- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 25, 2000

Accused Starbucks killer Carl D. Cooper is scheduled to plead guilty to all charges today in a deal that includes a government agreement to drop its death penalty request, sources close to the investigation said.

Mr. Cooper, 30, can back out at the last minute, as he has in the past, the sources said yesterday. The matter is expected to be brought up at a hearing today in front of District Court Judge Joyce Hens Green. A questioning of potential jurors scheduled for today was delayed until tomorrow, said Channing Phillips, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"We're not confirming this," said Mr. Phillips on a possible plea agreement for Mr. Cooper. "Court rules preclude us from commenting or discussing in a criminal case whether there is a plea agreement."

Mr. Cooper pleaded not guilty to all charges in a 48-count federal indictment issued last August. A federal grand jury charged him with the slayings of three Starbucks employees, a security guard and racketeering.

Mr. Cooper is charged with the July 6, 1997, killings of Starbucks employees Mary Caitrin Mahoney, 24; Emory Allen Evans, 25; and Aaron David Goodrich, 18. He admitted to police he walked into the coffee shop at 1810 Wisconsin Ave. NW alone and, armed with two handguns, killed the three during a botched robbery.

Only a conviction on federal charges could call the death penalty into play in the District, which banned capital punishment after its last execution in 1957.

The federal indictment names Mr. Cooper as the leader of a criminal outfit that operated in two states and the District between May 10, 1993, and October 1997. He committed nine robberies or attempted robberies, four killings and the wounding of an off-duty Prince George's County police officer, according to the indictment.

It states that Mr. Cooper's criminal enterprise usually would rob businesses at closing time or on weekends, when they would likely have more money. Police believe he tried to rob the Starbucks while its employees were closing the coffee shop.

Mr. Cooper also is charged with the 1996 attempted murder of off-duty Prince George's County police Officer Bruce Howard, who was wounded during a shooting while he and a woman were robbed.

• Jim Keary and Jabeen Bhatti contributed to this report.

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