An Open Letter to Damien Echols

Original Writing

Damien,

I doubt you’ll even see this post, let alone read it but I want to share your story, and the effect it’s had, with everyone I know. I find myself even asking people if they’ve heard of the Robin Hood Hills murders simply to talk about you.

I was first introduced to the case when I saw Devils Knot on TV. Naturally, one’s interest peaks when hearing a film is based on a true story, so hear me out before you dismiss this as just another superficial fangirl who only got her information from wikipedia and the wm3 website. I didn’t realise the enormity of the case, or the horrendous details of it either until I carefully researched the murders inside out, including looking at crime scene photos, crime lab photos/reports, evidence reports and interview transcripts.

Watching Devils Knot in no way influenced my view on your guilt or innocence, Damien. It was just another ‘true story’ drama. Understanding the details of the case helped me come to the conclusion that you are innocent. But I’m not writing this to tell you how well I know your case because no one knows it better than you. People are so quick to judge you as being guilty, even having the audacity to cite evidence and reports, but we’re all bystanders in a fight that should never have been initiated in the first place.

Your life was stripped from you for nearly two decades and you still managed to find the strength to share your experience with the world. Critics say your biography isn’t written well, it doesn’t flow or have “transition”, and it’s “bitter.” If I spent 18 years in prison, I’d be bitter too, to say in the least. More so than not, I’m finding people attacking your style of writing and I think people are forgetting that you are a human being first.

What’s more enchanting is your ability to find light in your darkest hours. You pushed forward despite the ever-growing number of obstacles pulling you back, and that’s something I can’t possibly fathom. I’m full of nothing but gratitude and admiration for you.

I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: thank you. Thank you for finding it within yourself to share your brightest and darkest hours with the world, and for standing true to yourself in the face of disgusting corruption. I can only wish you a lifetime of peace with the monsters who put you in those cells and with the battles you fight on a daily basis.

And to the three angels who lost their lives in such devastatingly tragic circumstances, I pray you are resting peacefully. May God give us the answers your families and so many of us are looking for. May you get the justice you so desperately deserve. You will never be forgotten.

Anisah

 

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