[from jessie misskelley jr., august 23rd 2011] hello friends! let me start off by saying that i am forever grateful and appreciative of every single one of you who has supported us now and in the past. i call each and everyone of you my friend. i am beginning a new life for myself and enjoying spending time with friends and loved ones. meeting new family has brought so much joy to my heart as seeing those i haven't seen in 18 years. i am taking time to relax and learning about things that have changed. thanks again to everyone who has welcomed us back into society where we belong and have belonged for 18 years. this feeling is like no other i never imagined... walking out a free man and it's because of all y'all that i kept the faith that one day i would get to start and continue my life again. thanks you all i love each and every one of you! have a good life, i know i sure will!
love, jessie misskelley jr.
[damien echols, august 19th, 2011] to all my friends and family, my attorneys and advocates, and to those of you from every corner of this earth who have stood beside us these long years, please know that i will forever be indebted to all of you for helping me to become a free man. each and every day i was the beneficiary of acts of kindness and humanity from people of all walks of life, of all ages, nationalities, religions and political persuasions. the enormity of the support lorri and i received throughout this struggle is humbling.
i have now spent half my life on death row. it is a torturous environment that no human being should have to endure, and it needed to end. i am innocent, as are jason and jessie, but i made this decision because i did not want to spend another day of my life behind those bars. i want to live and to continue to fight for our innocence. sometimes justice is neither pretty nor is it perfect, but it was important to take this opportunity to be free.
i am not alone as there are tens of thousand of men and woman in this country who have been wrongfully convicted, forced into a false confession, sentenced to death or a lifetime in prison. i am hopeful that one day they too will be able stand with their friends and family to declare their innocence. this whole experience has taught me much about life, human nature, american justice, survival and transcendence.
i will hopefully take those lessons with me as i embark on the next chapter in my journey and along the way look forward to enjoying some of those simple things in life like spending christmastime, halloween and my birthday with those i love.
[from jason baldwin] good morning, everybody! i want to say that this is the most joyous experience: learning to live, to love, and to soar higher than any past expectations. we live in a world where sometimes living is not about loving.
however, all of you have shown me that the parts of the world you inhabit are about loving. what happened to me happened without my consent. what all of you have done, you chose to do. you chose to step in and eliminate some of the darkness in this world. i find you all to be heroes, and i am glad to call you all my friends.
these new days have been a blur, full of hard-won and much-deserved fun, revelry and just getting to know one another and ourselves. i've probably said this countless times these past few days, but i've felt like a dandelion seed in the wind--pulled from one friend's arms to the next, to dance to the sweet tune of freedom. it's a beautiful sound.
love and libre! jason baldwin
[via kathy @ wm3discussion list]