Trials finally set in murder of real estate agent


A visiting judge Friday set trial dates for the two men charged almost four years ago with death-penalty offenses in the slaying of a real-estate agent on the East Side.

Judge Lee Sinclair ordered trials for Robert Brooks, 29, on Sept. 22, and Grant Cooper, 25, on Oct. 27. Both could face the death penalty if convicted of the Sept. 20, 2010, death of 67-year-old Vivian Martin.

Additionally, Judge Sinclair set July 17 to hear motions on the case from both parties.

Police say Martin was lured to a home she was trying to sell in the 3100 block of Nelson Avenue by Brooks and Cooper, who then killed her and set the house on fire to cover up the crime.

Martin’s family has said they are upset it has taken so long for the case to come to trial.

Judge Sinclair, a retired Stark County Common Pleas Court judge, was appointed by the state Supreme Court after Judge James Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court recused himself from the case June 9 because of his impending retirement Sept. 1.

Brooks and Cooper were arraigned in Martin’s death Oct. 13, 2010, but no trial date was ever set until now.

Read more about the judge and his plans for the case in Saturday's Vindicator or on

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