Mirror UK By Richard Wheatstone Posted Mon., Feb.01, 2016
A death row inmate is set to be given a lethal injection despite five judges saying he’s innocent.
Kevin Cooper (pic on left and right bot) was convicted of murder in 1985 following the brutal killings of Douglas and Peggy Ryan and their 10-year-old daughter Jessica in Los Angeles.
Chris Hughes, 10, who was staying at the house was also killed.
Douglas and Peggy’s eight-year-old son Josh (pic top right) had his throat slit but survived the attack.
In an interview with NBC from behind bars, he said: “I am the only person in the history of the state to have five federal circuit judges say that ‘the state of California may be about to execute an innocent man.
8 yr old Josh Ryan originally said that three white or Latino men killed his family. His account was backed up by physical evidence which suggested the attack was carried out by multiple men.
At the time, police issued a public appeal saying officers were searching for three suspects who were ‘white or Mexican males’.
On the night of the killings, two witnesses saw three white men driving a wagon away from the house, similar to the family’s wagon which was stolen that night.
But police identified Cooper as a suspect, mainly because he had escaped from prison and was staying at a nearby house. Prosecutors also said a footprint at the scene of the crime came from a prison-issue shoe.
A warden from the prison said this wasn’t true, but the evidence was never produced to a jury. At trial, Josh changed his testimony to say that he’d seen Cooper murder his family.
Cooper, speaking to NBC from behind bars, said: “I am the only person in the history of the state to have five federal circuit judges say that ‘the state of California may be about to execute an innocent man.
“I’m not asking America as a whole, or any one person in particular, to believe me. Forget what I say. I’m asking people to believe those [judges].
“I am innocent. And it’s not my execution, it’s my murder.”
In 2004, Cooper was three hours away from being put to death but was given a reprieve by the Ninth Circuit Court, who said some of the evidence against him was flawed and illegal.
In November 2009, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Ninth Circuit Court’s denial of his appeal – but the judges were bitterly divided.
In a 103-page report signed by five of judges, they warned: ‘The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man.