“It had no discernible facial features. But I knew it was an angel,” Echols said, “and I got why angels in the Bible say ‘be not afraid’ when they show up, because this thing was terrifying.”
Echols and two friends were convicted of killing three 8-year-old boys in the early 1990s, according to the article. With no physical evidence to link the “West Memphis Three” to the murders, prosecutors instead relied on pentagram doodles and the teenagers’ belief in Wicca to convince a jury that they committed the murders as ritual sacrifices.
Echols and his codefendants were released in 2011 after HBO’s program “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills” created a movement to free them and new DNA evidence introduced another suspect.
“I did magick to lessen the power of politicians who were interested in carrying out my murder,” Echols wrote. “I performed magick to draw freedom toward me.”
Echols is now a spiritual teacher and author, helping others learn magick. His classes have attracted a small but devoted following, according to The Guardian.
“I look to Damien because like thousands of others, I was inspired by his resilience,” said one of his followers, Sarah, a school administrator from D.C. “He taught me that anyone can be freed from their own personal prison cell.”