teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.—who have
come to be known as the West Memphis Three—were arrested for the murders of
three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas. The ensuing trial was marked by tampered
evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were
sentenced to life in prison; while eighteen-year-old Echols, deemed the
“ringleader,” was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, the WM3 became
known worldwide as a symbol of wrongful conviction and imprisonment, with
thousands of supporters and many notable celebrities who called for a new
trial. In a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August
Now Echols shares
his story in full—from abuse by prison guards and wardens, to portraits of
fellow inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of
patience, spirituality, and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while
incarcerated for nearly two decades.
In these pages, Echols reveals himself as a
brilliant writer, infusing his narrative with tragedy and irony in equal
measure: he describes the terrors he experienced every day and his outrage
toward the American justice system, and he offers a firsthand account of living
on Death Row in heartbreaking, agonizing detail. Life after Death is
destined to be a riveting, explosive classic of prison literature.
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