Here's how HarperCollins describes his story:
Wrongfully convicted of killing a young woman in Texas, Cook was sentenced to death in 1978 and served two decades on death row, in a prison system so notoriously brutal and violent that in 1980 a federal court ruled that serving time in Texas's jails was "cruel and unusual punishment." As scores of men around him were executed, Cook relentlessly battled a legal system that wanted him dead; meanwhile he fought daily to survive amid unspeakable conditions and routine assaults. When an advocate and a crusading lawyer joined his struggle in the 1990s, a series of retrials was forced. At last, in November 1996, Texas's highest appeals court threw out Cook's conviction, citing overwhelming evidence of police and prosecutorial misconduct.
And finally in the spring of 1999 long-overlooked DNA evidence was tested and it linked another man to the rape and murder for which Cook had been convicted. Today, Cook is a free man and the proud father of a young son.
Kerry Max Cook was convicted on the basis of some very dubious testimony by one witness (who described a person with an entirely different appearance) and a fellow prisoner who claimed that Kerry confessed the crime to him, despite the fact that Kerry was held in solitary confinement at the time. The evidence against Kerry consisted of a fingerprint on the victim's patio door. An "expert" for the prosecution testified that the fingerprint had been left during the time frame of the murder. Such a time-sensitive determination on a fingerprint is scientifically impossible; they might as well have consulted a psychic.
The Kerry Max Cook that I know seems so far away from that life. He's a warm father and playful husband with a quick sense of humor a wildly optimistic nature. He talks openly about his terrible story, but his eye is on the future.
In a few days, I'll be flying to Los Angeles to join Kerry for a big celebrity book party being thrown for him. I'll be there as his photographer, and as his friend. I hope his book does well, but more than that, I hope Kerry gets the life he deserves.
God knows, if anyone has paid in advance for happiness, it's Kerry Max Cook.