A convicted rapist from Mobile, serving a double life sentence, will be back in the community soon. David Cooley was granted parole on Wednesday.
Back in 1997, Cooley kidnapped and raped two women. Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich was in Montgomery again Wednesday morning, to fight his parole, but wasn't successful.
We talked to Rich on her way back from Montgomery.
David Cooley has spent more than half his life behind bars. But soon...he'll be out. The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, granted him parole after twenty years in prison. A couple of months ago, that almost happened, because Cooley's attorney presented two letters to the board, allegedly written by the victims, saying they forgave Cooley.
District Attorney Ashley Rich explained back in September how she proved the letters were fake. The parole board, made up of Clifford Walker, Lyn Head, and Terry Davis, then reversed their decision to let Cooley out early. But he had another hearing Wednesday, and Rich was there again to argue against parole. This time, there were no letters because they were withdrawn, but one of the victims did testify for Cooley. And that convinced the parole board to side with Cooley.
"Even if the victims come in and say I forgive him and I want him out, as the DA I still have an obligation to fight the early release of these prisoners, on behalf on all of the citizens of Mobile County because it's not good for our community... they should do the time in which they were sentenced," said Rich.
When Cooley was just 16, he went on a violent crime spree with three of his friends in Mobile. On February 10th 1997, investigators say Cooley abducted two women at gun point on Airport Boulevard, drove them to Trinity Gardens, and raped them. Then, the group went on a two day robbery spree.
Cooley was supposed to serve back to back life sentences for that crime. But now, he wont, and Rich says, that's frustrating.
"They [the board] make the ultimate decision, it's just that simple, and I have to tell victims' families that every day...that we have no idea the Board of Pardons and Paroles is going to actually keep these individuals as prisoners."
FOX10 News has reached out to the parole board about this case. Rich says someone from her office is in Montgomery almost every week to fight against violent criminals getting parole.
Cooley was been up for parole about every four years. We won't know exactly when Cooley is going to be released because the parole board doesn't share that information for the safety of the defendant. But, we're told he will be registered as a sex offender when he gets out.
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