Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Damien Echols Defense Fund Art Benefit

On October 25th an exclusive silent auction of artwork will be held with work from 30+ prominent artists from the NYC contemporary art scene. The goal of this benefit is to raise much-needed legal funds for the final push to free Damien Echols.

Echols is an artist and writer who, at 18 years old, was wrongly convicted of murder in 1994 along with Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, and all became known as the West Memphis 3. Echols was merely a goth-metal kid in a conservative small town who was targeted for being different. Both the trial and investigation were characterized by egregious misconduct on the part of the authorities. Echols alone received the death sentence. The 1996 HBO documentary on this case,Paradise Lost, calls this miscarriage of justice a “new Salem witch trial.”
We—a cross section of artists, museum curators, gallery directors, musicians, and actors—believe in the innocence of Damien Echols. We have put this benefit together as a group of individuals with a common purpose. Unlike other fundraisers that raise money for blanket causes, or institutions, this benefit seeks to save the life of one person, a fellow artist. After 16 years on death row and as many denied legal motions, the Arkansas State Supreme Court will again consider Damien's lawyers' latest motion for a new trial.
  Crucial new evidence of the WM3's innocence has been uncovered, including crime scene DNA that absolves Damien, Jason and Jessie and points to other persons. Some of the country’s leading pathologists have found that much of the forensic evidence presented to the juries that helped convict the West Memphis 3 was false and not consistent with the cause of death or wounds found on the bodies. And recently, sworn affidavits were presented to the ASSC detailing serious misconduct during Jason and Damien's original trial by the jury foreman.

Date: October 25, 2009 6-9PM
Place: Maccarone
630 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10014

PH: 917-753-6187

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