The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a California death row inmate who was convicted in the gruesome murders of four people in 1983.
The justices said Monday they would not review an appeals court ruling that upheld the murder conviction and death sentence of Kevin Cooper.
Cooper came within a few hours of execution in 2004 before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in to order genetic testing on a hair and a bloody shirt found at the murder scene that Cooper said would prove he was not the killer.
The San Francisco-based appeals court later backed a district judge's ruling that the test results did not show Cooper's innocence.
Cooper, who has long maintained his innocence, had escaped from a California state prison. He was convicted of the murders of Douglas and Peggy Ryen, both 41, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and Christopher Hughes, her friend. They were stabbed and hacked repeatedly with a hatchet and buck knife. Joshua Ryen, then 8, survived a slit throat.