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Another Extraordinary Murder in Washington D.C.

Mary Mahoney was allegedly the victim of a botched robbery in the Georgetown Starbucks

Mary Mahoney, murdered on July 7, 1997
By John Leake | Courageous Discourse | November 6, 2022

When Seth Rich was murdered in Washington D.C. on July 10, 2016, the Metropolitan Police Department immediately proposed that it was a “botched robbery.” The case reminded me of the murder of Mary Mahoney in a Georgetown Starbucks on July 7, 1997.

Mary Mahoney was an intern in Bill Clinton’s White House during his first term. She then got a job working as a manager of Starbucks in Georgetown, which was frequented by many notable figures in the Washington political establishment. Her murder (along with her two coworkers) was the first triple murder in the neighborhood’s history. Prior to the crime, not a single homicide had been committed in Georgetown for eighteen months.

Robbery appeared an unlikely motive, as none of the day’s cash proceeds had been taken from the store. Mahoney’s murder occurred during the same period that Newsweek reporter Mike Isikoff was investigating allegations that President Clinton had sexually harassed White House employees—an investigation that would ultimately lead him to Monica Lewinsky. Attorneys for Paula Jones were also seeking corroborating cases of Clinton’s sexual harassment of young women.

A year after the murder occurred, the police received a tip to examine a man named Carl D. Cooper from a woman who had just watched an America’s Most Wanted episode on the triple homicide. For several months, investigators found no evidence linking Cooper to the crime. Then another informant came forth—a former drug addict named Eric Butera, who was himself later murdered in “a robbery gone wrong.”

Based on information gleaned from Butera’s associates, Carl Cooper was arrested. After a grueling four-day interrogation, Cooper confessed, stating that the triple homicide was a “botched robbery” (which just happened to be the official working hypothesis). While held at gunpoint, Mary, refused to give Cooper the keys to the safe—a heroic act to save her 50 billion market cap employer from losing a few thousand dollars. Because Mary refused to give Cooper the keys, he shot her five times, including a shot to the back of the head. He then shot her two coworkers, and then left the store without taking a dime.

Cooper was convicted on the grounds of his confession to the Metropolitan Police. However, in a subsequent interview with an FBI investigator, Cooper recanted his confession. Although the FBI investigator unequivocally stated this in his testimony, the court concluded that Cooper’s initial confession was sufficient for his conviction. Cooper was initially represented by a court-appointed attorney, but after his trial began, his court-appointed attorney was joined by the prominent Washington D.C. defender, Francis D. Carter, who initially represented Monica Lewinsky when Monica stated her willingness to remain silent about her affair with Clinton. Carter drafted an affidavit for Monica in which she stated that she had NOT had an affair with the president. Carter was forced to withdraw this affidavit after Monica made statements to Lynda Tripp (equipped with a secret recording device) confirming her affair with Clinton.

That Carter joined the Carl Cooper defense team strikes me as very peculiar, especially given that Carter did not change the defense strategy. I wonder if Carter’s primarily job was—under cover of client-attorney confidentiality—to deliver a message to Carter pertaining to his sentencing prospects and what he might reasonably expect for his wife (to whom he was apparently very attached) if he stuck with his confession.

Clinton Attorney General Janet Reno initially sought the death penalty for Cooper— the first death-penalty matter brought to trial in the District in nearly 30 years, but federal prosecutors later withdrew this request. To date, no evidence has been found linking Cooper to the triple homicide.

In a related case, the District of Columbia was successfully sued for the wrongful death of Metropolitan Police informant, Eric Butera, as the jury concluded the police had been negligent in protecting him during an undercover operation to obtain more information about the Starbucks triple slaying. The woman who gave the initial tip to America’s Most Wanted later publicly accused the police of refusing to protect her and fell under suspicion for being motivated primarily by the reward money offered by the show.

Since the murders occurred, the crime has been the subject of extensive media coverage, several documentary television features, and hundreds of online commentators. Conventional newspaper coverage of the crimes—primarily conducted by the Washington Post and the Washington Times—consisted entirely of straightforward reporting of information provided by police and judicial officers.

Given the controversial nature of the police investigation and judicial proceedings against the man who was charged for committing the crime, it is surprising how little the mainstream media questioned official accounts. Likewise, the TV documentaries simply presented narratives provided by law officers as though they contained nothing that was questionable. This is particularly notable given that substantial details of the official narrative, provided by the same investigating officers, are represented differently in different documentaries. Moreover, some of officers’ statements in the documentaries pertaining to Starbucks procedures and security protocols are NOT consistent with what a veteran Starbucks manager told me.

I would like to interview Carl D. Cooper in prison, but I cannot find him in the federal prison system. Though I have not had the time and resources to dig deep into this component of the story, my preliminary research suggests that his whereabouts in the federal prison system have been concealed.

In 2016, the lead homicide detective in the Mary Mahoney case — Detective James Trainium — published a book titled How the Police Generate False Confessions. It’s a detailed examination of how the police obtain false confessions, and the author is clearly writing from personal experience.

November 6, 2022 - Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , ,

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