Target: Jerry Brown, Governor of California
Goal: Prevent the execution of a man who might be innocent.
“It is not my execution; it’s my murder,” said death row inmate Kevin Cooper according to NBC News. Five federal judges have said that the state of California may have an innocent man, who has exhausted all other appeals, on death row.
Cooper was sentenced to death in 1985 for killing four people; two were children. He was also convicted of attempting to murder 8-year-old Josh Reyn by slitting his throat, but the child survived. These brutal crimes prompted public outcry and motivated investigators to quickly find a culprit. Cooper had just escaped from a minimum security prison and was hiding out in a house near to where the murders took place.
Initially Reyn claimed that there were three attackers; none of whom were black as Cooper is. This should have cleared Cooper of any wrongdoing. After meeting with investigators and prosecutors, the 8-year-old’s story evolved into a certainty that Cooper was responsible for the crimes. Cooper’s lawyers argue that experts say that Reyn’s original testimony is more accurate than his later one.
When DNA evidence was retested in the case, the DNA of two individuals was found in the sample; from Cooper and another unknown person. Cooper alleges that his blood was mixed into the original sample in an attempt to frame him for the crime. At trial this blood was initially presented as only Cooper’s DNA. It was only discovered to have another’s DNA later after more testing. This points to the evidence being compromised during testing or tampered with.
During his trial the prosecution argued that a shoe print was found at the crime scene that matched shoes that were prison issue and not for sale on the open market. This information later turned out to be false. A woman also came forward saying that she thought she knew someone involved in the murders and she brought a pair of bloody overalls to the police, but this evidence was discarded by police.
While it is not certain that Cooper is innocent, it is clear that he was not convicted beyond a reasonable doubt. Governor Jerry Brown is this man’s last chance; sign this petition to demand that Cooper’s execution is stayed.
Dear Governor Brown,
It is the opinion of five federal judges that Kevin Cooper might be innocent of the crimes that he was convicted of. If five federal judges hold this opinion, then Cooper’s guilt was not determined beyond a reasonable doubt.
The prosecution made their case with evidence that was shaky or false. The shoe print found at the scene of the crime was said to be from special prison issue shoes that Cooper would have been wearing after escaping from a minimum security prison. The warden of the prison at the time said that there were no prison issue shoes at the time. This misrepresentation of the evidence to suit the prosecution’s story undercuts the legitimacy of the entire case. It makes any decent person wonder, what else about the defense was a fabrication? What if he was innocent?
While it is not certain that Cooper is innocent, it is clear that he was not convicted beyond a reasonable doubt. To execute an innocent man is to allow for state sanctioned murder. You have the power to save this man’s life and to make sure that justice is really done. Don’t let California execute a man that could be innocent.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: babawawa