09-23-12 UNREST IN WEST MEMPHIS 3 PARADISE
While Jessie Misskelley drifts into social oblivion, “West Memphis Three” leader Damien Echols and his first lieutenant Jason Baldwin have had rather frequent dustups dealing with the fame of celebrity. According to media reports, Echols throws Baldwin under the proverbial bus in his soon to be released memoir, “Life After Death.” The tear in the killer’s cloth apparently began last year as attorneys for the three men negotiated an Alford plea deal that would set them free. Baldwin apparently balked at the deal, saying he believed the three men would eventually get a new trial and would be acquitted. Echols was hot to trot for the deal, driven by the allure of free world celebrity, movie, and book deals. The leader of the pack was pissed that Baldwin was trying to queer the plea deal the attorneys had concocted. Baldwin finally succumbed to the deal after being pressured by Echols supporters with warnings that his beloved leader was near death. You can imagine Baldwin’s sense of betrayal when his leader showed up at their post-release press conference healthy and well, and ready to party with Pearl Jam, Nathalie Maines, and Johnny Depp.
At the outset, the West Memphis Three killers joined together in a whirlwind tour of media interviews, personal appearances, and promises of more fame and wealth. Within a couple weeks the Echols supporters had kicked poor ole Misskelley to the curb, forcing him, according to the New York Times, to return to “his old neighborhood to be near his father. He became engaged to a woman with two children and started to study auto mechanics.” The tear of the Echols/Baldwin bond became apparent when Echols assumed the dominant influence in the documentaries “Paradise Lost 3” and “West of Memphis” while Baldwin (and Misskelley to a lesser extent) assumed the dominant influence in the upcoming “Devil’s Knot” movie starring Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon.
The Arkansas Times website attributed the following passages from Echols’s memoir which cast underhanded aspersions against Baldwin:
“Over the years, Jason had grown to love prison,” Echols writes. “The circumstances were not the same as mine. He had a job, he had brfriended guards and was actually looking forward to the next year in prison school.”
In other words, Baldwin was a little suck-ass snitch while Echols was a strong-will crusader for justice. In reality, Echols was a petty, lying little prison bitch who would not have survived one day in the general prison population where Baldwin was. A brother or a biker would have bitch-slapped him upside the head and made s galboy out of him.
The problem with lying is that you can’t keep them straight. In my last post about the West Memphis Three case, I referenced a YouTube post in which Echols, in an interview with Amy Goodwin, said prosecutors knew that the WM3 defendants would have been acquitted in a second trial. However, in his memoir, Echols said the evidence supporting their innocence was not “nearly good enough” to get them acquitted. Baldwin’s attorney, Blake Hendrix, said the memoir’s assertion was “grotesque.” Put simply, beyond the blare and glare of the WM3 cause celebre, Echols knew there was sufficient evidence to convict the three men again, and that’s why he was so anxious, delirious almost, to get the Alford plea deal done. Say anything else you want to say about Jason Baldwin, he at least had the balls to stand by his claim of innocence while little titty-baby Echols was whining and pleading for the deal.
And then there is this self-serving passage from the narcissistic little twit’s memoir (written while admiring his mimic Johnny Depp tattoos): “[Baldwin] also realized he was going to be left behind if he didn’t come along with us on the deal. My own case had garnered much of the WM3 publicity, and if we managed to be freed without him, there would be very little interest left in his case.”
It is hard to believe that Echols is that “slung off.” He undermines the WM3 supporters by saying they really were not interested in seeing “justice done” in the case. Instead they were just interested in seeing him (and Misskelley by extension) freed. Baldwin didn’t matter. If you accept Echols’ reasoning, the prison-loving Baldwin was just access baggage on the WM3 road to fame and glory—not just for Echols but for all those big name celebrities advocating their release for their own self-serving profit motives.
While Ecohols was spinning his web of lies in his so-called “memoir,” Baldwin got married to one of his supporters, went to work for a law firm in Seattle, and is striving to obtain a law degree, according to the New York Times. He did not publicly criticize Echols in any way, and, in fact, released an almost muted response to Echols’ criticism of him in the glory hog’s piss-ant memoir.
I don’t know if I will read Echols’ memoir. Probably will. If for no other reason than I’m sure it is chocked full of fresh material for future posts. I read recently (don’t remember where) that supporters of the WM3 have put up some $200,000 in reward money for information leading to the “real killer(s)” of this three 8-year-old Cub Scouts. Hell, just maybe Misskelley or Baldwin will get a little conscience stricken, step forward and identify the WM3 as the “real killers,” and walk away with that $200,000. Talk about poetic justice.