In June 1983, Doug and Peggy Ryen, their ten-year-old daughter and a 11-year-old house guest were brutally murdered in Chino Hills, California. Two days before, Kevin Cooper had escaped from a nearby prison and hid in a vacant house 125 yards below the murdered family's hilltop house. After the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department established that he had ben there, it focused on him as the lone assailant despite numerous eyewitness reports that implicated three white men as the perpetrators. Kevin Cooper was convicted of the murders in 1985 and has been on Death Row at San Quentin since then. SCAPEGOAT shows how the sheriff's office and the District Attorney's office of San Bernardino County framed him for the horrific murders and how the justice system has failed him at almost every turn in his long, drawn-out appeal process. As O'Conner's shocking but thorough investigation shows, the sheriff's department discarded information that pointed at other suspects, destroyed evidence that exculpated Cooper and planted evidence that implicated him. If it were not for a court-ordered moratorium on executions in California over the lethal injection controversy, Cooper-with no appeals remaining-would have been executed. SCAPEGOAT-THE CHINO HILLS MURDERS AND THE FRAMING OF KEVIN COOPER-J. Patrick O'Conner
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Good evening. This is your host Dan of asking for the program, true murder, the most shocking killers in true crime, history and the authors that have written about them in June, one thousand nine hundred and eighty three Doug and Peggy Their ten year old daughter, an eleven and now I thought from Geico Motorcycle. It took fifteen minutes to take a spirit, animal quiz online. Please be the Cheetah Lee, be the cheetah and learn your animal, isn't the cheetah, but the far appealing blood fish come on. To add insult to injury. You could have used those fifteen blobfish minutes to switch your motorcycle insurance to Geico Geico. Fifteen minutes could save you. Fifteen percent, or more on motorcycle insurance near Old House guest, were brutally murdered in Chino Hills. Ca two days before Kevin Cooper had escape from a nearby prison and hid in a vacant house.
One hundred and twenty five yards below the murdered families Hilltop house after the San Bernardino Sheriff's department, established that he had hid their it focused on him as the lone assailant. Despite numerous eyewitness report, reports that implicated three white men as the perpetrators Kevin Cooper was convicted of the murders in nineteen eighty five and has been on death row at San Quentin since then, scapegoat shows how the sheriff's office and the District Attorneys Office Saint Bernard, Bernardino, county, framed him for the horrific murders and how the justice system has failed him at almost every turn. In his long drawn out appeal process as O'Connor shocking by thorough investigation shows the sheriff's department, discarded information at pointed at other perpetrators, destroyed evidence that is exculpatory, eighted, exculpated Cooper and Planet eh, instead of simply implicated em, if we're not for a court, ordered moratorium on executions and color
fournette over the lethal injection controversy Cooper with no appeals remaining would have been executed. The book that we're featuring this evening is scapegoat, the Chino Hill murders and the framing of Kevin Cooper by my guest journalist and author J, Patrick O'Connor, welcome back to the program, and thank you for agreeing to this interview, J, Patrick O'Connor. Thank you. Damn it's great to be back on your show. Thank you. How much it's going to be a great our interview. For our audience and for myself as well. This is a great pork. Now, let's go back just like you very much like you do in the book. Let's go back to Chino Hills. Describe this community for us, tell us where it is and in California, for those people that might not know nowhere. Tuning in from other places in America and elsewhere, and also tell us about the Ryan's of
Chino hills, ok, Chino Hills is forty five miles e of LOS Angeles, LOS Angeles, County the biggest county in the lower forty eight states and its biggest by far it says large nine states in the United States, so it's humongous, there's eleven substations in the the you know the sheriff's, the sir San Bernardino Sheriff's office has eleven substations. It's huge and. The Ryan's they lived in this little corner of San Bernardino County called Chino Hills. They they were arabian nights, let them rabies arabian horse, community, Hilltop house, top ranch house.
And their neighbors all raised like they did arabian horses right and they were chiropractors by trade. They're both forty one years old, Doug and Peggy Ryan, and they had these had two children, Jessica and Josh. Ten and eight and a half- and they lived in this kind of idyllic life, said they had going so they they were doing exactly what they wanted to be doing. Raising and pay. Peggy was a divorce. There were showing a raising breeding in short in these arabian horses and die. What the chiropractor and add a clinic in NAM nearby nearby clinic sets an error that guy the scene at which words
where they are and down the road three miles down. The road from Chino Hills is a very large prison, complex called the California Institute for men. Which house is four thousand five hundred or so felons or anybody anyone anybody convicted of a crime in southern California is processed through the California Institute for men and Cooper was arrested in nineteen. Eighty three on the basis of two burglaries in LOS Angelus, the city of LOS Angelus, but when he was arrested, he was gave him a phony idea that he still want some inmate in a hospital of Psychiatric Hospital in Pennsylvania right. This is a kind of kind of a screw
the case, but when they went to arrest him in his shoulders, he shows this foresight idee. The guy's name was David Trout, Trautmann. When they, the processing and womanly. They put him on trial for the burglary. She just does a plea, please to warm, yeah. I think they played the four years to run consecutively under the name of David Treatment, so when their processing Kevin Cooper at Channel Chino California Institute for men processing was David Trotman who had no rest in California because he never set foot in California and leaves in Pennsylvania so they put him in minimum security and the the day was in minimum security, a mini slept there one night and then next morning or she's been next afternoon
Watch out, he walked out the front door to a whole offence that no guards on the perimeter hearing. He talks his way through countryside to three miles down. He comes into this arabian horse country and he finds this garage that looks like the door slightly opening opposite up. Nobody, nobody sees be in the house, and he holds up there for two days in this house is one hundred and twenty five large below the Ryan's house. It's such a steep hill gardening. You can't even see the Ryan's house from Lori. Is it's just straight up? I've been there it's just impossible, in particular that time of year, when this was June of nineteen, eighty
three: when all the trees are in bloom, you can see, you couldn't see the place, but anyway that's where he is, and the lions are Ryan's and their dog. Houseguest are brutally murdered. On a Saturday night around midnight on June, the fifth one thousand nine hundred and eighty three. And when they find out that Cooper had holed up in this house for two days. As you said in your introduction, the San somebody homicide department. They just fixed in a fixed in on him ass, the heading well, this makes a lot of sense. Here's an escape convict and
I just made him their number one suspected in fact said he was the one now look, let's go back by Pat, because I think we're gonna go to make sure that we are audience understands. This is well now and to be fair to as well as it can goober as a sort of history and not sort of he has a history of escaping and running away any value provided there go. So you could talk about that, but what I wanted to make sure that we understand is that what is Kevin Coopers background? Ok, he he pledged guilty to burglary using an assumed name, but tell us about a little bit more about Kevin Cooper and his criminal past, so that we have a good idea if Kevin Cooper, even in our minds, could be capable of such murders, and it's very important later on, in obviously will Kevin since age. You know I hate to say this:
We mean I really do, but since eight seven or eight he was stealing things and at age thirteen or so he started getting arrested for stealing things. He would break into empty buildings. Empty houses. And he had a proclivity for stealing cars. One time I interviewed him. I said how many cars, a steel company, should I hate to tell you this, but I stole it over two hundred cars. Ok, so he is a time is twenty five, when this terrible crime happens, he's a career criminal since age, she's, I'd, say thirteen at least, and at one point he was he was injured. He was in prison in Pennsylvania on one of these work release. Where were you get out of the ground and he walked away from
at present? He was twenty two of the time you just walked up from the from the job. You know it's on a city, shitty just walked off and escape, and so they caught him and they added twelve months to a sentence. He served that in an more of a maximum security kind of penitentiary, and then he was caught again after he was paroled. They get caught again and age, twenty four for stealing stuff and at before they were going and he was convicted. He played out he played out flat out, but before they could answer me, he either fain, nor can tended that he had. He was having hallucinations or something of that sort, and so the judge asked city should be sent to this mental hospital state. Mental hospital in Pennsylvania for.
Ray sentencing evaluation me was therefore like three weeks and from there just walk out one night and escaped walked out through the window on a bowling alley. They had in this place and escaped again so this was his second escape. The point about him. Using this phony idea of David Trautmann was that head. It had been known in California that this guy had escape twice from Pennsylvania. Penaten raise your state mental hospitals. He would and put in maximum security right, but as a David as the traveller with no other record other than these two burglaries, he was, he was quite side, is a minimum security risk in assuming the first days in minimum security, the first night after he sleeps there. He walks in again.
No there any India indicate any other prisoners that he was going to escape, or you just no. What did he then wait? Sorry, what did he do for those two days now? He goes. He finds us what you call a grand. Janet, my god, he sees his garage doors. I lay a joy, he also sit up and she said She knows him campaigners, nobody in the garage and any by colonel, was a door the kitchen didn't see anybody in there now. This is a house, that is periodically lived in a matter of fact that put woman who had lived in there for the like the last seven eight months had just moved out the day B. For this is really you know about being the wrong place in the wrong time. If any of these things had changed slightly, Kevin would have never been in this house, the woman and left two days later. Instead of the day, she deadly
would have never gone into the house because it was occupied, but she'd left, and so he found there has to be empty and known. So this is a Friday, Friday, night and then Saturday morning about one thousand o'clock woman who die they're like her. You know if she comes in general they're, like one, we get a mud and they have the stuff in and one in there just four bedrooms. Only one of the bedrooms has anything in it. Bed and some closet with toiletries in the bathroom she and get her sweater on Saturday morning about ten and Clock Kevin now realizes that this is no under a safe place for him to be right. So you make up his mind it that night he will leave at dark. No, he he is the only black person in Chino Hills, so he waits for dark and he begins to hitchhike to
to the United States. The next Mexico bore down near tier one rightly takes to catch us too rise to getting there. Doesn't it but never die morning. He spends the night in the bus station on the United States side of the border and the next morning typical Kevin. He takes a Robson woman who think the purse of a woman squirt. This is kind of lucky for him. It's got one five dollars in quarters in roles inside this person about forty dollars in cash right, so we need now has enough money to actually get by for a few days. He crosses the ball in the tea or water himself. A really rent, a ruminant fats or sixty tonight tell him what you want.
So that's around. You know, that's that's the next day. This would be Sunday. Now that night, I said these murders happened around midnight. The right wins in all the other. People who lived in this area of Chino Hills are all horse people of one sort of one sort of another. The there was a couple that drove off and it was dropping off a trainer. After a day at the races they dropped. It rain rough on the only road that leads away from the Ryan's Hilltop house. Just one road comes down and these people are after I dropped him off their way into come out the driveway and they can't come out because there's this car just barrelling down the down this road in they look in the car and they see three white men in what is it turns to be the coins dry in favour. This is the murdered family, their stolen
station wagon radio station wagon. They see three white people in it. So when the murders are announced when it becomes big news, the next day, this the biggest crime by the way in San Bernardino County history number one, it's his big it. What is more grow Stanley, the mansion murder, mansion murders, take Labianca murders. These are worse the young quality of these murders. So anyway, this calls in the next day and says they saw three white guys in a car the lions had and Brians. Besides their daughter, they had this eight one slash two year old Son named Josh and he was left for that night, in the many others current in the master bedroom, he's left dead with his throw slashed ear to ear he's gotta. That's one in this package is scattered his chest,
this alone, it never the perpetrators, think he's dead, and but anyway, he survives this miraculously survives and the next morning around noon. The father of the other boy, whose there spending the night he discovered what's happening, can look through the master bedroom and he sees this terrible scene. But he also can see, consider Josh can move so Josh makes a small movement in the Father comes in and Josh can speak. They call nine hundred and eleven the early aerobatic him to a nearby hospital emergency room. They device this communication system of a chart with all the the alphabet in the letters. True knowing the number one to know. Nine.
And the word yes or no so they taken through is is his name is address phone number. He gets all this stuff right. Then they say who attacked you and he, gloriously go through this process of identifying three white men, so this is on Sunday and this would be the the next morning. This couple would call in about three white men. So we had these two eyewitness applications of three white men involved in the Ryan murders. You know why, on their own day, one ok excuse me now now you you'd alluded to these murders and an anybody that's gonna buy. This book is gonna. Get these details on anybody. Listeners programme can handle those
details. There's a details are important because later it's contended, who obviously we're talking about that Kevin Cooper alone alone, assailant killed. These four people go through. All of these people kill them so describe. The crime scene Itself, including the very again very rare occurrence, of posing an displaying these bodies, which again, is that in criminal profiling indicates again a very rare creature, so tell us exactly what this crime scene entails, because this will be important when we try to add. You know foreseen whether cabin Cooper was capable of this. These other three people, but never one Kevin Cooper- is one hundred and fifty pounds six foot tall, but he's very thin. Doug Ryan is six foot one. Two hundred and ninety pounds, This gives me a hundred. Ninety bet he's a ex my way,
MP. You know one of these really tough Marines moraines. You have to be able to handle yourself to be an MP, because that's what you do you handle other Marines, you arrest other Marines right. Ok, that's! Why is five foot eight hundred and forty five pounds and she is the one who raises these? He enormous arabian horses. She trains him. She list bells of hay, she's, incredibly strong person. Both these Brian tat have loaded weapon. It's in their master. Bedroom Peggy has a Ruger pistol. Doug has a loaded rifle with a scope. I mean these. Got your phone right after the body their discover these botany. These weapons are loaded. I did the same there's blood everywhere in this room. Is it's incredible? As I said it was it's worse than I don't care what people think about the Tate Labianca murders, murders. These are worse
is blood everywhere this blood on every single thing in this room there. This is a royal battlefield where these people fought for their lives like themes, they have twenty five defensive wounds on all the people. In this all the people in this attack, dog and Peggy Ryan. Have all these defensive wounds on their hands in their arms the little girl she has the most offensive. When she thought she fought as hard as she could fight. So there's this battle going on in here. Look the little girl makes it outside the house for awhile. She got. I think it was able to get outside and being brought back in. So anybody who would say that one perpetrator could have done. This is just ignoring every single thing. You anybody else would just deduce that asylum ass, a boy,
another evil story, so they did the weaponry used as well as it there's a yeah, so weaponry itself encounter intuitive to the degree here here you ve got. The murder weapons are a hatchet. What some people call on export its hatchet or an actual k, and then two knives medical examiner wanting their bodies, crime scene, and then he did the autopsies. He said at least two. I had to be involved when this became inconvenient before the currently prosecutes two were having now for web, because another another weapon used was an ice pick. One came inconvenient to have two knives nomadic examiner, even though it turn down any notion that there was this
could have been won. Niven bought one knife involve it's right in his report. He could not sure the possibility of one night. He had to be too because of the different kinds of cuts that these knives made, but at the the preliminary hearing he backs away, he said, there's two knives and then they have a recess on the preliminary hearing. That district attorney takes him to another room. He comes back on, understand under oath and says I did one night but anyway, despite that, so you got three weapons that they had met two in here the picture you ve got this wall assailant. Why would he or what's the? Why would he or how could he use three weapons at one time. Where, where where are these weapons, so just two of them are in his hands where's, the other one, and where did he get them from this or any idea where he might have got them from? Well, they like to think as they did. They think that they are actually they can certainly
hide out. House were Cooper held up. That was one of their great connective things in this whole thing was the axe, the murder, the Ryan's was taken from the Hideout House, where Cooper was also they try to allege. That was not what that that the knife was, that your turned out to be totally bogus. The guy said his knife was, in another whole part of captain. His may have not in this little house where he went one week in when one weekend every month, so the idea that one person could or would use three or four weapons is just absurd. And all these people, by the way all the victims had this, was they were attacked that they were attacked by two people at one time I can tell you that they had had. It was an iphones all victims had these terrible
hatchet wounds and knife was deliberately with great force when they were. There were three amputations. There were like twenty bones, broken their work caution there. It was a terrible terrible thing. There were forty four different wounds inflicted on these on these four for victim vegetable. Well, and was there any was already robbery. Motive was running so The serbian government is very worrying his guided in other theory was that Cooper stole me. Yeah. He killed these people in order to steal their car and make his getaway yet on the care of the year in the home. Right on the kitchen. Counter is cash dollar bills. You know fives and ones, and some change
and Peggy Ryan's purse. There's over forty dollars in cash and all these credit cards you, like twelve credit cards, so Doug Ryan had had had money in his pants pockets. None of this is touch the amended sitting there right on the counter. It's not even touched, so here's a guided doesn't have a dime to him doing just lose name just escape at present. There is no money in prison. You can't know prisoner, has money may make stance, but they all their money, so Cooper would go in there. The theory was, he kill you and come to get the car. Well, the lions left their keys in their car every single night. They and they had two vehicles. They had a station wagon and they had a truck pick up truck. When you know the murders are discovered, they go out to the Ryan the pickup truck. The keys are sitting. You know right in the ignition and then
people all the ever said. Oh yeah, they kept their keys and always kept Kepler keys right in the car, so Cooper I mentioned to you before stolen overdue uttered years of his life. He was still steal a car. He doesn't want the kid he go. Look at the car first. The keys are really just drive off sure and say. Thank you very much. How how would how would going into this house and killing this whole family, leaving their son for dead and taking any of the valuable things in here? How would that help is how would that help Cooper in anyway yeah now? The thing is that you say that police in the obviously the district attorneys involved in the in the prosecution right away, so they're involved very much in the investigation from day one as well or very, very young, on what is their ideas? What's Kevin Cooper's motive in their mind,
and why are they ignoring that? Why do you think, or what does it seem while they were ignoring these eyewitness reports that there's three white guys, I think they made of. Number one: you know this happened on a Sunday, they don't have their eighteen there team from the lab or there a team in terms of homicide investigators engaged immediately. So they allow this crime scene to be just totally corrupted in the future, twenty four hours over seventy people traipse through in this lot of uh did this forty of 'em did it, while the bodies are still in the room, printable
everybody came down to see this the whole DA's office, all the all the brass from the San Bernardino County, Sheriff's office. They all came down to see this. This is, as I said, to you Dan. This is the biggest crime in the history of this county, so they just Totale contaminate contaminate this crime scene and they do they watch it. So family, that they know they find his bodies on Sunday and on Monday, the kind of Kant covered tracks by the way they're using the there's blood in both the bottom right, Ryan's bathrooms, which shows me that had to be more one person you mean if you're one person, you wouldn't go into two bathrooms to wash off one really enough. Well, these cops this. These cops are there. They don't put a poor John at the front, Ryan's bathroom, their second better
where there's blood evidence in the bathroom they eat they eat at the Ryan's dining room table yeah so that so the they they've just carpet, so they they now have a big problem on their hands and they sent over this. This crime lab team that takes this all this blood here and then they don't write could have recreated this whole crime scene, at least the movements of the body like Doug, for example, the father he made it escaped from one side of the bed to the other and then back to his own side. Many mobile through this attack- and this is one big dude- they could have really This debate has shown that the mothers movements, but when I took the samples they did put 'em all together. Like you know, they take samples from three or four places and put him in one damn thing, and
you know therefore lose all the value of the samples. Sherry were just incompetent, bad people, the Brenner like ten much in it. We have been in a multiple murder crime scene before didn't know. How did know what to do so. I think we love dawned on them that they had done really screwed it up and then out of out of nowhere comes this incredible break to them that an escape convict his hold up. One hundred and twenty five yards down down below this house, and their problems are solved now. How did they find out? He was at this house. Well, the p the whole neighborhood, where nervous itself, so that the guy and actually own that house. He asked the cops to go in and look at it like the second day like a Tuesday, he had the cops go through the house and they said two two homicide detectives through at night and find anything they looked.
It looked in every room, they had their guns drawn when they went through these rooms, so they reported nothing and then the next day. The guy, since, in its own people like you, these are all these guys are ranchers. They rightly raises horses, he sent him like a woman and an assistant to him and now in one of the bedrooms they find a hatchet. You know the thing that covers up a hatchet and they find a bloody bloody button from a prison jacket. On the floor now remember, I guess, said the day before two herbicides, exactly with their guns drawn, went through there and didn't find anything of evidentiary value and the very next day hello, we find
message. Sheath is bloody prison jacket button in the better, so once they find that you know I put signed in quotes quote unquote. They found it Coopers. Now and the sheriff the sheriff of the San Bernardino. The goes on goes news conference and says we identified the assailant. It's long assailant, uneasiness, Escap, Kevin Cooper Cooper had gone and Mexico that night, as I imagine it, he did. He hid his tied down there. And had to sleep in a bus depot any stole the money, etc. That night his girlfriend from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania calls him up and said that he was wanted for questioning in conjunction with The murder of a family answered the girl, the girlfriend said in a weird weird part
California Oregon any like weird name for art in California, with Chino Hills, she'd, never heard of Chino Hills, nor have nori, hardly anybody else. So this is the first he heard of this event. Ninety sees his mug shot on tv. Ok, you want to open Cooper. The next. Next day or so he goes eighty miles South catch the bus and goes eight thousand and eighty miles south further in New Mexico And try to get a little further away, but he takes take. He takes this job room board on a rickety boat, the guys kind of it's kind of a drug runner between Costa Rica and the United States. He likes it likes to go down and get these big
little pounds of marijuana and he enlisted Cooper to help him like paint the boat and get it. This is an old wooden boat. They do this so Cooper, just signs on with this guy and this guy and eventually comes back to the states and after eight weeks of Cooper being on the lam, avoiding them biggest manhunt in California. History arrested in said, send southern California notes, if I forget the the town but he's arrested in the United States and set southern California and then brought back to brought back to Chino Hills, work. Maybe they should go on trial? What was the questioning like with police? Did he lawyer Upham immediately or with what was? What did you do. No, he may he didn't lawyer up. He
was assigned a public defender and every county in California. There's the county pays for a office of public defender right and, if you're into and the agenda you can't afford up. Your own lawyer you are assigned a public defender and they assigned him a guy named David megaphone. He was, he was a public defender. What was his experience? This is a death penalty, state and definitely case right here. What's his experience of any in those types of gay had some he had some he'd had about. I think expense expert in about ten capital cases, he told me he told me that he he done well and likes half of not so well in. Another half is probably in this case, probably is probably had this case was there was all this disk
only that they turned over to hear that the prosecution is required in these CALL Brady rules to turn over all their discovery to the defense, and it was stacks of it was thousands and thousands of pages of discovery. Will this public defender he refused the judges offered to have of the system. Council were to have paralegals or any of this. He just wanted to do it by himself, so we never. You never got around to reading the discovery he was instead boning of making up making himself into kind of a blood. Sir serology expert. He thought that was where the rubber would meet. The road was on these blood run, things into trial, evidence matters, and so he didn't read the discovery and didn't find that a woman had turned in these bloody coveralls right that her boyfriend had left her
bottom part of the walk in closet that the Chino Hills murders he come home about three in the morning we stay long enough to change out of these bloody coveralls that had arabian horse hair on the lower pant legs and then get and then leave the house. She was there like ten minutes, and so she late in the day they announced Cooper as the lone assailant. This woman turned in its bloody coveralls interesting. And she told him that she had a she. She said I want I want. I want to talk to a homicide detective, not this. The guy they sent out with the property clerk and property deputy And she said I got quite a bit more to tell you. I got these over a cover up which I'm getting to you, but I've got a lot more to tell you about my boyfriend, but the deputy came back to promptly quick as Becky writers report.
Says that the woman wants to speak to homicide, homicide, never contacts her. What would have told him was. The boyfriend was a convicted murderer. He had just been released a year a year before, on a he admitted, murdering a seventeen year old girl, that's part of a gang hit that he needs done and he turned in the gang leader. He turned states. Evidence turned in a gang leader. For that he got a four one: slash two year sentence on a second degree: murder charge. No, he was the murderer yeah, alright, so she she says that plus his hatchets missing he she said I went and looked at his his tool belt. All those tools are there, except for his hatchet and three. She would have said if they did
talk to her, he was he was instead of he had on the coveralls, but he didn't have on the ten t shirt that he had already left the house that day right and the cops found outside you know down the road from the Brians about a mile and a half down as a bar and outside this bar, not far from this bar, they found a bloody tan t shirt, and this woman said she said it was fruit alone, the this medium and it has a pocket in front. So that's exactly the t shirt that the they found outside this bar that they two days after the murders they found this shirt, this bloody shirt. So she had it. They could have wrap this case up. They could a wrap. This case up, the very
they said Cooper was the one that they could have wrapped it up, but nobody ever came out to see the moment now in your investigation. This furrow, guy furrow here is the guy is the boyfriend. You say that convicted murder, yeah he's already convicted murderers and ended, makes a lot of sense too, because, like you say it was a gang initiation hit or gang hit that he did, and so so it would be capable of something like this. But what was the theory that why they did this and who did he supposedly do this hit with? Well, I can't say who he did it with. I mean I mean I could go yes, but I don't think it's fair to guess. Only I know is that the his girlfriend turned in his bloody coveralls Anne said his hatchet was missing in his ten t. Shirt was missing, so I'm
fairly were unwilling to say that that that more or less awfully good for this crime he lives in Cape may jersey. Now. Long way from California, the other two perpetrators- I don't know, one of them- was alleged to be a guy named Kenneth Cone who's now dead here largely confessed to another guy that he was it was in lock down they lockdown in the whole, altogether and he said he was the driver of the car and go when Chino Hills murders. He said it was Aryan Brotherhood hit and they hit the wrong house, and it was three guys three white guys that did. That I don't know about, I have a hard time with that. I can't picture for all being in the Aryan Brotherhood, because he was a rat I mentioned to
that. He turned in the gang leader states evidence I think for or served almost all this time in administrative custody where they put rats. You know so they're not killed while are in prison. Sure I'm just I'm using amusing kind of prison lingo here, but I called him a rat that mean he's a snitch yeah. It would make sense area where this day alive in prison is very small. If he's in the general population Erin Brotherhood name a big thing about not matching, so I can't picture to me this doesn't make sense in a lot of things. Don't make sense of the whole theory about Cooper, be involved. That makes sense in this being an area and brotherhood thing to me doesn't make sense. Now they proceed to trial with Kevin Cooper as their. Therefore
Yes- and everybody else goes by the way, such right- everybody else, a free pass and you You chronicle very accurately work very well that this, the lawyer defence lawyer, really really drop the ball with not having the kind of assistance he would it. We wouldn't find necessary to be able to defend havoc over properly, so he may sat initial mistake. What are some of the other mistakes and tell us basically what the prosecution case hinges on disease that five or six things here, including and Please explain, 'cause. This is important to the shoe prints and these kids pros will tell us about that Joan. Well, they didn't. This is wholly assert stand case against Cooper? They didn't have much they nation. There was one tiny, an omen
maternity, I mean miniscule drop of blood that was far from the scene of the far from the scene of the action. Down the hallway from the master bedroom tored the living room. I mean at the bottom of the base of the wall. There was this one tiny drop of blood that they allege came Match Cooper into their biggest thing was there was shoe prints on a spa cover and on a bed sheet from Ryan Ryan's master bedroom that matched the shoe that's distributed at the California Institute for men. This prison were Cooper. Was we called pro kid croak head dudes? So that was a big thing. That
the trial they tried they trying to say that the mean they did say they establish that thing for kid were only only available in institutions such as prisons that they were a prison issued shoe. You couldn't buy them, retail own approach, dude showed up apprentice showed up was highly likely that it came from a prisoner and we had him prisoner who escaped him. Admitted to being in this house below, so that was kind of the. It was a biggest thing they had. Was this the. Now the warden Chino Hills she heard about this in the news to read about there were that they were making. This claim that these pro kid dudes were special issue, and so she research that she had her staff research, the issue and it turns out they just buy these things, like everybody
does through this, like a catalog like a Sears catalog, is there available at retail all over there all over the state of California there, one of the biggest dollars in New York and Chicago this shoot was was very popular at retail and there was nothing special issue about him, so she calls up that had ahead of homicide and says you know, I hear what you're saying in the newspaper chip luminary hearing, but it's not true. These shoes there's nothing special, a bottom, but nonetheless it trial that they just ignored her put her. You know just discarded that and didn't turn it over to the defense that she'd said this, so it Riley they established. This is special issue shoe. So this really implicates Cooper, that's what they call in Cuba Tory evidence. I mean this really include him. Now you go near a prisoner in this
You press only made by shoes coming from a prison, so that was huge that, in the little little tiny drop of blood that that they totally manufactured the by the way that print on the spa I write about, in the book, the print on the spa in the print on the sheet they weren't seen by anybody. These were people that the people who were there, the professionals that they did send over their homicide detectives. Nobody noticed anything like this, it's uh, even when it gets to this lab the head guy in the lab- and this is kind of you know- it is hard to believe it's brutal. But it's true. The head guy in the lab is stealing it's a heroin attic. He is stealing he gets caught stealing five pounds of heroin, which has a street view.
You know three hundred thousand dollars. He is the head of the crime lab and he's the one that comes up with this little drop of blood, and he comes up with the footprint on the sheet that nobody else had seen now. So that's what that's! What you're dealing with here? The sheriff at the time by the way here have a whole chapter about this guy he's stealing from the time he takes over, that he's a sheriff for eight years. He steals he admits to stealing over five hundred elite, little guns out of the property room. He you know guns that are lot of more banned in California banned in the United States. You know these their confiscated during different things: money where this guy just super thief. Stealing these guns and then the guy running the crime lab is a heroin addict,
and neither one time get the sheriff we retired. When they prosecute him he gets it gets nothing. He didn't get one day of jail time for stealing five hundred and four. Big guns, a lot of people. The newspaper said he stole over eight hundred, but they got he admitted to stealing over five hundred the guy that stole the five pounds they got caught. Stealing the five pounds he's just let go no, no prosecution at all crap Well, you don't get prosecuted him. I mean he's, got the whole thing. He could have blown up the whole Kevin Cooper case. Saying oh yeah! Well I hear so they do prosecute him, so this place is corrupt, and this is one of the things I've like that. I'm signing out now I write about these cases is that it knows
like this one or two bad apples involved to get the frame an innocent person. The whole place has to be corrupt from the top down. You have to have a corrupt sure if you have to have corrupt homicide detective, the crime lab have to be totally corrupt, the medical examiner has to be has to be corrupt, and the prosecuting attorney has to be complicit. Why would anyone want one with another only when all this corruption school right under his nose? Why, with all of these people, go that's what conspiracies have a hard time for most people? Believe me, I know everybody will everybody will risk their own career on their their own career and reputation like
in the long now explained they use, because you chronicle with IE this phenomena that you say this. Does this happen? It did. It happens. Quite often, where do you think that is really what what is it manifests itself from? What what is it coming from? Obviously, prosecution believes that they are guilty. People or is it is in this particular case was convenient. Is there some races? Some will tell us what. Why would they all these people go along with this? What was the real motivate real aid? There is Canada down. If the way it is its culture, its a culture of corruption. This is the county where, where they would take, you know when they would bust these drug guys and they would take their cash, not just their drugs, but they take any cash. They could they would take their cars, take their cash, but there, but
really like to get their carriage, and so they had to slush fund in this county mean that I'm talking about fish sheriff one, a slush fund where he would hand out to like four or five different people. These checks for two three hundred dollars a month year year in and year out, these guys would get it. They have little like parties with it a little Friday night get togethers where they take care of. You know this is the
try to carry that it was. This country was really bad, not to be put to be fair. We have everybody that watch sopranos in that knows about slush funds and is a big difference between somebody taking what cop good cops believe. Taking wages from from criminals, I'm taking a little bit of money that no one gets hurt, but framing an innocent man for murder is is different. You know it's it's different. I could see people wanting to make extra cash and seeing this extra cash is being victimless victims of crime, but to actually framed. Someone here has to have a different motivation. Then you know business as usual. There had been some motivation here. They d this. This did Kevin Coopers,
not say a killer that got away with murder, and so why don't? We just prosecute him now when we have the opportunity, you see that in a lot of cases, but what do you think it really was in this particular? Was it a matter of convenience? They bungled, so they were covering their Jackson. I think so I think so that was basically it they. They had totally lost their ability to actually in terms of the crime scene, data going out and interviewed the woman, it turned in the bloody cover also they could have started all over again, but they didn't go out and interview her right, yeah. It's now the idea with once they had their focus and they were focusing on Kevin Cooper. You say that there was a crucial moment in the trial to there's a bunch of them, but one where the prosecution, as per the rules, the
the information and discovery, but you say because it was done a little bit later it if we created quite a problem for the defense, explain explained that event to our audience, so I think you might be talking about the the guy that there was a guy in a in a prison in Vacaville who mentioned his cellmate, had confessed to him about involved in the Chino Hills right. They did this like twelve days before the defense turn. This turn this so called confession over to the excuse. The prosecution turn it over to in defense, and I should have turned it over. You know like the next day, first day they knew about it. That's those are the called the Brady Rules sure, but they held it. They held it back for twelve days and they didn't give it to the to the defense until the day that Kevin Cooper was scheduled to testify in his own defense,
so that the public defender didn't want to stop the momentum of the trial and the judge offered in the suspended straw right there. They just made this terrible tactical mistake. I guess it's strategically steak, not stopping the trial and going out and personally interviewing this guy about this claim that there was an aryan Brotherhood deal and studied push you on and the jury never got. The jury never heard one thing about an Aryan Brotherhood hit or anybody else confessing to it. The crime never never made it to the jury, a terrible mistake and he contended later that he just didn't want to confuse you see he figured he had his focus for the jury to to look at. He didn't want to further confuse them with another alternative sort of theory to what happened. Yeah! That's what he says. However, this would have
the icing on the cake, in terms of the theory that he was advancing, that that there is something we have talk about the night after these murders, three I show up in this bar down down the road, but my own one down the road they come in there. Mount run midnight and there either. I think they're both, I think they're on drugs and their drunk. And their obnoxious, one of the guys can't even keep his head up off the table, but while they're there they see the two of the guys they approached their three very attractive women, white women in this barn and they approach him. One of has on a low cut low cut blouse, and so these guys are kind of frisky and
But one of the women one of the three women is a flaw. Bottom is the person who draws blood for a living, and she says it these two guys who approached she says. I hope you don't. I hope you don't realize this, but you're covered in blood. You've got blood all over your face. It all over your arms, your clothes, and they give a very weird looked at her and very soon after that they leave right and then we find out they are so later. There's a tan t, shirt thrown on one side of this road outside the bar and on the other side of the t, shirt, a blue t, shirt, bloody blue t shirt. These are found a day apart. You we have the the prosecution never turns over the bloody blue t it hides that
it turns in the TAN t shirt, but it hides the blue Blue t shirt because you know Kevin Cooper couldn't be expected to wear two t shirts. No, so they hide that this. What I'm talking about them they this needed, they destroy the evidence that would have they wouldn't even unable to put Kevin on trial and stay to turn over the evidence that they had the two t shirts, what he cover all which they through an dumpster may destroy before the defence. I've got to see him now. What about those of another crucial thing you this incredible story of this? Isn't enough already, this destroying of evidence, an convene.
Lee delaying the revealing of evidence to the defense? They already know that this guys got in handicap already so they're playing to that, but we talked about Josh Ryan, the lone survivor young man obviously traumatized, but there was the initial statement about the three men Now, then other interesting point was that there was no competent drawing ever made of any suspects. No did what are the police end up doing or what happens with Josh's testimony. How does how does his memory reconfig your or how does his memory change during this really takes? It there's a day assign a homicide detective to sit with him he's in the hospital for fifteen days, making this miraculous recur. It really is that he could get out of there in fifteen days and this detect he with him every day, almost
all day and kind of turn, Josh from thinking that this detective knows in his heart of hearts that Kevin Cooper is the killer and he just keep working on Josh on this, that Josh doesn't buy this right away back disease in there one night he's in there playing Cards with the deputy sheriff these. They guard Josh twenty four hours a day, because you're afraid that, since he's a survivor that there will be an attempt to kill him so he's playing, this card came called. You know with this step it Ian commercial break anyway, brakes. They show up mug shot at Kevin Cooper Flash up and Josh says that the deputy- that's not the guy, that's not that's, not him, and so this this guy tells the homicide detective, who sitting with Cooper the next day,
doesn't this, and that goes over like a lead balloon in another day or two goes by and Josh just sitting there with his grandmother and Coopers picture comes up again in the grammar that says Josh is that the man of the Tax year family- and he said no now, this guy detective keeps working with you. She doesn't extensive interview with Josh Josh uses the phrase they did this. They did that they approach they attack. All this and this guy right up a report that never references, plural. His whole report is, you know, one person, he changes. What this kid says. There's a psycho that is from the hospital who's allowed to be. In this interview to protect, GOSH is interest. 'cause Josh is eight one slash two, years old needs somebody to the cops, wouldn't let the grandmother sit in on it. So this psychiatrist sitting
he's taking notes, and he keeps writing down these references to day they they snuck up on me. They did this. They they hit me in the head. He's writing this stuff down, but this this cop keeps writing down. Singular right. Never mind never mentions that. There's multiple assailants! So when you know Josh never testifies at trial, he's too young to testify too traumatized. So they they just tape, a statement they go to his grandmothers house and they take the statement from and Josh is so damn confused by this time. He's like he's like almost ten year, he's ten years old now and he's had all this he could deal with and he has this terrible sense of guilt etc and wants to please the cops and so he says all he saw was. A shadow on the wall, he didn't see three white guys anymore. He
shadow on the wall. No, no, no help to Cooper. So later on in psychiatrist, when Cooper was about, this Cooper was about to be executed in two thousand and four the psychiatrist who took care of Josh on a private basis hired by his grandmother. She said that she'd ask Josh at one she's writing a letter of clemency letter to Governor Schwarzenegger, and she says that Josh made the switch from the three white three white guys to Cooper cause. He said I asked him about it, he said. Well, I always thought it was three white guys, but then I found out on tv. It was Cooper, oh yeah, but when
they Cooper was saved from execution in two thousand and four buy a last minute appeal to the ninth. Ninth circuit, court of appeals came within three hours and forty five minutes being executed and now there's a moratorium. Definitely on executions in California's been effect since two thousand and six and will be at least an effect through all of this year and probably most of next year. If that were, if they were to reinstate the death toll, Cooper would be number five list. Well, they based the list on your data, your date of conviction. What do you do?
the chances are that they will a ball abolish the death penalty. Very much like Illinois has well. I've got an initiative in California and this November to abolish the death penalty. I wouldn't vote forward if I were there, because it's got some terrible provisions to it in terms of if you're, a death row inmate they're just terrible provisions, but I think it will probably go through, even though it's very punitive and way overkill in terms of what could have been done right now. What is the It is of the sea. The scabbard Cooper have any chance of appeal at whatsoever, and whereas now it does, but it's a very high standard. No, he asked to come up with nation that wasn't
perform to be known before now. That would be silken convincing, so compelling that in a year, whatever the pudding based on it. So let's say with him: he has presented by them largest law firm in San Francisco area to international law, firm, called Org. Orrick fat fat fabulous group? One thousand three hundred lawyers worldwide and they've hired a former FBI agent with twenty five years, experience to re investigate the case now, if he could, if he could find something that you couldn't have found before through do due diligence that is so compelling now, let's say he finds you know five, these homicide detectives would say yeah. This was a big conspiracy and we just frame the shit out of this guy
tickets, kind that that that would be compelling well even dna evidence, but according to what you uncovered there was a lot of evidence destroyed on Basically, in eighty five there were just there just sort of the inception of dna testing, and so DNA is not really a possibility, and even that is that can qualify is compelling new evidence, but not necessarily either so. But in this particular case there is no the chance of any dna evidence. Royaler would there would have been. Members should have been there that there was a risk. There was a week. I hope his attorneys could improve a net that they play did the whenever we didn't get in this. But when Cooper had that ten t shirt planted tested in two thousand and two, they found his blood on the t shirt when they, when they, when they tested it
in one thousand nine hundred and eighty three, they said it only had the blood of Doug Ryan on it and Cooper wanted to test for the dna of real, like armpit dna else from sweat, or something like that. He wanted to see if they could find somebody else's dna on it and instead they found his dna on it. So then, and then, two years later, Coopers attorneys find out that the blood the blood they'd taken from Cooper and they couple days after he was arrested in nineteen eighty three, this stiff low blood while they take they put your a while. They took a swamp from that not not related any of this stuff. I'm talking about right now, but related to something else, and they sent it off to this lab in Pennsylvania, independent LAB and the lab wrote back and said
this blood. Has the dna of at least at least two people in it. So this was kind of really solid information, that they taken Coopers blood and planted on his shirt and then to make it look like the vile still had was full. They put somebody else's blood in it, but the federal judge in San Diego jerk judge, Merlin half who I can't believe you can go to sleep at night. She wouldn't allow and pursue of how this how this blood was contaminated by somebody else's dna. She wouldn't allow any real testing of the ten t shirt to show that You know when you take blood out of a vile they have. Does it he's? Keep a blood from graduating from breaking down sure to put preservatives in to keep it.
And it'll last for years that way, so the or equality show that t shirt. This would This would have sent Cooper home by the way if they have been able to show this if they had high levels of the preservative on the on the blood on the t, shirt, meaning that it come from a vial not from shit from anybody. Anybody else. Well, the judge. Just wouldn't let him test it right. Three toward them at everyone everywhere she could and then she ruled that that kind of testing skull called anyway preservative testing isn't valid when in fact, it totally valid use all over the United States. Sure she just it wasn't valid in blah blah blah. She was just terrible. Well should be out right now I mean he should have been freed at least give it a neutral on any time, unity, innocent people.
A new trial. They get to go home. She was frame the first time you can't frame him twice. Yeah can't be done. The northern Irish and achieve the brain them the first time and they're gone. These people are dead. You know twenty eight years later incredible. Twenty eight years later he still there- and I mean we're still we're still talking about this and he still had Some other legal avenues open to he does but text saying very high bar he's got a really good agent in order at the really come up with something that. Would be jaw dropping? Well, you know the thing is pad. I think that books, like yourself other, like that you've written here about the Chino Hill murders,
an outlying all the evidence that you brought up and why the cases bad run to the court had, of course, you're you're making some strong claimed very, very strong claims, accusing allegations that the Renault is afraid job now have you. It is, as you know, I'm in a category does seem to be getting the attention of celebrities backing them on this, but when this will come out end than has been the response far far, how you know how attentive are people to this case? As a as a product of you haven't, you spoke of housekeeper, the more came in February. The first is the bookstore pretty well. This is this will probably make much may very meaningful to people who don't follow, look industry but there, but there are three million. There are three main and uh
the other day I looked at Amazon rates, all the books, the so called best seller on Amazon and this book. This won't sound very, very big, but it was up to thirty two thousand today, it's like you, know, six hundred and fifty one thousand, but the other day it was at thirty, two thousand, which was itself but anyway, it's a high ranking. There's there's consider the three million books in your thirty two thousand, that's not too bad, but there's very few books, and that, actually you know unless you're a big time. You know you know John Grisham you're, all you know what you get you can. They knew, and I consider named twenty five big authors who sell your Patterson blow about people like people like me who write books. They just really is a tight. It's a tight little deal in the
death row cases. I wrote a book about Mumia Abu Jamal, who I was and he was until he was taken on death row about three months ago, most famous death row prisoner in the world, and that was a hard sell, really hard sell people. Just this is an area that people really water. You know it's not your mainstream subject. Let's put it that way. The arctic filled, though it's interesting that you get a true crime audience that's interested in in these types of cases where people are wrongly convicted. So I think it is an interesting audience, certainly plots when these people are rather too big to crime audience. There really is, but you know, like the data on the publisher of that I had the Mummy look and for this book neither one I'm going spend one dollar on an advertisement.
While I mean advertising is, is gone by the way of the Dodo bird it it doesn't. It can't be proven to be effective and is very, very expensive. So you know people would like you to If promote your book- and I know so- I gave you an idea of the thing is- I think I think that's the way it ought to be too as well, but I think you know my my is that true crime apartment crime may not pay, but hopefully true crime will, in terms of people put a lot. I, as I have the website crime magazine, yeah magazine, dot com. I've been running that since one thousand nine hundred and ninety eight now there are, we get nothing but true crime, buffs yeah, absolutely yeah. It's a fine sight, I was honored to be included with the site and you get some great stories on there and and the audiences it's it's a great set up to, because it's again a you're way ahead.
The way ahead of everybody else, because you've already made that step to be accessible. All the time, archived, and so that people can access these stories at any time. Their leisure and you know so. I think that this type of radio is the same sort of thing where you have your basically just looking at the future. I mean it just give me more so that this move towards the internet, and so it's it's a it's a great site for true crime fans to be able to access these stories, because it's very much that there is a sort of a community that no was good from not bad and not bad from not very good and they have a voracious appetite for stories and because there is such a historical perspective, it's not just, I think, a lot of people, so I'm not into true crime there very much historical accounts,
yeah. We do a historical crime, absolutely so. Well, I want to thank you very much for coming on and talking about your latest book scapegoat. This is the Chino Hills, murders and the framing of Kevin Cooper, J, Patrick O'Connor- and how can they get this book is in a book form is go not not yet it will be soon, but I don't know maybe another month or two but available on Amazon Barnes and noble books, a million. Everyone at all the major you know United States sites, internet sites and it's available. It's discounted pretty well at Amazon. It's like to cover price is twenty five dollars, but Amazon themselves, yeah yeah, it's a and then I mean it's a it's a it's, a bigger you. Their publisher has moved towards pudding and then the bigger print, the bold print, the bigger size, the
by nine. I believe it is, you know it's yeah yeah I mean if you see it's a user friendly book, absolutely it will go to great package too. So an great story, I mean great story, I mean it's a terrible story. It really is, you know it's painful story yeah I know I didn't like. I said that the audience for true is very much behind the prosecution behind the prosecution, the time, but it's nice to have this balance so that we see that we see, despite what it looks like it looks of times, cases are wrongful convictions, and so again we can applaud the apply. The the brilliant prosecutor, the brave prosecutor, but sometimes it's over.
And in this case downright a travesty of justice. So I want to thank you very much for doing that and I'm sure that the Kevin Cooper and cat in the Kevin Cooper's of the world to appreciate somebody like yourself being a strong advocate for them and their in their cases for for justice. So all right, damn well thanks. So much for having me on your program well, thank you very much and you have a good night and I hope to talk to you again soon. Thank you, God, thanks so much good night
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-05.