Illinois man seeks pardon for Elkhart robbery he says he didn't commit


By: Associated Press

(Source: License:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Illinois man who spent nearly a decade in prison for an Indiana robbery he says he didn’t commit wants Gov. Mike Pence to pardon him.

Keith Cooper was sentenced to 40 years in prison for a 1996 robbery in Elkhart in which a teenager was shot in the stomach. The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned his co-defendant’s conviction in 2005, and Cooper was given the choice of being released with a felony record or facing a new trial before the same judge who had convicted him.

The Chicago Tribune reports he chose to be released.

Cooper’s lawyer says he was wrongly imprisoned and cites flawed police work and a trial attorney who mishandled key DNA evidence. Key witnesses have recanted.

Pence hasn’t acted on the pardon request.