by David Koon
On Tuesday, The Arkansas Blog reported on passages from "Life After Death," the new memoir by Damien Echols, that look very much like Echols throwing Jason Baldwin under the bus over Baldwin's brief stand against accepting the Alford Plea that freed the three men because it would require them to plead guilty. Among other claims, Echols says that Baldwin had "grown to love prison" and "was actually looking forward to the next year in prison school." Echols goes on to say that if he and Misskelley had been freed while Baldwin stayed in prison, "My own case had garnered much of the WM3 publicity, and if we managed to be freed without [Baldwin], there would be very little interest left in his case."
Baldwin later released a statement on Facebook (included in on our original post) in which he said Echols broke off all contact with him over Baldwin's involvement as a producer of the film "Devil's Knot," based on Mara Leveritt's book about the West Memphis Three case.
This morning, Echols released the following statement:
"In my book, Life After Death, I describe my childhood, life in prison and the incredible efforts to free me, Jason and Jesse. It is a very honest description of my life and the ways in which I have come to see the world both before and after my release. It is not a pretty picture in many ways, but it is my story. I also discuss my relationship with Jason and anyone reading the entire book will see that it is a very poignant and loving friendship.
In the weeks prior to our release, there were some very difficult times for everyone involved and I describe them at the end of the book. This was without a doubt the most tortuous period of my life - with freedom so close and yet capable of being taken away again at any moment - and my recollections of that period are honestly colored by that torture.
After our release from prison, Jason and I had a disagreement over how I was to be portrayed in the film Devil's Knot. The movie unfortunately has driven a wedge between us, but I will always respect Jason and love him as a friend.
I believe Jason was selfless in his decision to go along with the Alford plea that freed us, and I understand how difficult this decision was for him. For that, I will be forever grateful. My intention was not to hurt anyone, but to write honestly about my struggle."