Damien Echols' statement on plea deal | Arkansas Blog

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: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

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

  • Faulkner County investigating sexual harassment complaint

    At the urging of the Faulkner County Quorum Court, Prosecuting Attorney Cody HIland will undertake what he calls a civil investigation of complaints of sexual harassment against Shelia Bellott, who oversees four employees as director of the county's emergency management office.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • Frank Broyles at home following stroke

    Former Razorback football coach and athletic director Frank Broyles, 92, is reported recovering at his Fayetteville home following a stroke.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • Scientist blows whistle on Trump war on science

    To borrow an apt cliche, a Washington Post op-ed by an Interior Department scientist with a whistleblower complaint is a just a tip of the iceberg of Trump administration destruction of important parts of government.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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