Convicted killer going back to prison for shoving woman, drinking

This parolee just made things harder on himself.

A parolee who spent two decades in prison for beating his wife to death with a sledgehammer after she challenged his libido is back behind bars for pushing a woman last year, according to San Mateo County prosecutors.

On his 62nd birthday Tuesday, Peter Cooper was sentenced by a Board of Parole Hearings panel to 15 months in state prison for a Dec. 30, 2011, encounter with a female pal that involved alcohol.

Both the booze and push violated Cooper’s parole, the board ruled during a nearly three-hour hearing at San Quentin State Prison.

Cooper was let out of jail in 2006 despite efforts from then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to keep him locked up. He had been convicted of second-degree murder for killing his wife Nov. 16, 1986, in their San Mateo garage.

In that incident, prosecutors said, Cooper’s wife hurled insults at him after he declined her sexual advances.

“She responded by calling him names including a limp d***, rubber d***, and asked him if he preferred a little boy,” said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, who prosecuted the 1986 case.

Cooper reacted by striking his wife multiple times with a 4-pound sledgehammer.

Cooper then left her body in the trunk of her own car at San Francisco International Airport, Wagstaffe said, and told her worried friends that he had no idea what had happened to her.

After a two-week jury trial in 1987, Cooper was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.

The conviction was overturned the following year after the judge wrongly answered legal questions posed by jurors. But following another two-week jury trial in 1990, Cooper was again found guilty and resentenced to 16 years to life.

The Board of Parole Hearings deemed Cooper suitable for release Feb. 16, 2006. Although the governor challenged that decision, an appeals court overrode his decision and ordered Cooper’s parole.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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