A long time denial by Damien Echols ever since his conviction, was that he didn’t even live in West Memphis at the time of the murders. In-fact, not only did he not live in West Memphis according to him, but his home was 10 or 15 miles away from the crime scene or the neighborhood where the victims lived. Echols and his supporters claimed that he lived in the City of Marion, which neighbors West Memphis.
One has to wonder why Echols would maintain such obvious lies? The answer? Because his own statements, and those of his alibi witnesses and those who knew him, placed him either at Robin Hood Hills or near it on the day of the murders.
At the time of his arrest Damien Echols lived at this trailer…
It’s location? 2706 South Grove located in Broadway Trailer Park, which resides in… West Memphis.
During an interview with CNN’s Larry King, Echols stated the following:
KING: Did you live in the vicinity where they lived?
ECHOLS: Well, I lived — I didn’t actually live in West Memphis. I lived in a small town right outside of West Memphis called Marion. So it was within, I don’t know, I’d say about a 10, 15 mile area.
10-15 miles from where the victims lived? That’s Damien’s assertion.
According to Google Maps, the walking distance based on their suggested routes, would take about 35 minutes to walk from Damien’s trailer to the crime scene, or about 1.8 miles. This is hardly even close to the 10-15 miles Damien stated. And it has to also be kept in mind, that these are just the website’s suggested routes, and do not factor in if someone were to cut through an area such as a field or yard.
(Suggested route from Google Maps, stating that it would only take 35-36 minutes to walk from Damien’s trailer to the crime scene. The map also lists 1.8 miles as the distance for this route, contradicting Echols’ claims.)
Despite how Echols had tried to remove himself from West Memphis, he did in fact reside there. This then makes his statements to Larry King blatantly untrue, which will be delved into further below.
In yet another interview, this one being from 2010 he had this exchange with a journalist:
Interviewer: Let’s go back to 1993, had you, that area, that Robin hills area, was that an area you were familiar with or had ever been in?
Damien: No, it’s actually–um, most people always call us the West Memphis Three, but we actually weren’t from West Memphis, we were from um, a small town right outside of West Memphis called Marion, which almost no one knows where is. And, um, being that West Memphis is the closest thing to Marion um, it’s just sorta people look at it as almost being the same place. Uh, And all of the dealings we had were with West Memphis Police Department. So… West Memphis wasn’t a place that I went to um, a great deal of time you know? I went to school in Marion. Um, I lived in Marion. So, I didn’t really go to West Memphis a lot… at all.
Interviewer: So where these murders took place that was not an area–
Damien: No, because that would have been a residential area, uh-uh-uh, a wooded area close to a residential area. You know there weren’t any um– if I went to West Memphis it would have been to do something like say go to Wal-Mart, you know? Go to the grocery store, something like that. So it wouldn’t have been a residential area anyway…
Here he again continues with the lie that he lived in Marion, and not only says he didn’t live there, but was unfamiliar with Robin Hood Hills, and suggested that he barely spent any time in West Memphis.
The HBO film, “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills“, also inadvertently placed Echols not only in West Memphis, but near Robin Hood Hills in a scene showing local news footage.
A quote from the scene in question:
“Reverend Tommy Stacy’s church is down the street from where the bodies were found. One year ago, Damien Echols told the church’s youth minister he had a pact with the devil, and he was going to hell.”
It then cuts to an interview with Tommy Stacy:
“I do know that my youth director talked to Damien extensively at a revival that we had, and he told him that he could not be saved, that he could not give his heart to Jesus. My youth director then tried to get him to take a Bible, and he made the statement that he could not take a Bible, because if he did, the rest of ’em would get him.”
The map clearly shows that the Second Baptist Church is not only in West Memphis, but near the crime scene. As a matter of fact the crime scene is only a short walking distance from the Church, and “Paradise Lost” states it’s just down the street from the crime scene.
Adding to this, when pressed in court, Echols admitted to walking around West Memphis with his friend and co-defendant, Jason Baldwin:
A: We like to walk around a lot just with no place particular in mind. Just start out walking and walk around all day.
Q: Did you walk quite a bit around West Memphis, then?
A: Yes, I did.
He further was pressed and admitted walking through the neighborhood where the victims lived 2-3 times a week.
Q. Now, yesterday I asked you some general questions about, you had indicated that you and Jason quite frequently walked around areas of West Memphis?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Okay. I want to direct your attention on this diagram — in fact, let me circle it. This area right in here which would be, I believe, east of — is that 14th?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. It is east of 14th Street and south of the service road and the interstate. In that particular neighborhood, Market Street, Goodwin, in there, did you and Jason frequently walk and roam in that area, the same neighborhood where the three victims lived?
A. I think by looking at the map I would have had to.
Q. How often?
A. Probably in that area maybe twice a week.
Q. For how long a period?
A. A few years.
Q. How many?
A. Probably at least two years.
Q. All right. And that, when you told us yesterday that you hadn’t been over in that area, the residential area near Robin Hood Hills, were you just not thinking of that particular area?
A. No, when you said “neighborhood,” I just didn’t know what you are talking about, what that neighborhood is.
Q. But when I specified that particular area, the neighborhood that I circled, you were there two or three times a week?
A. Probably an average of two to three times a week.
Q. And what would the purpose be over there? Would you all just being walking around the neighborhood?
A. I had to walk through there to get from my house to Jason’s house. I would have to walk through there to get from my house to Domini’s house or anywhere in Marion.
(“I had to walk through there to get from my house to Jason’s house.” Damien testified that he had to cut through Robin Hood Hills to travel to Jason’s house, just as the photo above shows a path leading down from the Pipe Bridge to the Service Road.)
Q. Okay. Where were you living at the time?
A. At the time I was arrested, Broadway Trailer Park.
Q. Okay. Well, when you were walking over here — this is the interstate, didn’t you — where, if you could, show me where you lived?
A. Right here (indicating), somewhere along in there.
Q. So you lived south of Broadway?
Q. And what time period was that? When did you quit living south of Broadway?
A. When I was arrested.
Q. Okay. And your only reason to walk through here would be to go to and from Jason’s residence?
Q. And that’s the path you would take, you and Jason would take a path through here and over there?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And that would be two or three times a week?
A. On an average.
Q. Did you have anybody else in that neighborhood that you visited or that you went over and were at their house or anything of that nature?
A. Probably, there is several people in Lakeshore.
Q. Not in Lakeshore, in the neighborhood we circled.
A. No, but I had to go through there to get to Lakeshore.
Furthermore one of his co-defendants, Jessie Misskelley in an interview with false confession expert, Richard Ofshe, also placed him walking around West Memphis. Jessie told Ofshe the following:
“…Damien he don’t stay in one place long, he always walk around, he always go to West Memphis…he goes to West Memphis a lot…and he walks around.”
In a passage from Damien’s book “Almost Home“, found on pages 7-8, Echols placed himself living next-door to Robin Hood Hills when he was a child:
“A couple of strange incidents occurred during this period of my life, both which I remember vividly, but neither of which I can explain. The first happened while still living in the Mayfair apartments.
One evening as dusk approached my mother told me not to leave the walkway right in front of our apartment door. Being the unlearned heathen that I was, I beat it the moment she was out of sight. I ran around to the very back of the complex where a huge mound of sand was located, and proceeded to dig a hole with my bare hands. This was one of my favorite activities, in which I invested a huge amount of time as a child. I looked up from my digging some time later only to realize it was completely dark. I could see the streetlights on in the distance, and the night was deathly silent. No Crickets chirping, people talking, or cars driving by. Nothing but silence that comes once the movies is over and the screen goes blank. Knowing that I was now officially in trouble, I dusted myself off and started to make my way back to our apartment.
As I walked home I had to pass a place where two sections of the building came together to form a corner. The last time I had noticed this corner the apartment there was empty. Now it was dark, but the front door was open.
There was no trace of any light and the inside of the apartment was as void of illumination as some sort of vacuum. Standing in the doorway, propped against the frame with his arms folded across his chest was a man in black pants and no shirt. He had black, shoulder length hair and wore a shit-eating grin. “where you goin’, boy?” he asked in a way that said he was amused, but didn’t really expect an answer. I said nothing, just stood looking up at him. “Your mamma’s looking for you. You know you’re going to get a whipping.”
After a moment longer I continued on my way. When I encountered my mother, she had a switch in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I did indeed receive a whipping.
I never thought about this incident again, up until a day or so before I was arrested and put on trial for murder. I was eighteen years old, and the cops had been harassing me non-stop for weeks. My mother asked me one day after lunch, “Why don’t you take your shirt off and go in the back yard so I can take pictures? That way, if the cops beat you we’ll have some before and after photos.” Nodding my head, I made a trip to the bathroom where I took my shirt off. When I looked into the mirror over the sink, it hit me that I looked exactly like the man I’d seen all those years before in the dark apartment. Mirrors have always made me a little uneasy for some reason and this incident did nothing to change that.
The other bit of bizarre happenstance took place after we had moved from Mayfair and into a small trailer in the countryside. I slept in a tiny bedroom at the very end of the hallway. There were no windows, and only one way into or out of this bedroom. Fire exits? We don’t need no stinkin’ fire exits.
Late one night something woke me up. It wasn’t a noise, as the entire place was deathly silent. I rolled over and found myself face to face with a strange woman who appeared to be fast asleep in my bed. I was paralyzed with fright. So scared that I couldn’t move, couldn’t scream, couldn’t do anything. All I could do was stare at this sleeping woman, my eyes bulging in terror.
When the fear gave way to self-preservation I jumped from the bed and fled to my parents’ room, wailing like a fire engine. My mother and father bolted straight out of bed to the sound of me screaming, “There’s someone in my room!” My mother gave my father a scared look, but he was already on his way down the hall.
There was no woman found, and no way that anyone could have gotten past my parents’ room to leave. There was no window to crawl out of and no back door to flee through. My Parents pointed out these facts to me numerous times over the subsequent weeks, but I still couldn’t sleep more than an hour at a time. I never slept the whole night through until after we moved, which we fortunately did very soon.”
Damien placed himself and his family living at the Mayfair Apartments, which are located right next to the crime scene. The playground area sits right behind it, and is near to where the Pipe Bridge is located.
The apartment complex can even be viewed from the crime scene.
He lived right behind Robin Hood Hills as a child and admitted traveling through the location as a short-cut to Jason’s house at least twice a week, every week.
His step dad Jack Echols would also state this in a declaration.
“There were other times when Damien had so much energy he did not know what to do. He got really excited and kind of hyper and he always walked at these times. Damien walked to some of the parks in the area, to some of his friends houses, and across town…”
Damien hungout at parks in the area according to his step dad.
Damien would also list the “woods” and “park” as places he frequented in the community.
One of Damien’s friends, Heather Cliett took the police to Robin Hood on May 10th, 1993, stating that she had seen the victims playing there before.
PICKED HEATHER CLIETT UP FROM EAST JR. HIGH – WENT TO THE DEAD END OF GOODWIN – SHE TOOK ME TO A PLACE THAT THE KIDS CALL DEVILS DEN WHERE SHE HAS SEEN ALL 3 VICTIMS ON SEVERAL OCCASSIONS RIDING THEIR BIKES. TOOK A FEW PICTURES – RETURNED HER TO SCHOOL @ 10:30 A.M.
Heither Cliett, a friend of Damien’s had been to Robin Hood Hills, and had seen the victims at the location before herself.
Chris Littrell another one of Damien’s friends stated during a police polygraph interview that both he, and Murray Farris had been to Robin hood before.
Tabitha Hollingsworth in her initial statement to police had also placed Damien and Jason as often hanging out at Robin Hood Hills, describing them often walking toward 10 Mile Bayou, the large body of water which ran under the Pipe Bridge:
DABBS: Have you ever known of anything that, you ever seen them together up, you say they camp out on this ditch here?
TABITHA: Yeah, they go back there to the river all the time.
During a questionnaire conducted by police on May 9th and May 10th, 1993, a series of questions would be asked. The list of questions appears below.
For Questions 20 and 21 he stated the following on both days:
Damien’s friend, Jennifer Bearden, told the police on September 10, 1993, that Damien had told her on May 5th, during a phone call, that he was going to Jason Baldwin’s house, and that she called him later on after he had arrived at Jason’s trailer. He further told her he and Jason were going somewhere, and then during the time of the murders she was unable to reach him. She said that later that night around 9 or 9:30(In other statements, she said she lied about the time, making it between 10-10:30, because she didn’t want her parents to know she was up past her bedtime.) she finally got a hold of Damien at his home and he said that he and Jason had been “someplace”.
Ridge: At 9:20 you get Damien on the telephone and he tells you that he and Jason had been some where?
Jennifer: Um Um (yes)
Ridge: Okay, you didn’t know where? Did you ever ask him where he had been that night?
Jennifer: I said something about it, but you know I really didn’t… didn’t really care. Cause they go places together all the time you know.
On June 7th, 1993, Damien’s friend Heather Cliett told the police that during the time of the crime, she tried to call both him and Jason, but was unable to reach either one of them. She said she did not get a hold of Damien until 10:30 PM that night.
In a handwritten statement from June 8, 1993, Heather wrote the following:
“I Have known Jason Baldwin for 1 1/2 months. He has been my boyfriend for 1 month. On May 5th, 93 I tried to call him around 4:30/5:00, there was no answer. Later, around 6:15PM I tried, & it was busy. I didn’t try again!”
The time of 6:15, as Heather stated would coincide for the time in which Jennifer Bearden stated that she was talking with Jason and Damien over the phone at Jason’s trailer.
In the same handwritten statement, Heather states as follows:
“Around 9:00PM I was talking to a friend from Bartlett (Hollie), we tried to get a hold of Michael Wayne “Damien” Echols from then until around 10:30PM, when we finally got in touch w/him!”
Heather also stated that she could not reach Damien as well, accounting for the time period in which the murders took place. And lastly, a few days later on the Friday of that week, May 7th, 1993, Heather spoke to Hollie George, one of the other two girls who spoke to Damien on May 5th. Heather inquired with Hollie about where Damien was during the time that they were trying to reach Damien by phone. Hollie told her, that Damien said to her that he had been out walking the neighborhood.
The statements of these three girls place Damien on May 5th, walking to Jason’s house, and both Jason and Damien being together at the same time frame as the murders occurred. The girls were not able to get a hold of Damien again until somewhere between 10-10:30. And Damien stated that if he ever walked to Jason’s house he had to travel through the victim neighborhood, to the Service Road, and walking right past the crime scene.
Per Damien’s own trial testimony, every time he walked to Jason’s house he had to travel up 14th Street near the crime scene and walk out onto the Service Road, suggesting he had to either walk across the Pipe Bridge and into Robin Hood Hills to do so, or walk around Robin Hood Hills. Either way, he had to travel past the crime scene.
And in his own statement to police on May 10th, 1993, he said that he had been in Robin Hood Hills before.
And if what Jennifer Bearden said is true, then on May 5th he was around or near where the boys died at about the same exact time that they were killed, because as Damien stated, he had to travel to the Service Road and walk past the crime scene every time he visited Jason Baldwin.
According to Damien’s sister, that on the night of the murders, after he got home, he spoke to Jason Baldwin immediately after he got off the phone with the three girls who had been trying to call him all night.
FOGLEMAN – OKAY. WHAT TIME WAS IT WHEN HE TALKED TO JASON?
MICHELLE – UM, AROUND 9:30, 10:00. SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
This statement from Michelle Echols, shows that Damien did have some contact with Jason Baldwin that day shortly after getting home, which conforms to the statements of Heither Cliett, Hollie George, and Jennifer Bearden, who said that Damien had gone to hang-out with Jason Baldwin that day. And therefore if Damien had been to Robin Hood Hills that day, at about the same exact time as the murders took place, and had done so with his friend Jason Baldwin, then it would make sense that after he got home, he’d want to discuss the discuss the murders that he had his best friend had just committed.
That same night, Narlene Hollingsworth, the aunt of Damien Echols’ girlfriend, Domini Teer, was driving with her family on the Service Road at about 9:45. She and her family spotted two people walking past the Blue Beacon Truck Wash in the direction walking toward Lakeshore Trailer Park, where Jason Baldwin lived. Narlene recognized Damien, and assumed the person next to him with long hair must be her niece, Domini Teer. The police would come to believe later on that she mistook, Jason Baldwin for Domini, because of his similar appearance in the dark:
NARLENE: Okay, I got ready to go, and my husband went with me and my children were too. And, on our way, coming do[wn] like you’re going to Love’s, I saw Dominic and Damia[n] coming down the street.
DABBS: What time was this?
NARLENE: This was exactly 20minutes til 10, exactly, cause w[e] had our watches and we knew what time it was. Okay they had dark clothing on and they were not cleaned.
DABBS: You said at one time that they were muddy all over.
NARLENE: They did have dirt on them, yes they did, now
HESTER: Now, which way were they walking?
NARLENE: They was coming back towards Lakeshore, this way.
So, at roughly 9:45 Damien is spotted walking along the service road near the crime scene with wet and muddy clothing. He’s seen with a second person, who could be Jason Baldwin, and these two people are walking in the direction of Jason Baldwin’s trailer. Damien then gets home some time between 10-10:30, and speaks with the three girls who had been trying to reach him much of the night, and then he speaks to Jason Baldwin immediately after getting them off the phone.
The evidence shows that it seems highly unlikely that he wasn’t familiar with the area, and the crime scene, which is why he told Larry King that he lived 10-15 miles away from the crime scene. He not only lived in West Memphis, but often walked the neighborhood where the victims lived and hung-out around Robin Hood Hills and in Robin Hood Hills. He was also unaccounted for at the time of the crime and neither he, nor Jason Baldwin could be reached by phone when the crime occurred. Eye witnesses who knew Damien also witnessed him fleeing the crime scene with a second person. Damien and this second person had wet and muddy clothes on, again fitting the facts of the crime.