For those in the business of studying wrongful convictions, the case of Damien Echols is the gold standard. So it makes sense that Echols, who spent 18 years on death row, will be speaking to the Justice Brandeis Innocence Project, part of the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis. Echols, who moved to Salem after his release from prison, will be on campus Feb. 5, along with TV journalist Erin Moriarty , who did a lengthy piece about Echols on “48 Hours.” “Damien moved to Salem specifically because he identifies with what happened to the witches,” Anne Driscoll, a senior reporter at the Justice Brandeis Innocence Project, told us. Echols and codefendants Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. — they’re known as the West Memphis Three — were convicted of killing three boys in Arkansas, largely based on the testimony of people who said they heard the teens talk about the murders. As lawyers wrangled, several celebs, including Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder , actor Johnny Depp , and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines , called attention to the case. Echols and the others were finally freed last summer.
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