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In this riveting, explosive classic of prison literature, 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.
The true story of the wrongful conviction of the infamous West Memphis Three, Life After Death is a powerful and unflinching first-person account of life on death row. In 1993 three teenagers, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley Jr, were arrested and charged with the murders of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The ensuing trial was rife with inconsistencies, false testimony and superstition. Echols was accused of, among other things, practising witchcraft and satanic rituals -- a result of the 'satanic panic' prevalent in the media at the time. Baldwin and Miskelley were sentenced to life in prison. Echols, deemed the ringleader, was sentenced to death. He was eighteen years old. In a shocking reversal of events, all three were suddenly released in August 2011. This is Damien Echols' story in full: from abuses by prison guards and wardens, to descriptions of inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of patience, spirituality, and perseverance that kept him alive and sane for nearly two decades. Echols also writes about his complicated and painful childhood. Like Dead Man Walking, Life After Death is destined to be a classic West of Memphis, a documentary produced by Peter Jackson (director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Fran Walsh, details the campaign to have their sentences overturned The West Memphis Three are also the subject of Paradise Lost, a three-part documentary series produced by HBO.
From one of the greatest legal injustices of our time sprang one of the most unlikely--and unforgettable--love stories. Damien Echols was just eighteen years old when he was condemned to death for a crime he didn't commit. His case--that of the infamous "West Memphis Three"--gained notoriety after a documentary, Paradise Lost, exposed the biased nature of the trial and Echols as the precocious, charming--and tragic--figure at its center. Lorri Davis was a landscape architect living in New York City when she surreptitiously wandered into a showing of the film, and she left forever changed. She, too, was from the South, accustomed to being the outsider in a small town. She saw much of herself in Echols, understood how he could easily have been swept up in a witch hunt, and she couldn't get him out of her head. So she wrote him a letter--and when it arrived in Echols's penitentiary cell in April 1996, hers were some of the first kind words of support he heard. Over the course of a remarkable sixteen-year correspondence, Echols and Davis grew to know each other, fall in love, and marry--all without ever being able to touch each other freely or be alone together. In Yours for Eternity, their extraordinary letters provide a singular portrait of their marriage, from the first, heady days of discovery to the final, painful months before Echols's release. Through postscripts and footnotes, Echols and Davis describe how they overcame the enormous challenges and heartbreaks throughout the years--personal setbacks, legal complications, and much more. Yours for Eternity reveals a relationship unfolding in the most exceptional of circumstances. Powerful and incredibly intimate, it is a modern-day love story for the ages.