For the first time since starting her crusade against mass incarceration, Kim Kardashian West is getting some blowback.
The reality TV star has taken up the cause of Kevin Cooper, a man on death row in San Quentin State Prison in California for killing four people in a killing spree in Chino Hills, California in 1983.
Christopher Hughes was 11 and was sleeping over at the home of his friend, 10-year-old Jessica Ryen when an assailant entered the home and killed both children, as well as Jessica’s parents, Doug and Peggy Ryen. Jessica’s 8-year-old brother Joshua was the only survivor in the vicious attack.
Mary-Ann Hughes, the mother of a slain 11-year-old boy, says Kardashian’s campaign is forcing her to relive the trauma of her son’s death.
Hughes told TMZ on Sunday that she’s “sick to her stomach” that the reality star turned activist visited Cooper at San Quentin over the weekend.
“I pity her,” Hughes said. “For what she's doing to us, there's nothing to justify what she's doing to us, the immense pain she is causing us."
Though her work has been mostly conducted away from the public eye, Kardashian has made prison and incarceration reform her signature cause.
It began one year ago when she visited President Donald Trump in the White House and successfully lobbied for the release of Alice Marie Johnson, the 63-year-old great-grandmother serving life in Alabama for money laundering and drug conspiracy. Since then, she has helped with the release of 17 more inmates facing lengthy prison sentences.
This time, however, she’s being accused of not doing her due diligence.
“She has bought into half-truths perpetrated by the defense,” Hughes said. “If she actually sat down and read the transcripts of all the trials and appeals, she would be sick to her stomach to be in the same room with him."
Cooper was convicted of the four killings in 1985 and has been on death row ever since.
Last May, the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office issued a 94-page denial to Cooper’s petition for clemency, calling him a “brutal killer who has lead a life of crime and been convicted of numerous violent and serious crimes on both sides of this country.”
“Few cases have been subject to the scrutiny that this case has experienced,” the document says, adding “Cooper was convicted by ‘the overwhelming evidence of his guilt’ that was presented at his trial.”
Cooper was also convicted for the kidnapping and rape of an underaged girl in Pennsylvania, a crime which he admitted to according to the San Bernadino District Attorney’s office. He was also accused of raping a woman in California just weeks after the Chino Hills incident took place.
Despite this, Cooper has maintained that he was framed for the Chino Hills murders.
While Kardashian has not yet responded to Hughes, she has been hard at work trying to get Cooper off the hook. She has met with former California Governor Jerry Brown and current California governor Gavin Newsom about revisiting the case. Both agreed to additional DNA testing to settle the issue once and for all.
Kardashian has bigger aspirations than her recent bits of advocacy. She is currently enrolled in a four-year apprenticeship with a San Francisco law firm with hopes of becoming an attorney like her father Robert Kardashian. Earlier this year, she announced that she plans to take the California Bar in 2022.
Cover: Kim Kardashian West attends The Metropolitan Museum Of Art's 2019 Costume Institute Benefit "Camp: Notes On Fashion" at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)