Pardoned Chicago man says he felt abandoned by Pence

Posted at 2:14 PM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 18:59:52-05

CHICAGO (AP) -- A Chicago man who spent more than eight years in prison for a wrongful conviction says he's angry that his name wasn't cleared by Vice President Mike Pence during his time as Indiana governor.

Forty-nine-year Keith Cooper said during a news conference Friday in Chicago that he felt abandoned by Pence but was thankful that new Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb granted him a pardon Thursday.

"[Pence] should've apologized to me and gave me that pardon," Cooper said. "Eric Holcomb, who hasn't been in office 30 days, pardoned me. And I'm thankful for that. I'm very thankful that he had the heart to do what Pence couldn't do. [Pence] left me. He abandoned me. Thanks to Eric Holcomb, I'm a free man now. I'm finally free."

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Cooper was convicted for a 1996 robbery in Elkhart, Indiana, during which a teenager was shot. He was released from prison in 2006 after a co-defendant's conviction was overturned but the felony conviction had remained on his record.

Cooper's attorney said he believed Pence didn't act on the pardon request for political reasons.

A Pence spokesman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.