin:  ....“You wanted to lure that dog up the side of that hill so you could take him out with your silenced gun.”

Cooper:  “No, sir"

Nevin: “You carried that heavy gun that was less capable up there for that purpose, didn’t you?”

Cooper: “No, sir"

[Nevin had Cooper change back into his camouflage clothing, including the net mask. He had Cooper put his pack on, grab his rifle, and stand in front of the model of Ruby Ridge, in front of the jury. Cooper’s blue eyes peered out at the jury from two silver-dollar- size holes in the mask, the rest of his body completely covered in black and camouflage, a floppy canvas jungle hat perched on his head.(JW)]

Nevin: “Suppose you were walking through the woods.” Nevin said, “and you don’t have in mind to assault anybody. . . . And imagine that suddenly you encounter somebody who’s dressed like you are. How do you think you’d respond to that?”

Cooper:  “If they weren’t pointing a gun at me, I would be curious as to what was going on. I might even decide to leave the area.”

Nevin: “What if one of them was right here and shot your dog right there next to you, bang, with a gun, just like that?”

Cooper: “That didn’t happen, Mr. Nevin.”

Cross-examination by Gerry Spence, attorney for Randy Weaver:

Spence: “So, the problem we have here is that the government relies on you, the defense relies on Kevin Harris. It is your word against his. That’s the situation, isn’t it?...You’ve had what, seven, eight months since this event to get your testimony straight?”

Cooper: “Same as everyone else, sir.”

Spence:...“So you will admit you had over twelve hours to sort of get your perceptions about what took place—your stories about what took place—all lined up; isn’t that true?”

Cooper: “Counselor, my perceptions maybe. But if you are implying that we sat up there and talked to each other about our stories—”

[Spence asked if Cooper told his story to anyone else after Degan’s funeral.]

Cooper: “I came back, but I don’t recall going into the story of what happened up there.”

Spence:  “The story of what happened.”

Cooper: “The truth of what happened, Mr. Spence.”

Spence:  “Is it okay if we use the word story to do that?”

Cooper: “I can’t control what you do, Mr. Spence.”

Spence:  “No. You can’t.”

Spence: ....“Now the dog’s big crime was that he was following you, isn’t that true?”

Howen: "Objection." [sustained]

Spence: "Did the dog do anything. . . that was illegal?”

Howen: "Objection."  [sustained]

Spence: “Let me put it to you this way. As a member of the Special Operations Group, had you in your training been taught that because. . . you had automatic weapons and you were wearing camouflage gear, you had the right to kill somebody’s dog?”

Cooper: “No, sir. That has never been taught to me.”

Spence: “Do you know of anyone in the history of the world that Striker ever bit?”

[Cooper admitted he didn’t.]

Spence:  “Did anyone ever tell you it’s against the law to kill a person’s dog?”

Spence:  ....“As a man who has thought about this case a lot, Mr. Cooper, does it make sense to you that Officer Roderick would be shooting the dog after Mr. Degan is dead, after Mr. Degan is shot?”

Howen: "Objection."

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