Only the guilty want closure in West Memphis Three case 

Scott Ellington, the prosecuting attorney for Arkansas's Second Judicial District, said in a recent interview that, "There are no ongoing investigations by governmental investigative authorities" concerning the West Memphis Three case.

Ellington may be the only person on the planet who believes there is "closure" in my case.

I have heard the word closure more than once. The first time was when I was told that the Arkansas attorney general suggested that the State Supreme Court justices reject the appeal of my death penalty, because "we all need closure on the West Memphis Three case." It was easy for him to seek closure, of course; he was not sitting in solitary confinement on death row for a crime he did not commit.  Thankfully, the Supreme Court did not listen and ruled unanimously to review our wrongful convictions.

No one wants closure more than me, Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley and the families of the murdered children. I for one am tired of reliving the horror of my arrest, wrongful conviction and the 18 long years, dying every day in an isolated cell, waiting to be executed. And while the Alford plea almost three years ago enabled us to be released, we neither were exonerated nor were the real killer(s) brought to justice. We continue to fight for both.

Now with the opening of "Devil's Knot," the latest film on this tragedy, some are once again calling for closure. After all, aren't four documentaries, a feature film, books, numerous network television features, hundreds of newspaper and magazine stories, blogs, bloggers, websites and God knows how many tweets on the murders of the three boys, enough? I guess not. People are still compelled by this story and want answers to the many lingering questions surrounding the case. True closure won't happen until those questions are answered.

Unfortunately, there has been little cooperation from the authorities. We have tried through the U.S. federal court in Washington, D.C., to obtain case files and records of forensic testing performed by the FBI at the request of the West Memphis Police Department during the initial investigation of this case. Incredibly, the FBI says that it cannot find those records. There is nothing, however, to prevent the state of Arkansas from making public its own records of correspondence with — and testing results from — the FBI's investigation into the murders. Indeed, in order to really bring closure to the West Memphis Three case and to help provide answers to the many questions about this case, including who really killed the three boys that dreadful day 21 years ago, the State of Arkansas should simply open up all of its investigative and forensic files on this case. The sunlight of public disclosure and inspection of those files will help to shine a light on the truth here.

Finally, along with the state of Arkansas opening up its investigative files, DA Scott Ellington should keep his promise to review new evidence given to him by my defense team in a meaningful manner, and he should avoid giving comfort to the real killer and discouraging new witnesses from coming forward by proclaiming that the case is "closed."

Damien Echols was released from death row in Arkansas in August of 2011. He and his wife, Lorri Davis, live in New York City.

Speaking of West Memphis Three, Damien Echols

  • New Damien Echols and Lorri Davis book 'Yours For Eternity' out today

    June 17, 2014
    "There comes a point when you realize that you might not have a lot of time left, and there's a lot of work to be done." That's what Lorri Davis told Arkansas Times contributing editor Mara Leveritt in an interview back in 2004, her first-ever public address. At the time, the Arkansas Supreme Court had just rejected Davis' husband Damien Echols' most recent appeal and she felt the situation was dire. /more/
  • Dave Jauss' last lesson

    June 12, 2014
    A UALR creative writing icon steps down. /more/
  • Now available: Mara Leveritt's 'Dark Spell' on Jason Baldwin of the West Memphis Three

    June 3, 2014
    The second of Mara Leveritt's three books on the West Memphis Three case is now available. "Dark Spell" is the story of Jason Baldwin, 16 when charged with killing three children and now free thanks to a deal that left him officially convicted but proclaiming innocence. /more/
  • Film adaptation of Leveritt's 'Devil's Knot' premieres in Little Rock

    May 3, 2014
    Every seat full tonight at Little Rock's Ron Robinson Theater in the River Market for the premiere of "Devil's Knot," the new film based on the exhaustively researched 2002 book by Times contributing editor Mara Leveritt about the West Memphis Three case. The film focuses on the murders of Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore, and ends just after the 1994 convictions of Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin. Oscar Winners Colin Firth (as private investigator Ron Lax) and Reese Witherspoon (as Pam Hobbs) star. We'll have a full review in next week's issue and online. /more/
  • Mara Leveritt answers: Could the West Memphis Three case happen today?

    May 3, 2014
    We're kicking off a new series today called Answers, where we ask interesting folks a series of questions and post their answers in short videos. On a busy week, Mara Leveritt was gracious enough to be our first interview subject. She's, of course, the author of "Devil's Knot" and the forthcoming "Dark Spell." She's also likely had her byline in the pages of the Times longer than anyone else. Tonight, she'll celebrate the premiere of the film adaption of "Devil's Knot" at the Ron Robinson Theater. /more/
  • More »

Comments (188)

Showing 1-25 of 188

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-25 of 188

Add a comment

Latest in Guest Writer

  • Quiz for Dustin McDaniel

    In light of the state attorney general's recent, successful arguments against paying Gyronne Buckley the $460,000 that the Arkansas State Claims Commission said Buckley deserved because he'd spent more than 11 years in prison due to a conviction obtained by bad behavior on the part of state officials, we think an exercise parsing Dustin McDaniel's logic may help him think a bit straighter.
    • Jul 30, 2014
  • A hopeful view for Little Rock schools

    I have long appreciated the balanced and fair reporting of the Arkansas Times and Max Brantley regarding public education in general and the Little Rock School District in particular. My perspective is, however, quite different from that recently expressed in Brantley's June 12 column about the present and future of the LRSD.
    • Jun 19, 2014
  • Voting: a fundamental right in Arkansas

    Our Arkansas constitution guarantees that "no power, civil or military, shall ever interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage." In other words, voting is a fundamental right.
    • May 29, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

August

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  
  • Re: Enter the loan sharks

    • COMMON WEALTH LOAN FINANCE FIRM EMAIL-[commonwealthloanfirm@gmail.com] ADDRESS-Senator House,85 Queen Victoria Street,London EC4V 4HA, UNITED KINGDOM…

    • on August 1, 2014
  • Re: Little Rock's nannies target clubbing

    • First of all I work late and when I get off I want to go…

    • on July 31, 2014
  • Re: Little Rock's nannies target clubbing

    • ya know, there are people who work all hours of the day and night. Round…

    • on July 31, 2014
 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation