- Kim Kardashian West has recently drawn attention for her efforts to free prisoners who may be innocent or serving an unfair sentence.
- Kardashian’s latest focus is Kevin Cooper, an inmate on death row who many believe was wrongfully convicted for a quadruple murder in 1983.
- The reality star is trying to exonerate Cooper through DNA evidence, but the mother of one of the victims has spoken out, telling TMZ that she thinks Kardashian is being misguided.
- Previously, Kardashian advocated on behalf of Alice Marie Johnson, an inmate who was serving a life sentence for a drug offense. President Donald Trump later granted Johnson clemency after he met with Kardashian.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
The mother of a murder victim has called out Kim Kardashian West for supporting the man convicted of the crime.
In a statement to TMZ, Mary Ann Hughes – the mother of Christopher Hughes, who was killed when he was 11 years old – condemned Kardashian West’s efforts to free Kevin Cooper, an inmate on death row who was convicted of murder over the killings of Christopher and three other people in 1983.
“It makes me feel sick to my stomach, and I pity her,” Mary Ann Hughes said of seeing Kardashian West embracing Cooper in photos. “For what she’s doing to us, there’s nothing to justify what she’s doing to us, the immense pain she is causing us.”
Hughes thinks Kardashian West hasn’t reviewed all of the “actual” evidence. She told TMZ that Kardashian West had “bought into half-truths perpetrated by the defense” and that “if she actually sat down and read the transcripts of all the trials and appeals, she would be sick to her stomach to be in the same room as him.”
Hughes’ son Christopher was murdered while sleeping over at his friend Josh Ryen’s house in Chino Hills, California, back in 1983. Hughes, along with Josh’s parents, Doug and Peggy, and Josh’s sister, Jessica, were all stabbed to death.
Josh was the sole survivor of the murders, and he later told investigators that the attackers were three white men. Other evidence, including blond or brown hair found at the scene, seemed to corroborate the account.
But authorities instead focused on Cooper, who had recently escaped prison where he was being incarcerated for burglary. He was eventually convicted of the murders of the Ryens and Christopher Hughes and is now on death row at San Quentin State Prison.
Though many others feel that Cooper was wrongfully convicted, Hughes told TMZ that Cooper’s lawyers were using Kardashian West “for her reality-show status because they can’t use the truth to try and help Kevin Cooper.”
“The truth just condemns him,” she said.
Recent years have seen a renewed push for DNA testing in Cooper’s case.
In 2018, the New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof defended Cooper in an opinion piece. Kristof highlighted the numerous officials – including the former deputy head of the FBI in Los Angeles and a US circuit judge – who believe Cooper was innocent and the evidence against him planted.
Kardashian West got involved in Cooper’s case after the publication of Kristof’s piece last June. She tweeted at California’s governor at the time, Jerry Brown, asking him to allow DNA testing on Cooper’s case.
And just last week, Kardashian West visited Cooper in prison at San Quentin. She shared photos from her visit on Twitter, along with her hope that Cooper would be exonerated through DNA evidence.
I am hopeful that Kevin will be exonerated since DNA testing has now been ordered on Kevin’s case and I remain grateful to Governor Newsom for ending capital punishment in California. pic.twitter.com/NmLbh0bNYD
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 1, 2019
Hughes shared with TMZ that she thought Kardashian West should read the district attorney’s response to Cooper’s most recent petition for clemency, which she believes shows Cooper to be “100% guilty.”
Hughes also highlighted Cooper’s criminal record, which includes convictions for burglary and sexual assault.
“She portrays herself as being for women’s rights and for the women’s movement and yet she is supporting a rapist and a murderer,” Hughes told TMZ.
On Twitter, some fans were supportive of Kardashian West’s efforts to exonerate Cooper.
What you’re doing is damn inspiring.
— ʋиκσиғιиɛ∂ (@unkonfined) June 1, 2019
I love that you’re doing something great with your fame.
— myself (@Amanda87281018) June 1, 2019
man I have bashed KimK her entire career but what she’s doing is nothing short of amazing.????????????????
— am (@nlnz_xvf) June 1, 2019
Others were not as supportive, also pointing to Cooper’s record.
This man #kevincooper admitted to rapeing a woman. This man had a criminal past before the killings. What research was done by your team? Will you speak to the victims families? What are you trying to gain here? Just a voice for the accused not for the victims?
— Dawn (@wine_and_music) June 1, 2019
Kim I'm puzzled can you share how Kevin Cooper is someone you would got bat for his criminal charges were very violent rape, armed robbery, escape kidnapping and raping a minor female who interrupted him during a burglary in Pennsylvania
— Janice Lorenzo (@JaniceLorenzo8) June 1, 2019
This is my home town. Cooper admits to hiding out in the house next door. They found a ton of evidence, including his DNA, one-of-a-kind prison issued shoe prints, buttons from prison shirt, & prison issued tobacco in family car. He was caught raping another woman on a boat.
— Mike Suarez (@suarezoo) June 1, 2019
Last year, Kardashian West successfully aided in the early release of Alice Marie Johnson, a woman who was serving a life sentence for a drug offense. President Donald Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence last June after he met with Kardashian West.