Damien Echols is one third of the West Memphis Three. In 1994 they were tried and convicted for the murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Damien was on death row, locked-down 23 hours a day. This polarizing case was put into a national spotlight due to the 1996 documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills. People like Peter Jackson, Johnny Depp, Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks and Eddie Vedder donated their time and often their money to helping them gain their freedom.
On August 19, 2011 Damien entered an Alford plea, also known as a “best-interests plea.” In this plea the defendant asserts their innocence but admits there was enough evidence to find them guilty. Upon release, this was his first meal.
Damien Echols: My first meal was….everything. We were rushed straight from Arkansas, across the bridge to a hotel in Memphis. Eddie Vedder had ordered everything on the menu brought to the room, so it was there when I arrived. Sandwiches, burgers, salads, fries, red wine, chocolate milk, soup, cake….I tried at least some of all of it, although I was too deeply in shock to really taste much of any of it.