I am so excited and relieved and thrilled that the West Memphis Three have been freed. It’s something of a miracle that justice has been finally been served. I am slowly learning the details. I have invited Lorri and Damien over for a visit. I wonder what everything is like for them right now. I am sure this is going to be an amazing time. Thanks to everyone who has supported them over all these long years. I feel so good I don’t know what to do.
Posts Tagged ‘WM3’
A little West Memphis Three news:
I am so glad they walked out. John Fogleman is the last person who should be seeking an office like this.
From the Arkansas News:
More than a dozen protesters, unhappy with the way John Fogleman prosecuted three men for the 1993 murders of three West Memphis 8-year-olds walked out of a news conference Tuesday in which the Crittenden County circuit judge announced his candidacy for the state Supreme Court.
Fogleman made his announcement in the Old Supreme Court chambers at the state Capitol.
Fogleman announced to a crowd of about 50 that he plans to run in the May 2010 election to fill the seat of Justice Tom Glaze, who retired last year. Arkansas Appeals Court Judge Courtney Henry is also running for the seat.
The protesters, who took off their shirts to reveal T-shirts that read â€œAbuse of Powerâ€ or â€œWest Memphis Three,â€Â silently walked out of the room while Fogleman was discussing his candidacy and reasons for seeking the office.
I just got this from Lorri Davis. Its been such a long and painful journey with the WM3. I want to see them free so badly, as do so many many people. I know the economy is fucked up, things are weird and scary, but think about how much we have compared to these guys. They’ve been in prison all this time. Can you imagine? I want to do everything I can for them. Please read this and consider donating something. Every bit helps.
I hope this note finds you well. Damien and I have news for you, and a request for your assistance.
Because of your help, we have made amazing progress in this agonizingly slow process. In November 2007 we filed an appeal in Arkansas’s Federal District Court that proved the innocence of Damien, Jessie and Jason. The filing contained new evidence from a relentless investigation and legal strategy that was accomplished only because we had your support.
We were sent back to State court, which has added a year to our work, but here we are, ready to file in the Arkansas Supreme Court on March 11. The filing will include all of Damien’s actual innocence claims, most important:
DNA test results that fail to link Echols, Baldwin or Misskelley to the crime scene; in light of the prosecution claim that Echols sodomized the victims, the lack of his DNA at the crime scene is exculpatory itself. DNA test results showing that a hair found in the ligature of one of the victims matches Terry Hobbs, the step-father of another one of the victims.
Scientific analysis from some of the nation’s leading forensics experts, stating that wounds on the victims’ bodies were caused by animals at the crime scene – not by knives used by the perpetrators, as the prosecution claimed.
We have also just instituted a New Evidence Tip Line that we hope will result in even more new evidence and witnesses that can support the innocence of Damien, Jason and Jesse.
We have about 6 months to make a lot of noise. We need to get this story out in as many media outlets as possible, especially in the mainstream national media such as the New York Times, and other important publications. We need to reach out to our leaders in the legal community; from legal scholars to prominent legal organizations such as the ACLU, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Southern Law Center, etc. We must get the story out to former federal and state judges, and former prosecutors who, when they learn more about this case, can send an important message to the court that a terrible wrong has been done. We must also inform our political representatives, seek their help, if possible, or at least raise the profile of Damien’s case among important local, state and national politicians. In essence, we need everyone possible to know about this grave injustice, and to be led to act.
I need help with this, and can’t use the defense funds to bring on a professional. Lonnie Soury led the public campaign to free Marty Tankleff, a man who spent 17 years in a New York prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Lonnie worked obsessively at getting Marty’s story on shows like 48 Hours, into news outlets like the New York Times, and he made certain the story was known by every politician, lawyer, judge, reporter… He also was successful in garnering the support of scores of federal judges and US Attorneys and local prosecutors to sign an amicus brief asking the court to grant Marty Tankleff a new trial.
We need this kind of exposure, we need it desperately. It is the key to bringing pressure on the state of Arkansas to do the right thing, to exonerate Damien, Jason and Jessie.
I need about $25K to bring Lonnie on for the next year. I need your help to do it. We now have a 501c3 sponsor. Please make your tax deductible checks out to Arkansas Take Action, and mail to ATA, 125 Englewood Rd, Cammack Vlg, AR 72207, or donate online at Freewestmemphis3.org. A donation of $2500, $5000 would go a long way in getting started, and the window of opportunity is wide open.
We all know if it weren’t for your continued support, I wouldn’t be writing to you now, and we would’ve lost something unthinkable; the life of someone we care about deeply. We will be victorious, but we need help, and we need to act fast.
Hey, our friend Damien is on the cover of the LA City Beat!
Echolsâ€™s current attorney, noted San Francisco defense lawyer Dennis Riordan, was retained in 2004. He says: â€œThe thing that led me to take this case was the startling sense that, in a death penalty case, there just wasnâ€™t any credible evidence that connected him to the crime. You can read the Arkansas State Court opinion and they list everything that was offered against them, and itâ€™s just terrifying that anyone could have been sentenced to death on any one of those six factors.”
Learn more about The West Memphis Three
“Echols creating his master key from the low quality lock: An Introduction to Damien’s artwork” – By Anje Vela and Lady Monster
On May 12th, 2006 Damien Echols’ artwork will be premiered at San Francisco’s 111 Minna Gallery. Dubbing the show â€œSkeleton Keyâ€, Damien Echols has taken part in helping with the production of his own event to raise funds for his defense.
This one-night-only event includes music, speaking, and poetry readings by punk legend Henry Rollins, veteran rocker Jonathan Richman, former Misfits front man Michale Graves, Penelope Houston of The Avengers, Jacob Pitts of Comedy Centralâ€™s Strangers With Candy, former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez. Jello Biafra is tentatively scheduled.
The gallery showing starts at 12:00 PM. The reception will start at 6:00 PM and end at 2:00 AM. Pieces by artists of international fame: Winston Smith, Shepard Fairey, Jayne County and Jonathan Richman are just a few of the exhibitâ€™s many surprises. Local DJs Marco Vega and DJ Evil Justin will spin tunes between sets. Donations will be accepted at the door. Visit 111minnagallery.com or call 415.974.1719 for more information. A complete list of artists and some of Damienâ€™s collages can be viewed at a website created by friends: skeletonkeyart.com
Learn more about the West Memphis 3.
AV: Damien I know you are limited with space and materials. Where do you create your artwork?
DE: All of the artwork is made here in my cell, where I am twenty-four hours a day for the most part. Iâ€™m usually sitting balanced on the edge of my bunk hunched over whatever Iâ€™m working on, which is balanced on my knees.
AV: You are working on a couple of collage pieces with your wife Lorri, what has this done for your relationship?
DE: I feel like the pieces that Lorri (my wife) and I are working on together are just the beginning. Iâ€™ve always wanted to work on projects with her, but there was never time. Between work and working on the case, there just never was time or energy to spare. Weâ€™re both really enjoying it, and we talk about it a great deal â€“ the feel certain pieces give us, the current that runs through it, etc. This could very well be something we continue to do together for the rest of our lives.
AV: How would you describe your art? How do you create your collages and paintings?
DE: I believe the artwork could be described in many different ways, on many different levels. The collages, for exampleâ€¦I could say that theyâ€™re a bunch of things that I found and glued together, but thereâ€™s more to it than that. Iâ€™m constantly on the lookout for things that resonate with my own energy, or the energy Iâ€™m feeling at a particular time. The whole point of the collage is to catch a split second of a subtle, living, dynamic current and make that split second concrete. If you do it successfully, then the viewer will catch at least a small glimmer of where you were at when it came together. The human psyche is filled with constantly shifting seams, which hold the fabric of â€œmeâ€ together. A collage is an interpretation of one of those seams, in the same way that you could try to describe the color of a sound.
The paintings are a little harder to articulate, and require a little back-story. In the 1500â€™s there was a man named John Dee who was the court astrologer to both Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I. He had a partner named Edward Kelly who acted as a sort of visionary medium for him in the experiments they conducted. Through their own spiritual and psychological exploration they realized that reality is like an onion â€“ one layer wrapped around the next â€“ and that it was possible to peel each layer aside and peek at the one beneath. The more wisdom a person acquires through spiritual growth, the more layers of reality they would be able to peel back and understand. These levels were labeled â€œaethyrsâ€, and there are thirty in all. Each aethyr has a sort of guardian angel that embodies the wisdom and energy that is to be found on that particular level. The aethyrs are outside of us, theyâ€™re what make up the universe, as we know it â€“ but they are also inside of us. Theyâ€™re the different levels of our own psyche or â€œsoulâ€. At any rate almost all of my paintings representations of the guardian angels of different levels of reality.
AV: What kind of relief, if any do you get from creating art?
DE: The relief I get from creating art is being able to express enthusiasm. It allows me to physically manifest intellectual and emotional currents that develop and grow inside of me. Itâ€™s a way of being able to show someone what love looks like, or sadness, or anything else.
AV: How do you acquire your art materials? Do you have paintbrushes? If not, then please tell us what you use.
DE: My materials are acquired from different places. Sometimes itâ€™s a pile of old magazines and a disposable razor, other times itâ€™s paints ordered from a prison-approved catalog. When I paint I donâ€™t like to use a brush, I prefer Q-tips cotton swabs. I donâ€™t plan on doing any more paintings; itâ€™s out of my system now. The paintings displayed at the show will be the last, I believe. Iâ€™ll keep going for a short while longer with the collages, but eventually Iâ€™ll exhaust them and move on to something else.
AV: How do you feel about your premiere art show in San Francisco?
DE: I am tremendously excited about the art show in San Francisco, almost as excited as If I were going to be there in person. Iâ€™ve been participating in all the planning and such, and there arenâ€™t many things â€œout thereâ€ which I get to have a hand in, so this is a pretty big deal for me. Iâ€™m hoping that the people who get to see it enjoy themselves even half as much as Iâ€™ve enjoyed working on it.
AV: What tools do you have access to creating your artwork? Where does the paper come from? Do you have canvas? If not, then please tell us what you use.
DE: I donâ€™t have many tools when it comes to making an art project. I pick up bits and pieces where I can. Iâ€™ve traded comic books for a canvas, food for paint, an old AM/FM Walkman for a pad of art paper. Sometimes Iâ€™ve just painted on cardboard. I had to use Q-tips at first, because I had no brushes. Then, after I got brushes, I never used them because I had gotten used to using Q-tips.
AV: How are you able to cut each individual piece you place on your collage paper? Does the prison provide you any tools? If so, what are they? (i.e. paper/scissors/etc..)
DE: The only thing the prison ever gave me was a disposable razor to shave with â€“ and thatâ€™s what I use to cut out pieces for a collage. My fingertips were shredded for a month or so, until I started to develop calluses. It takes a great deal of practice. Just pick up a razor blade and try to cut out some small detail of a photo, and you realize itâ€™s a lot harder than it sounds. Iâ€™ve actually ruined pieces because my fingers bled on the paper, or I ended up getting blood on whatever image I was cutting out. It makes you become even more proud of and attached to the ones you manage to put together.
AV: With your drawings and paintings what tools do you use for these?
DE: I have two pencils, which I draw with, and I use them sparingly, because there are no more once theyâ€™re gone. I use a lot of saliva when I draw. I donâ€™t like clean lines in a drawing, so I lick my thumbs and use the wetness to smudge and smear the graphite. I like to cover the entire space with that smudgy grayness.
AV: What does your art mean to you?
DE: Whatever art form Iâ€™m working at â€“ painting, collage, sketching â€“ the process is almost like automatic writing for me. I completely disappear and the project becomes what it wants to be. Hours will pass before I realize it. When itâ€™s over I can barely hold my eyes open, and my neck and back will be sore for a couple days afterwards. I absolutely cannot rest until the piece is complete, it wonâ€™t let me. It refuses to let me walk away until it comes out how it wants to come out. If art is not sentient, then thereâ€™s no point wasting time with it. I look at artwork as an energy current made visible.