DNA tests set for Calif. death row inmate

June 6, 2004 at 3:55 AM
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SAN DIEGO, June 5 (UPI) -- A new round of DNA testing has been ordered for a condemned California prison inmate.

A federal judge in San Diego said tests will be performed on three blonde hairs found at the scene of a 1983 quadruple murder that Kevin Cooper, a black man, was sentenced to death for committing.

Cooper was fewer than four hours from being executed when his sentence was stayed by a federal appeals court.

The Los Angeles Times said Saturday District Judge Marilyn Huff also ordered testing on other hairs to see if they were suitable for DNA tests.

Cooper was convicted in 1985 of murdering three members of a Chino Hills family and a 11-year-old neighbor boy.

San Bernardino County prosecutors say Cooper committed the bloody slayings with a knife, ice pick and hatchet in order to steal the victims' car following his escape from a nearby prison.

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