Friday, February 06, 2004

An innocent man may die on California's death row

A man sits on death row, waiting to die for a crime he claims he did not commit. There's substantial evidence that demonstrates that he did not receive a fair trial, but unless Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger or a higher court puts a stop to the execution, this man will die on Tuesday, February 10th.

Kevin Cooper is an inmate on death row at San Quentin State Prison. In 1985 he was convicted of the murder of the Ryen family and a houseguest in San Bernadino county. Much evidence has come forward that was never tested or presented before the jury at Kevin Cooper's trial that could possibly challenge his conviction.

The state's case against Kevin Cooper is full of holes, and he has always maintained his innocence. There are also issues of racism , poverty, and police misconduct in this case. Here are just a few of the facts:

Clumps of long, blonde hair were found in the hands of one of the victims. Photographs of this hair were never shown to the jury.

At least three weapons were used in the brutal murders, indicating multiple perpetrators. Prosecutors were unable to account for this, claiming that Kevin Cooper acted alone.

Hostile, racist demonstrations were held near the courthouse after Kevin Cooper was taken into custody. At one demonstration a toy gorilla was hung in effigy.

A pair of bloody coveralls was submitted to the police by a woman claiming that they had been left at her house by her boyfriend, who she believed was involved in the murders. Police records show that the coveralls were deliberately disposed of in a dumpster by the police without any testing.

Samples of evidence used to tie Kevin to the crime were in the possession of police investigator without court supervision or knowledge of the Kevin's defense team. The State fought testing of these samples for years, yet suddenly allowed testing after the samples were handled by police investigators. Further tests could be done to identify the person matching the blonde hair and also to see whether the evidence was tampered with, but the state is refusing to do these tests.

You can read all about the case at

You can call Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at 916-445-2841, or send a fax to 916-445-4633.

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E.P. Friday, February 06, 2004