West Memphis Three
July 25, 2010 by Post Team
Damien Echols, 35, has spent his entire adult life on death row in Arkansas. Every day, faces the possibility of execution. But there is a ray of hope in their lives.
“She is like living, breathing miracle in human form,” says Damian Lorri Davis, his wife of 10 years.
Lorri Damien met after she realized his controversial case. She wrote, traveled from New York to see him and offered to help. “It was the right thing to do,” she says, “because he is innocent.”
“I can understand the belief that he is innocent and eager to work on your case. But what he did to take the decision to marry him?” Question: “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty Mystery.
“Well, I mean, the simple answer is that I loved him. It is an incredible person. And it will be worth it.”
Lorri is familiar with all aspects of the case of Damien and worked day and night with the legal team, not just in the fight against Damien on death row, but for Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, the other men who are condemned to life imprisonment.
“We’ve gone through all the aspects of this case and there was never anything that indicated his guilt,” he explains.
They are known as the West Memphis Three, and now the active support of the people who really could make a difference, as Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and actor Johnny Depp.
“I’m here because I firmly believe, in fact, 1,000 percent believed that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley are totally innocent,” Depp says Moriarty.
Nevertheless, the courts of Arkansas have kept the three convictions for more than 16 years. Prosecutors allege that Damien, Jason and Jessie are responsible for the cold blooded murder of three children under 8 years of age.
On May 5, 1993, Chris Byers, Michael Moore and Stevie Branch were playing together.
“Stevie was very outgoing, a bright child. Anyone who knew him loved him,” says his mother, Pam.
A waitress at the time, Pam did not care much when his son was not home before 17 o’clock shift began. “I just thought he could of lost track of time and was on his way home.”
It was when her husband, stepfather to Stevie, lifted the 9 pm that he first heard that the boys had not returned. “I just started to mourn and say, ‘God, no, no. Why not get married?”
Pam searched directly through the night with other parents panicked, including the father of Chris Byers, Mark.
Then, at 1 pm the following day, police made a grim discovery in a wooded stretch of the highway known to children as Robin Hood, the hills. Stevie, Michael and Chris was found beaten and drowned in a drainage ditch. Their bodies were nkd and hogtied with their own shoelaces.
“I hit the ground screaming, ‘God, no, no!” says Pam.
“A gut wrenching moment to put into words … disaster, devastation, “says Byers.
Six days later, he buried his son Chris.
“When the murders happened, was something that was almost like an atomic bomb go,” explains Damian. “You have three sons who are killed. I mean, that in itself is something quite horrible … And little by little after the start comin out details on how they were found. Now, many of these details were not true. ”
Byers says there was a lot of rumors. “I heard one of them was skinned. I heard one of em face was cut.”
“Then you start to hear” all these, you know, people whisper, maybe it was Satan who made it, “says Damian.
That theory did not seem so outlandish at the time. A media hysteria about satanic cults fuel is sweeping the country.
An FBI investigation found no such Satanic killings, but in 1993, West Memphis juvenile officer Jerry driver was worried about the activity of worship, saying: “It seems to be a trend at this time.”
Driver was Damien, a departure from 18 years of age in his sights.
“I think it was the closest thing that could possibly conceive what he thought would be a Satanist all black … it was the only thing I ever used. Ridiculous hairstyles. I was a stupid teenager. It was really a smart ass,” says , admitting that did not help his case at all.
Driver was convinced that the murders were the work of Damien Echols, and told him that to the police.
Damien was now the main suspect and said the word that he escaped. “I joined a softball game. I turned the food stand and people hear me sayin ‘,’ There it is. It’s him.”
However, the police had no physical evidence or anything else that connects you with the crime, did not know until someone Damien spoke.
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