This Saturday, January 26, at 9 p.m. (PST and EST), CBS will air a two-hour “48 Hours” program about Kevin Cooper’s case. Kevin has been on California’s death row for almost 34 years for a quadruple murder he didn’t commit.
Prosecutors said Cooper, who had escaped from a minimum-security prison and had been hiding out near the scene of the murder, killed Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and 10-year-old Chris Hughes, a friend who was spending the night at the Ryen’s. The lone survivor of the attack, eight-year-old Josh Ryen, was severely injured but survived.
Cooper, who is now 61, was sent to death row in May 1985.
Cooper has consistently insisted he is innocent, and there are serious questions about evidence that was missing, tampered with, destroyed, possibly planted, or hidden from the defense.
Former California Governor Jerry Brown announced on Christmas Eve that he was granting Cooper’s request for limited advanced DNA testing on evidence collected from the scene of the crime. His Executive Order calls for “limited retesting of certain physical evidence in the case and appointing a retired judge as a special master to oversee this testing, its scope, and protocols.”
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote an exhaustive review of Kevin’s case, which you can read here.
And here’s a preview of the “48 Hours” piece on Cooper.
Let’s hope “48 Hours” gets it right, and it will mean Kevin Cooper will get the innocence hearing he has asked for.