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A monstrous crime. A disputed conviction. Death row and its aftermath

In 1993 three young boys were kidnapped and gruesomely murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas. Three teenagers were tried and convicted of those murders and became known as the West Memphis Three.

Damien Echols was one of them. He was sentenced to death.

Echols spent the next 18 years on death row. During that time, he began a friendship with the musician and activist Eddie Vedder, who believed in the innocence of the three young men and fought for their release. Echols once referred to Vedder as the "greatest friend a person could have."

Eventually, exculpatory DNA evidence and claims of possible juror misconduct led to a legal maneuver known as an Alford plea: The three pleaded guilty while maintaining their innocence. In 2011, they were re-sentenced to time served and released.

Damien Echols became a best-selling author after his release. His latest book is “High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row.” He spoke with Eddie Vedder about the book, his life and their unique friendship on November 19 at The Neptune Theatre. The Seattle Theatre Group and the Elliott Bay Book Company presented the event. KUOW’s Sonya Harris recorded their conversation.

Please note: This recording contains language of an adult nature.

Listen to the full version below:

Damien Echols And Eddie Vedder On Speakers Forum

Damien Echols survived death row, and life after death row, with ceremonial magick (“the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will”) and friends like Eddie Vedder