Life After Death

In 1993, three eight year old boys were brutally murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas. Three teenagers, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley were arrested and charged for the crime. The town panicked, people screamed of satanic rituals taking place. A trial full of false statements and accusations took place resulting in Jason and Jessie being sentenced to life in prison. Damien however, was sentenced to death at just 18 years of age. In Life After Death Damien takes us through his childhood, his incarceration and his release from death row.

Damien talks us through his childhood which I feel is extremely important to know. The monster who is portrayed in the media is human. He is a human being too, he has real emotions and very real fears. He is not the devil worshipper the media would have you to believe. He is the face of many, anybody who is a little different, who doesn't fit in the mould of society could very easily be put in this position.

Damien is very open to prison conditions, he spent 18 years on death row for a crime he did not commit. The treatment he received from the guards is appalling, he suffered many injuries from the guards alone. Death row inmates are not given medical care as it's believed to be a waste of money. This may be all well and good for true criminals, but for a boy - because that's all he was - who has not committed a crime to be exposed to these conditions for 18 years is horrible.

Damien is a very eloquently spoken man, he has a deep sense of spirituality which contributes to this book immensely. Even though you know he has since been released, the way he portrays his feelings and emotions towards the end of the book builds up a suspense. You share in his pain and his longing even just a small bit.

This is a man who has looked death in the face, seen fellow inmates dragged to the death chamber, wondering when he will be next. He has a very unique perspective on life which he doesn't hold back and shares with us readers. This is a man who sees the beauty in the most mundane things, which is something we could all do with taking on board. If that's all you take from this book then I would say Damien has done a big favour to you.

For a man who has had half of his life blasted in the media he has chosen to share even more of his life with us. Personally I'm glad he has, this book has made me open my eyes to a system we put so much trust in without a second thought. I see the basic aspects of life in a truly different light.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in true crime or somebody who wants to see a perspective of life literally at rock bottom.

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