Monday, June 22, 2009
Patti Cooper Sentenced Today
Cooper receives sentence
SYRACUSE- Patti Cooper was sentenced to five years probation this morning at the Onondaga County Criminal Courthouse. She accepted a plea deal, avoiding the possibility of being convicted of murder and keeping her out of prison for life.
The body of a baby was found in a trash can in Onondaga Park in 1981. Cooper was charged with second-degree murder last year after police linked her to murder by DNA testing on cigarette butts taken from her trash.
However, with the plea deal, all DNA evidence is thrown out and only a mitochondria DNA test--which only proves Cooper's genealogy--they didn't have.
"We never hid from the fact that this case was weak," said prosecutor Rick Trunfio. "Evidence from the original case investigation had been inadvertently destroyed or discarded so we had no physical evidence."
Cooper has not admitted she did it or even that it was her baby. Still she took the deal.
"There is a possibility--like anything else--that you could lose," defense attorney Richard Priest said. "And, if you lose, you're going to go to jail for the rest of your life."
The defense didn't want to risk a lifetime sentence, so the 27 year case concludes today with a punishment for Cooper--but no jail time.