'Guilty' But Free

August 20, 2011

It’s been an actual living hell.

— Death row inmate Damien Echols when a legal maneuver, an Alford plea, frees him and two co-defendants, after 18 years in prison, for the murders of three West Memphis children.

Damien Echols waves to a few onlookers and members of the media as he and his wife, Lorri Davis, leave the Madison Hotel on Aug. 20, 2011, a day after the release of the West Memphis Three. Echols and Jason Baldwin departed the hotel about noon with supporters including Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder. (Jeff McAdory/The Commercial Appeal)

Damien Echols waves to a few onlookers and members of the media as he and his wife, Lorri Davis, leave the Madison Hotel on Aug. 20, 2011, a day after the release of the West Memphis Three. Echols and Jason Baldwin departed the hotel about noon with supporters including Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder. (Jeff McAdory/The Commercial Appeal)

Celebrities Natalie Maines (standing, left) and Eddie Vedder (seated, left) and Damien Echols’ wife, Lorri Davis, celebrate as Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin are granted freedom Friday at the Craighead County Courthouse annex in Jonesboro, Ark. (Alan Spearman/The Commercial Appeal)

Celebrities Natalie Maines (standing, left) and Eddie Vedder (seated, left) and Damien Echols’ wife, Lorri Davis, celebrate as Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin are granted freedom Friday at the Craighead County Courthouse annex in Jonesboro, Ark. (Alan Spearman/The Commercial Appeal)