Kevin Cooper, 61, was convicted of four murders that occurred in the Chino Hills area of California in 1983

By Robyn Merrett
May 31, 2019 09:00 PM
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Kim Kardashian West is continuing her mission to improve the criminal justice system.

On Thursday, Kardashian, 38, took a trip San Quentin State Prison, the oldest penal institution in California, to visit an inmate on death row.

The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star spent hours inside a cell speaking with Kevin Cooper, who was convicted of murdering four people, including two children.

Following her visit, Kardashian shared photos of herself with Cooper, 61, on Twitter.

“I am hopeful that Kevin will be exonerated since DNA testing has now been ordered on Kevin’s case and I remain grateful to Governor Newsom for ending capital punishment in California.”

In the images, Kardashian, who wore a black jumpsuit and styled her hair in a blunt bob, can be seen smiling alongside Cooper.

Kim Kardashian, Kevin Cooper
Kim Kardashian and Kevin Cooper
| Credit: Kim Kardashian/Twitter

Cooper was convicted of four murders that occurred in the Chino Hills area of California in 1983.

On the morning of June 5, 1983, a man named Bill Hughes discovered his 11-year-old son Christopher had been killed after finding his body at the home of Douglas and Peggy Ryen where he had spent the night, according to the New York Times.

Along with Christopher, Hughes found that Douglas, Peggy and their 10-year-old daughter Jessica were also dead. They had all been chopped with a hatchet, sliced with a knife and stabbed with an ice-pick, the publication reported.

The couple’s 8-year-old son Joshua had survived. On the way to the hospital, Joshua informed emergency responders that his attackers were white, according to the Los Angeles Times. Joshua’s throat had been slashed and his skull was fractured.

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However, Cooper, an African American was arrested. At the time of the murders, Cooper was already a convicted burglar, who escaped from a nearby prison just two days before, according to the LA Times.

He has maintained his innocence regarding the four murders since his arrest.

Back in October, Kardashian asked then-Governor of California Jerry Brown to look into Cooper’s case due to evidence that he had been framed.

“Governor Brown, please add Kevin Cooper to your legacy of smart, fair and thoughtful criminal justice reforms,” Kardashian wrote on Twitter.

Brown later ordered DNA testing to confirm whether or not Cooper is innocent and California’s new Governor Gavin Newsom ordered additional testing in February.

At this time, Newsom is still awaiting the results.

Kardashian’s latest mission comes just after she announced earlier this month that she helped negotiate the release of yet another low-level drug offender from prison after they spent over two decades behind bars.

Kevin Cooper
Kevin Cooper

“We did it again! Had the best call w/this lovely family & my attorney @msbkb who just won release for their loved one Jeffrey in Miami,” she tweeted. “He served 22 years of life sentence for low level drug case. He served too much time but it gives me so much joy to fund this life saving work.”

Along with the message, Kardashian West shared a photo of Jeffrey with his family.

Kardashian, who is currently studying to be a lawyer, has spent the last year helping inmates who were given too harsh a prison sentence seek clemency.

Last year, the reality star successfully petitioned President Donald Trump to commute the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a nonviolent drug offender. After Johnson was released, a major bipartisan piece of criminal justice–reform legislation, the FIRST STEP Act, was passed by Congress and signed into law by Trump in December.

2018 CFDA Fashion Awards - Arrivals
Kim Kardashian West
| Credit: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

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In a recent interview with Vogue, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star revealed that she decided last summer to begin a four-year apprenticeship with a law firm in San Francisco, with the goal of taking the bar in 2022.

She has been working with author and CNN commentator Van Jones and attorney Jessica Jackson, cofounders of #cut50, a national bipartisan advocacy group on criminal-justice reform, for months, visiting prisons, petitioning governors and attending meetings at the White House.

“I had to think long and hard about this,” she said of her decision, explaining that she eventually decided to embark on the journey after “seeing a really good result” with Johnson.