Kim Kardashian meets California death-row inmate

Image: Kevin Cooper
Kevin Cooper on October 23, 2013 Copyright Courtesy Kevin Cooper's attorneys
By Minyvonne Burke with NBC News Entertainment
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Kevin Cooper was found guilty of the 1983 murders of Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica and 11-year-old neighbor Chris Hughes.


Kim Kardashian West, who is studying to become a lawyer, spent some time Thursday with a California death-row inmate convicted in the 1983 killings of a couple and two children.

Kardashian was at San Quentin prison for about two hours to meet with inmate Kevin Cooper, who she is trying to help free, according to TMZ. Cooper maintains his innocence.

A rep for the reality TV star — who helped free former prisoner Alice Marie Johnson — confirmed the meeting to NBC News, but did not provide details.

Kardashian tweeted a request in October 2018 to then-Gov. Jerry Brown asking him to add Cooper to his "legacy of smart, fair, thoughtful criminal justice reforms." In another tweet, she asked Brown to test the inmate's DNA.

Cooper was found guilty of the murders of Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica and 11-year-old neighbor Chris Hughes. He was sentenced to death.

The Ryens, and Chris, who was staying at the family's Chino Hills home the day of the killings, were found hacked and slashed to death in June 1983. The Ryen's 8-year-old son, Josh, was found with his throat slit but survived.

Brown in December 2018 ordered the retesting of DNA on a shirt, towel, hatchet and sheath linked to the murders.

In February, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered additional DNA testing to include a green button and hair, as well as blood and fingernail scrapings from the victims.

Authorities are still awaiting results from those tests.

During the initial investigation, Josh Ryen told police that three white or Latino men murdered his parents. Two witnesses also said they saw three white men driving a station wagon away from the home on the day of the murders. The family's car, a station wagon, was stolen that night.

Prosecutors, however, said tests proved that Cooper was in their house and in their stolen car. They also said his blood and the blood of at least one victim was found on a shirt near the home.

Prior to the murders, Cooper, who had a criminal record of burglary convictions, had escaped from prison and was hiding out at a home near the Ryen's residence. Cooper, now 61, has said that he as framed for the murders.

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