Fighting for Freedom From Death Row: The Story of Kevin Cooper

This week, Better Off Red interviews Kevin Cooper, who has lived for more than three decades on death row in San Quentin prison for a quadruple homicide, despite clear evidence that he was framed by the San Bernadino County Sherriff’s Department.

Kevin talks to us about his long fight for freedom — including the darkest moments on February 9, 2004, when he came within four hours of being murdered by the state of California. He was saved that night by a last-minute court decision that was the result of a nationwide campaign of protests and “Live from Death Row” events in which Kevin spoke to thousands of people across the country.

Listen to this interview and you’ll quickly understand why Kevin Cooper was able to inspire so many people to get involved in the fight for his life and, as he always insists, the life of every single person threatened by the death penalty. Kevin also talks to us about his intellectual and political awakening over the long course of his fight, and in particular the role played by comrades in the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, a group we at Better Off Red worked closely with during those years.

Links for this episode:

Music and audio for this episode:

  • The Boy & Sister Alma, “Lizard Eyes” (Dead Sea Captains Remix)
  • Stevie Wonder, “They Won’t Go When I Go”
  • Public Enemy, “Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos”
  • Gil Scott-Heron, “Lady Day And John Coltrane”
  • The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, “Pray For Me”
  • Bob Marley, “Redemption Song”

If you like this episode as much as we hope you do, please spread the word to your friends on and offline and consider giving us a review on iTunes so that as many people as possible learn about Kevin Cooper and his case.

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