LASIS Welcomes a Special Guest

By LASIS Staff

On March 21 Damien Echols surprised the LASIS crew with a visit.

It was a moving experience for us, as we’d watched the HBO “Paradise Lost” documentaries, and researched the case that landed Mr. Echols in death row.

Our subsequent pieces about the West Memphis 3 tragedy can be found here, here, and here.

Mr. Echols was convicted and locked up for a triple murder he didn’t commit.  He spent a total of 18 years in prison; he didn’t see sunlight for ten of them.  The lack of sunlight and prison conditions took a toll on his health and his eyes. That’s Mr. Echols in the dark glasses in the photo. (Click photo to enlarge).

We will never forget the afternoon we spent with Mr. Echols, whom we found to be remarkable in every way: intelligent, soulful, honest, gracious, and somehow, despite everything he’s experienced, suffused with a healthy dose of zen.

LASIS Editor Michelle Zierler received emails from many of the reporters marveling at how the day turned out.

Reporter Drew Carroll sent a note at 12:50 a.m. this morning that included this:

“Ironically, I caught ‘Shawshank Redemption‘ on AMC when I got home tonight. It’s always my stock response to “what’s your favorite movie?” I can’t help getting drawn in every time. I always find it moving and especially so today after meeting someone who experienced every atrocity in the film and more. I liked Morgan Freeman’s quote near the end, “some birds are too bright to be caged.” Damien is certainly one bright bird, and we’re all better people for having gotten to know him.”

Mr. Echols was released in August, 2011 on an Alford Plea. We plan on working to help him get a full exoneration.

His memoir “Damien Echols:  Life After Death”  is due out in September, and the film “West of Memphis“, produced by Mr. Echols, his wife Lorri Davis, and Peter Jackson will be released by Sony Picture Classics.

I know I speak for all of the LASIS reporters when I say that our lives are richer after yesterday’s meeting.



110 Responses

  1. The 3 were guilty says:

    There are no other legit suspects for the crimes but the WM3. All of them confessed and/or told others they committed the crimes. Misskelley was NOT questioned for 12 hours. This is a myth promoted by supporters. The legal evidence and timeline both show he was questioned for a much shorter period of time.

    Jessie Lloyd MISSKELLEY, Jr. v. STATE of Arkansas
    CR 94-848 S.W.2d Supreme Court of Arkansas
    Opinion delivered February 19, 1996
    On June 3, 1993, the crime having remained unsolved, Detective Sergeant Mike Allen sought the appellant out for questioning. The appellant was not considered a suspect, but it was thought he might have knowledge about Damien Echols, who was a suspect. Detective Allen located the appellant and brought him back to the station, arriving at approximately 10:00 a.m. Later in this opinion, we will address in detail the circumstances surrounding the appellant’s interrogation. For now, it is sufficient to say that the appellant was questioned off and on over a period from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. At 2:44 p.m. and again at approximately 5:00 p.m., he gave statements to police in which he confessed his involvement in the murders. Both statements were tape-recorded….The first tape recorded statement concluded at 3:18 p.m. At approximately 5:00 p.m., another statement was recorded.

  2. Charles Landers says:

    i can care less what you “NONS” have to say! all of you “NONS” act like that you know the truth which is nothin but bull@#%* fill in the blanks. there was times during Jessie’s questioning that hadn’t been put on record plus transcripts can easly be tampered w/. here is something that i would like for you to answer. from what you said what happened to Jessie from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30p.m. n again from 2:44p.m. n again approximalety 5:00p.m.? what happened to Jessie in between those time frames?

  3. The 3 were guilty says:

    The above post is just more insults from those supporting the WM3. There is NO evidence anything had or has been tampered with. The detectives were probably just asking him questions about the crime, which is their job.

    Here’s a questions for you.

    How many times does a person has to confess before we believe they committed the crime?

    Misskellley admitted to taking part in these terrible crimes three times on record and at least three additional times off the record. Perhaps it is time everyone should believe him.

  4. Charles Landers says:

    whatever, a person that really don’t know much bout the law can be easly talked into making a false testamony.

  5. The 3 were guilty says:

    Not necessarily true. And he confessed so many times in so many situations. The other WM3 also told others they committed the crimes.

    You still didn’t answer my question.

    How many times does a person have to confess before we believe they committed the crime?

  6. Charles Landers says:

    i’ve answered your question but i’m sorry that it’s not what your looking for. plus Jessie just gave the police dept answers that they wanted to hear cause he trusted ’em that if he gave ’em what they wanted to hear that he would be able to go home but instead they put him in jail.

  7. The 3 were guilty says:

    Wrong. Jessie had prior experience with the legal system. He had been arrested before. He repeatedly told several people he committed the crime. The more likely answer is that he felt guilty about what had happened and wanted to tell others.

    He had had numerous run-ins with law enforcement. At a pretrial suppression hearing on January 13, 1994, the prosecution documented four occasions when Misskelley had been read his Miranda rights: sometime in 1988, twice in late October 1992, and in March 1993….And his violent streak landed him in trouble with juvenile authorities on numerous occasions.
    History of Violence
    Jessie Misskelley liked to fight. In some cases, he liked to beat up people younger and weaker than himself.

  8. Charles Landers says:

    but still a person that likes to fight doesn’t make him a murderer, to tell you how a person can easly be persuaded by law inforcement or whatever. when i was 17 yrs old i had a teacher that tried to do stuff on me not once but twice well to make a long story short a lawyer told me that if i would go n press charges against this teacher that he could turn around n press charges against me how i don’t know cause i never done nothin to the teacher. so what i done being a 17 year old i dropped the charges cause i wasn’t in my right state of mind at the time. so yah a person that has a low i.q like Jessie Misskelley can be talked into doin stuff and believe in what police officers lawyers or whatever tells ’em.

  9. The 3 were guilty says:

    His IQ was not that low. The point is Misskellley admitted to taking part in these terrible crimes three times on record and at least three additional times off the record. He was not pressured any of those times. One time was in front of his own lawyer. This means he wanted to tell others what happened. His violent past was used by the other two defendants to get him to help commit the crime.

  10. Charles Landers says:

    dude, i’m getting sick n tired of you. preaching to you is like preaching to a choir. your going to continue telling that the WM3 is guilty n i’m going to continue being a supperter lets leave it at that n go on w/ our lives