MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich says the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles made the wrong decision when they granted David Cooley parole Wednesday. Cooley was serving two consecutive life sentences for the rape and kidnapping of two women in Mobile in 1997.
“20 years is not long enough for David Cooley to serve, but unfortunately the Parole Board allowed him to get out and he’ll be back in Mobile,” said Rich.
Rich said she was able to prove letters Cooley’s defense presented the Parole Board in September were false. She said the letters alleged to be from Cooley’s victims saying they had forgiven him and wanted him to be set free. Rich said one of the victims called her and told her she had never written such a letter.
However, on Wednesday, the other victim attended Cooley’s parole hearing and testified for the defense saying she had moved on from what Cooley did to her in 1997. The Parole Board granted Cooley’s early release.
“Even though a victim testified for the defense, it is my job as the District Attorney to make sure our community is safe and to make sure defendants are held accountable for their actions and their sentences,” said Rich.
Three people sit on the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. Two are attorneys and one is from the business sector. They are appointed by the Governor and their salary is $100,000.
District Attorney Rich believes too many convicted criminals are being let back out the streets early.
“I am not happy with the actions of the parole board,” said Rich. “They are continuing to let prisoners out earlier and earlier and earlier.”
News 5 reached out to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles for comment. We have not received a response.
To learn more about parole boards in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida check out our News 5 Investigation here.