Death row inmate convicted of step-daughter’s rape and murder died


SAN QUENTIN (KRON) — A death row inmate at San Quentin State Prison, convicted of the rape and murder of his 15-year-old step daughter died Wednesday at a nearby hospital, according to state prison officials.

Leon Chauncey Cooper, 54 was sentenced to death on may 25th, 2001.  His death was not state-administered, and the cause is unknown, as officials wait for autopsy reports.

The victim was LaRhonda Johnson, a sophomore at Florin High School in east Sacramento.  Cooper had also been charged and convicted in 1996 for the sexual battery of Johnson’s 18-year-old sister, according to prison officials.

Since California re-instated the death penalty in 1996, 66 inmates on death row have died of natural causes, 23 have committed suicide and 13 have been executed by the state, prison officials said.


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