5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A masterful recount of the Chino Hills murders.,
This review is from: Scapegoat: The Chino Hills Murders and the Framing of Kevin Cooper (Paperback)
I read J. Patrick O'Connor's 'The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal' and came to the conclusion that he was a meticulous crime investigator and master writer of the true crime genre.
'Scapegoat: The Chino Hills Murders and the Framing of Kevin Cooper' did not disappoint me.
This book is the story of Kevin Cooper, an African-American, who has been on death row in California's San Quentin Prison for 27 years. He was convicted in 1985 of the 1983 murder of four people - Doug and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and an 11-year-old houseguest, Christopher Hughes, friend of 8-year-old Josh Ryen who miraculously survived the massacre at his family home in California's Chino Hills area. The victims were all white and they were slaughtered either with a hatchet, a knife or an ice-pick, or with all three in a most frenzied manner.
Cooper serving time for two separate burglaries in Los Angeles had the day before the June 5 1983 Ryen family massacre escaped from the California Institution for Men in Chino.
In the ER of the hospital where Josh was being treated (his throat had been cut) he, through squeezing the hand of a deputy sheriff said that three white men had come to the house. He gave the same information to ER staff. Later he changed his story by saying that on the night of the killing, he had seen only the shadow of a man before he had passed out. The man had an afro hairdo. The three white men he had initially spoken of were Mexicans who had come to the house in the afternoon looking for work, he said.
Police focused their attention on the on-the-run Cooper and after a massive 8-week manhunt they apprehended him while he was trying to get to Mexico. He admitted to having hidden out in the house next door to that of the Ryens but that he had left the area early on the morning of June 5. He hitchhiked out of town after not having even glimpsed at the Ryen house.
Cooper was sentenced to death.
I will not tell you more about 'Scapegoat' but will let you discover Mr. O'Connor's masterful writing. This book is on a par with Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood.' I highly recommend it.