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Echols of 'The West Memphis Three' to Speak at Salem Film Festival

Damien Echols, who will forever be known as a member of 'The West Memphis Three', will speak at this year's Salem Film Festival following a screening of a film detailing the trial that landed him on death row.

The sixth annual Salem Film Fest will feature a live Q&A session with new Salem resident and West Memphis Three member Damien Echols following a screening of West of Memphis - a documentary detailing the high-profile murder trial that landed him on death row for almost two decades.

Echols moved to Salem last year. He was released from prison in 2011 on a plea deal after new evidence indicated that he was not responsible for the murder of three young boys - a crime that he and two other men served 18 years in jail for before being released.

Over the past two years, Echols has been sharing his thoughts on Salem, his new home, via Twitter. You can follow Echols on Twitter here.

The film festival, which will run from March 7 to March 14, will offer screenings of 32 films from 17 different countries.

It is scheduled to kick off at the Peabody Essex Museum with the world premiere of The Ghost Army, a film about a top-secret WWII unit that used inflatable tanks, sound trucks and other clever tactics to impersonate U.S. Army units and deceive Hitler’s legions.

Click Here for full details, including information about how to get tickets for the festival and a full schedule of events.

The Salem Film Fest was founded in 2008 by filmmaker Joe Cultrera, local businessman Paul Van Ness of CinemaSalem, the Executive Director of Salem Chamber of Commerce Rinus Oosthoek and others from the community.

susan baldwin February 21, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Why do you insist on glorifiying this child murderer by allowing him to speak at your film festival? He has been convicted of the crime and then he pled guilty (Alford) to the crime. How is it that a self-obsessed felon can command your attention in this way? The film is not a box office success and Damien is able to profit from the death of three children. How does that make the movie and the murderer attractive to your audience. He should be left to stew in his endless self-affirmations and self-promotion as witnessed on twitter. The man is not a success in any common sense of the term.
susan baldwin February 21, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Carolyn Costain- Your ignorance is showing. The plea was offered first by their own lawyers. The case took place in ARKANSAS, not Texas. "Documentaries" do not always show a balanced view of fact. Read the actual case documents at: Calahan.8k.com (there's a lot there - you can't be lazy and expect to learn the truth).
Carolyn Costain February 21, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Susan its been a long time since seeing that case I may have said the wrong state in trying to remember at that moment but you need to get your facts straight as well " I did see the case and documentary" and yes they were offered a plea but they didn't take the plea because they were trying to prove their innocents! Why would any innocent person take a plea if they are innocent? If you take a plea deal, you are accepting that your guilty even if your not! Circumstantial evidence has put innocent people on death row many times and this is another case of an over zealous justice system rushing to convict, to appease the public anger.
Drew February 21, 2013 at 07:34 PM
What day, time, and location, will the Q and A be held?
Lindsey February 21, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Yes, they could have made that a little more apparent. The screening of the movie is Friday, March 8th @ 8:30 p.m., and the article says the Q&A is to follow. The Salem Film Fest website says Damien will be in attendance, but doesn't specifically mention a Q&A session. http://salemfilmfest.com/2013/blog/2013/01/countdown-west-of-memphis/
Lindsey February 21, 2013 at 08:41 PM
No Susan, I think your ignorance is showing. He was falsely convicted with no physical evidence due to police coercion, including that of a borderline mentally handicapped person; public hysteria; an overzealous and inept police department; a judge's ambition for office; just to name a few reasons. And don't even get me started on Kent Arnold & jury tampering/misconduct. He commands my attention because he was strong enough to live through horrors I can barely imagine, and came out of it all with hope. And I personally find his twitter inspirational. The movie is "attractive" because it shows the flaws in our justice system, and I hope some day - mabye because of this film - the actual killer will be brought to justice.
Carolyn Costain February 21, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Lindsey explained it the best way possible your so right Lindsey!
William Ramsey February 22, 2013 at 01:14 AM
See Abomination: Devil Worship and Deception in the West Memphis Three Murders. www.occult911.com occult911.wordpress.com
Steve February 22, 2013 at 01:33 AM
He's innocent. I have listened to the entire trial on Audio and have also read every document. Damien was railroaded, but his own stupid actions helped create the perfect storm that put him on death row. He's a narcissist weirdo, but he's innocent.
David Anderson February 22, 2013 at 01:53 AM
Yay, the child murderer gets another public forum to spew his lies. Hey Lindsey, I see you used the old coercion argument, I'm going to go ahead and assume you are another sheep like supporter who hasn't done enough research to realize Misskelley actually confessed 4 times, including after he had been convicted. Wanna tell me how somebody is coerced after they have already been sentenced to life in prison? The media has played a huuuuge role in this ridiculous farce, especially Sinofsky and Berlinger, both of these 2 morons have the three boys blood on their hands. You could literally fill a book with what they left out of the so called "documentaries". They are guilty in the eyes of the law, and admitted so in the alford plea. William Ramsey has actually done the research one needs to in order to fully understand this case, and as always happens when a person does so, has come to the proper conclusion that these three are obviously guilty. However, it is much easier to continue to behave much like the posters above, and gleefully lap up the propaganda and lies that eventually literally bought three child murderers their undeserved freedom.
Leonard Nicodemo February 22, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Would any of you Damien detractors like to meet with him for coffee? I'd love to see you say any of this stuff while you look into the eyes of a guy who spent 18 years on death row. I know he frequents Jaho and Gulu Gulu, maybe you'll bump into him some day.
susan baldwin February 23, 2013 at 04:39 AM
I would never willingly look into the souless eyes of this waste of flesh. I avoid Williams Street and now I'll avoid these business.
patchypatch February 23, 2013 at 05:02 AM
-- The West Memphis Three were found guilty once and plead guilty a second time last year instead of waiting for a trial. Misskelley (one of the 3) confessed FIVE times, three times to the detectives, once to his lawyers and once to the police. Both Echols and Baldwin (one of the 3) told others they committed the crimes. Echols had a long history of violence, threats of violence and psychotic behavior (see Exhibit 500). Police took a necklace from Echols when he was arrested. An outside crime lab later found blood from two distinct DNA sources on the necklace. One source was consistent with Echols, the other with Baldwin and one of the victims. A car load of people saw Echols in muddy clothes near the crime scene. Read alternative sources about the case, not just the one-sided movies, like wm3truth Police report on Echols killing a dog. c a l l a h a n . 8 k .c o m / w m 3 / j o e h b . h t m l
Sloth February 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM
I believe he's innocent but I also believe he's a sociopath who loves every bit of attention he's getting from this. Without this he'd still be a trailer park scumbag pretending he's Wiccan. Now he has famous friends and a place on the Common. Don't think for one minute that this loser isn't milking the deaths of three young kids for everything he can get. Shame on anyone who gives this asshole an audience.
David Perry Davis, Esq February 23, 2013 at 10:56 PM
It's astounding to me to see otherwise intelligent people express a belief that Damien, Jason, and Jessie are guilty. Read .... educate yourself. Start with Devils Knot from Amazon - I wouldn't care except that his neighbors and his community may read this and add to the injustice the guy's been through. There is NO case against them - nothing, not one piece of evidence that withstands scrutiny. I'm not even going to go through every incorrect statement here - Google WM3 Blackboard and visit the website run by one of the child victim's parents (Mark Byers, one of the loudest WM3 supporters out there). Read Jessie's statements... At a minimum, actually watch West of Memphis.
David Anderson February 24, 2013 at 03:55 PM
It is nothing short of hilarious that you tell people to educate themselves and use Devil's knot and the blackboard as the basis with which to do so. Here let me take a swipe, hey everybody, educate yourself about world war 2, watch Hogan's Heroes and Allo Allo. Instead of looking up Mark Byers, the drug addicted attention whore who would sell out his own mother for a minute of camera time, try looking up Todd Moore, if you really want to know how an actual parent of one of the dead boys feels about the three child murdering scumbags. Yeah, read Jessie's statements, you have plenty to choose from after all. Pay close attention to the one Jessie made after he had already been convicted, and be sure to ask yourself why 95 percent of supporters don't even know they exist. Fish monger Dave shows up to defend Echols, what a shock. If there is one thing you can be certain of, it is Dave bravely defending the child murderers known as the WM3 at every nook and cranny on the web, hope you are proud of yourself, bravo.
Carolyn Costain February 24, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Leonard , just ignore the ignorance of some of the people here. If "they themselves" being "only children at the time" were accused of a horrific crime while being innocent? They to, would spend their lives trying to prove their innocents. They to would plead guilty when forced by the system to do so with the choice of "living or be executed" because of a court system gone wrong! I seen the interview with one of the parents of one of the victims and that parent 100% believes that they are innocent of killing their child.
David Perry Davis, Esq February 25, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Well, except Hogan's Heroes and Allo Allo (?) don't have an end notes section citing 430 cites. Note that, when asked what he didn't find accurate in Devils Knot, prosecutor John Fogelman's only criticism was that "she said I saw the juvenile prosecutor when in fact I was only temporarily assigned to that division" or some such nonsense. Yes, it's dated at this point; excludes the Terry Hobbs DNA, lies about his alibi, admission to his relative, telling his girlfriend that he found the bodies before the police did but didn't want to say anything as he was "afraid he'd be blamed", etc. But as far as a resource and intro to the case, Devils Knot is still the best primer around. Oh, and, as you're probably aware, The Blood of Innocents author Marc Perrusquia (who many nons held up as a "much better work") has now said he "always thought Baldwin was innocent" and "now believes Damien is not guilty, either, although his antics and demeanor contributed to his conviction." If you've actually read Jessie's statements (all of them, pre-arrest, post-arrest, post-trial, the Bible statement) and have no problem with the inconsistencies and his utter inability to get details right that THe killer must have known - even when he was trying to cut a deal for himself and was highly motivated to get it right.... then, well, I don't know what to say to that except that it's rather special. You either didn't read them or are willing to accept anything.
Mike February 26, 2013 at 01:32 PM
Does anyone honestly think the state of Arkansas would have let three convicted child killers out of prison if they had a shred of doubt about their innocence? The Alford plea was to prevent a massive multi-million dollar payout to the men at the expense of letting the real killer of those three little boys walk. Someone decided money was more important than justice That's where you should concentrate your hate.

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