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A ghoulish staple of Death Row coverage is last-meal requests of condemned prisoners. We had something of a reverse image of that cliche last week with the surprise release of the West Memphis Three, including Death Row inmate Damien Echols. He had faced execution for the 1993 slaying of three West Memphis children.

On Death Row Thursday morning, he was at a party on the rooftop of the Madison Hotel in Memphis less than 36 hours later, following the surprise plea bargain that released him. By then, he'd had his first free world meal — a Kobe beef burger with red onion marmalade, shoestring potatoes and lots of ketchup. He told Capi Peck, a Little Rock restaurateur and leader of the Arkansas Take Action group that worked to free the three, that it was the best meal he'd ever eaten. Peck also reported that breakfast Saturday morning in Memphis included two items Echols had never eaten before — a bagel and fresh pineapple.

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  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

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Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

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