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The Boston Globe


West Memphis 3 figure seeks solace in Salem

Salem has made the most of its infamous connection to the 17th-century witch trials, with reenactments, witchcraft museums, Halloween parades, and year-round spooky events. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Damien Echols, a man who spent 18 years on death row for a crime many people now believe he didn’t commit, has found refuge in this North Shore town.

The 1993 murder of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Ark., along with the prosecution and legal battle that followed, captivated the nation and earned Echols and the two men convicted with him the moniker of the West Memphis 3. As questions about their guilt mounted, celebrity supporters, including “Lord of the Rings” filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, and Johnny Depp clamored for justice, and eventually it came with the trio’s release in 2011 under an obscure provision.

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