Supporters Call For Mercy For Kevin Cooper
Hollywood Actors, Others Fighting To Stop Execution
TheKCRAChannel.com, Jan. 29
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is facing a growing controversy over the first inmate scheduled to be executed under his leadership — and some of those fighting to stop the execution are, like Schwarzenegger, movie stars.
The fight to save the life of death row inmate Kevin Cooper had drawn the support of Hollywood heavyweights like Sean Penn, Denzel Washington and Richard Dreyfuss.
Former boxer Ruben “Hurricane” Carter and others held a news conference in Sacramento Thursday to urge the governor to delay the execution.
“All we are asking for is time. Human lives are critically affected by law … human lives are literally at stake,” Carter said.
An aggressive grass roots campaign is also under way to stop the execution, which is scheduled to take place in less than two weeks.
Cooper’s supporters claim evidence that has already been examined could exonerate him. A Web site has been created that solicits money to pay for publicity to get their message out.
Bill and Mary Ann Hughes’ son was one of four victims Cooper was convicted of killing in 1983 with a hatchet, knife and ice pick as they slept.
“If anybody deserves the death penalty … it’s Kevin Cooper,” Mary Ann Hughes said.
But since his conviction in 1985, the 46-year-old Cooper has gained support through his writings and publicity as an African American man who claims he was wrongly convicted by a prosecution full of holes.
Schwarzenegger is a Republican who has gone on record supporting the death penalty. He could have to decide whether Cooper’s case should be reviewed or to let the execution proceed.