The Crusader Newspaper Group

Governor Holcomb pardons wrongfully convicted Keith Cooper; Pence previously denied pardon


Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said in a press conference today that he pardoned Keith Cooper this morning. He said he believed that Cooper waited long enough and shouldn’t have to endure any more uncertainty. “Many pieces of info that had been brought forward have changed,” Holcomb said.

Cooper’s pardon request had previously been denied under the Pence Administration.

l to r christina smallwood keith cooper nona canell
Keith Cooper (center) with Christina Smallwood (left – shooting victim’s sister), and Nona Canell (right – eyewitness and shooting victim’s mother)

Cooper was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 1997 after the conviction for armed robbery and attempted murder. The IndyStar says in 2005, he was offered a deal to withdraw his petition for exoneration. In exchange, he could walk out a free man. He accepted the deal in 2006, but the felony remained on his record.

The conviction made finding a job and advancing in the workplace difficult. Since leaving prison, IndyStar says he has been working as a forklift operator. Slosar said at the time of his arrest, Cooper was married with three young children and employed at two jobs. While wrongfully incarcerated, his young family was forced to sell all of their possessions, move into shelters, and eventually become homeless.

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