Damien Echols speaks out about the Memphis Three for ‘West of Memphis’

Damien Echols

Damien Echols has spent his entire adult life — the past 18 years — on death row for a crime he didn’t commit, as one of the West Memphis Three convicted of brutally murdering three 8-year-old boys in 1993. The latest documentary chronicling Echols’ struggle, “West of Memphis,” chronicles the tireless work that led to the release of Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. But as Echols explains, that work is far from over.

My first reaction after seeing this film was that I didn’t want to interview you, that I’d rather you and your wife just be left alone.

Thank you. This is f—ing miserable. I’ve done 23 interviews, two photo shoots and a press conference in one day. And we’ve been on the road for two and a half months now doing this, and it’s f—ing miserable. It’s having to talk about the thing that you hate most in the world over and over and over and over. You don’t ever get a chance to rest, you don’t ever get a chance to heal. It’s like constantly having the wounds ripped back open. And the worst part of all is how you don’t even have a personality. People see you and they don’t even see a human being. They see this case. They see the West Memphis Three, like I’m not even an individual. Like we’re the Three Stooges. I’m Moe, Jason is Larry and Jessie Misskelley is Curly, and that’s what they want to force you to be forever. West Memphis Three, what the hell is that? It sounds like a rap group or something.



You pretty much went right from prison to promoting the movie?


This whole last year has been like a frantic scramble to try to build some sort of a foundation that we can have a life on. And in a lot of ways it’s been kind of hellish, just trying to… oh gosh, I can’t even describe it. But in a way it’s like a necessary evil for us because we have to keep doing this. If we want to be exonerated, if we want the person in prison that belongs in prison and we want the people who did this to us held responsible, we have to keep talking about this or it’s never going to happen. They’ll sweep this under the rug and forget about it. They’re hoping we’ll fade away. We have to let them know, “We’re not going anywhere until you do the right thing.”

Do you see this film as a chance to make your case in the court of public opinion?

That’s what we’ve been telling people. When you sit down and watch it, you’re watching the case we would’ve presented had we gone into court.

What’s after all of this for you? What are you looking forward to?

Resting. I mean, my long-term goals, what I want to do, what I want to be, the thing that I’m most passionate about is meditation and energy work. It’s what helped me survive so long in prison. So I’d like to have a small meditation center somewhere in the town where we live where I can pass that along to people who feel like they have a need for something like that in their lives, who want something to help them through hard times and bad situations. That’s what I love, that’s what’s meaningful to me.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…

Style

Sarah Doukas on social media, models and diversity

The maker of Kate Moss tells Metro how social media can drive the diversity change in the fashion industry.

Education

Here are this year's most creative college application…

The college application essay is one of the only times during the admissions process where a student can showcase his or her personality. While many…

Style

Nicola Formichetti on Diesel, the digital revolution and…

The artistic director of fashion label Diesel – and stylist for Lady Gaga – is creating human connection through social media.