CONDITIONAL PARDON FOR JEROME COOPER TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA TERRY MCAULIFFE.
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My name is Latonya Godwin and my fiance Jerome Cooper was convicted of three serious crimes in 1998. The crimes were (1.) First degree murder (2.) Possession of a firearm (3.) Attempted robbery. He maintains his innocence in these crimes that he was accused/convicted of when he was 18years old. He is now 36 years old and has been fighting for almost 19years he's been imprisoned to correct an injustice that has occurred.
The jurors in my fiance case gave him a 70 year sentence under the impression he would only serve 1/3 of the sentence, then released on parole. More than half the jurors asked the judge before giving him the sentence about parole. They asked what percentage would Jerome Cooper serve before he's released on parole. The judge told them not to concern themselves with that and to continue with the sentencing. Shortly after Jerome's trial one of the jurors wrote a letter to the judge. She wrote that herself along with other jurors thought Jerome would serve 1/3 of his time, and that they were never informed that parole was abolished in 1995. The judge brought it back to court after receiving that letter, and the jurors said they wanted Jerome Cooper to only serve 1/3 of his 70 year sentence (23 years.) This year 2017 is Jerome's 19th year and his sentence still has NOT been corrected.
There were two codefendants at court both of them was with Jerome Cooper the night the murder happened. Both sat in the courtroom and heard what each were saying the whole time. Codefendant #1 told that they all were going out to do a robbery but never said who was the shooter that night. Codefendant #2 told that he was 50 yards away at night with no street lights but he seen Jerome shoot. The Commonwealth also had a witness..this all happened in front of this man home and he was outside and said he don't know who shot the gun because it was so dark that you can barely see your hand in front of your face. Before the trial codefendant #1 took a plea with the Commonwealth and served 2 years. Codefendant #2 never served a day in jail. I feel this is unjust when all were there that night and codefendant #1 admitted he was going to do a robbery that ended up becoming a murder.
While Jerome has been serving his time in prison he has obtained his GED, Painting & Drywall trade, Anger Management courses, and Breaking Barrel courses.When he is released he has a job with his father waiting for him whom owns this business doing drywall. Just a few months ago Nov 4th 2016 Jerome loss his mother due to a long battle with cancer. He still has a strong support system which consists of myself (fiancée) his father, sisters, and a brother.
We are asking for this conditional pardon so that Jerome Cooper can begin to put the pieces back together in his life as a positive citizen. We strongly believe that he deserves that chance, and in hopes that his time would be corrected to what the jurors originally wanted him to serve.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and sign this petition in support of Jerome Cooper.
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