Friday, August 19, 2011

Damien Echols' statement on plea deal

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 12:30 PM

BEFORE HEARING: Damien Echols with attorneys before todays hearing.
  • BEFORE HEARING: Damien Echols with attorneys before today's hearing.
Damien Echols, freed from Death Row in today's West Memphis Three plea bargain, released the following statement today:

To all my friends and family, my attorneys and advocates, and to those of you from every corner of this earth who have stood beside us these long years, please know that I will forever be indebted to all of you for helping me to become a free man. Each and every day I was the beneficiary of acts of kindness and humanity from people of all walks of life, of all ages, nationalities, religions and political persuasions. The enormity of the support Lorri and I received throughout this struggle is humbling.

I have now spent half my life on death row. It is a torturous environment that no human being should have to endure, and it needed to end. I am innocent, as are Jason and Jessie, but I made this decision because I did not want to spend another day of my life behind those bars. I want to live and to continue to fight for our innocence. Sometimes justice is neither pretty nor is it perfect, but it was important to take this opportunity to be free.

I am not alone as there are tens of thousand of men and woman in this country who have been wrongfully convicted, forced into a false confession, sentenced to death or a lifetime in prison. I am hopeful that one day they too will be able stand with their friends and family to declare their innocence.

This whole experience has taught me much about life, human nature, American justice, survival and transcendence.

I will hopefully take those lessons with me as I embark on the next chapter in my journey and along the way look forward to enjoying some of those simple things in life like spending Christmastime, Halloween and my birthday with those I love.

TOGETHER: Damien Echols and his wife, Lorri Davis, together in free world for first time.
  • TOGETHER: Damien Echols and his wife, Lorri Davis, together in free world for first time.

At a news conference afterward, Echols paid tribute to his wife Lorri Davis for her work in seeking his freedom. They met and married while he was in prison and, until recently, all meetings with Death Row inmates, by family members or not, had to be conducted with participants on either side of a glass window. At the news conference, Echols embraced Jason Baldwin, who refused a deal to testify against Echols in their 1994 trial and who joined the plea deal on Echols' behalf though he objected to being forced to plead guilty.

BEFORE THE HEARING: Baldwin (glasses) and Misskelley.
  • BEFORE THE HEARING: Baldwin (glasses) and Misskelley.

Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (143)

Showing 1-50 of 143

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-50 of 143

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

"Locally Labeled" passport expands to accommodate booming brew scene

"Locally Labeled" passport expands to accommodate booming brew scene

As if great beer weren't reward enough, you can earn prizes for sampling local craft beverages

Most Viewed

  • Cotton seeks friendlies for town hall

    Is Tom Cotton working to pack his town hall Wednesday in Springdale with fans. So says one source.
  • NRA opposes campus carry bill as amended

    The NRA, which calls most shots on gun bills in Arkansas, now opposes the campus carry bill primarily because it adds an additional training requirement before anyone 25 and older can take a concealed weapon on a public college campus.
  • House committee approves vote suppression amendment

    A House committee today talked about stripping colleges and the Highway Department of power and tightening procedures on constitutional amendments but in the end voted as Chairman Bob Ballinger orchestrated and expected — to put a Voter ID amendment on the 2018 ballot.
  • Prosecutor Cody Hiland says analysis indicates Damascus is a speed trap

    Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland has announced completion of a State Police analysis of Damascus police speed limit enforcement and concluded that statistics indicate tickets are written in excess of limits in law that define speed traps.
  • City board squelches Little Rock school talk

    A letter from Little Rock school activist Dr. Anika Whitfield happens to underscore a point I made earlier today — and in a column to be published this week. It lays some of the school district's problems on benign neglect, and sometimes malice, of the Little Rock City Board.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation