For the first time in more than two years, Damien Echols returned to Arkansas on Monday night.
Echols returned as an artist in residence at the University of Central Arkansas for a public reading of his book, "Life After Death," for the first time since he was released from prison in August 2011.
“You all have made this a very welcoming experience,” Echols told an almost-capacity crowd at the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall in Conway on Monday night. “It’s something I will always remember.”
Echols spent 18 years on death row after he, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. — better known as the West Memphis Three — were convicted in the murder of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis. The three men were released more than two years ago, as questions continued to swirl around their original convictions.
Tonight at UCA was amazing. My first trip back to Arkansas was all that I could have hoped for. Thank you.— Damien Echols (@damienechols) November 12, 2013
Following Echols' appearance, several locals and audience members took to social media to voice their approval of his return. Below is a collection of some of their thoughts.[View the story "Locals react to Echols visit" on Storify]