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Pardon Kerry Max Cook, An Innocent Man
  • Petitioning Rissie Owens

This petition will be delivered to:

Chair, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Rissie Owens
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Conrith Davis
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Juanita M. Gonzalez
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Thomas Leeper
Parole Commissioner, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Charles Shipman
Parole Commissioner, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Marsha Moberley
Parole Commissioner, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Tony Garcia
Parole Commissioner, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Troy Fox
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Texas Governor
Gov. Rick Perry

Pardon Kerry Max Cook, An Innocent Man

    1. Kerry Cook
    2. Petition by

      Kerry Cook

      Dallas, TX

In 1978 I was found guilty for the rape and murder of 21-year-old Linda Jo Edward in Texas. I was sentenced to death row. I was innocent. In 1999 I was proven innocent through DNA testing -- after over 20 years on death row.

The case against me was based entirely on circumstantial evidence. Over the years, every piece of evidence used to convict me was revealed to be false.The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the prosecution had suppressed evidence that showed I was innocent in order to build their case against me.

Thirteen years after my innocence was proven and I was released from prison, the state of Texas still has not judicially exonerated me.

I was tried for this murder nearly four times. Despite an Appellate ruling throwing out my second conviction with findings that “Police and prosecutorial misconduct has tainted this entire matter from the outset,” the Smith County District Attorney’s Office was more interested in saving face than justice.

Unwilling to drop the charges against me, on the eve of my fourth trial, prosecutors offered a plea-bargain: plead no-contest with no admission of guilt, and go free. By this time my only brother had been murdered, my Dad had died of cancer, and my mother had abandoned me. Additionally, I  was unable to overcome the police and prosecutorial misconduct that prevented me from being found not guilty. I took the offer and walked out of the courtroom. But I have never been free.

Two months later, DNA evidence proved my innocence.

Because I pleaded no-contest to the murder, I cannot be declared actually innocent unless the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommends to Governor Rick Perry that I be pardoned and Texas Governor Rick Perry agrees and sets me free.

Without being exonerated, I feel I am still in a Texas prison.

Please sign my petition and ask the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend to Texas Governor Rick Perry that I be pardoned and finally set free from my mental prison sentence now in its 35th year.

Ready about Kerry's story in the New York Times

Kerry has filed two motions in Smith County, one regarding the illegal destruction of evidence and the other asking that the Judge to reconsider moving has case out of Smith County so he can be given a fair and impartial review of my innocence claims: 
Click here for the first motion.
Click here for the second motion.  

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 150,000 signatures
    2. To supporters of Pardon Kerry Max Cook, An Innocent Man

      Kerry Cook
      Petition Organizer

      I want to let everyone know that we have just launched a fundraising campaign to help me win judicial exoneration: https://rally.org/stillchasingjustice.

      Here is where you can donate and help me pay for legal filings, calling experts to testify on my behalf, and other expenses related to my case. You'll also see updates on court rulings, press coverage, and news about my speaking appearances. Let's rally to get my wrongful conviction expunged so that I can finally live my life as a free man, not just out of prison, but as someone publicly, legally acknowledged as innocent.

      Thank you for signing this petition and for your encouragement as I work to clear my name in the Texas courts.

    3. Kerry's Motion to Strike

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Barry Scheck and the Innocence Project has filed this Motion to Strike which shows how bad Kerry's case is with the Smith County officials. Read it here: https://docs.google.com/a/change.org/file/d/0B5eiAvnx6-xLQy1mTjJBWUdzNWM/edit

    4. Reached 75,000 signatures
    5. 2 Decades on Death Row, 15 Years in Limbo: Kerry Max Cook's Struggle

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Kerry Max Cook’s hopes for legal exoneration, 15 years after he was cleared by DNA evidence, hinge on motions filed recently in Smith County, Texas.

      Even though hundreds of people across the country have been declared innocent based on similar evidence, the state of Texas continues to classify Cook as a convicted murderer. But that may all change.

    6. Kerry Max Cook Seeks Hearing on Murder Evidence

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Former death row inmate and author Kerry Max Cook, whose lawyers are working to officially exonerate him in a 1977 rape and murder, is asking a judge to conduct a hearing to determine what evidence is still available for DNA testing to finally establish his legal innocence.

      The request comes after Cook discovered that much of the physical evidence in his case was destroyed and that someone in Smith County law enforcement — there's a dispute over whether it was a former prosecutor or an investigator — kept the murder weapon and samples of Cook's hair as a "souvenir" from the brutal murder of Linda Jo Edwards.

    7. Released but Never Exonerated, a Man Fights for Freedom

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Though he is widely recognized as one of the country’s most famous exonerated prisoners, Mr. Cook is not legally exonerated. In fact, in the eyes of the state, he is still a killer — convicted of the 1977 rape and murder of Linda Jo Edwards.

      Mr. Cook’s situation is complex. His death sentence was twice overturned by higher courts, and DNA taken from the victim’s underwear did not match his own, and the evidence used to convict him has been shown to be entirely fallacious — but because Mr. Cook pleaded no-contest to the murder on the eve of what would have been his fourth trial, he cannot be declared actually not guilty.

    8. Reached 50,000 signatures



    Aug 06, 2014

    Pardon Kerry Max Cook, An Innocent Man http://t.co/CI4UiBFUNg via @Change

    Jackie Zeman


    Apr 23, 2012

    PLEASE HELP KERRY BY SIGNING. 20 YRS IN PRISON. INNOCENT. IMAGINE. Pardon Kerry Max Cook, An Innocent Man http://t.co/f6huNILF via @change

    Tony Goldwyn


    Apr 12, 2012

    Please sign the petition on http://t.co/IACTc5yY to Pardon Kerry Max Cook, An Innocent Man http://t.co/HUWwhG5N via @change

    Cary Elwes

    Reasons for signing

    • Heather McRae CASHMERE, WA
      • about 15 hours ago

      When someone has been shown to be innocent, s/he should then legally be regarded as innocent. I think that about covers it. So the state needs to show, legally, that this man is innocent.

      • 2 days ago

      Pardon Kerry Max Cook, An Innocent Man

    • Lois Lockwood CHAPARRAL, NM
      • 3 days ago

      He served 20 years for a crime he did not commit. He should be fully exonerated!

    • Tracie Thompson SAINT PAUL, MN
      • 10 days ago

      This man deserves real justice at long last.

    • Fran Upshaw SALINA, KS
      • 10 days ago

      DNA has PROVED that this was not the man, set him FREE!


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