A death row inmate who claims he was framed for the murder of four people in San Bernardino County wants new DNA tests on evidence that helped convict him.
A San Diego County judge will consider Kevin Cooper’s request next Wednesday.
Cooper was convicted of killing Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter and a neighbor in a Chino Hills home in 1983. They were attacked with a hatchet and knife. The Ryens' 8-year-old son survived a slashed throat.
Cooper, who escaped from a nearby prison days earlier, acknowledged hiding in a house next door but denies killing them. He claims police took his blood and planted it on a T-shirt and in the home.
Previous DNA tests failed to clear Cooper and prosecutor John Kochis says state and federal appeals courts discounted claims of evidence tampering. Cooper's attorney says a new, more sensitive DNA test could help prove his client's innocence.
Cooper lost his last appeal in November 2009 when the Supreme Court declined reviewing his conviction, the Los Angeles Times reported. Cooper was within hours of being executed in 2004 when a new hearing was ordered, according to the paper.