Indiana Woman, On Death Row For Killing At 15 Years Old, Is Freed

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Monday, June 17, 2013

An Indiana woman who was sentenced to death at age 16 in the stabbing death of a 78-year-old Bible school teacher has been released from prison.

A Department of Correction spokesman says Paula Cooper was released today from a prison in western Indiana.

Doug Garrison says Cooper left the prison in a state vehicle with $75 and wearing donated clothes. Garrison declined to say where the now-43-year-old woman was taken.

Cooper was sentenced to death after stabbing Ruth Pelke 33 times during a 1985 robbery in Gary.

The state Supreme Court intervened to set her death sentence aside in 1988, ordering her to serve a 60-year prison term. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled it unconstitutional to execute anyone under who was under age 18 when the offense was committed.

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