“In the eyes of the state, he is still a killer,” Hall wrote, explaining that Cook still has difficulty when he applies for a job, a housing lease, or attempts to fly internationally.
Cook, who was convicted in Smith County of a 1977 rape and murder, was released from prison twenty harrowing years later, but not before being tried by the state three different times. Just before he was to face a fourth trial in 1999, he accepted a deal a “no contest” plea, which allowed him to leave prison, and as a result, for the past fifteen years, Cook has been out from behind bars, but not really free.
He’s been fighting the exoneration battle for so long that it’s been eight years since the PBS show Frontline ran “The Plea,” an an episode about Cook’s plight. Below is a twelve-minute clip from the 2004 show:
Watch the whole episode here.