As a child I have been locked up several times, but I thought it was normal, but as an adult, I was picked up by police from my apartment and locked up in jail, as a reluctant witness, and became aware of how it felt to be locked up and depending on others to unlock the door when you want to go to the bathroom, but this happened in Sweden and in comparison with the U.S. is Sweden jails sheer luxury hotels. And it is the reality, mine or someone else's, which I based my crime novels, but now it´s about the book “Life after Death” by Damien Echols as it should be about.
Damien was born December 11, 1974 at the hospital in the run-down small town West Memphis in Arkansas. The State that as also the U.S. former president Bill Clinton was born in. Not for a second did Damien have imagined that he would sit on death row in nearly 18 years innocently convicted of murder he did not commit.
Someone in the 1970s, I watched a movie "And Justice for All" with Al Pacino in the lead role. In the movie there was a crazy judge who sat and ate his lunch sitting on the edge of the open window eighty levels up. Hating cops who beat and abused prisoners etc. Not for a moment I thought that this story could be based on reality. How wrong I was! The reality is, as usual, even worse. Damien got to experience it as directed against prisoners by prison guards was hatred, anger, disgust, stupidity, ignorance and brutality. It was more common than uncommon to find insects in the food that was served. Grasshoppers and crickets were boiled together with broccoli, the reason was that no one bothered to wash them before cooking. Each prisoner gets an account that family and friends can deposit money into that is designed for basic needs. Everything in the prison had to be payed for.
The reason that Damien, Jason and Jessie again were allowed to see the sun's light, walking on lawns, began with HBO made a documentary, "Paradise Lost" and when Lorri Davis, Damiens says she is his life and they are now marriaged, got to see this movie committed herself. Lorri began to write a letter and after a few years she got hundreds of people involved even famous movie stars including Johnny Depp. The book contains a long list of all Damien thanks for his life and the first om the list is Lorri.
Today we know that innocent people are sentenced to prison even in Sweden, but we have thankfully not the death penalty. Just the thought of innocent people executed by the state, as happened several times in the U.S., is terrible. While Damien sat and waited for death in his cell was over twenty people executed. How many of them who were innocent will we never know.
If you like to learn more about reality, which sometimes is hard to take in, and also look through all the advertising that America does about his country, as a country that fights for human rights, this is the book you should read !
There's also a lot more information about the case, for those who know English on this page:
I apologize for my bad spelling