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Gov. Brown orders new DNA tests for Kevin Cooper. We revisit the 1983 Chino Hills murder case

DNA isolated from a small sample of saliva or blood.
DNA isolated from a small sample of saliva or blood.
GIPhotoStock/Cultura RF/Getty Images

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On Christmas Eve, Governor Brown ordered new DNA testing on four pieces of evidence in the case of Kevin Cooper, who was convicted of murdering a couple, their ten year old daughter and an 11 year old boy in Chino Hills in 1983.  

Brown wants more precise DNA tests on four items, including a bloody t-shirt and hatchett.

Cooper has long said he’s innocent. Prosecutors in San Bernardino are steadfast in arguing he should be put to death.

We analyze what the new DNA tests could tell us about the case. 

We reached out to Governor Brown’s office for legal affairs Peter Krause. They declined our request for interview.

We also reached out to San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos, who did not get back to us in time for the interview. 


Don Thompson, reporter at the Associated Press who’s been following the case; he tweets @ThompsonDon

Richard Eikelenboom, forensic scientist specializing in DNA trace recovery and bloodstain pattern analysis, and co-founder of Independent Forensic Services, a private laboratory that specializes in recovery of trace evidence and Touch DNA testing based in Denver

Norman Hile, attorney representing Kevin Cooper