We’ve begun a new fundraising event for the WM3; “Rock for Freedom Weekend”, to take place March 7-9 all over the US and abroad.
Before I go into the event itself, here is the latest letter from Lorri Davis Echols, Damien Echols’ wife, regarding the Defense Fund:
January 2, 2008
Dear Friends & Supporters:
As a new year begins, we are also starting a new round of work to fully – and finally – exonerate the West Memphis Three. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that my husband, Damien Echols, has been on death row for nearly 15 years and that Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin have also spent their entire adult lives in prison for a crime they did not commit.
As you know, in late October we filed a 500-page motion in federal court with strong scientific evidence that all three men are innocent of the murders for which they were wrongfully convicted in 1993. This motion includes DNA testing on dozens of pieces of evidence, analysis from the nation’s leading forensic science experts, other solid scientific evidence and compelling witness affidavits. There was no credible evidence presented when these three men were on trial; they were convicted based on fear, hysteria and innuendo. With our recent court filing, reliable scientific evidence finally came into this case, nearly 14 years after Damien, Jessie and Jason were wrongfully convicted.
We urgently need your help to make sure this evidence is fully considered. With your help, the strong scientific evidence will have its day in court, and Damien, Jessie and Jason can finally see justice.
The harsh reality is that uncovering clear evidence that the West Memphis Three are innocent isn’t enough. A few weeks after we shared this extraordinary evidence with the federal court, we received an order from the judge saying we must resolve claims in state court before the federal courts will look at the evidence. The legal team has spent countless hours developing a strategy and plan to focus the court on this new evidence. Today, our lawyers – some of the nation’s best and most dedicated appellate attorneys – formally asked the state court to separate the new evidence from pending claims and review it quickly.
Simply put, today we told the court that this evidence is too important and too powerful to let sit any longer.
In the weeks and months ahead, our lawyers will be preparing to argue this new evidence in either state or federal court. At the same time, our investigators are pursuing even more new evidence that the West Memphis Three are innocent. I need to be honest with you: It is frustrating to come so far, only to see that we have farther to go. As Damien said recently during an hour-long “Larry King Live” interview, “You know, the legal system, they like to drag things out as long as they possibly can. Like I say, I've been here almost 15 years now.”
I want to write you a letter simply thanking you – from the bottom of our hearts – for your support and generosity that made it possible for us to uncover this new evidence. We are more grateful than you can ever know, yet we also need your help more than ever. We urgently need financial contributions to help pay for the legal work, investigation and organizing efforts that will correct this grave injustice once and for all. Please make a donation to the Defense Fund today.
Please make checks payable to:
Damien Echols Defense Fund
PO Box 1216
Little Rock, AR 72203
You can also donate online, through PayPal. It's easy, free and allows you to use your credit or debit card. We also suggest that International Supporters use this option. Please use LDavis11@hotmail.com as the recipient address and kindly include your name and address in the notes box. The button you can click to include your address does not always work.
Over the last several years – and particularly the last several months – we have been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of longtime friends and people just learning about the case. Shortly after we made the new evidence public, a group of supporters in Arkansas began organizing to put political pressure on the Governor, Attorney General and District Attorney. Thousands of people, many of them in Arkansas and Tennessee, came forward to demand that the new evidence be fully considered.
The message is clear: The public wants elected officials to respect the scientific evidence, and most people – even those who once believed that the West Memphis Three were guilty – believe that the case is an intolerable miscarriage of justice. In the months ahead, we will be expanding these organizing and public education efforts, just as we redouble our litigation strategy to exonerate Damien, Jessie and Jason.
Thank you for everything you have already done. Without your help, we would not be on the verge of finally securing justice. And thank you in advance for making a donation that will enable us to finally overturn these convictions and free Damien, Jessie and Jason.
Thanks very much,
and the Damien Echols Legal Team
GO HERE TO SEE ROCK FOR FREEDOM ON WM3.ORG
.Lorri Davis Echols and the folks at WM3.org as well as ourselves, at the “Rock for Freedom Weekend” sites, have all shifted into high gear, if you haven’t noticed, to raise funds as quickly as possible. If we cannot replenish the WM3 Defense Fund, and the lawyers are not paid, the WM3’s appeals will stop in their tracks. The lawyers working for Damien, Jason, & Jessie are damn good ones, and with quality comes a price. Not only have the fees for the lawyers, and investigators, risen considerably, new testing will be needed (DNA, and possibly other types), and these tests are astronomically expensive.
YOU DON’T NEED OUR PERMISSION TO DO ANYTHING! YOU DON’T HAVE TO CONTACT US! If you know what you’re doing and don’t need help, knock yourself out! It will benefit you and your show though if you put up your info on the Ezboard AND mail it to email@example.com so your show will be promoted online!
If everyone would please take the time to view our Myspace Site & our RFFW Website and consider organizing a benefit of your own. The WM3 Defense Fund is in dire need of funds currently.
PLEASE JOIN US IN RAISING FUNDS FOR THE WM3 DEFENSE FUND! IF EVERYONE PARTICIPATES IN SOME WAY , IF WE ALL JOIN TOGETHER AND MAKE THE “ROCK FOR FREEDOM WEEKEND” THE HIGHEST GROSSING WM3 EVENT TO DATE, WE ALL, EVERYONE OF US, WILL HAVE HELPED DAMIEN, JASON & JESSIE TO COME HOME!
AS SUPPORTERS OF THE WEST MEMPHIS 3 WE CANNOT ALLOW THE WM3 DEFENSE FUND TO BE DEPLETED!!! THESE MEN’S LIVES LITERALLY DEPEND ON OUR ABILITY, AS SUPPORTERS, TO RAISE FUNDS TO PAY FOR THE LAWYERS WORKING ON THEIR APPEALS, AND THE TESTS THAT COULD POSSIBLY PROVE THEM INNOCENT BEYOND A DOUBT. I cannot express to all of you with any more sincerity how CRUCIAL fundraising is at this point. PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS IMPORTANT TIME PASS DAMIEN, JASON, & JESSIE BY!
JUST A FEW REMINDERS
1. If you are interested in doing a benefit for the “Rock For Freedom Weekend” event March 7-9, PLEASE be sure to post in the RFFW section on Ezboard. Then check your post about once a week to see if others are trying to contact you. CLICK HERE FOR RFFW ON EZBOARD
2. Response to RFFW is coming in slowly, but we need everyone to pick up the pace! We know it’s the holidays, so we don’t expect anyone to be ignoring one to do the other, so please contact us after the holidays if that’s best for your schedule! FUNDS ARE NEEDED DESPERATELY RIGHT NOW, so we’ve got to give this event our ALL. PLEASE GET INVOLVED & INSPIRE YOUR FRIENDS TO DO THE SAME! We’re looking for celebs or well known musicians to get involved as well, by simply displaying our RFFW banner on their websites…so if you know someone famous who’s a Supporter, please let us know!
3. Another WM3-related event is happening in Texas on the Rock for Freedom Weekend (March 7-9). THIS EVENT WILL NOT EFFECT RFFW EVENTS, and things will continue as planned. The silent auction at the Horror Fest lasts all weekend, so Supporters can participate in both!
4. Also, if you’re interested in doing an event, or participating in one, contact your RFFW Coordinator! (The list is on the front of our Myspace page) CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR COORDINATOR
5. PLEASE put a RFFW banner up on your site, linking to our Myspace site. You can find banners BY CLICKING HERE
6. Please BLOG ABOUT RFFW ON YOUR MYSPACE SITE! You’re welcome to use one of the announcements on OUR Myspace site, the one that’s up on WM3.org, or you can do your own. JUST PLEASE BLOG ABOUT IT…so many people read your blogs and we need to spread the word as much as possible!
7. Read the “How To” page on the RFFW Website. It will answer many of your questions, whether you’ve done a benefit before or not! CLICK FOR RFFW WEBSITE
8. If you have ANY questions you can’t find an answer for, please contact us here! We’re here to help you!
***And, if you are already in the process of setting up a show or have one set up completely, PLEASE CONTACT US HERE AT OUR MYSPACE SITE WITH ALL YOUR SHOW DETAILS AS WE’RE GOING TO PUT UP A “SHOW”-SECTION TO PROMOTE ALL SHOWS…..AND…..SEND THE SAME INFORMATION TO WM3.ORG SO THEY CAN PUT IT UP AS WELL!!! Email your show info to: firstname.lastname@example.org ****
We hope all of you had a wonderful holiday!!
We’re back and ready to get down to business……I hope you guys are too!
Boohiss, STL, & the RFFW Crew