Mike Pence's Refusal to Pardon an Innocent Man Lays Bare His Cruel Side
Keith Cooper was wrongfully convicted of an Elkhart, Indiana robbery in 1997. Cooper served 10 years in prison before his sentence was overtuned by the Indiana Court of Appeals, but still has a felony on his record for the crime he did not commit.
"In 2014, Indiana's parole board and the prosecutor on the case unanimously recommended that [Gov. Mike] Pence pardon Cooper. Pence refused," the International Business Times reported.
An online petition has since collected more than 100,000 signatures pleading for Pence to exonerate 49-year-old Cooper. Pence responded by recommending a new trial even though there is no chance Cooper committed the crime. Now, the governor skirts the issue as he campaigns across the country as VP nominee for Donald Trump.
"Understand Keith Cooper didn't do this. Also understand Mike Pence has pardoned three people with felony convictions who admitted guilt during his time as governor," John Iadarola (Think Tank) explained on The Young Turks, adding that "maybe he would've had a better chance of had he actually done the crime."
"Just to be clear, there is no question" that Cooper did the crime, Young Turks host Jimmy Dore emphasized.
"There is DNA evidence. They have the guy, it is a different guy who did it. Mike Pence is a bad guy. He might be a worse guy than Donald Trump," Dore explained. He noted that this is the same governor who in 2001 "wanted to redirect money for HIV/AIDS research and treatment of people to gay conversion therapy... Mike Pence is a despicable person, his behavior doesn't surprise me."
"They allowed him to go free, they know whoever was prosecuting it then, but they don't want that on their record," Dore continued. "They don't want the precedent of letting someone go free... Making him say he was guilty to a crime he didn't commit is disgusting."