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December 13th, 2012
05:27 PM ET

Damien Echols on life after prison: "I really didn't even have an idea of how difficult it was going to be"

Coming up this evening at 9, Piers Morgan sits down with Damien Echols for a candid and revealing primetime, face to face interview. A central figure in the infamous "West Memphis Three" case which polarized a community, and in some ways a nation, Echols was imprisoned for more than 18 years, before being released in August 2011.

"I really didn't even have an idea of how difficult it was going to be," Echols says of reintegration back into normal life. "For the first at least three months that I was out, I was in a state of extreme shock and trauma. I couldn't do anything by myself or for myself ... It was like a complete and absolute shock to the system."

Since Echols has rejoined society, he's gained 60 pounds. However, the man who turned 38 on Tuesday still suffers physical side effects from being confined to a cell for 23 hours, including extreme sensitivity to light, which has him wearing dark sunglasses at all times. Nerve damage and kidney ailments stemming from beatings while incarcerated continue to plague Echols, who was sentenced to life in prison, only to ultimately be released under the terms of the Alford plea.

While in prison in 1999, Echols married Lorri Davis, who joined her husband in studio to share her thoughts on his attempted return to normalcy thus far:

"It is amazing to have him out here with us," Davis reveals. "But it's true, no one could foresee how he was going to cope, and so it was difficult, and I did not understand how he was feeling and the anxiety and all of that that he was dealing with for at least six months. And after that, it's just been a process. But there is no precedent, you know, there is no place – no guide book or anything to now what to do."

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, as Echols and Davis further elaborate on the the former's difficult transition following nearly two decades on death row.
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soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Eric

    I personally believe the WM3 were guilty as charged, so I hope Piers asks him some hardball questions for once.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. rose-ellen

    I noticed he discredits the guy with the low i.q.;the only one who has never claimed to be innocent[after they all 3 confessed].Just because you have a low i.q of 68or 70 does not mean you don't know if you and your accomplices killed three boys.Why you never give any push back to this guy Piers-I don't get.Are you that gullable?He refers to the murder of three boys as "the case".I know your agenda, Piers is to discredit capital punishment but come on -you were face to face with a confessed never exonerated murderer of 3 boys and not a word to get him even momentarily uncomfotable.Those glasses are there to hide his guilt even as he taunts us.He's a true pyschopath who has you and alot of people hoodwinked.

    December 13, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • 1PrettyPitBull

      Rose Ellen, you sound just like the low IQ hicks that convicted him in the first place. Shame on people like you!

      December 13, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • jamie

      ignorance truly is bliss – please educate yourself on the facts – heaven forbid you ever be called to jury any case

      December 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • rose-ellen

        Ignorance is bliss-you're right. The last thing you want is to have to face your own gullibily in the whole matter.Oh and I'm not a hick but being a hick is better then being a gull anytime!.Maybe that's your problem-in your hubris you believe hickness confers stupidity and since your're not a hick you can't be duped. Boy did that pyschopath echols know how to play people like you.He counted on your arrogant contempt for "hicks' to get him off and it worked. That's the mind of cagey pyschopath!Gulls.

        December 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alice

      "Just because you have a low i.q of 68or 70 does not mean you don't know if you and your accomplices killed three boys"

      It's not about what you know but about what you say. Look at coerced confessions, look how they happen and look at the people involved, a lower IQ is very common in these cases and this case is in fact almost a textbook example for a coerced confession. I won't go into more details here, google the term if you are interested in gaining more knowledge and displaying a more educated opinion in the future.

      Also, the human eye has muscles and they do in fact degenerate when they are not used, like, when they are not needed to adjust the size of the pupils to changing light conditions. Again, google is your friend.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • lisa

      You are ignorant to this case and do not know what you are talking about. Educate yourself on the evidence because you look stupid. You need to be ashamed of yourself. The glasses are there because he had no sunlight for many years and his eyes are sensitive to light. He is NOT a psychopath. There was NO evidence linking him or the others in the west memphis three to these murders so it is ridiculous that you think he is guilty. There is dna evidence linking one of the stepfathers to the crime as well as dna of the man who gave him his alibi. Learn the facts.

      December 20, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • tk

        SHUT UP! He's satan you fool.....

        February 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paula

      I agree RoseEllen!

      February 28, 2013 at 9:00 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Anne

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/oct/07/memoirs-missing-element/
    The link above to an article in the Memphis newspaper by a reporter familiar with the history of the case provides an unbiased report on Echols. The interview tonight did not.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alice

      http://www.tarpaulinsky.com/2012/10/marc-perrusquia-damien-echols

      The link above is a great article about Marc Perrusquia, his obsession with Echols and how "unbiased" this journalist really is.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jen

    I have been following this farce from the start. Anyone who has, knows who is accountable. I am sick of damein echols being the end all be all of this injustice, and how he keeps this case focused solely on himself. enough already, we know what happened, move on with what is left of your life. your childhood friend's father thinks he is in with the devil, what a bloody fool.

    December 14, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. cssgs

    I can empathize with with Mr. Echols bitterness about his lost time in prison, but can't find him so noble. While he goes on TV with enablers like Mr. Morgan to talk about his tatoos and his sunglasses, not a word was said about those dead 3 little boys save for the fact that apparently their wounds were from snapping turtles rather than knives.

    Those little boys did not die from turtle bites! Not one of those 4 adults onscreen during the segment could spare a minute for those children, and the fact that, still today, there has been no justice for any of them nor their families!

    Talk about insipid tripe!

    December 14, 2012 at 4:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • susan baldwin

      Well said, cssgs. However, I personally can not empathize with someone like Mr. Echols who's character includes no empathy for others. The man is a self-described psychopath.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. tk

    I REALLY DESPITE DAMIEN ECHOLS. AND THAT STUPID WOMAN LORRI DAVIS.....HOW COULD SHE BE SO SMITTEN WITH THIS LOW LIFE SATAN LOVING BEAST!!!!!!!!!! HE'S MR. HOLLY WOOD AND STUPID JOHNNY DEPP AND ALL THOSE PLASTIC HOLLYWOOD FOOLS..........HE'S ENJOYING THE SPOTLIGHT WHILE THREE LITTLE BOYS ARE IN THE GROUND. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE?????????? I HATE THIS GUY SO MUCH WORDS FAIL ME.

    February 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paula

      POS! Psychopath!

      February 28, 2013 at 9:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Erin

      What is wrong with all of you people, SERIOUSLY!? Absolutely NONE of you nay sayers have any education about this case, especially Rose-Ellen & Tk. The only person who confessed was Jessie Miskelley and that was only after 9-12 hours of interrogation (but there was only 45 mins of audio recorded, go figure!). I would imagine the reason they didn't talk about those poor children was because this interview was about Damien and the miscarriage of justice he had to endure for 18 years! Maybe you all should be more concerned that there is still a child killer on the loose that the Memphis police refuse to find! Mr. Echols has dealt with way more ignorant people in his short life than most people deal with in a full lifetime (and here it still continues!) You people should all be ashamed of yourselves for commenting on a case that you CLEARLY know absolutely NOTHING about! Shame on ALL OF YOU! And you all should listen to Alice, Google is a very nifty thing, you should check it out sometime, maybe you'll actually get some FACTS about this case instead of just the emotional nature of it.

      May 14, 2013 at 12:24 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Landeu

    He is so dang guilty and thats why he wears those dam glasses, I think to feel safe behind them as he fears he will be found out by all. He knows he is playing a crazy dangerous game of making money off of murder and now off of his notoriety.
    Lori is a blind and desperate to follow her evil lover around like he has a spell on her (he does)
    he has never denied killing those boys, he avoids these words because he is a coward
    And for JESSEE!! HE confessed!!! and the evidence is sooooooooooooooo pointing to these guys, they used the system to get out by rallying support from celebs and turning this into a cult

    February 9, 2014 at 2:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Dorcas RuthAnnette

    HE KNOWS we know he's guilty! He has the same syndrom and character disorde that OJ SIMPSON has: Narcisism. They are all 3 convicted murders. People think he was found innocent, and he was NOT! The Alford Plea is just a formality to get this case to go away.
    Damien is still devil worshipping and thanking Satan daily. God will some day avenge these children. This crime is so horrible! AND the DNA was washed away with the rain. DUH!!!

    DAMIEN ECHOLS is a hollow disgusting killer. CHILD Killer and his wife is an idiot

    February 9, 2014 at 2:15 am | Report abuse | Reply

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