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Police: One-time youngest death row inmate dead of apparent suicide

INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis police say a woman who was once the nation's youngest death row inmate has been found dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A police report says 45-year-old Paula Cooper was found dead Tuesday morning at a residence on the city's northwest side.

Cooper was sentenced to death in 1986 at age 16 after confessing to her role in the murder of a 78-year-old Gary, Indiana, Bible studies teacher the year before, when she was 15.

Her sentence enraged human rights activists and drew a plea for clemency from Pope John Paul II.

Shortly after Cooper was sentenced, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that those under 16 at the time they committed an offense couldn't be sentenced to death because it counted as unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.

Cooper was paroled in 2013.

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