Kim Kardashian West, coming off her recent success in getting President Trump to pardon a grandmother serving a life sentence, has taken to Twitter to ask California Gov. Jerry Brown to give San Quentin death row inmate Kevin Cooper the DNA tests he has been denied, tests which could prove his innocence.
Cooper has been imprisoned for 34 years for a savage crime he insists he did not commit—the slaughter of chiropractors and Arabian horse breeders Doug and Peggy Ryen, both 47, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica, and 11-year-old Christopher Hughes, a friend of Joshua Ryen, 8, who was attacked and left for dead, in 1983.
While Cooper has lost all his appeals, in 2009 five judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals asserted he was framed by the San Bernardino, Calif., Sheriff’s Department. The judges were joined by six colleagues in asking for a hearing to prove his innocence. Cooper’s attorneys continue to gather new evidence of his innocence.
What separates Cooper from death and exoneration are modern DNA tests his attorneys claim could prove he was framed. They are being fought by the San Bernardino district attorney’s office and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who say enough DNA testing has been done and no more is needed. The tests could be ordered by the governor, but he has made no public move to do so. Brown has been sitting on Cooper’s clemency petition, which details numerous examples of law enforcement misconduct, for almost two-and-a-half years.
Following a recent New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof about the case, California Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein urged Brown to let the tests proceed. The DNA tests could not only clear Cooper, but also point to the original suspects, one of whom, the convicted murderer of a 17-year-old girl, was interviewed by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department after the murders and agreed to take a polygraph test, but the detectives changed their minds and decided one would not be necessary.