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Kim Kardashian: Makeup Mogul, Selfie Queen, Criminal Justice Champion?

The Selfie Queen wants California Governor to Review Case of Death Row Inmate

Kim Kardashian urged Gov. Jerry Brown of California to review the case of a man who is believed to have been framed for murder. Kardashian tweeted Sunday asking justice for Kevin Cooper, the case of a man who is believed to have been framed for murder.

Kim Kardashian attends the 2018 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, June 16, 2018.Photo: Getty Images/Christopher Polk

“Governor Brown, please add Kevin Cooper to your legacy of smart, fair and thoughtful criminal justice reforms,” Kardashian wrote, retweeting an opinion article from the New York Times titled “Justice Delayed, With a Life on the Line.”

Cooper, a black man, was convicted of four murders in Chino Hills back in the ’80s. The now-60 years old man is on death row at San Quentin State Prison. In the Times articles, Nicholas Kristof argued that Cooper was framed for the crimes, adding an advanced DNA test could exonerate him. Cooper’s last execution was delayed back in 2004.

Brown — who is leaving office in January — has refused to allow advanced DNA testing that could free Cooper or confirm his guilt, Kristof wrote in the Times opinion piece.

The crime took place on June 5, 1983, at the Ryen family’s house in Chino Hills where the bloodied body of William Hughes’ 11-year-old son Christopher, who had spent the night with the family, was found. Peggy and Doug Ryen were hacked and slashed to death nearby. Their daughter, Jessica Ryen, was also found dead, while their son, eight-year-old Joshua Ryen, lay on the floor with his throat slit, but alive.

Cooper, then 25, who had escaped from the California Institution for Men in Chino just three days earlier. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department detectives later named Cooper as the primary suspect.

Cooper was captured on July 30 and by then, community sentiment ran strongly in favor of his guilt, the Times report read. During the trial a year later, prosecutors said a drop of blood taken from the wall of the Ryens’ home was consistent with Cooper’s genetic profile. Other evidence such as hand-rolled cigarettes in the station wagon, a blood-stained hatchet found in the weeds near the Ryens’ house, and a hatchet sheath found in a closet in the house where Cooper had stayed all played role in convicting him.

The trial lasted four months, stretching into 1985 when the jury found Cooper guilty of all four murders and the attempted killing of Joshua. A few days later they concluded that Cooper should be executed.

State and federal courts rejected Cooper’s assertion that he was wrongly convicted. In 1991, the California Supreme Court ruled it was “utterly unreasonable” to imagine that someone else in the neighborhood where Cooper was hiding committed the crimes. The “sheer volume and consistency of the evidence is overwhelming,” the court wrote.

However, according to federal judges and FBI investigators, citing evidence, the real killer is a white convicted murderer.

@thesimonecherie is a published author and libertarian justice reform activist; she has delivered guest commentary on a variety of cable and online media outlets including CNN’s New Day, NPR, Washington Post and BET News.

Original copy by Suman Varandani of the International Business Times



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Simone Chérie

Simone Chérie


Legal Reform Advocate and Perpetual Optimist. 👩🏽‍💻Grad Student @EmoryLaw.