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Judge Refuses to Ban Sales of D.B. Cooper Book

February 21, 1992

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ A judge has refused to ban further sales of a book claiming a deceased Utah man was the legendary skyjacker D.B. Cooper.

Third District Court Judge Homer Wilkinson said Thursday that some allegations against the Utah skyjacker’s widow, Karen Burns McCoy, in the book ″D.B. Cooper: The Real McCoy″ may not be repeated in any movie version.

But he refused to take the book, published by the University of Utah Press in October 1991, off the shelves.

″It’s not something now that can be pulled back by an injunction,″ he said.

Mrs. McCoy sued the book’s authors, Russell Calame and Bernie Rhodes, in January to ban further sales on the grounds that it contains lies and violates her right to privacy.

The book claims the late Richard Floyd McCoy of Provo was Cooper, the name used by a man who parachuted from a Boeing 727 over southwestern Washington on Nov. 24, 1971, and was never found. Those who investigated the Cooper hijacking have been skeptical of the book’s claims, and Cooper’s identity remains a mystery.

McCoy was shot to death by FBI agents in 1974. He had escaped from a federal prison in Lewisburg, Pa., after he was convicted for a 1972 skyjacking in which he bailed out over Provo with $500,000.

During testimony Thursday, Mrs. McCoy contended the book and the publicity surrounding it have destroyed her.

″I have attempted to keep this private because I was trying to put that behind me in my life,″ she said. ″I was trying to raise two children and give them a normal life after they had been through such hell.″

Mrs. McCoy denied allegations in the book that she drove a getaway car in her husband’s prison escape, dated an FBI agent, conspired with the FBI to have her husband captured or killed and once threatened to throw her daughter under the wheels of a truck.

″I was not unfaithful to Richard McCoy. I did not help have him killed. I feel like I’m barely holding on, and I have worked so hard to hold on,″ Mrs. McCoy said.

Wilkinson ordered that any movie made from the book not include those claims.

The authors contend that the book is accurate.

David Watkiss Jr., an attorney for co-author Rhodes, argued that banning the book would violated the First Amendment, but the judge did not cite any constitutional grounds in his decision.

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