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2012-02-06

West Memphis 3: Freed Death Row Prisoner Makes Film about 18-Year Battle to Prove His Innocence

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We turn now to the case of the West Memphis Three, the young men in West Memphis, Arkansas, who were imprisoned for the 1993 slayings of three eight-year-old boys after an investigation largely fueled by unsubstantiated rumors of a Satanic ritual. The new documentary, "West of Memphis," was co-produced by none other than one of the convicted youths at the heart of the story, Damien Echols. Echols and his two co-defendants were released last August after spending nearly two decades in prison, all the while proclaiming their innocence. Recent DNA tests did not link the men to the scene and showed the presence of others who have never been identified. The film alleges Terry Hobbs, stepfather of one of the victims, may have been responsible for the murders. And the new documentary suggests the three young boys were never mutilated, but preyed on post-mortem by snapping turtles commonly found in the Arkansas-Tennessee border town. Democracy Now! recently spoke with Echols in a rare extended interview at the Sundance Film Festival. "I didn’t have any faith in the justice system, because I had seen how corrupt it was, all the way to the core, from the inside. And that completely took away any faith I had in the system whatsoever," Echols said. “What I did have faith in was all the people that came to our aid, you know, the supporters and the investigators and everybody that rallied around us. That’s what I had faith in, and that’s why I believed I would eventually get out." We also spoke to Echols’s wife, Lorri Davis, and the film’s director, Amy Berg. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the West Memphis Three. A new film looking at the case of the three young men in West Memphis, Arkansas, who were imprisoned for the 1993 slayings of three eight-year-old boys after an investigation largely fueled by unsubstantiated rumors of a Satanic ritual, the documentary called West of Memphis was co-produced by none other than one of the young—the convicted youths at the heart of the story, Damien Echols.

Echols was released last August after spending nearly two decades in prison, all the while proclaiming his innocence. He and his co-defendants, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr., accepted a bargain, known as an "Alford plea," in which they could continue to maintain their innocence but plead guilty in exchange for an 18-year sentence and credit for time served. Prosecutors declared it a closed case after the hastily called court hearing in Jonesboro, Arkansas. At the time, two of the men had been sentenced to life. Echols was on death row.

The West Memphis Three were teenagers back in '94 when they were convicted for the murders of eight-year-old Cub Scouts Steven Branch, Christopher Byers and James Michael Moore. At the time, police called the murders "Satanic" because the children's naked bodies had been bound and apparently mutilated. However, recent DNA tests did not link the young men to the scene and showed the presence of others who have never been identified. And the new documentary, West of Memphis, suggests the three young boys were never mutilated, but preyed on post-mortem by snapping turtles commonly found in the Arkansas-Tennessee border town.

Over the years, the West Memphis Three case became a cause célèbre, with critics arguing the men were unjustly targeted. Among those who championed their cause were celebrities like Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines. Award-winning director Joe Berlinger first sparked an international movement to "Free the West Memphis Three" through his documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills. The story continues to capture filmmakers’ attention years after. Now Oscar-winner Colin Firth and actress Reese Witherspoon have announced they will star in a movie called the Devil’s Knot, the first narrative feature concerning the complicated yet fascinating subject of the West Memphis Three.

Well, Democracy Now! recently got a chance to sit down with Damien Echols to talk about the documentary he co-produced, West of Memphis, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, the largest independent film showcase in the country. I also spoke with Damien’s wife, Lorri Davis, and the film director, Amy Berg. I began by asking Damien Echols how it felt to be free after nearly 18 years in prison.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Whenever I first got out, I was in a state of extreme shock and trauma. You know, you would think you would just be happy. But it’s really psychologically devastating, just because I had been in prison for over 18 years. I had been in solitary confinement for almost 10 years. And then, really, all at once, I was just thrown out into the world again. And it shakes you. So, for me, the past five months has just been a process of slowly coming out of that state of shock and sort of trying to just adapt and adjust to life as normal people live it.

AMY GOODMAN: You were on death row for how many years?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: I was on death row for 17 years. I sat in jail for a year waiting to go to trial. So, 18 years altogether.

AMY GOODMAN: Death row.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Were you preparing to die?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: I don’t think so. I think some part of me always had faith that this would work out. I didn’t have any faith in the justice system, because I had seen how corrupt it was, all the way to the core, from the inside. And that completely took away any faith I had in the system whatsoever. What I did have faith in was all the people that came to our aid, you know, the supporters and the investigators and everybody that rallied around us. That’s what I had faith in, and that’s why I believed I would eventually get out.

AMY GOODMAN: You certainly didn’t have that at the beginning, when you were first picked up.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about what was going through your mind in those days?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: I was very young and very naive. I didn’t have any experience with the system. I didn’t understand how corrupt it was. And in my mind at the time, you know, whenever we were going through the trial and everything else, I thought it’s physically impossible for them to prove you’ve done something you haven’t done, therefore I don’t really have anything to worry about. And that’s sort of the mind frame that I had at that time.

AMY GOODMAN: Amy Berg, in your film West of Memphis, you present a very convincing picture at the beginning that, well, these three young men were probably guilty, and you just lay it out there as everyone saw it in the town. And you have this moment where you show this smile, almost sneer, of Damien. Talk about that. And I wanted Damien to also then talk about that, when he sees that today.

AMY BERG: Well, we felt it’s a very challenging story to tell. And it’s two-and-a-half hours already, and we had—we had over 800 hours of footage. I mean, this was a—is a very intense investigation that was going on for two years on the ground. So, the idea that we needed to take the audience through how these guys were convicted was basically put into place. And so, that’s why the first act is being told like that. Now, of course, it was—Damien, obviously, is a producer on the film, and he’s had tremendous input in the film, and I wasn’t sure how he would feel about that. So, he can tell you how he—

DAMIEN ECHOLS: I think it was really, really good, just because it sort of spoke to the mind frame, and it sort of referenced how everything was in ’93 at the time of the trials.

AMY GOODMAN: You were how old?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: I was 18, or 19 when the trial started.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you remember this moment?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Yes, I do. And the reason I thought it was so perfect is because, at that moment, all I’m actually doing is smiling at my family, who’s standing outside the car. But the media, at the time, would take something like that and twist it and manipulate it and try to make it look like something else. And I think the way Amy has it in the film, it shows exactly how they were doing it at the time.

AMY GOODMAN: Lorri, when did you first make contact with Damien?

LORRI DAVIS: In 1996, after I saw Paradise Lost at MoMA New Directors/New Films series.

AMY GOODMAN: And where were you?

LORRI DAVIS: I was living in New York at the time.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, what did you do?

LORRI DAVIS: Well, you know, I was strangely affected by the film. I mean, I grew up in the South, so, I mean, I understood the mindset of the people, but I also understood the mindset of Damien, because I grew up that kind of kid, too, sort of strident and not—I wasn’t visibly a standout in the community, but kind of always interested in other things. And so, I felt compelled to help him in some way, and I didn’t know what to do. You know, I mean, this isn’t something—I had never had any experience in anything like this, so the only thing I could think to do was write to him and see what I could do to help. And there wasn’t that much information available about the case at the time, because the internet was fledgling, and, you know, case files, all of that was in Arkansas. And even once I got to Arkansas, it was hard to find that information, even in 1998, because you had to go to the courtroom and all that. So, we started—I started—we started a correspondence.

AMY GOODMAN: Were you getting many letters at the time, Damien?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Quite a few, just because of the release of the initial documentaries and news coverage and stuff like that. So I was getting quite a few at the time, but from the very first one I got from Lorri, or the first one I received from Lorri, I knew immediately that she was completely and absolutely unlike anyone else that I had ever known in my life. And, I mean, from that very first moment, all I wanted was more.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, Lorri, when did you move south?

LORRI DAVIS: Two years later, in 1998.

AMY GOODMAN: When did you first meet?

LORRI DAVIS: We met in August. In person, we met. I would travel back and forth from New York. So I met him in August of 1996.

AMY GOODMAN: And talk about the beginning of the investigation you were attempting to do, very much on your own.

LORRI DAVIS: Yeah. Well, we were—when I got to Arkansas, nothing was happening in the case. And he had a pro bono attorney, who was not really that hands-on, not really putting that much into the case at the time. And so—and I was trying to catch up on everything and learn what had happened. And then we were in the throes of the Rule 37 hearings, which that—you know, you’re trying to prove ineffective counsel. So, I had no idea what I was doing, what goes into an ineffective counsel plea. It didn’t seem, at that time—and I don’t mean disrespect, but it just seemed to me that no one—none of the attorneys who were working on the case knew what was to go into an ineffective, you know, counsel plea. So we spent eight years, almost, I think, working on that, back and forth, back and forth, because the state was stalling. But I really was trying—I was playing catch-up so much, and we didn’t have any money.

And so, it became this—and I’m not saying I was a one-woman show, because there were other people out in California, WM3.org, who were, you know, helping me raise funds. But at that time, there really weren’t that many people around who I could call upon for help. But suddenly in, I’d say, 1999, the documentary was being viewed by different people. And so, I was contacted by, you know, Eddie Vedder and Johnny Depp and people who were willing to come on board to help at least with funding. But as I really did learn, and I was told early on, funding is not going to be your problem. And it wasn’t. We would get the funding. It was getting the expertise and getting the drive and getting structure and building a legal team. And that didn’t happen until Fran and Pete came on board.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain who Fran and Pete are.

LORRI DAVIS: I’m sorry. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh contacted me in 2005. And that—I mean, you think about that. From 1999, when—or 1998 to 2005, and we were just floundering.

AMY GOODMAN: We’ll continue the interview with Lorri Davis, who married Damien Echols in jail. He spent close to half his life on death row. They are producers of a new film called West of Memphis. We’ll also continue with director Amy Berg. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We continue my conversation about the West Memphis Three with Damien Echols, who was one of the young men convicted and later released in the murder of three young boys. He spent close to half his life on death row. I also spoke with Damien’s wife, Lorri Davis—they married in jail—and film director Amy Berg. I asked Amy Berg about the new evidence she and her crew have discovered.

AMY GOODMAN: Amy Berg, the new information that came out about the way these three little boys were killed—it had always been painted as some kind of Satanic ritual, where they were carved up, and particularly their genitals cut—talk about what was found out.

AMY BERG: Well, when we—OK, Fran and Peter brought—one of the first things they did when they came on was they paid for all of these amazing forensics experts to take a look at the autopsies and the photos and the reports. And suddenly, there was this theme that these—all these wounds were actually post-mortem. They did not happen before death, as the state painted this Satanic theory. So you almost have to take the whole case and throw it out at that point, because there was just nothing to substantiate the claims. So what we did is we discovered that there were—Lorri and I actually went to West Memphis, and we talked to people about the snapping turtles that existed in the bayous.

AMY GOODMAN: Snapping turtles.

AMY BERG: Huge snapping turtles. We’re talking about like 110-pound beasts. They’re like prehistoric beasts. And they—we talked to turtle experts, breeders. And apparently, snapping turtles go to corpses. Whenever there’s a corpse, then they will—

AMY GOODMAN: Because they were found—

AMY BERG: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —in a ditch, in a creek.

AMY BERG: Yes, they were found in the ditch. So, we actually did an experiment, which is in our film, where we—the closest thing to human flesh is a pig’s carcass. So we actually got a pig and had a—Humane Society had to kill the pig, and we did an experiment with the pig and the turtles. And it’s an amazing scene in the film, I think. But it shows that the wounds—I mean, they’re identical. These were all scratch marks. They were claw marks. And the boys did not die from the wounds. The boys died from blunt force trauma to the head, and they drowned in the water. So, it changes the whole scope of the case, you know?

AMY GOODMAN: Damien, you’re inside, behind bars, as this is all unfolding. What did you think when you heard this?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: I tried, really, to stay out of the case as much as I possibly could while I was in prison, because I was just literally trying to survive from day to day. You know, when it came to the case and all the details and all the investigation and everything else that was going on, literally, Lorri handled every single part of it, because if I had to sit in that cell and think about this case all the time, it would have turned me into an extremely angry and bitter person. So, while Lorri was handling all that, I was in there just trying to keep my sanity.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, you were in the hole, for how long? In solitary confinement.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Well, they moved me to a super-maximum security prison somewhere between eight and 10 years before I got out. So I was in there for a very, very long time. I didn’t have any fresh air, any sunlight. My health was rapidly declining, I was losing my eyesight. It was getting really, really bad. You know, there were times when I didn’t think I was going to live to ever see outside those prison walls, not because I was going to be executed, but because my health was just deteriorating so rapidly that I didn’t think I was going to make it.

AMY GOODMAN: How often did you get to talk to anyone?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: I got to see Lorri once a week. We talked on the phone every day. Other than that, I had almost no contact with people at all, other than, you know, prison guards, things like that.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you keep your sanity?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: A lot of it was—you have to establish some sort of routine for yourself. You know, I did anywhere from five to seven hours of meditation a day. I did an extreme amount of reading, studying. I focused a lot on artwork, you know, different forms of art, whether it was painting or collage or writing, whatever it was. You know, I had to find things to keep myself involved in.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you have any communication with the other young men who were convicted with you of these three boys’ murders?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: The state did everything they could to prevent any sort of communication at all. Most of the time, we were even at completely separate prisons.

AMY GOODMAN: All three boys found in the ditch were tied, their hands and legs were tied to each other.

LORRI DAVIS: Yeah, hogtied, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: They were hogtied by shoelaces.

LORRI DAVIS: Mm-hmm.

AMY GOODMAN: And you found the—in the investigation, a hair of Terry Hobbs, the stepfather.

LORRI DAVIS: Right.

AMY BERG: Of Stevie.

AMY GOODMAN: Of Stevie.

LORRI DAVIS: Stevie, Stevie.

AMY BERG: Yeah, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Damien, you’re starting to hear about this. You hear about Terry Hobbs. What were you thinking about the children and their parents through this period and then hearing about the question of one of the stepfathers? I mean, it’s not as if another stepfather hadn’t been raised before and questioned: John Mark Byers. In Paradise Lost, there was a serious question about him. Were you concerned that, just as the three of you had been sent to jail with these manufactured stories, that perhaps these men were also having manufactured stories?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: I guess there may have been some element of that, you know, just because of what I had been through and knowing how traumatic that was and not wanting to do the same thing to anybody else. But the difference in this case was there was actual physical forensic evidence pointing to this person, which there never was to me. And then we started finding out other things like the fact that the police had never even interrogated this guy up to that point—you know, he had been completely invisible behind the scenes—that there were witnesses that had seen this guy with the children like an hour before they were murdered. And when I started hearing all that, it was just being completely and absolutely dumbfounded. You know, you can’t even believe what you’re hearing.

AMY GOODMAN: Amy Berg, you have released new evidence. Explain who you have given it to and what you expect to happen now.

AMY BERG: OK. So we—just as we were finishing our post-production, we were told about a call that came in on the tip line. Terry Hobbs has a brother named Michael Hobbs that lives in Mountain Home, Arkansas. And he—his son has apparently been speaking to numerous, numerous—they’re young men now—over the years, his friends, about how his uncle killed three boys. And suddenly, the guys get out of prison. There is this report on 48 Hours where they’re encouraging people to call the tip line. And this call comes in on the tip line. And here are three witnesses that say that they know about Terry Hobbs murdering the three kids. Unbelievable.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to August of 2011 to a plea that you made, called the Alford plea, that most people in this country had never heard of. Explain what it is that you agreed to, Damien Echols.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: There was—I mean, there are a lot of intricate details to it, but what it basically comes down to is, you have to accept the deal the state is offering you. You basically plead guilty to this deal, but at the same time, you get to maintain your innocence. And a lot of it was for the state to save face. You know, we had to even sign agreements. Their first question was, would we sign agreements saying we wouldn’t sue the state of Arkansas? That was their main question that they wanted answered before they would let us out. So we had to sign that before we could even walk out of the prison.

AMY GOODMAN: You were held for more than 18 years on death row.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Most of that time.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: And you were agreeing not to sue the state, though you were maintaining your innocence?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Well, what it all came down to for me was, we knew we would win this eventually, we would be exonerated eventually. The state knew that. But they presented this deal to us, basically saying, "You can sign this paperwork, and you can walk out of prison this week. You can go home before this week is out. Or, you can refuse this deal, and yeah, you’ll eventually win, but we’ll drag this out for another five, 10 years, however long it takes." You know, Scott Ellington also says in the movie, the prosecutor, that one of the considerations they had in offering—in agreeing to this deal was that the three of us together could have effectively sued the state for $60 million. So you take that in consideration with the fact that I also knew how corrupt and how desperate they were, and I knew they could have had me stabbed to death in that prison any day of the week for $50. So, I knew I would never live to see that exoneration.

AMY GOODMAN: Lorri, you were married at this time to Damien. When did you both get married?

LORRI DAVIS: In 1999.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you had been married for over a decade.

LORRI DAVIS: Mm-hmm.

AMY GOODMAN: What were your thoughts when this was presented?

LORRI DAVIS: I mean, I was preparing for a hearing in December. So, it was kind of one of the darkest. I mean, even though every—all of this was going on, and it was—there were some tremendous—there was—we were making tremendous strides towards, you know, this hearing, it was really one of the darkest times for Damien and me, because they kept pushing the hearing off. And so, the minute when I got the call from Steve Braga, it was on a Saturday morning, I—

AMY GOODMAN: Steve Braga, your lawyer?

LORRI DAVIS: Yeah, Damien’s lawyer. I mean, I was thrilled, but it wasn’t very long after that call came in that I just went into shock. And so, I remained there for about the next probably three months. But that week or nine days before he was released was all about this surreal time that both of us were living through and all of us were living through, because we couldn’t tell anybody, couldn’t tell a soul. So we were living in this little insular world.

AMY GOODMAN: When you stepped outside the courtroom, Damien, what were your thoughts when you were free?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: I don’t think I was thinking at that point. You know, it was such a shock, that—you know, most people will never, ever have anything in their frame of reference to compare an experience like that to. So there’s almost no way that I could ever articulate it to the average person. You know, there aren’t words even big enough for something like that.

AMY GOODMAN: And your thoughts on the prison system that you have spent half of your life in?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Once again, there’s almost no words, just because of how horrendous it is. You know, people think they have an idea of what the prison system is like. But they don’t. They have no idea.

AMY GOODMAN: Lorri, the books you sent Damien in jail?

LORRI DAVIS: Yeah, well, so many of them. We have them all in storage right now in Arkansas, trying to figure out what to do with them, thousands of books. And then he received books from people from around the world, too. So—but we read the same books. And he eventually got tired of reading my books. But that was a good—you know, we had to find ways to connect, because we didn’t have, you know, the physical contact. So books were a big part of that.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Peter and Fran would try to keep me at least moderately educated about what was going on in the world, so they would send me, you know, like tons of magazine subscriptions, books, things like that, just to try to keep—if I couldn’t, you know, for example, see movies that were coming out, at least I would be able to read about them. Or whatever it was in pop culture that was going on. And probably 95 to 98 percent of the magazines that they would send me were barred from the prison—you know, everything from Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, all these different magazines—because the prison said they promote homosexuality, therefore they were all barred from the prison.

AMY GOODMAN: What were you allowed to read? What subscriptions got through?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly.

AMY BERG: And how does the—how does the censorship work at the prison? Remember we talked about the group that—

LORRI DAVIS: Oh, right.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: It was a committee comprised of the warden, the prison chaplain and a couple of the guards, that they had veto power over anything coming into the prison. And that’s the two things that they said about everything. Either it promotes homosexuality or it—

LORRI DAVIS: Was Satanic.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: And Satanic, yeah. People would send me things. You know, for example, somebody sent me a book. I can’t even remember what it was about, but I just remember it had Hebrew writing in it. They said that’s Satanic, that’s witchcraft. I can’t receive a book that has Hebrew in it.

AMY GOODMAN: What has surprised you most about being free? And do you feel free?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: I do. I do feel free. But there are still a lot of things that are really overwhelming to me and things that I’m just having to slowly learn, you know, a lot of things about technology. You know, whenever I went in, there was no such thing as the internet, as far as I knew. I had never seen it. The last time I had seen a computer was 1986, and it was basically a giant glorified typewriter for really rich people. You know, that’s basically all it was good for. There were cell phones, but once again, they were things that only really wealthy people had, and they were these giant contraptions that you didn’t see out on the street anywhere, that was mostly something you saw in movies. So, you know, it really is stepping into a complete new world for me.

AMY GOODMAN: Meeting members of the families of the three eight-year-old boys who were killed—talk about who you’ve gotten to meet and your thoughts.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: I’ve met John Mark Byers and his wife. I’ve met Pam Hobbs and her sister. And we’ve all, actually, sat together a couple nights ago and had dinner for the first time. And it was actually a pretty enjoyable experience. You know, it was just—it’s almost, I guess, like people who have been through a war together, and you sort of have this experience that you can all relate to.

AMY GOODMAN: Are Michael Moore’s parents speaking?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: No, I haven’t spoken to them at all. They’ve—and the way I’ve always looked at it is, I didn’t initially approach either the Byers family or the Hobbs family. It was after they came to me, because I think it’s kind of disrespectful to, you know, sort of pry into their lives, unless they want you to.

AMY GOODMAN: And Pam Hobbs’ thoughts today, Pam, the ex-wife of Terry Hobbs, who is now, according to, well, the film, West of Memphis, and we’ll see if according to the prosecution, the prime suspect at this point?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Pam Hobbs is extremely supportive now, and she’s pretty vocal about her support, too. And we’re very thankful for it.

AMY GOODMAN: To people who are behind bars in this country who are listening to this broadcast right now, what would you like to share with them, Damien Echols, after 18 years in prison, 17 of those years on death row?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Just not to give up. You know, there was a line in the movie. I can’t—well, I think it was Fran that said it. It was in one of her emails. She was talking about how you have to just keep hammering away, because eventually, if you do it long enough and hard enough, you can break anything. And even when it doesn’t seem like it, even when it doesn’t seem like you’re making any progress at all, you just have to keep hammering away.

AMY GOODMAN: Damien and Lorri, what are your life plans now?

LORRI DAVIS: You know, Damien has a—he’s got a book coming out in September. And some projects, art projects, coming up I’d love to get back into. I used to be a landscape architect, so I’d love to actually get back into something creative in my life. It’d be nice. But, you know, we’re just up for anything. It’s really just a nice time to just sort of be together, so it’s great.

AMY GOODMAN: Can the Alford plea be vacated? Is it possible that it is not the final word?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: That’s our hope. I mean, that’s why we’re sitting here right now. That’s the whole purpose of this film, is for us—

AMY GOODMAN: Does it matter to you? You’re free.

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Yes, it does, because this is only—it’s not a complete sense of closure. It’s only a half sense of closure. You know, this isn’t a victory lap for us. We won’t have a complete sense of closure until we’ve been completely and absolutely exonerated, the right people are in jail, and the corruption has been exposed.

LORRI DAVIS: And since Damien, Jason and Jessie took the Alford plea, they were left without any compensation after 18 years in prison. So we’ve set up a fund to help them, and a website to go to is freewestmemphis3.org. And you can—if people want to help with the fund, that’s great. And also, if they want to learn more about the case and what they can do to help exonerate these three men, it would be great. So thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: And your book?

DAMIEN ECHOLS: Comes out in September. It’s going to be published by Penguin. And it’s—there’s a lot about the case. There are a lot of journals that I kept while I was in prison. That was one of the ways that I would maintain my sanity, is by journaling almost constantly. So there are a lot of those journals. There’s a lot of straightforward narrative that’s just my life story, you know, from as far back as I can remember up until now.

AMY GOODMAN: Damien Echols, Lorri Davis, Amy Berg, thanks so much for being with us. As you heard, Damien Echols has a book coming out. And Amy Berg’s film is called West of Memphis, which is also Damien and Lorri’s film, as they’re the producers, as well. Thank you so much.

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