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01/25/2013

Part III: Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three

IMG_1576DALLAS, Texas - I have been sitting on this for well over a month at the request the publicist, but today I can finally share this 30-minute interview with Damien Echols and his wife Lorri Davis. Echols is one of the members of The West Memphis Three who was sent to jail for murder back in 1990s and was released a few years ago after evidence showed both he and his two friends accused of the crime were wrongly convicted.

Today, the documentary West of Memphis opens in theaters; click here for showtimes at the Angelika theaters. It was not nominated for an Academy Award, the only reason I can see is that there have been multiple films made about this subject.

This is a photo I had taken of myself with Echols and Davis.

Click here for the story of The West Memphis Three.

This is the Part III of the interview. 

Johnny-depp-damien-echols-book-discussion-08The Big Mac Blog: What makes you laugh?
Damien Echols: The dumbest crap. Things make me laugh all the time. Honey Boo Boo, but it was messed up. Johnny Depp is the one who showed me. You’re laughing but at the same time you say, 'Shut up! This isn’t funny. Why are you watching this?" 

The Big Mac Blog: How do you get this case re-opened and change this ending?
Damien Echols:
A lot of it this – getting the word out. The book. This movie. Please research this case. It’s letting Arkansas know we are not going anywhere and you should do what you did 20 years ago.

The Big Mac Blog: What is it like to live on Death Row?
Damien Echols: 
The way we looked it was the way they teach race car drivers is not to look at the wall. You are going to move in the direction you are focused on. Look at the wall and sooner or later you are going to hit the wall. That’s the way we looked at that. We focused on what we can do – something to make us laugh and pull ourselves together.

The Big Mac Blog: How do you pay the bills?
Damien Echols:
This book and I’m getting ready to do an art show. I’m working on another book. I want to do things on stuff that has happened since I have been out.

The Big Mac Blog: What else do you want to do on your bucket list?
Damien Echols: I have done everything I wanted to do in prison, so I am trying to come up with a new list. Most of it is things that I don’t even know yet. 

The Big Mac Blog: Aspirations for a child?
Damien Echols: I have a 19 year old son. I’ve seen him once since I’ve been out. We don’t know each other. I’ve missed his entire childhood. We are trying but he is not a child any more. In the end it will probably be more like friends than parents. 

West_memphis_three_new_york_a_lThe Big Mac Blog: Do you talk to Jason Baldwin or Jessie Misskelley (the other 2 members of the West Memphis 3) any more?
Damien Echols: I don’t have a relationship at all with Jessie and from what I have heard he doesn’t have a relationship with anybody. He closed himself in his house and closed himself off. He had an IQ of 68 and then you dump all of this on him and he’s never going to have anything close to a real life. They say he is terrified they are going to find a reason to put him back in prison.
Jason, we pass messages back and forth. I’ll text all day but I hate talking on the phone. We text once a week. He’s in college now in Seattle and eventually wants to go to law school. 

The Big Mac Blog: How do you want people to eventually look  at you both?
Lorri Davis:
For them to be inspired. There is something to believing in something, whether it’s relationship, religion, what you do – just do it. To the fullest extent. It’s not cliché. We did it. Damien and I didn’t live this horrible, sad life. We had a great deal of fun. We did. 

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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Comments

Smiley Nance

When I read the story in the Star Telegram, in your interview it stated "Jason Misskelly" and "Jessie Baldwin". Was confusing. I see that it is correct on this weblog.

AD

More fluff. The 3 were not released due to evidence showing a wrongful conviction -- they were released because the defense approached the prosecution and offered up an Alford plea.

They had a chance to prove their innocence and present their evidence at an evidentiary hearing in Dec 2011. Instead they chose to plead guilty in Aug 2011. Why do this, unless they were less than confident in that evidence.

Bottom line: they were, are and will remain convicted child murderers. Stop treating these scumbags like rockstars.

A Pruitt

Whomever wrote that last comment...you must not know the facts. These three are not killers, they weren't even there. The only evidence leading to the real perpetrator was a hair that matched Stevie Branch's step dad, Terrie Hobit. He and his friend did it.

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