[Pnews] Gov. Newsom orders new DNA testing in Kevin Cooper’s 1983 quadruple murder case out of Chino Hills

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sun Feb 24 13:20:06 EST 2019


  Gov. Newsom orders new DNA testing in Kevin Cooper’s 1983 quadruple
  murder case out of Chino Hills

By Beatriz E. Valenzuela 
<https://www.sgvtribune.com/author/beatriz-valenzuela/> - February 22, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order Friday, Feb. 22, calling for 
new testing on DNA evidence in the 35-year-old quadruple murder case in 
Chino Hills.

Kevin Cooper <https://www.dailybulletin.com/tag/kevin-cooper/> was 
convicted in the 1983 brutal slayings of Doug and Peggy Ryen, their 
10-year-old daughter Jessica and 11-year-old neighbor Christopher 
Hughes. Christopher was a friend of the Ryens’ 8-year-old son Joshua. 
Joshua had his throat slashed in the attack but survived.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown ordered DNA testing 
in the case in December of last year. The items to be tested in Newsom’s 
order are different from what Brown ordered.

Newsom’s order directs the testing of untested hairs collected from the 
victim’s hands at the crime scene, blood evidence, fingernail scrapings 
from the victims and a green button. Last year, Brown ordered the 
testing of a tan T-shirt and orange towel found near the scene and a 
hatchet handle and sheath.

“I take no position as to Mr. Cooper’s guilt or innocence at this time. 
Especially in cases where the government seeks to impose the ultimate 
penalty of death, I need to be satisfied that all relevant evidence is 
carefully and fairly examined,” Newsom’s executive order said.

Cooper’s legal team said the new testing will show he was framed.

“Our office, and particularly the surviving victim and the other 
victims’ surviving family members, are disappointed with the Governor’s 
Order,” said San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson in a 
statement. “Unfortunately, over time it seems the victims’ desire for 
justice in this case matters less and less. This office did not feel any 
additional DNA testing should have been ordered for all the reasons we 
outlined in our opposition papers over the past ten years.”

Anderson went on to say he and his office agreed with the jury’s 
original findings and that additional testing has confirmed Cooper as 
the murderer.

Evidence in the case was tested in 1983-84 and then DNA testing was used 
in 2002.

“Post-trial evidentiary hearings and previous additional DNA testing 
have all confirmed Mr. Cooper is solely responsible for the murders of 
Douglas Ryen, Peggy Ryen, Jessica Ryen, Christopher Hughes, and the 
attempted murder of Joshua Ryen,” Anderson said. “Prior DNA testing that 
Mr. Cooper sought, agreed to and claimed would exonerate him have all 
confirmed Mr. Cooper’s guilt and that Mr. Cooper’s allegations of 
evidence tampering were unfounded.”

DNA testing done in 2001 and 2002 did not exonerate Cooper. Instead 
prosecutors said it showed Cooper was in the Ryens’ home at the time of 
the murders, that he smoked cigarettes in their station wagon after he 
stole it, and that his blood and the blood of at least one victim was on 
a T-shirt found by the side of a road leading away from the murders.

In April 1983, Cooper was convicted of burglary in Los Angeles County 
and sent to the California Institution for Men in Chino. Less than two 
months later, he escaped from the prison and hid in a vacant Chino 
Hills’ rental house located 150 yards from the Ryens’ home, according to 
prosecutors. He remained at the house until the evening of June 4, 1983. 
The Ryens and Christopher were killed between June 4 and 5, 1983, 
prosecutors have said.

Cooper’s attorney, Norman Hile, contends investigators planted his 
client’s blood on the T-shirt. Hile said more sensitive DNA testing 
would show who wore it.

Cooper was scheduled for execution in 2004 but was stayed, however his 
appeals have been rejected by both the California and U.S. supreme courts.

California hasn’t executed anyone since 2006.

/The Associated Press contributed to this report./

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863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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