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Appeals Court Blocks Execution of Kevin Cooper

by Democracy Now (repost)
A federal appeals court in California blocked the execution of Kevin Cooper Monday just before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection in San Quentin Prison. The state of California then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the execution but the high court turned down the state's appeal.
Kevin Cooper is still alive. Just hours before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection, California death row prisoner Kevin Cooper won a stay of execution.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request for an 11-judge panel to rehear Cooper’s case. He was convicted in 1983 of killing four people but has long maintained his innocence.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had denied Cooper a clemency hearing saying he saw no reason to doubt his guilt or spare his life. But the appeals court ruled 9-2 yesterday to grant a stay of execution for Cooper writing “No person should be executed if there is a doubt about his or her guilt and an easily available test will determine guilt or innocence.”

Cooper’s scheduled execution has drawn opposition on a large scale. About 100 death penalty opponents gathered Sunday near Schwarzenegger's home in Southern California, and hundreds planned a candlelight vigil outside the prison gates. Even three of the jurors who convicted Cooper were calling for a stay of execution so hair and blood evidence can be tested.

Cooper has also won support from actors who oppose the death penalty including Denzel Washington, Sean Penn and Mike Farrell, and from the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.
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by Pat Kincaid (laughter [at]
Here is the evidence in dispute. You be the judge,

I will wager a month of non-posting on here if he turns out to be innocent - along with a big slice of humble pie of course!

That being said, I am sure he is guilty as sin. I can't wait until he is dead. He richly deserves his execution.

In dispute
Evidence the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco was examining in the Kevin Cooper case:.

A 2002 test found Cooper's DNA in a blood spot on the wall of the victims' home, in two cigarette butts in their car, and on a T-shirt found at a roadside that also contained the victims' blood..

Defense lawyers say:

-- Cooper's blood could have been planted on the T-shirt by officers who had the evidence before his 1985 trial. A simple chemical test for a preservative could determine whether the blood was planted.

-- Police must have planted the cigarette butts because the butts didn't show up in an initial search of the car.

-- A criminalist who had custody of one cigarette butt and blood spot evidence for a day in 1999 could have contaminated them with Cooper's DNA..

Prosecutors say:

-- The T-shirt was in court custody from the time of trial until the DNA test.

-- It is implausible that officers would plant blood evidence that wouldn't be detected at trial but would show up in a new test 17 years later.

-- A judge found that the criminalist left the evidence undisturbed in 1999..

Defense lawyers want: DNA tests on blond hairs found in the hand of one murder victim that could not have come from Cooper.

Prosecutors say: The hairs could have come from the victim or others who had been in the house and had no connection with the murders. The hairs were examined before trial by Cooper's own expert witness, who found nothing useful in them, a conclusion affirmed recently by a judge..

A Vacaville prison inmate told authorities before Cooper's 1985 trial that a fellow prisoner told him he and two others committed the murders as an Aryan Brotherhood hit. Cooper's lawyer decided not to present the testimony.

Defense lawyers say: The inmate's statement included details of the crime that weren't publicly known.

Prosecutors say: Under questioning by investigators, the inmate denied his fellow inmate's account. A federal judge later ruled that the evidence would not have helped the defense..

Diana Roper, who lived 40 miles from the crime scene, told officers that her boyfriend, ex-convict Lee Furrow, came home with blood-stained coveralls that she believed were connected to the murders. She turned them over to a sheriff's detective, who destroyed them six months later without testing the blood. The detective testified at Cooper's trial, but Roper wasn't called.

Defense lawyers say: Roper's testimony and the inmate's confession could have undermined the prosecutor's theory that one man committed the murders.

Prosecutors say: Roper's statement was mere speculation, and a federal judge who later heard her testify found nothing that would have helped Cooper..

Josh Ryen, the 8-year-old boy who survived the attack, testified that he remembered seeing only one shadowy figure in the house, but hospital workers who treated him testified that he described being chased by multiple assailants.

Defense attorneys say: Prosecutors must have influenced his testimony.

Prosecutors say: They didn't do any such thing..

Jurors were told that shoe prints in the victims' home and the house where Cooper had been hiding came from distinctive prison-issued shoes like those that had been given to him before his prison escape two days before the slayings.

Defense lawyers say: Recent statements by the prison warden and a fellow inmate show that Cooper was issued shoes that were available to the general public.

Prosecutors say: Whatever the source of the shoes, their prints matched and incriminated Cooper.

Pat Kincaid salivating at the prospect of the death of someone? Who would have guessed it.

Interesting that it is so vital to you that new evidence NOT be presented. It really shows your commitment to truth and justice.
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