Kerry Max Cook Speaks
Jayashri Wyatt the director of productions at Culture Project had a chance to sit down with Kerry Max Cook. He’s playing himself Oct 19-21 in the play THE EXONERATED.
Jayashri Wyatt (JW): It’s been 10 years since the last production of The Exonerated. How does it feel to be here in New York to see and participate in the play?
Kerry Max Cook (KMC): “I didn’t realize how much The Exonerated and all these people, Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank, the actors the producer Allan Buchman had impacted and changed my life. It feels like coming home after being in prison for a long, long time.
JW: What was it like the first time Erik and Jessica interviewed you?
KMC: “Erik and Jessica, came as two playwrights and they left as friends. It was an incredible interview. They were only going to be there for an hour and they stayed for several hours and we went out to eat afterwards.
Erik had also lost his brother and he got very emotional. That’s where we really connected. The one I really connected with deeply with was Jessica, especially when it came time to talking about the sexual abuse I suffered in prison. I wasn’t comfortable having that conversation with another man because of how I was abused in prison. She was so sensitive and supportive as I told her about my experience.”
JW: Where are things at in your case right now. You’re still working on your case correct?
KMC: “My story today is exonerated but not free. I was scientifically exonerated but Texas didn’t have the judicial integrity to judicially exonerate me. Today the new fight is to expunge my wrongful conviction. I’m still a convicted man. Removing the stain of this conviction is critical. I still suffer –I still can’t get an apartment or a job or health insurance. 35 years later I’m still chasing justice.”
FACT: 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.
JW: Why has the state not gone after James Mayfield who may have been involved in her murder?
KMC: “In their zeal to make me look guilty and make Mayfield look innocent they so corrupted the case – they couldn’t go after him even in the face of DNA evidence. The prosecutor in the case is still trying to get me.”
Kerry Max Cook’s son Kerry Justice Cook piped up: “They put so much time and energy into framing you that they had to cover it up because they were too embarrassed for the truth to come out.”
FACT: The DNA evidence proved that the semen found on Linda Jo Edwards underwear the night of her murder belonged to James Mayfield, a married man with whom Ms. Edwards had been having an affair.Tags: 2012-2013 season, 45 bleecker, culture project, erik jensen, interview, jessica blank, kerry max cook, the exonerated