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Death row inmate says new DNA test will exonerate him

Kevin Cooper, center, a suspect in connection with the stabbing death of four people in Chino, is escorted to a car for transport to San Bernadino and Santa Barbara, California, after he was arrested by the police on the Island of Santa Cruz, 31 July 1983. He is now awaiting new DNA evidence to clear him.
((AP Photo))

A prisoner who claims that he was accused in 1983 a killing spree, it can get a second chance at life after 35 years in prison.

Inmate Kevin Cooper, 61, was originally convicted in 1985, got some good news on Friday, as California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered new DNA testing on certain items that were never tested during the initial investigation, according to ABC News. Some of these items are hair, blood and fingernail scrapings from the victims. Another important piece of evidence includes a green button with the researchers say that links Cooper to the crime.

It also suggested re-testing of a number of the original evidence.

“Especially in cases where the government seeks to impose punishment of death, I must be satisfied that all relevant evidence is carefully and honestly examined,” said Newsom in a statement to the station.

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A part of the material initially tested included a tan T-shirt, an orange towel, an axe handle and an axe sheath. The former Gov Jerry Brown had ordered testing for those items, which Newsom the order will expand.

Brown issued his previous order after a leniency application of Cooper, who is of the opinion that additional testing prove his innocence. The case gained notoriety at that time, after receiving support for the re-test of Sen. Kamala Harris and celebrity Kim Kardashian.

Cooper says that he is prepared for the 1983 murders of Doug and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica and 11-year-old neighbor Christopher. The family and neighbors had been brutally attacked with multiple weapons, including an axe, knife and ice pick, while their 8-year-old son survived.

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“We hope that this additional testing will result in the exemption of Kevin Kuiper and reveal who killed the Ryens and Christopher Hughes,” Cooper’s lawyer, Norman ok said, according to the associated press.

In 2001 Cooper was the first death row inmate to obtain post-conviction DNA testing. It didn’t help his cause, if the results found his DNA on a blood spot of the crime, cigarette butts from the stolen Ryen family car and a bloodstained T – shirt found on the road in Chino, according to the report.

Protesters held a meeting in downtown San Francisco, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2004, to condemn the Feb. 10 execution of Kevin Cooper at San Quentin State Penitentiary. Cooper was convicted for the murder of two children and two adults in a Chino Hills home shortly after escaping from the California Institution for Men in the near Chino in 1983.
((AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez))

Uring, according to researchers planted his client’s blood on the T-shirt, and says with more sensitive DNA tests, they can hopefully find who wore the shirt. He says that the researchers planted other evidence to frame his client, who he described as a young black man at the time. The district attorney’s office does not agree.

“Unfortunately, over time it seems the victims’ desire for justice in this case matters less and less,” district Attorney Jason Anderson said in a statement. “For the DNA testing that Mr. Cooper sought, agreed and requested, does not relieve him have all confirmed Mr. Cooper’s debt and that Mr. Cooper’s allegations of evidence tampering were unfounded.”

Newsom notes that a part of the material may be contaminated, given the age of the case and the treatment of the materials by the years. California has not executed anyone on death row since 2006.

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