Tuesday, July 13, 2010

If Innocence Matters

Damien Echols has been on deathrow since 1994 for a murder he did not commit.

Please go to the website below to read about Damien Echols' latest attempt to get a fair trial in Arkansas.


In her book, The Devil's Knot, a nonfiction investigative account, Mara Leveritt gives a meticulous account of the gruesome murder of three children, the botched investigation, and the wildly unsubstantiated charges against Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin.
Below is a review of Leveritt's book from Publishers Weekly.

Arkansas investigative journalist (Mara)Leveritt presents an affecting account of a controversial trial in the wake of three child murders in Arkansas. In May 1993, three eight-year-old boys were found mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, a small and tattered Arkansas town. The crime scene and forensic evidence were mishandled, but a probation officer directed the police toward Damien Echols, a youth with a troubled home life, antiauthoritarian attitudes and admiration for the "Goth" and Wiccan subcultures. Amid rumors of satanic cult activity, investigators browbeat Jesse Misskelley, a mentally challenged 16-year-old acquaintance of Echols, into providing a wildly inconsistent confession that he'd helped Echols and a third teen, Jason Baldwin, assault the boys. Leveritt meticulously reconstructs the clamorous investigation and two jury trials that followed. All three boys were convicted on the basis of Misskelley's dubious statements and such "evidence" as Echols's fondness for William Blake and Stephen King. Leveritt, who makes a strong argument that the convictions were a miscarriage of justice, also suggests an alternative suspect: one victim's stepfather, who had a history of domestic violence, yet was seemingly shielded by authorities because he was a drug informant for local investigators.

If innocence matters, Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin should have never been suspects, much less convicted felons.
Please tell Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe that innocence matters.


Joanne Cage! said...

I sent the postcard. I hope our protests do more good than they have done in the case of Leonard Peltier, and that girl in Texas who was executed.

Ramey Channell said...

Thanks Joanne! I agree, I hope we are able to make a difference.

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

Well, I guess I didn't comment on this, but I thought I did. So anyway, no I'm commenting. I want to read this book.