Streams

Damien Echols on Life After Death

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.—known as the West Memphis Three—were convicted of the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas after a trial marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison, and Echols was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, thousands of supporters called for a new trial, and in a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011. Echols shares his story in his book Life After Death.

Filmmaker Joe Berlinger was on the show in October 2011 discussing his three documentaries on the West Memphis Three. Listen to that interview.

Guests:

Damien Echols
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [13]

Go online -there's plenty of evidence -including the victims' clothes found in the home of one of these murderers!Never underestimate the gullibility of some people like Courtenay and everyone else who jumped on this convicted killers bandwagon.Wow; that's power-you walk away free after being convicted and never denying but on the contrary affirming the validity of the verdict and you have masses of gulls proclaiming your innocence and journalists treating you with kid gloves.This psycho path-true to type-has you wrapped around his finger.

Sep. 21 2012 02:05 PM
Courtenay from Manhattan

Rosellen clearly has not even looked into this case. There is ZERO DNA evidence from any of the three. Question everything. Stop looking so deep into the interview and look at the FACTS.

Sep. 21 2012 09:40 AM

That was the most offensive interview I ever heard. The host states that this guy did not commit the crime. That is an opinion ,a bias as he has been convicted of the crime and his conviction has never been legally overturned. It is deceptive and untrue to claim that he was convicted for a "crime he did not do".You don't know he did not do it and under the law he is gulity . I think he's guilty.Notice when he said that at trial when when people saw him they saw "the case". Notice how he distances himself from the crime of murder and uses the abstraction of "the case".I don't see "the case" when i see him or hear him-i see a child murderer. Typical tactic of a murderer--wanting to distance himself from what happened.And notice when the host says something about the murders of the 3 boys-he springs up to change the subject and goes on to talk about some other point. Just hearing his voice gives me a chill. And I detected a little leakage[of his true self if not a deliberate taunt or clue of a psychopath] in his comment that he heard when he was young that children take pain better then adults-hmm. Is that what he was testing out when he abducted those children-and murdered them!And the one accomplice who he labels retarded- has NOT retracted his confession!So he is dismissed as uncredible due to low i.q.How convinient-even someone who has a low i.q. can also be capable of knowing the truth about whether they committed the murders or now.From my following of the case I always believed Damian and the other two guys did it.And hearing him talk only substantiated my belief that he's a cagey psyhopath who successfully knows how to play gullable people. The interviewer did not challenge him about any of his statements-regarding prison or anything else. It's amazin how cluless some people can be.This "case" takes the cake.

Sep. 20 2012 02:00 PM
Anonymous from Manhattan

Chained and beaten...in the US?

Sep. 20 2012 01:38 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Wait, so there's been *no* official exoneration? Actually, now that I hear that, I think I do remember hearing it at the time the 3 were released. I guess that answers my other questions, then. I hope the investigation is completed & the people responsible are held accountable.

Sep. 20 2012 01:22 PM
Adam from NYC

I'm glad that an injustice was overturned, but...who killed the kids? Will Sean Penn and Eddie Vedder and any other concerned millionaires be working on that?

I bet those kids' loved ones are feeling a sense of injustice, too. You think?

Sep. 20 2012 01:21 PM
john from office

No offense, but the torture discriptions seem inflated. While he may have been found innocent, I wonder as to the many "beatings" he is discribing.

Sep. 20 2012 01:18 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm glad Mr. Echols & the other 2 prisoners were exonerated, & I hope they get the help they need to have as good a life as they can now that they've been released. I'd like to ask if there's been any reform of the system that treated them so injustly, & if any of the people who dishonestly got them convicted or who beat them in prison were ever punished for it.

Sep. 20 2012 01:18 PM
JJ

The host sounds relatively sanguine considering what this guest is revealing. (guest: "the guards beat me constantly with nightsticks while I was chained up" host: "okay") LOL - tough crowd.

Sep. 20 2012 01:18 PM
Rachel from Sunset Park

Have you thought about becoming an advocate for reforming prison treatment of prisoners? Seems like there is an need for a Champion there.

Sep. 20 2012 01:17 PM
Patti from Brooklyn

Damien, I wish you a long and happy life. I learn so much about courage and integrity listening to you. Thank you for doing this interview, I look forward to reading your book.

Sep. 20 2012 01:00 PM
anonyme

Dear Damien

Please check out Tapas Fleming - she's an LA acupuncturist who has discovered/developed TAT, a form of Energy Psychology - simple simple trauma removal - sometimes instantaneous, sometimes it takes a little time. I promise you it is brilliant - you sound absolutely amazing and basically saner than many. Her website is TATlife.com. He email address is there. She and her technique are helping me through a terminal diagnosis - she used it to heal her own stage 3 breast cancer.

She first learned the power of this (deceptively simple) technique (using a combination of acupressure points) with an allergy patient working with her on a salt allergy - (!) - once the salt allergy was gone, the patient told Tapas that she'd at the same time been healed of childhood sexual abuse that happened over years in a bar - where she was given a bag of potato chips (SALT!) after each incident. So that told her for this technique a trauma, a thought, a substance issue can all be healed at once. Amazing. Please get in touch with her!

Honest this stuff works and you won't be re-traumatized - don't even have to talk about it if you don't feel like it.

Sep. 20 2012 12:58 PM
Christine from Westchester

Your guest sounds amazingly well adjusted for someone who's been through so very much. How is he able to stay so balanced? Is it possible to forgive those who caused this? Is there anything that is being to to compensate, if that's even possible.

Sep. 20 2012 12:50 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.