Life after Deathby Damien Echols
In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.—who have come to be known as the West Memphis Three—were arrested for the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas. The ensuing trial was marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison; while… See more details below
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In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.—who have come to be known as the West Memphis Three—were arrested for the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas. The ensuing trial was marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison; while eighteen-year-old Echols, deemed the “ringleader,” was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, the WM3 became known worldwide as a symbol of wrongful conviction and imprisonment, with thousands of supporters and many notable celebrities who called for a new trial. In a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011.
Now Echols shares his story in full—from abuse by prison guards and wardens, to portraits of fellow inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of patience, spirituality, and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while incarcerated for nearly two decades.
In these pages, Echols reveals himself a brilliant writer, infusing his narrative with tragedy and irony in equal measure: he describes the terrors he experienced every day and his outrage toward the American justice system, and offers a firsthand account of living on Death Row in heartbreaking, agonizing detail. Life After Death is destined to be a riveting, explosive classic of prison literature.
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- Penguin Group
- NOOK Book
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- 5 MB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Meet the Author
Damien Echols was born in 1974 and grew up in Mississippi, Tennessee, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. At age eighteen he was wrongfully convicted of murder, along with Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley, Jr. Echols received a death sentence and spent almost eighteen years on Death Row, until he, Baldwin, and Misskelley were released in 2011. The West Memphis Three have been the subject of Paradise Lost, a three-part documentary series produced by HBO, and West of Memphis, a documentary produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. Echols is the author of a self-published memoir, Almost Home. He and his wife, Lorri Davis, live in Massachusetts.
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Read an Excerpt
What you’re about to read is the result of many things I’ve written in the past twenty years, including parts of a short memoir self-published in 2005. I was sent to Death Row in 1994, and almost immediately I began keeping a journal. I didn’t date my writings, it was simply too painful to look at days, months, years slipping past, the reality outside just beyond my reach. Many of the journals I kept are gone, stolen or destroyed when guards raided the barracks—anything personal or creative is a prime target in a shakedown. I’ve included as much as I could of what remained, and I hope the subject or context of these entries is helpful in placing some of them. Others don’t need a timestamp. The conditions I have described in the prison system—the sadness, horror, and sheer absurdity that I’ve seen many human beings subjected to—will not have changed by the time you hold this book in your hands.
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