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Kevin Cooper
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    (circa 1958- )
    Convicted in 1985 of the 1983 murder of Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their daughter Jessica (age 10), and Christopher Hughes (age 11)
    Sentenced to death
    Granted a stay of execution hours before his scheduled execution (February 10, 2004)
    He used a hatchet, a knife, and an ice pick to hack 4 people to death, including two young children.
    He slashed the throat of 8-year-old Joshua Ryen, leaving him for dead.
    Joshua was left clutching his slashed throat for hours while lying next to his dead family until Christopher Hughes's father found them the next morning.
    Days before the murder, he had just escaped from a minimum security prison and was hiding out in a house near the Ryen's residence.
    He left the bloody print of a shoe that was manufactured exclusively for inmates of the prison he escaped from.
    Prison issued cigarette butts were found in the Ryen's abandoned car.
    His appeals have delayed his execution for almost 20 years, causing great suffering to the families of the victims.
    Anti death penalty activists are trying to claim he might be innocent, even though there is overwhelming evidence of his guilt.
    He requested DNA testing on blood spots found near the crime scene, and they came back a perfect match to him.
    Some evidence offered by his proponents are strands of blonde hairs in Jessica Ryen's hand (they were not in her hand, they simply stuck to the blood on her hand when she fell dead).
    Stories of other possible suspects (investigated and dismissed before trial): 3 weapons could not be used by one man (of course they could); one man could not possibly kill 4 people (the family was killed at night, and the father was killed first).
    His case has attracted nauseating activists such as Jesse Jackson, Mike Farrell and James Cromwell.
    One of his lawyers was interviewed on a radio show in Los Angeles, and chose to admonish the hosts for their etiquette rather than address the evidence against his client.
    His failure to kill Joshua Ryen led to his conviction.
    His 20 years of appeals has exposed California’s inability to carry out death sentences.

Credit: AMH

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