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Paula Cooper to Be Released

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43-year-old Paula Cooper is scheduled to be released from prison today. She was arrested at the age of 15 and convicted of murdering 78-year-old Bible teacher Ruth Pelke in Pelke's Glen Park home in 1985; the elderly woman, officials say, was stabbed more than thirty times.. Three other teenage girls from Gary were also convicted and went to prison in connection with the crime and have since been released. The four, authorities say, took ten dollars, and the victim's car. When Cooper was sentenced to death at the age of 16, she was the youngest person in the state to ever face the death penalty, and the youngest death row inmate in 1986. Following international outcry over the sentence, and an appeal from Pope John Paul II, the Indiana Supreme Court commuted her death sentence a few years later, sentencing her to sixty-years in prison.
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