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West Memphis Three Death Row Inmate Finds True Love

West Memphis Three Death Row Inmate Finds True Love


Airdate: 06/20/2014

This may be one of the most unusual love stories you'll ever see.

When they met, Lorri Davis was a successful landscape architect, and Damien Echols was on death row, convicted of a gruesome triple murder that shocked the nation.

Davis' life changed forever in 1996, when she saw an HBO documentary called Paradise Lost.

It told the true story of three Cub Scouts who had been murdered in 1993 in the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas.

Police arrested Echols and two of his friends, and they became known as the West Memphis Three. But what was the motive? According to police, it was a sick Satanic ritual.

Watching the movie, Davis was especially taken by Echols - even though he was 10 years her junior and had been sentenced to death.

"I was very affected by what I saw," said Davis. "The story, the injustice.  I just felt a real need to help him, so I reached out to him."

Watch our interview with Echols and Davis.

Davis never believed Echols committed the crime, saying, "No never."

From her home in New York City, Davis sent Echols a letter, in care of death row.

"This is from the first letter I wrote to Damien," said Davis, reading the letter. "I don't know why I feel compelled to have contact with you, I just do. So I will write until you tell me to stop."

Echols wrote back.

"Thank you so much for writing," read the letter." "I've been waiting. I knew that sooner or later someone would take notice."

For the next three years, the pair exchanged many letters-- letters they have now compiled in a new book called Yours For Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row.  

But Davis' family and friends had no knowledge of her correspondence with Echols.

"My family was upset and worried for us," said Davis. "They didn't know much about the case, so they took some time and learned about it."

Davis made a decision that truly shocked her family and friends. She gave up her career in the big city and moved to be close to Echol's prison in Arkansas, where they would eventually get married.

Over the years, many celebrities, including Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks and actor Johnny Depp,  rallied around Echols, believing he and his two friends had been falsely accused.  

"Every single piece of evidence points to their innocence not to their guilt," said Depp.

Finally, in 2011,  the West Memphis Three were released after 18 long years behind bars.

"I think they are unbelievable," said Echol's attorney, Stephen Braga about Davis and his former client. "They are one of the most interesting and committed couples I've met. In fact, one of the great joys of working on this case to me, was  getting Damien out so he and Lorri could get on with their married life together."

It is now three years later, and Davis and Echols are still together. They settled into a new life in New York city, and they said their new book of letters proves love can conquer all.

"I guess for me what it is- this book, this process, is sort of a sense of closure," said Echols.

Davis said she hopes her book will "inspire people.


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