SAN DIEGO — A federal judge on Monday ordered another round of DNA testing on a blood-smeared T-shirt at the center of the latest appeal by death row inmate Kevin Cooper, who was convicted of killing four people in Chino Hills in 1983.
Cooper's defense attorneys alleged that police may have planted Cooper's blood on the tan-orange shirt, which was found near the home where two adults and two children were found slaughtered with a hunting knife and hatchet.
Cooper, who had escaped from Chino state prison and hid for two days near the home where the killings occurred, was convicted of the murders in 1985. He was hours from being executed in February when the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay.
The court agreed with Cooper's attorneys, who argued that lingering questions about Cooper's guilt could be answered by conducting two simple, inexpensive tests on the shirt and hairs found at the crime scene.