Dark Spell: Surviving the Sentence

Dark Spell: Surviving the Sentence

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by Mara Leveritt
     
 

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For many who've heard of the West Memphis Three--especially through "Devil's Knot" and/or the feature film based on that book, the story of their trials ended when the court handed down their sentences. For the teenagers, though, that moment marked the start of yet another story, one more dangerous than the first.
Jason Baldwin was sixteen, the youngest of the… See more details below

Overview

For many who've heard of the West Memphis Three--especially through "Devil's Knot" and/or the feature film based on that book, the story of their trials ended when the court handed down their sentences. For the teenagers, though, that moment marked the start of yet another story, one more dangerous than the first.
Jason Baldwin was sixteen, the youngest of the three teenagers, when he heard himself sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. "Dark Spell" is the account of what it was like to be taken in handcuffs and shackles into Arkansas's adult prison system, where inmates and guards alike saw him as a Satanic child-killer. Many of those who sent him there did not expect him to survive. Prison officials shared the same, realistic fear. More than once, death hovered perilously near. But Jason survived. He survived, day by day and year by year, in one of the harshest environments on American soil. This would be a hard story to bear, save that it is brightened and transformed by Jason's insight and upbeat persona.
"Dark Spell" illuminates the many ways America's justice system, once having gone wrong, can fight to sustain that wrong. It celebrates the countless ordinary heroes who rose up, using art and new technology, to challenge trials they perceived as mockeries of justice. At its heart, "Dark Spell" walks readers into prison with an innocent teenager and reveals how he managed to forge a life of honor by not abandoning his personal integrity, demanding an education, and discovering the peace to be found in kicking Hacky Sack.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/24/2014
Investigative reporter Leveritt follows up her 2002 work about the West Memphis Three, Devil’s Knot, with the second in her Justice Knot Trilogy. This time she focuses on Jason Baldwin, one of the three young men accused of murdering three boys in Alabama in 1993. Leveritt uses interviews, public records, and Baldwin’s own recollections to recreate his life leading up to the arrest and trial as well as his extended stint in prison. It’s clear Leveritt believes that Baldwin was wrongfully accused, and she emphasizes the many irregularities in the trial and subsequent legal wranglings, while portraying Baldwin as an essentially decent person caught up in events far beyond his control. Between Baldwin’s first-hand experiences and Leveritt’s own pointed interpretation of the events, readers will be outraged by what seems to be a grievous failure of the justice system. Some of the material becomes repetitive, as Baldwin is transferred from one prison to another for nearly two decades. Meanwhile, support in the outside world grows to a fever pitch, leading to a reexamination of the evidence. A powerful look at how the wrong agenda can thoroughly undermine the justice system, this book is bound to be of interest to true-crime readers. (BookLife)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781499175752
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
05/31/2014
Pages:
314
Sales rank:
378,176
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

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