The State of California is set to execute death row inmate Kevin Cooper for a murder that even the judge in the case admits he did not commit.
The murder happened back in 1983. Shortly after he was accused of the crime, Cooper was convicted and sentenced to death in 1985.
The brutal murder of a family in Chino Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles, outraged the public, and many demanded the the death penalty.
The police insisted that Cooper killed Douglas and Peggy Ryen, as well as their 10-year-old daughter Jessica, and a 10-year-old Chris Hughes, who had been staying with the family the night they were murdered.
Then 8-year-old Josh Ryen was also a victim of the attack, but he survived, even after having his throat cut and being left for dead.
The 10-year-old victim, Jessica Ryen, died with a clump of light hair in her hands, and her brother Joshua, repeatedly told investigators that the attackers had been three or four white men. Mr. Cooper is black.
Cooper was at the time on the run, having escaped from a minimum security prison. He was, in fact, hiding out at a nearby home when the murder happened. Because of this, the police hyper-fixated on him as the chief suspect in the case.
Shortly after San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department told the public that an African American man was being held as a suspect, someone hung a stuffed monkey outside of the courthouse, along with a sign that said “Kill the N*****!”
At least 10 other federal judges have also expressed concerns about Cooper’s conviction. Many other eminent legal experts, including the then-president of the American Bar Association, have also called on Gov. Jerry Brown to intervene, according to The NY Times.
The evidence of police tampering is overwhelming. When lawyers working on Cooper’s appeal asked for DNA testing on a T-shirt believed to belong to the killer, the lab found Cooper’s blood on the shirt — but also something astonishing: The blood had test tube preservative in it! In other words, it appeared to have come from the supply of Cooper’s blood drawn by the police and kept in a test tube.
The Times also reported:
A woman told the police (and her statements were later backed up by her sister) that a housemate, a convicted murderer, had shown up with others late on the night of the murders in blood-spattered overalls and driving a station wagon resembling one stolen from the Ryens’ home. The women said the housemate was no longer wearing the T-shirt he had on earlier in the evening — the same kind as found near the murders.
A hatchet like one of the murder weapons was missing from the man’s tool chest, and a friend of his confessed to a fellow prisoner that he had participated in the killings. The women gave the bloody overalls to the police — who threw them out, apparently because they didn’t fit their narrative that Cooper was the killer.
Cooper’s conviction on the murder charges was later appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court, but his conviction was upheld even though five of the federal judges issued a passionate 103 page dissenting opinion.
This response stated, “There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing. The district court impeded and obstructed Cooper’s attorneys at every turn. [T]he court imposed unreasonable conditions, refused discovery that should have been available as a matter of course; limited testimony that should not have been limited; and found facts unreasonably, based on a truncated and distorted record. Public confidence in the proper administration of the death penalty depends on the integrity of the process followed by the state… So far as due process is concerned, twenty-four years of flawed proceedings are as good as no proceedings at all.”
“He is on death row because the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department framed him,” the judge, William A. Fletcher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, declared in a 2013 critique delivered in a distinguished lecture series.
The judges in this case found and admitted that the prosecution and the Sheriff’s office deliberately destroyed, tampered with and concealed from the defense key evidence that was never heard by the jury.
The judges said point blank that “The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man.”
California Governor Jerry Brown now has the final say as to whether Cooper will be executed. Help SPREAD THE WORD and CONTACT the governor to DEMAND the release of this this INNOCENT MAN who is about to executed – BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!
(Article By James Carter)