She was determined to make good on her second chance, to become a profile of redemption. A death row inmate at 16, Paula Cooper had won a reprieve and tried to rebuild her life.
And she might have achieved her happy ending — if not for guilt that tormented her and shame that wouldn’t go away.
Thirty years ago, Cooper murdered an elderly Bible teacher. She pleaded guilty and after her death sentence was set aside, she served 27 years in prison. In 2013, she was released, a middle-aged woman on her own for the first time.
She learned to write a check, use a cell phone, manage a household. She found a good job and was respected by co-workers. She had many supporters — even, amazingly, her victim’s grandson. She fell in love and planned to marry.
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Source Credits: Sharon Cohen in Associated Press