-- on August 1, he plead not guilty to murder charges;
-- on April 23, 1984, his trial was moved from Ontario to San Diego due to biased publicity;
-- on October 23, his trial began;
-- on February 19, 1985, he was convicted of multiples murders;
-- on March 1, the jury recommended the death penalty;
-- on May 15, he was sentenced to death;
-- on May 16, 1991, the California Supreme Court upheld the conviction;
-- on May 10, 2001, the state agreed to allow post-conviction DNA testing on a blood-stained t-shirt found on a roadside leading away from the murder site to prove Cooper's innocence;
-- on October 3, 2003, state authorities said it confirmed Cooper's guilt, even though, according to the above named dissenting judges:
initial tests showed it "contained blood consistent with one of the victims and not consistent with Cooper. (He) maintained (and still does) that his blood was planted on the t-shirt. (If true), the only possible source was blood taken from Cooper by law enforcement authorities. A vial of blood was taken from Cooper by San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department (SBCSD) personnel on August 1, 1983, two days after his arrest. That blood contained an added preservative called EDTA....The presence of such a preservative would show that (Cooper's) blood was not on the t-shirt at the time of the killings."
-- the judges added:
"There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing and flouted our direction to perform" the proper tests. It "also impeded and obstructed Cooper's attorneys at every turn as they sought to develop the record." Unreasonable testing conditions were imposed, as well as "refused discovery that should have been available as a matter of course, limited testimony that should not have been limited, and found fact unreasonably, based on truncated and distorted record."
"The most egregious, but by no means the only, example is the testing of Cooper's blood on the t-shirt for the presence of EDTA. (The district court) so interfered with the design of the testing protocol that one of Cooper's scientific experts refused to participate in the testing. (It let) the state-designated representative (choose) samples to be tested." Cooper's experts were refused the right to participate in choosing samples or "even to see the t-shirt."
Yet the test result showed "an extremely high level of EDTA in the sample that was supposed to contain Cooper's blood. If that test result was valid, it showed that Cooper's blood had been planted on the t-shirt, just as Cooper maintained."
A subsequent analysis confirmed the test's validity, yet the district court let "the state-designated law....withdraw the test result on the ground of claimed contamination in the lab," with no allowed inquiry to prove it. In addition, the "court then refused to allow further testing on the t-shirt, even though such testing was feasible."
The above judges had just cause to believe Cooper was framed, falsely convicted, and deserves redress. Yet: