By RYAN DUNN
A decades-old photograph of Becky Potter’s family raises a difficult question.
“When I look at my daughter, I always wonder, what would she look like now?” Potter said.
The August 1979 murder of 9-month-old Monica Sue Williams remains clear as ever to Potter. She is once again campaigning for people to write letters opposing the parole of her daughter’s killer, Christopher Cooper.
Cooper has a parole hearing in June.
Potter, 58, of Findlay, has a folder stuffed with photos, newspaper articles, and messages of support from around the country.
“In my mind, if someone is capable of committing such an act, they have no business on our streets,” Potter said.
Cooper, the brother of her ex-husband, briefly stayed with the family in 1979. Potter said she left her daughter with him for only half an hour.
Cooper raped and struck the infant, Potter said. The child died five days after the assault.
“This destroyed my family. It was beyond heinous,” Potter said.
A Hancock County Common Pleas Court judge sentenced Cooper to 15 years to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to murder in May 1980.
Public outrage in the area has waned 35 years later, Potter said, and she’s frustrated that many do not speak up when Cooper has a parole hearing.
“No matter how many years go by, it’s always there,” Potter said.
Her daughter would have celebrated her 36th birthday this year, she said.
Releasing Cooper, 53, would threaten any neighborhood he lives in, Potter said. It’s unlikely he would find employment, either, she said.
Although Potter said years of prayer have stopped her hatred toward Cooper, she expressed doubt he can be rehabilitated.
“My daughter didn’t have a life,” Potter said. “He’s got his life, behind bars. Let him stay there and live it out.”
During her daughter’s brief life, the child was “like a magnet,” attracting others to approach at even department stores, Potter said.
Now, Potter uses Facebook, fliers and phone calls to coax as many letters as she can each time Cooper has a parole hearing.
Children deserve safety from those known to be seriously violent, she said.
“Why on God’s green earth would we let them out to do it again?” she said.
People interested in submitting a written statement prior to Cooper’s June parole hearing are being asked to send letters by the end of May.
Letters should be addressed to the Ohio Parole Board, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, 770 W. Broad St., Columbus 43222.
The envelope and letter should refer to Cooper’s name and inmate identification number, A158707.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a corrected version of this story.