Source: AP / CBS News
INDIANAPOLIS – Paula Cooper, an Indiana woman put on death row at age 16 for killing an elderly Bible school teacher, is scheduled to be released Monday after serving a prison term that was shortened after the state Supreme Court intervened.
Cooper’s death sentence at such a young age sparked international protests and a plea for clemency from Pope John Paul II. Now 43 years old, Cooper is being given a second chance at her life.
Cooper was 15 when she and three other teenage girls showed up at Ruth Pelke’s house on May 14, 1985, with plans of robbing the 78-year-old Bible school teacher. Pelke let Cooper and two of the teen’s companions into her Gary home after they told her they were interested in Bible lessons.
As the fourth teen waited outside as a lookout, Cooper stabbed Pelke 33 times with a butcher knife. Then she and the other girls ransacked the house. The four girls fled with Pelke’s car and $10.
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