Former inmate sues over conviction Pence wouldn’t pardon

Keith Cooper with his wife Nicole Cooper and dog Gauge pose for a photo at their home in Country Club Hills, Ill. on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. Cooper was sentenced to 40 years in prison for a 1996 robbery in Elkhart, Ind., that he says he did not commit. Cooper, who spent nearly a decade in prison, asked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to grant him a pardon. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Chicago man pardoned after spending nearly a decade in prison for a robbery he didn’t commit is suing a northern Indiana city, its police chief and three officers, alleging they fabricated evidence against him.

The federal lawsuit filed Monday in South Bend by 50-year-old Keith Cooper accuses Elkhart and the other defendants of violating his constitutional rights, including his right to a fair trial. He’s seeking unspecified damages.

Cooper was pardoned Feb. 9 by Gov. Eric Holcomb shortly after the Republican succeeded Mike Pence, who declined to pardon him while campaigning for vice president despite the recommendations of the prosecutor and the parole board.

Cooper was convicted of a 1996 armed robbery during which a teenager was shot. He was released in 2006 after a co-defendant’s conviction was overturned.

 

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