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Oct. 10, 2013
Damien Echols, a released death row inmate, and his wife, Lorri Davis, are the first guests in Northwest Missouri State University’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
Echols and Davis will speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, in the Charles Johnson Theater. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Echols served more than 18 years on death row for a crime of which he was innocent. He was a member of what became known as the “West Memphis Three,” a group of teenagers who were wrongly convicted for the 1993 murders of three 8-year-old boys in Arkansas.
While Echols was in prison, Davis, a Brooklyn, N.Y., architect, reached out to him after seeing a documentary about the crime. Through a series of letters to Echols, Davis explained that she wanted to help appeal his convictions. The two developed a relationship and married in 1999. Echols credits Davis for taking charge of his legal efforts, leading to his 2011 Alford plea deal and release.
The media also played a crucial role in Echols' fight to clear his name, bringing up new forensics in 2007 that revealed no DNA evidence existed to link him to the crime scene.
Numerous documentaries and books have been produced about the crime. In 2012, Echols and Davis co-produced the documentary “West of Memphis,” and Echols’ published an autobiography called “Life After Death.” His story has also been the subject of three “Paradise Lost” documentaries from HBO.To watch a film trailer for “West of Memphis” and learn more about this story, visit www.sonyclassics.com/westofmemphis/.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468