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Indybay Feature

SCAPEGOAT:The Chino Hills Murders and the Framing of Kevin Cooper Book Talk

Sunday, February 12, 2012
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Event Type:
Shelby Minister
Location Details:
San Jose Peace and Justice Center 48 S. 7th St., San Jose, CA 95112

Kevin Cooper was convicted of the brutal murders of a Chino Hills, California family and a young houseguest in 1985 and has been on death row at San Quentin since then. SCAPEGOAT shows how the sheriff's office and the district attorney's office of San Bernardino County framed Cooper for these horrific murders and how the justice system has failed him at almost every turn in his long, drawn-out appeal process. If it were not for a court-ordered moratorium on executions in California over the lethal injection controversy, Cooper – with no appeals remaining – would have been executed by now. It is expected the moratorium will be lifted in early 2012.
Two days before the murders of Doug and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and 11-year-old Christopher Hughes, Cooper escaped from a nearby prison and holed up in a vacant house 125 yards below the murdered family's hilltop house. Two days after the San Bernardino sheriff’s department established that Cooper had hid out there, it locked in on him as the lone assailant despite numerous eye witness reports that implicated three, young white men as the perpetrators.
From that day forward, four days after the murders were discovered, the sheriff’s department discarded information that pointed at other perpetrators, destroyed evidence that exculpated Cooper, and planted evidence that implicated him.
SCAPEGOAT provides a rare direct examination of the broken justice system in the United States where homicide detectives and district attorneys all too often become blinded by their goal of winning convictions rather than searching for justice for both the victims and the accused.

As a result, Kevin Cooper has now spent half of his life on death row for a crime he had nothing to do with. He will be scheduled to die by lethal injection once executions are allowed to resume in California. He is, in a word, a scapegoat.

Pre-publication praise for SCAPEGOAT has been enthusiastic:

Noelle Hanrahan, investigative reporter and director of Prison Radio said, “O’Connor focuses on critical crime scene details that illuminate a grisly murder scene (reminiscent of In Cold Blood) while exposing the epic cover up that lands a man on death row. Read this gripping tale of how small town cops bury justice, and the courts conspire to bury the truth.
Don Fulsom, former UPI White House reporter and the author of Nixon’s Greatest Secrets said, “Pat O’Connor combines meticulous research, sound logic and judicial passion to convincingly claim that death row inmate Kevin Cooper was framed for the vicious 1985 quadruple homicide in Southern California known as the Chino Hill murders. I was glued to every page of this riveting book.”

About the Author
J. Patrick O’Connor has been the editor and publisher of Crime Magazine ( since 1998. He was a reporter and bureau manager for United Press International, editor of Cincinnati Magazine, and an associate editor for TV Guide. He was editor and publisher of the Kansas City New Times, an alternative newspaper. He is the author of The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, which was published by Lawrence Hill Books, an imprint of Chicago Review Press, in May of 2008. He lives with his wife, Christy, in Naples, Florida.

In addition, David Alexander, Kevin Cooper's attorney will also be speaking on the case and giving us updates on his current status.

Copies of Patrick O'Connors books will be available for sale.

Suggested Donation $5-10, no one turned away for lack of funds.
Added to the calendar on Fri, Jan 20, 2012 5:50PM
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