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Paula Cooper was just 16 years old when she became the youngest person on death row in the United States. That was in 1986.

On Monday, after 27 years behind bars, Cooper walked out of Indiana’s Rockville Correctional Facility a free woman. She emerged around 10 a.m., said Douglas S. Garrison, chief communications officer for the Indiana Department of Corrections.

Cooper had an unlikely ally supporting her release: Bill Pelke, the grandson of the woman she killed.

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