In his own defense

You would think that three death-penalty prosecutions and, finally, a no-contest plea from Kerry Max Cook would be enough to satisfy prosecutors in Tyler, who are ever looking for a way to repair their reputations as doers of justice. Yet the Smith County District Attorney's Office continues to investigate the 22-year-old murder of Tyler secretary Linda Jo Edwards as though it happened yesterday.

Maybe they'll get it right this time. Maybe not.

A grand jury impaneled after the Dallas Observer published a two-part series detailing Cook's plight ("Innocence lost," July 15 and 27) has mostly heard from the same group of tiresome witnesses the prosecution has trotted out for the last generation. Finally, though, they have an opportunity to hear some fresh stuff. Buzz has obtained a letter from Cook's attorney Cheryl Wattley that challenges Smith County to call Cook as a witness.

"If you are indeed conducting an impartial inquiry into the investigation and prosecution of Kerry Max Cook, please be advised that we await any opportunity to assist," Wattley writes.

Cook is out of prison as part of a plea bargain in which he pleaded no contest to the murder charge in exchange for his freedom. He still maintains his innocence and is seeking a pardon from Gov. George W. Bush.

In her letter, Wattley also suggests that if the investigation is some attempt to whitewash the well-documented case of police and prosecutorial misconduct that led to Cook's 17-year stay on death row, "we do not wish to be a party to such a charade."

Whitebread Nirvana

Buzz has come to expect a lot from Plano. Whiny teenagers. Heroin hysteria. Shopping malls overrun with North Texas' bland brand of the arriviste: blonde moms toting their towheads in white Suburbans.

But the lettering we saw etched into the front of an ostentatiously Romanesque home in one of Plano's newer subdivisions surprised even us, connoisseurs of the personality-less suburb. La Dolce Vita, it said.

Ah, the sweet life. Who needs Rome when you can have your own 4,000-square-foot villa up on the windswept prairie, within shouting distance of at least four Starbucks and a Gap?

Potholes? What potholes?

If you ever need to get from Abrams Road to Skillman in the M Streets of East Dallas, and if you're tired of potholes knocking the bridge work out of your mouth, the trick is to drive down Mercedes, the street where the mayor lives.

Oh, what a smoothly humming ride it is, on a pristine, beautifully maintained blacktop surface that will make you proud of our street department. Of course, if you make a mistake and turn just one block south, your poor tires will find themselves jouncing down the Street of Broken Teeth again. A block north, the surface is not quite that bad, but it's nowhere near as nice as the mayor's block. If you do start using Mercedes, slow down to admire the massive new stone privacy wall workmen are erecting around the mayor's property, but take care, because the minute you cross Skillman, Mercedes turns back into a hump-backed Burma Road like the rest of them.


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