Kerry Max Cook
Kerry Max Cook (born 1956) is a former death-row inmate who was wrongly convicted for the rape and death of 21-year-old Linda Jo Edwards in 1977.  He was born in Stuttgart, Germany. In 1972, he moved to Texas with his family. Kerry Max Cook served over 20 years in a Texas prison on death row. Since his release, Cook has become an activist against the death penalty speaking across the United States and in Europe. In addition to this, Kerry Max Cook has become a teacher, a role model and a leader for kids across the world teaching over coming adversity.
Cook has written a book published by HarperCollins entitled Chasing Justice which details the story of his wrongful conviction, the widespread prosecutorial abuses which led to the conviction, and his battle to prove his innocence. Chasing Justice was nominated for the Edgar Award, by Mystery Writers of America. He was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship to write the book. In his advance blurb of the memoir, former FBI Director and Federal Judge William S. Sessions noted, “Kerry Max Cook has written a brutal but compelling account of his 22 years on Texas’s death row for a murder he didn’t commit. The book depicts his struggles against all odds to free himself from an inept justice system that would not let go, despite mounting and eventually overwhelming evidence of his innocence. What is perhaps most amazing is the grace with which he now lives his life as a free man, determined to prevent others from suffering the horrors he endured.”
Cook is one of six people whose stories were dramatized in the acclaimed play "The Exonerated" written by Eric Jensen and Jessica Blank, which relates how the six had each been wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but were later exonerated and freed after varying years of imprisonment. He often participates in the play. The Exonerated has been made into a film first aired on the CourtTV cable television on January 27, 2005.
Although he is out of prison Cook still lives in a perpetually liminal state. While he has never admitted guilt, he’s a convicted murderer in the eyes of Texas law and this affects his daily life. Cook and his lawyer Marc McPeak recently embarked on a new legal strategy to clear his name — a motion to perform DNA tests on other physical evidence found at the murder scene. McPeak also filed a motion to recuse the judge, Jack Skeen, the former district attorney who prosecuted Cook’s first two trials, who would hear the DNA-testing motion. On April 9, 2012, Administrative Judge John Ovard of Dallas granted Cook's request for DNA testing but denied his plea to move the case out of Smith County, where prosecutors who originally tried his case were found by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to have committed "egregious prosecutorial misconduct." Cook's battle to clear his name has been taken up by the online petition site, Change.org.
- The Wrong Men by Stanley Cohen (2003)
- Center on Wrongful Convictions
- Chasing Justice
- @KerryMaxCook on Twitter