Damien Echols, who celebrated his one year anniversary after being freed from death row, released a statement today in response to comments written in the New York Times and Arkansas Times about his relationship with Jason Baldwin after their release.
“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.”