Saturday, 20 August 2011
"I have now spent half my life on death row. It is a torturous environment that no human being should have to endure, and it needed to end. I am innocent, as are Jason and Jessie, but I made this decision because I did not want to spend another day of my life behind those bars. I want to live and to continue to fight for our innocence. Sometimes justice is neither pretty nor is it perfect, but it was important to take this opportunity to be free.
I am not alone as there are tens of thousand of men and woman in this country who have been wrongfully convicted, forced into a false confession, sentenced to death or a lifetime in prison. I am hopeful that one day they too will be able stand with their friends and family to declare their innocence.
This whole experience has taught me much about life, human nature, American justice, survival and transcendence."
--Damien Echols - 8/19/11
Legal justice is only a reality for those who can afford to buy it. America's courtrooms are increasingly amoral, elitist, racist, and insane. Class trumps counsel. Dream teams trump public defenders. Poverty trumps race.
Any racist fool or elitist drone who denies that class trumps race has never heard of the “West Memphis Three”. They are three poor white Arkansan teens (Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin) who were framed for the brutal murders of three poor 8-year-old boys (Christopher Byers, Stevie Branch, and Michael Moore). In a tiny racist town where blacks are abused by police, and poor whites are abused like blacks, corruption is criminally routine.
West Memphis is a town that I know well. My parents are natives of the area, and I have spent many summers there. In 1993, it was a typically flawed bible belt enclave. It was a cozy country town where fanatical fake religion fostered a frantic fear of all that was arbitrarily deemed “satanic”. It was one where anyone who dared to be different in any way was usually regarded as “demonic”.
Nothing is more evil than ignorance. It is ignorance that has stolen three lives for decades. Ignorant police officers ignored glaring evidence of innocence. Ignorant jurors were complicit in accepting one blatantly erroneous and false confession, during a horrid fiasco that passed as a trial. Ignorant lawyers chose to elevate careers rather than exonerate poor framed children.
No justice will ever be served to any of the six most tortured victims in this tragic murder case. Three teenagers with rebel swagger who loved heavy metal music and black clothing have lost 18 years of their lives. Three adorable innocent Cub Scouts have been slaughtered like three deer and their killer is still free. Many national researchers and Arkansas residents believe that the actual killer is Terry Hobbs, the abusive drug addicted and alcoholic stepfather of the slain Stevie Branch; or John Mark Byers, the more abusive, shady, drug addicted, and serial criminal stepfather of the castrated Christopher Byers.
Who will now prosecute the criminal cops, inept lawyers, and amorally ambitious politicos who framed these three teens? Who will give these framed men back the 18 years of their lives that each lost inside the hell of prison? How many times were their spirits murdered by beatings or rapes? Who will repair all that has been murdered within their hearts, minds, and souls. How many millions of other poor framed inmates, rotting inside state and federal cages, will never be freed?
Belated forensic evidence now incriminates Terry Hobbs. Yet, Hobbs may never be prosecuted for the heinous murder of three brutally murdered boys, including his stepson. But, the court of public opinion and karma are real. They are as real as elitism and racism. Ask Casey Anthony about guilt and peace. The karmic debts that the universe will dole out for the West Memphis Three, droves of murderous parents, and millions of murdered children, will extend to legions of souls indeed...
Kudos to all of the family members, friends, and international warriors who never gave up on seeking a modicum of justice for three framed and imprisoned teens, who could not afford to buy justice in court. Since 1993, the West Memphis Three have lost many battles. In 2011, they have finally won the war.
Damien, Jason, and Jessie: Welcome home! You are soldiers. Millions have always known that you are not killers. May you find some bliss within your criminally conditional release. May you spend each day of freedom with more love than loss, more bravery than bitterness, and more passion than pain. May God bless you all and protect you from the satanic injustices, evil police, and demonic lawyers that framed you...
For more haunting information on this tragic case, see superb journalist and superior author Mara Leveritt's excellent work: