Today CNN published a new interview with Damien Echols, “ringleader” of the so-called West Memphis Three. Judging from what CNN has published, Echols sounds down in the dumps. Eighteen years on death row will do that to an innocent man.
In the early 1990s, Damien Echols and two of his friends were framed for the gruesome murder of three local children. An HBO documentary called Paradise Lost followed the Arkansas trial and conviction of the misfit teenagers, none of whom seemed guilty of anything more sinister than studying Wicca, reading Stephen King novels, and wearing lots of black.
Knowing how the next twenty years would unfold, it is particularly painful to watch Paradise Lost today. As Echols testifies in his own defense, he seems to expect that someone reasonable will step in any minute and stop the Kafkaesque charade.
But of course, no one did stop it, and in the ensuing decades, despite widespread publicity and celebrity support, no one has been able to get Echols and his friends out of prison. Tonight at 11 PM, CNN runs a new documentary about the case.
For those interested in knowing more or trying to help: Free The West Memphis Three.