Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in Arkansas , capital punishment , Damien Echols , death , free the three , Jason Baldwin , Jessie Misskelley , poetry , prison , rattle , robin hood hills , West Memphis 3 , West Memphis Three , WM3 , wm3.org | Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2011
After questionable police work, no solid evidence and a trial which painted the boys as Satanic, dangerous and cold-hearted killers, Damien was sentenced to death while Jason and Jessie received life in prison.
Now, after 18 years in prison, the West Memphis Three were released today after accepting an Alford plea. The deal, though not perfect, has granted the three, now in their 30's, a chance to live their lives as free men. Something they haven't been able to do since being incarcerated as teenagers.
When I learned about the WM3 around 1999-2000, I became immediately interested and supportive of their cause. It was very obvious to me that there was an incredible injustice which had fallen upon them. Facts had not sentenced these men to prison and death, but fear and ignorance. A need to point the finger at the invisible monster beneath the bed.
Their deal is not perfect and the three men still have to fight to clear their names of the crimes they've been convicted of, but now, as Damien said in a press conference today, they can do it outside of prison.
|Damien, Jason and Jessie after being released August 19th.|
Tonight, I find myself happy to see a day I never thought would come for these men. The Three are free. Sleep well tonight, Damien, Jason and Jessie.
|Damien Echols, a free man. WM3.org|
Here are a few examples of Damien's poetry:
used to tell us stories
about life in Vietnam.
He smoked hand-rolled cigarettes
that turned his fingers yellow
and sipped whiskey straight from the bottle
as he explained how they’d used chocolate bars
to lure the children to landmines.
He chuckled while describing
the way the “gooks” exploded,
but told us we were too young
to hear about the whorehouses
he’d visit on his days off.
felt but not seen
as you handed me love letters
written in dead languages.
made cold diamonds on my back
and your head was on my shoulder
with only one breath between us.
smelled like woodsmoke and chocolate,
your lust was raw and new,
as jagged and dangerous as rocks beneath the waves.
haunting places that no longer exist,
feeding on frost and hummingbirds
during long November nights.