We got an advance copy of Damien Echols' new book "Life After Death" (due Sep. 18 from Blue Rider Press) the other day, and probably shouldn't have read the ending first. That's because at the end of the book Echols vigorously and unceremoniously throws fellow WM3'er Jason Baldwin under the wheels of the Echols Express. Baldwin, you'll remember, held out briefly on accepting the Alford Plea, in which the three pled guilty to murder while maintaining their innocence, because it wouldn't fully exonerate the WM3. An Aug. 17 story in the New York Times on the one-year anniversary of the men's release said that Baldwin and Echols aren't speaking because of the way Baldwin — who has said he agreed to the plea to save Echols' life — is portrayed in Echols' book. If so, it's probably got a lot to do with passages like this:
"Over the years, Jason had grown to love prison," Echols writes. "His circumstances were not the same as mine. He had a job, he had befriended the guards and was actually looking forward to the next year in prison school."
Baldwin's lawyer Blake Hendrix, who Echols says in the book "[wasn't] nearly good enough" to free Baldwin if the case had been retried, called the Echols' statements "grotesque."
Another passage: "[Baldwin] also realized he was going to be left behind if he didn't come along with us on the deal. My own case had garnered much of the WM3 publicity, and if we managed to be freed without him, there would be very little interest left in his case."
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