After the New York Times Kevin Cooper has been killed in the murder of a family of four in 1983, he said.
Brown, in his final days as governor, ordered the testing of four pieces of evidence that Cooper's attorneys say will show he was wrongly convicted, according to The Associated Press. Cooper, now 60, was found guilty in 1985 of the hatchet and knife murders of Doug and Peggy Ryen, their daughter Jessica, 10, and neighbor Christopher Hughes, 11, in Chino Hills.
Nicholas Kristof, who wrote a column for The Times last year and a follow-up investigation in Cooper's case, offered his congratulations Monday to the inmate's team on Twitter.
Brown's executive order will be reexamined into comparison to Cooper's DNA: A tan T-shirt, an orange towel, and a hatchet handle and sheath. Kristof believes that testing will exonerate the man who was once hours away from execution when he died in 2004.
"I take no position as to Mr. Cooper's guilt or innocence at this time, but colorable factual questions have been raised about advances in DNA technology warrant limited retesting of certain physical evidence in this case, "Brown wrote in the order, obtained by the AP.
In October, Kristof filed a final plea with Brown before the governor left office. The reporting implies that Cooper's fate was not ever certain, even as the governor said he would "act" upon pleas from reporters, politicians and celebrities.
I asked Brown what he is waiting for, and he emphasizes that he is reviewing the case with input from both sides. 'I'll act on it,' he said. So he protested that my reporting on the case, which led to widespread calls for DNA testing, was one-sided and had 'left out a number of elements.'
I suggested that for an innocent man on death row, every extra day is no minor thing. California has 130,000 prisoners.
Kim Kardashian was among those calling for Brown to act. Kardashian, along with U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris and state treasurer John Chiang, had joined the rallying cry.
Cooper's Attorney, Norman Hile, previously said that was planned on his client and that newer and more sensitive DNA testing would prove that. He also argued that investigators planned other evidence to frame Cooper, according to the AP. Multiple appeals have been denied, and Cooper remains in San Quentin Prison.