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SALEM, Mass. He went from an accused devil worshiping witch on Arkansas' death row to living in the land of persecuted witches.
"People are divided. A lot of people believe they are guilty and should still be in jail," Ellington says. "But many of those understand that retrying a 20 year old case would be nearly impossible. . It's probably 10 to 1. For every 10 contacts we have saying 'exonerate the West Memphis 3,' we get one saying 'How do you sleep at night knowing that you let three murderers go free?'"
Scott Ellington, a district prosecuting attorney for the Second Judicial District of Arkansas who handled the Alford plea deal, says no one can be sure of Echols' guilt or innocence.
these things which were the exact same things as the people back then. Fortunately they weren't able to kill me like they were the people they hung here."
The state would not grant the three men a new trial. However, prosecutors offered Alford deals, meaning the men did not admit guilt but agreed that prosecutors had enough information to win a conviction.
When he was 19, Echols was sentenced to execution by lethal injection for being the ringleader of the infamous West Memphis 3. His two friends, Jason Baldwin then 16 and mentally impaired, and Jesse Misskelly Jr., 17, were sentenced to life in prison. The three were let out of prison in 2011, after more than 18 years of incarceration.
Echols now lives in a historic 18th century home with his wife, Lorri Davis, 49, whom he met and married while on death row. Davis first reached out to Echols after she saw a documentary about the case. They married in a Buddhist ceremony in a prison visiting room in 1999. It was the first time the two had ever touched.
Salem, Echols says, is a spiritual Mecca for people who are different. "Pretty soon after those trials, whenever they killed people that they accused of witchcraft, they realized pretty quickly afterwards 'oh we messed up' and they're not eager to do the same thing again it's like they learned their lesson back then."
Echols says he identifies with the witch trials, which for many, epitomize Prada Athletic Shoes paranoia and injustice in the judicial system.
And so, Echols has found his way here, to Salem. In the 17th century, more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were executed during the mass witch hunt hysteria in Salem. Following the trials and executions, many involved in the cases publicly confessed their errors and in 1957, the state of Massachusetts officially apologized for the trials.
Now 38, he's free again after DNA evidence shed new light on the case. He walks the streets of Salem, a community still shadowed by the Salem Witch Trials more than 300 years ago. Witch memorials and cemeteries stand between local businesses and restaurants. Here, he says, he fits in.
This 2007 file photo provided by the Arkansas Department of Correction shows death row inmate Damien Echols.(Photo: AP)
"Just the level of persecution," Echols says softly. "They sentenced me to death and it was the exact same thing. They accused me of being a Satanist, of committing human sacrifices and all Women's Prada Trainers Sale
what it was like being in prison, if he still has bitterness toward the prosecutors, Mens Prada Trainers Uk
The murders of the three boys Steve Branch, Michael Moore and Christopher Byers continue to be a polarizing question for many. In July of 2007, new DNA evidence was presented that could not place Echols and his co defendants at the scene. But it fell short of clearly exonerating them.
In Part Two of Dawn Scott interview with Damien Echols, he talks about Prada Black Tennis Shoes
responds to who he thinks committed the West Memphis Murders, and discusses his family life.
Story HighlightsAfter serving nearly 20 years, Damien Echols finds a home in Salem, Mass."It the freakiness of it all," he says of the historic cityLead member of the Memphis 3 is now free and reflecting on life as a persecuted outsider
For 18 years and 78 days, Damien Echols lived mainly on death row, a decade of that in solitary confinement, for one of Arkansas' most notorious crimes the murders of three 8 year old Boy Scouts. Echols and two other men convicted in the killing became known as The West Memphis 3.
"It's the only place we considered living," Echols says, dressed in all black with tattoo covered arms and dark sunglasses tucked behind his long black hair. "It's the freakiness of it all. Salem has an incredibly high degree of acceptance for anything outside the norm."
row inmate looks for new beginning
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