Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo announced a Camden man was sentenced today to 124 years in prison for the killing of a Woodlynne bakery owner during a botched robbery at his store.
William Cooper Jr., 37, was found guilty by a jury in November 2014 for his role in the October 14, 2009 shooting of 29-year-old Oscar Hernandez.
Cooper was eligible for the extended-term sentenced imposed today by Superior Court Judge Edward J. McBride Jr. due to his status as a persistent offender. Under the No Early Release Act, Cooper will be required to serve more than 100 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Cooper and one of his three codefendants, Rashawn Carter, 29, of Philadelphia, were convicted at trial of one count each of felony murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery as well as five counts each of armed robbery and criminal restraint.
Cooper was also found guilty on a murder charge and three weapons offenses for his role as the shooter. Additionally, Rashawn Carter was convicted of conspiracy to possess a weapon.
During the four-week trial, Assistant Prosecutor Victoria Shilton presented evidence that led the jury to conclude Cooper fatally shot Hernandez during a failed robbery at Alex’s Bakery on the 1600 block of Ferry Avenue in Woodlynne while the victim’s widow and several customers were in the store.
A jury previously found an accomplice, Latasha Baker, 35, of Woodlynne, guilty on counts of felony murder, conspiracy and robbery in April 2014. She was sentenced in June 2014 to 45 years in state prison. She received an additional 18 months of incarceration to be served consecutively for a count of hindering. She must complete 85 percent of her sentence before she is eligible for parole.
Another codefendant, Maurice Carter, 33, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty in September 2014 to conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He was sentenced in December 2014 to 10 years in state prison. He must complete 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
Baker was found guilty of acting as a lookout during the robbery at Alex’s Bakery. She posed as a customer at the bakery multiple times the day of the killing, and was in repeated phone contact with her brother Rashawn Carter the day before and the day of Hernandez’s death.
Maurice Carter is also Baker’s brother and Cooper is a friend of their family.
Baker provided the other three defendants with information about who was in the bakery prior to the robbery attempt, and then played the part of the victim when the armed men entered the business. Hernandez was shot by Cooper as the men tried to open the register at the bakery. They were never able to open it and fled empty handed.
After the robbery Baker told investigators the robbers had stolen her cell phone, but the phone was later found at her home and a search of the phone records led investigators to the other three defendants.
Surveillance footage, eyewitness accounts and other evidence helped lead to the conviction of all four defendants. Additional evidence – beyond that presented at trial – implicated Cooper and Rashawn Carter, but was ruled legally inadmissible because of their co-defendants’ refusal to testify.
Rashawn Carter is scheduled to be sentenced on September 18.
Released Friday, August 21, 2015.