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 Greg Abbott that I be pardoned and Texas Governor Abbott agrees.
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 Greg Abbott 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.
Pardon Kerry Max Cook, An Innocent Man
I’m writing today to ask that the Texas Board of Pardons recommend to Gov. Greg Abbott that Kerry Max Cook be pardoned for the crime he did not commit.
The testing of DNA evidence proved Kerry Max Cook is innocent of the 1977 murder of . He spent 20 years on death row due to prosecutorial misconduct by the state of Texas.
It is unjust that Kerry Max Cook has still not been pardoned and exonerated for a crime he has proved his innocence of.
I hope that you, Gov. Abbott, and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles will work together to ensure that Kerry Max Cook be pardoned as soon as possible.