Michael Hall's Profile Photo

Mike Hall writes about criminals, musicians, the law, and barbecue. Mike graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979 with a degree in government. He wrote for various publications, including Trouser Press, Third Coast Magazine, the Austin American-Statesman, and the Austin Chronicle. In 1997 he joined Texas Monthly, where he has won two Texas Gavel Awards from the State Bar of Texas and four Stephen Philbin Awards from the Dallas Bar Association. He was named Writer of the Year at the City and Regional Magazine Awards in 2015. His stories have appeared in The Best American Magazine Writing, The Best American Sports Writing, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Da Capo Best Music Writing, the New York Times, and Men’s Journal. Mike is also a musician and has played in Austin bands the Wild Seeds, the Setters, the Lollygaggers, and the Savage Trip. He pitches for the Burkas, the Texas Monthly softball team.

March 22, 2017

The Trouble With Innocence

For almost forty years, Kerry Max Cook did everything to clear his name after being convicted of a horrifying murder in Tyler. So when he was finally exonerated, why did he ask for his conviction back?

True Crime |
July 13, 2016

The Murders at the Lake

In 1982 three teenagers were killed near the shores of Lake Waco in a seemingly inexplicable crime. More than three decades later, the tragic and disturbing case still casts a long, dark shadow.

The Culture |
June 3, 2016

The Usual Suspect

Stunning new evidence in the case of Kerry Max Cook casts serious doubt on his 1978 murder conviction--and points emphatically at another man.

The Culture |
February 24, 2016

The City of the Eternal Boom

A hipster paradise, a high-tech nirvana, a festival wonderland. Today Austin barely resembles the sleepy college town I moved to in the seventies. How it changed is the story of a lifetime.

Science |
December 23, 2015

False Impressions

How the once troubled Texas Forensic Science Commission put the state at the forefront of the criminal justice reform movement.

November 23, 2015

RIP, Mack McCormick

The famed musicologist’s obsession with history made him one of the great chroniclers of American music.

Criminal Justice |
October 21, 2015

The Outcast

A dark incident almost twenty years ago put Greg Torti on the sex offender registry for life. But the real story, he insists, is much more complicated.

Chat |
July 23, 2015

True Grits

Innocence Project of Texas executive director Scott Henson says his organization is about more than DNA evidence.

Music |
March 23, 2015

The Playlist

Oh, the endless arguments about Texas music. But don’t feel the need to master it—no one really can. Instead, here are ten songs to help you hold your own at almost any party. 

Music |
February 12, 2015

Plains Sound

Twenty-year-old Hayden Pedigo is making the most innovative, audacious music in the country. So why is he still in Amarillo? 

Religion |
November 13, 2014

Man on Fire

The Reverend Charles Moore ardently dedicated his life to the service of God and his fellow man. But when he couldn’t shake the thought that he hadn’t done enough, he drove to a desolate parking lot in his hometown of Grand Saline for one final act of faith.

Criminal Justice |
November 27, 2013

Wrongfully Convicted Grandma Freed

After Fran Keller spent 21 years in prison based on allegations by children who said they were sexually abused in a satanic ritual at her and her husband's day care, she was finally released.

The Daily Post |
November 19, 2013

The San Antonio 4 Are Finally Free

Four women spent more than thirteen years in prison because of bad science and scurrilous tales told by children who had been coached by an adult. They’re free now, but who else is sitting behind bars based on these types of false accusations?

Criminal Justice |
September 17, 2013

Pardon Me, Mr. President

Dear Mr. President: Richard LaFuente just filed a petition for executive clemency. I urge you to read it—and to commute his life sentence.

Sports |
February 12, 2013

The Man Who Fell to Earth

After decades as one of the most admired athletes on the planet and one of the toughest competitors ever to ride a bike, Lance Armstrong is facing a new challenge: how to come back from a very public disgrace.

January 21, 2013

The Last Man Exonerated

Kerry Max Cook walked off death row in 1997, but he was never officially exonerated. At least not yet. He just filed a DNA motion he hopes will clear his name.