Today's Texas Tribune reports, "Filing by Cook Alleges Prosecutor Kept Murder Weapon." It's by Brandi Grissom.
The prosecutor who sent Kerry Max Cook to death row in 1978 for a gruesome stabbing death has kept the blood-soaked murder weapon at his home for the last decade as a macabre “souvenir” of one of Tyler’s most infamous and brutal killings, according to a motion the former inmate’s lawyers filed Monday in Smith County.
Along with the knife, former Smith County District Attorney A.D. Clark III — now with the Texas attorney general’s office — also kept a slide with samples of Cook’s hair, the former inmate’s lawyers allege.
“The rather odd practice of Mr. Clark keeping evidence of a murder case in his personal possession raises many questions, both legal and psychological,” lawyers wrote in a motion asking an administrative judge to reconsider his decision last month to allow Cook’s case to remain in Smith County despite court findings of prosecutorial misconduct there in the past.
What’s more, Cook’s lawyers argue, former Smith County prosecutors illegally destroyed much of the remaining evidence in the case that may have contained DNA that could have been tested to help prove Cook’s innocence. And, they said, the current district attorney lied about facts of the case during a court hearing last month.
“These acts of prejudice and malice have crippled Mr. Cook's efforts to defend himself and establish his innocence over the past 35 years,” Cook’s lawyer, Marc McPeak, wrote. “For the reasons stated and discussed herein, among many others, no Smith County judge should be permitted to preside over Mr. Cook's case.”
Administrative Judge John Ovard granted Cook’s request for DNA testing, but he declined to remove the case from Smith County.
Cook’s lawyer, in the motion filed Monday, asked Ovard to reconsider his decision not to move the case based on the new discoveries about the destroyed evidence and “souvenirs” and based on what he described as misrepresentations of the facts by the current district attorney, Matt Bingham.
Earlier coverage of Kerry Max Cook begins at the link.