A former death row inmate has shared his harrowing story of spending two decades in prison, until he was proven innocent, at an event in Dublin.

Kerry Max Cook was wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of a 21-year-old woman in 1977 and sentenced to death. While an inmate at the Ellis Unit North of the Texas Department of Criminal

Justice in Huntsville, he was stabbed, raped and beaten and attempted sucide.

It took four retrials over two decades and DNA evidence to prove his innocence.

He now travels throughout the world spreading a powerful message of hope and resilience.
Youth outreach movement Soar invited the Cook to speak to 70 teenagers and 100 of their supporters tomorrow at  Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin.

Soar co-founder Tony Griffin told the Journal.ie that Cook turns his dramatic account of life in prison into “a story of hope”.

“The first time I saw him, I was blown away by how humble he was and how powerful his message was. It’s a story of overcoming whatever problems you face, and uncovering whatever is inside of you.”

Griffin stressed the importance of providing young people in Ireland with this sort of inspiration.

“They’re mostly worried and concerned about their parents, who have lost faith in the organisations they would usually turn to for help in difficult times like these. At the same time, young people are being looked at for the answers, and they need to have more opportunities to give them.

“They’re so creative, full of energy and enthusiasm and come out with left-of-field solutions to problems which might otherwise be ignored, simply because they have little fear of failure”.