Man Gets Life without Parole in Starbucks Killings
Keary, Jim, Drake, John, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Carl D. Cooper yesterday was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to murdering three workers in a Georgetown Starbucks coffee shop during a botched robbery in 1997.
Cooper, 30, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to 47 federal charges, including the murder counts. In exchange for his guilty plea, federal prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.
Wearing tan slacks, a dress shirt and tie, Cooper announced his plea before U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green and a courtroom packed with relatives and friends of his victims.
"My purpose to be here today is to plea to all 48 counts of the indictment," Cooper said at the podium at the start of the daylong hearing.
"[Is it] because you are guilty?" Judge Green said.
"Yes, your honor."
Cooper originally was charged with 48 counts, but prosecutors dropped a theft charge because it was a duplicate of another charge.
There was silence in the courtroom as Judge Green handed down the sentence and a few relatives and friends of the victims wiped away tears.
The tragedies "leave an impact on the victims forever . . . [people] who will never get to realize the full promise and blossom of life," Judge Green said.
After the sentencing, relatives of the Starbucks victims came to a press conference at the U.S. Attorney's Office to express their gratitude to U.S. Attorney Wilma Lewis and to say how the deaths of their loved one affected them.
"Today was a milestone," said MaryBelle Annenberg, mother of Mary Caitrin Mahoney, 24. "My question is, what did we learn? Mr. Cooper did not crawl out from under a rock.
"He planned his crime because Starbucks did not have surveillance cameras," she said. "What could Starbucks do differently . . . to put an end to this kind of crime?"
"Today ends a chapter of this situation," said Lawrence Goodrich, the father of Aaron David Goodrich, 18.
"I guess I was upset he didn't apologize," said Fran Black, Aaron's mother. "I was not sure if he was sorry he did this or he was sorry he got caught."
"It shows how a fellow like me has to worry every day when they go to work," said Lavar Brown, the brother-in-law of Emory Allen Evans, 25. "I was glad to see justice was done."
A minister accompanying Cooper's wife and mother declined to comment after the sentencing, as did Cooper's attorneys.
Two investigators - Metropolitan Police Detective James Trainum and FBI Special Agent Brad Garrett - whom Cooper had vowed to kill after his arrest, sat about 15 feet away.
In addition to the Starbucks triple murder, Cooper pleaded guilty to murdering a security guard in a D.C. apartment building, the attempted murder of a Prince George's County police officer, robbery, racketeering, conspiracy and operating a continuing criminal enterprise.
Cooper, who was arrested in March 1999, had been scheduled to go on trial Tuesday, the first death-penalty case in the District in about 30 years. His plea agreement saved the city and the victims' families a trial that could have lasted three months. …