In a story about the unsavory clients of former Clinton White House official Lanny J. Davis, The New York Times found a silver lining—his “clearly altruistic causes” included “the death-row inmate in California, Kevin Cooper, whom he has been helping, on a pro bono basis, to try to get clemency from the governor.”
Helping a convicted killer is altruistic?
This is apparently the view of the Times, whose columnist Nicholas D. Kristof has recently written a column suggesting Cooper was framed. Kristof’s column cited Davis as a source, reporting, “Lanny Davis, who was the White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, is representing Mr. Cooper pro bono. He laments: ‘The media and the bar have gone deaf and silent on Kevin Cooper. My simple theory: heinous brutal murder of white family and black convict. Simple as that.’”
So it’s racism again.
Kristof is hardly a good judge of character or the facts. He suggested in print that scientist Steven J. Hatfill was guilty of the post-9/11 anthrax murders and eventually apologized for smearing an innocent man.
It’s true that Cooper and his supporters are playing the racism card and the liberal media are falling for it. The “Save Kevin Cooper” website features several of the paintings he has done from prison, including Malcolm X, Barack Obama, “Mother Africa,” and “Free Gaza.”
But here’s what liberal Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had said about the push for clemency for Cooper:
“I have carefully weighed the claims presented in Kevin Cooper’s plea for clemency. The state and federal courts have reviewed this case for more than eighteen years. Evidence establishing his guilt is overwhelming, and his conversion to faith and his mentoring of others, while commendable, do not diminish the cruelty and destruction he has inflicted on so many. His is not a case for clemency.”
The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin newspaper in Ontario, California, described the case this way:
“Kevin Cooper sits on California’s Death Row for the most notorious mass murder in San Bernardino County history—the 1983 hatchet and knife massacre of three members of a Chino Hills family and their young houseguest. Cooper, a repeat criminal who escaped from a nearby prison two days before the killings, claims he is innocent and that sheriff’s investigators framed him for crimes committed by three white men. In 2001, Cooper became the first Death Row inmate in California to get post-conviction DNA tests of evidence. Those tests found his DNA on several key pieces of evidence, supporting his guilt.”
In a column, “Kevin Cooper is guilty,” Debra J. Saunders provided the facts of the case and noted that forensics expert Edward T. Blake, whom Cooper’s lawyers had hired to prove Cooper’s innocence, instead found that DNA tests proved that Cooper was “the source of blood at the Ryen home, the source of DNA found on two cigarette butts found in the Ryen car, and the source of blood smears on a T-shirt also containing Doug Ryen’s blood.”
A follow-up column by Saunders noted that, despite the DNA testing confirming his guilt, liberal judges and journalists like Kristof still advocate for Cooper.
Cooper has become a cause célèbre of liberal lawyers like Lanny J. Davis, Hollywood movie stars, Marxist groups like the International Action Center, and now The New York Times.
Erin Moriarty of CBS News covered the case, highlighting Davis’s role in trying to get Cooper removed from death row.
She said that Paul Ingels, a private investigator once hired by Cooper, thought he might be innocent. “Then in 2002, DNA tests were done on some crucial evidence in the case: a bloody T-shirt and cigarette butts found in the Ryens’ stolen car,” Moriarty reported. “Unfortunately for Cooper, they seemed to confirm his guilt. Now even Ingels, once a Cooper supporter, believes he is guilty.”
Ingels said, “Once the DNA testing came back, that locked it in for me.”
But Davis said the DNA evidence either wasn’t reliable or Cooper’s blood was planted.
Davis on CBS said of Cooper, “It’s immoral for a society to kill somebody with this much doubt.” Perhaps it’s immoral for a liberal lawyer to lobby for a convicted killer whose guilt is beyond doubt and who should have been put to death many years ago.