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Alex I'm going to welcome -- -- -- is the author of life after death.
At age -- he was falsely convicted along with the two other known as the West Memphis the -- spent eighteen years.
Spent time on death row.
And -- finally.
It's not not -- necessarily -- -- -- whole issue just a moment Jamie thank you become an on that tonight -- you very much.
Thank you tell me a -- just a little bit background for our audience.
What happened at age eighteen what we were accused element heading he -- and getting accused of that.
When I was eighteen years old I was arrested and eventually convicted.
Of killing -- -- children as part of a satanic ritual.
Inept and the way come about what it all boils down to is -- police picked up.
Pay mentally handicapped teenager in that Q from between 68 -- to.
And a for all intents and purposes tortured him into.
Saying what they want -- -- say.
He confessed to the crime eventually actors somewhere between 1214 hours of com interrogation and in the process implicated.
Me and another guy named Jason -- And we were eventually convicted I was sentenced to death and they were both events to life in prison without parole.
And who was involved in this crime.
All right now it looks like we were eventually freed last year after DNA testing -- came back DNA testing has progressed.
Since 1993 they -- content now that.
They couldn't dividends and all of the DNA at the crime seen not only does not match me -- the two other men who were arrested by it came back.
Showing a positive match to the stepfather of one of the victims.
And the man who -- providing stepfather with an alibi.
So that was the person with the low IQ that you mentioned one of the three.
And one of the Memphis -- I was -- ms.
-- -- -- was one of the but none of the three were involved in the crime correct.
But this person was not.
Aware enough for not able to function mentally and such a way is to.
Really understand what was going on and gazillion.
-- have -- -- Even in the that confession you know it's nothing that he said was some accurate you know for example they say.
Or what time did you commit the murders and he says at 12 o'clock noon.
And they knew it could have been true because the victims were -- -- school at that time.
Com one of the man he was -- committed the murders with him was also in school at that time you know it was just literally impossible he didn't get anything right.
At all in this so called confession but.
They didn't care all they cared about the fact that they had him on tape saying yeah.
What was the -- offered plea could you explain that.
I don't simply.
When it comes down to stay here accepting.
The plea that the state is offering you your pleading no contest but the same time.
You get to maintain your innocence it's a very rare plea in the US most people never even.
It -- -- isn't really have to plead guilty even though you're not guilty.
Yeah well it but it's not a -- guilty plea that's why don't you call and Alfred plea means you're accepting the guilty plea but at the same time -- still maintain their and to.
Which is why it's so rare and the reason she used to mean what it comes down to it that the way that the the state can get out of being food.
What all the DNA evidence that a comeback in -- case come the prosecutor.
Said OK -- we go way the court you know you'll win in this case but we can check out for another five years.
All appeal every decision we can ask for extensions.
We can drag this down into the as far as we can see into the future or you confinement agreement.
And you can go home this week.
But do you still face legal.
Problems here a year ago -- exonerated.
No we are not exonerated.
You know it as a matter of fact.
Our records still show that we have to -- counts of capital murder our records side try to go to Canada recently.
To help promote the documentary about the case and at first the Canadian government.
Denied me they would let me and because they said your record shows that you have three counts of murder your record.
So how do you get that cleared.
All that's what we're fighting for right now -- the book with the documentary.
-- humble we're still continuing -- doing everything we can to put pressure on the state to get him to reopen the case.
That's when it comes down to they're gonna have to reopen the case.
The person that is actually responsible for the -- is gonna have to be arrested and the authority figures who did this to us are gonna have to be held accountable -- they've done.
So is it only with a conviction of the person who committed this crime that you really get your freedom.
-- There are other ways Betty it is possible like if the governor word to you know -- out a statement exonerating us but for the most part I mean that's.
The most likely -- This story were to argument is that chronicled and Amy Nichols is new book life after death.
And death because of death row correct about how close everybody -- to actually being executed.
My original execution date was may fifth -- 1994.
-- all of my attorneys they were so incompetent they didn't realize that they had to file for a stay of execution make -- it was automatic so we came really close -- the execution before they even realize their mistake.
And I mean really in essence they almost got me executed just because they didn't know -- they were doing.
Is this because you or someone who needed help financially and you're given -- state attorney.
And the fact -- -- what people don't really understand it's in our country where everybody has the right to attorney sometimes that people who are signed.
The prisoners who can't afford attorneys they fall asleep -- trials are not the greatest lawyers in every case.
And you almost lost her life over that.
Exactly you know they get paid the same whether they win or lose and they have to work with -- judge every day they have to work with the prosecutors every day.
-- they're not gonna put too much into it and risk.
Com you know make it makes people angry pissing -- people -- they're not going to you know do too much to.
Help when it doesn't really benefit them.
All of this is an argument against the death penalty I don't know what is.
-- you want -- you eventually get your if not legal freedom at least your geographical freedom to get out of jail.
A lot of it came about from the DNA testing.
It came about with new eye witnesses came forward the man whose DNA was actually commit the crime scene has always said he never saw the victims that day.
-- three -- witnesses came forward and said that's not true we saw him with all three victim.
Within an hour the time they were murdered.
We had bad I mean there was all sorts of new evidence coming in.
M bomb the media started to pay a lot of attention to it -- had cases all the time.
What it all comes down to is the main thing people like prosecutors.
Judges attorney general's.
The main thing they care about winning the next election.
And the media was put a lot of pressure on them because it became more and more apparent that they -- an innocent person that death.
Flaw allowing a murderer walk the streets twenty years and they wanted to get that spotlight off -- and they built this has been in the easiest way to do.
How did you get people like Johnny Depp to participate in your.
Or a lot of -- came about through documentary that were made years ago about the case differ from came out in 1996.
Title paradise lost.
And a lot of times people would -- -- and have a really strong reaction they would say you know what that could have been me.
If -- -- that small town if I were in that situation that same thing could happen to me.
So they would.
Call and contacted -- wanted to know what they could -- you know.
And Johnny Depp was one of those people.
Yeah he's he's done a lot lot force over the years coming he'd just gone above and beyond the call of duty.
He's become like a brother to me as time has passed even after we -- now you know we.
I don't know what we -- done without him.
-- take a quick break we come back -- in order to argument -- your personal life a little bit what you've gone through what you went through in prison.
What you went through as a child you talk about a lot about that in the book in fact probably to a greater extent.
The some of the stuff we've been talking about here the political life after death well delve a little further into -- life upon our return.
-- called army reserve the lyrics taken from poetry written -- against the Indians.
Nichols -- -- that happened in me.
Bad over the years we just grew really close with any he's become to the prison and visit me while I was on -- -- And you know we did talk about all kinds of stuff and we used to write letters to each other and then they had just it was one of those letters it was a piece of poetry that I have written it -- took him.
Arranged it to music.
We talking -- Johnny Depp earlier brotherly -- is called life after death truly life after death row.
And but the book escalate after that and that you as a teenager -- into the occult little bit heavy metal and black clothing and -- and then lead to some of the thoughts on the part of the prosecutors that maybe you were guilty because of your lifestyle.
Well I came from a really small town you know hardcore fundamentalist.
Southern backwoods town.
Back in nineteen -- everywhere I just did not fitting in you know now they say that I was what they called gone but back then I'd never even heard that word.
It was just you know -- -- well why didn't listen to the music -- -- like them.
It just sort of made me target and a place that side.
So that's what initially drew attention to me just because I did not -- him.
And you had a family that did not necessarily nurture you the way you should have been nurtured you hand if for example -- that you talk about.
Where you were attacked by fire ants when your grandfather was busy sipping beer and -- yeah.
Yes my father left.
You know he's -- -- them and -- seven years old so -- never really knew him home.
And then my grandmother was like.
My mother you know she was the maternal figure -- and -- she died -- In jail waiting to go to trial so when she died it was really.
Like my Family Guy.
And he had a stepfather who punch the family to wall off.
He was -- a very nice guy he.
Sometimes he could make her life a living hell -- He don't belong in prison.
Well he you know he never most of my family the ones that you know -- it is -- so long.
Long complicated story.
Which is the reason for the book you know it's it's one of those things that I wanted to go into detail about all this stuff.
-- you know it's fascinating and and also the things you put up -- than jail.
For example some of the people you.
Say were demonstrably insane.
-- incredibly bizarre behavior like this this man apparently with -- It hit crickets Scotch tape -- -- money.
Well -- you know they say that it's.
The legally execute the the million.
Many -- get the curriculums.
The -- in the present all the time -- in the summer.
Sometimes the whole floors so covered him he can you walk without you know here and -- crunch and -- -- horrible here in the winter threat.
Because the field the prisons and filled out -- -- nowhere for the -- will come in and the winner.
They're trying to escape the cold and look for food and stuff like that mountain you know that it was just filled with one sort of terminal and other at all times.
What was really very sad and touching to -- in your book is -- troubling is a number of people in your situation who are not mentally competent enough to know.
What's going on like the man you talk about.
Who was on because he'd finished he figured he'd finish his pie after he was he's going to be executed -- eating spinach is fine when he came back.
Yeah that was that was probably the most heartbreaking and horrific instance -- -- man who shot himself in the head.
And gave himself a lobotomy and when they ask him what he won -- first class -- when you when -- different excuse me has become.
For the given time you'd have to have it and whenever they come executed -- the other half.
And this is gonna save that until after the execution.
Mean it doesn't even have the comprehension.
What it means that he's about to be keel.
How -- people how do we actually keep people in this country.
-- and even aware enough mentally to know what's going on with the.
Because the state will just get someone that today it's okay -- he's done you know.
You know what -- -- it's about politics you know we have this.
This idea society that these guys these prosecutors and judges and attorneys generals get these jobs because they're somehow immoral war.
Upstanding citizens and the fact of the matter they're just politicians.
-- senators and congressmen.
They'll tell you they -- have to tell you or do whatever they have to do to win that next election.
You met a woman named -- -- I think was from what I've read his quote quite instrumental in helping you through all -- and and finally get out of prison -- he -- he -- -- falling in love and getting married in jail.
Well we've been together.
For about seventeen years now she solved that.
Described -- but you met did you meet while you're in jail.
Yeah she -- the very first documentary about the -- who came out 1996.
Should lift them.
New York at the time she was a landscape architect.
And after she thought she reached out to me in and as the years you know from the very first time that I ever heard from -- knew this was someone.
Completely and absolutely unlike anyone I've ever known before.
She was just this amazing incredibly magical creature.
And you know over time she did 85% of the work and -- And for all she -- EG you you you never have a relationship outside of jail for Washington.
Well I don't think she ever thought that she she never had the slightest bit of -- -- that one day we were going to be together that she was gonna.
Give me out of there.
And really she went I can even begin to describe the amount of work she did at one point we didn't even have the money to pay for legal fees anymore.
So she took up to personal loan just to pay legal.
What is it that that's fascinating to me.
You know it's hard -- dating outside of prison -- -- how does somebody.
Do something like that in and had -- you fall in love and a situation like that.
I can't compare -- to.
You know if if a person's brain has suffered damage of some sort a lot of times other areas the -- of -- -- -- -- danger right.
To branch over and try to compensate for the part of the -- that's been damaged.
And a lot of ways that's what you have to do a relationship like this is you have to forge new connections.
You have to search out new -- To form these connections and and have these forms of intimacy.
That you normally would do just that the situation him because you know you have so little of what people take for granted.
You know you don't get to go to the movies again you don't get to have dinner together you don't get to sleep in the same bed every night.
So you have to form.
Other sorts of connections.
In other ways and it's really it's incredibly hard.
But the -- happier now and you do you have to think that everybody else and it just makes it you know a hundred times stronger because usually have -- accepted.
When you get out of jail after eighteen years in the world has changed a -- a great extent.
And there were no computers there were no cell phones -- there where they weren't the kind were used today.
There was not personal desk assistants.
That the did the though technology has changed the world penny you would just to a brand new world.
-- -- -- It -- slow slow gradual process.
What our the prison I think computer since 1986.
And it was basically like a giant glorified typewriter for really rich people you know that it didn't connect to the Internet or anything like that.
On the cell phones were these giant brown things with a man cannot think about how that once again only really wealthy people have a you know stuff like that it was almost whatever -- -- it was almost like from the from the science fiction movie.
Boy it took me almost of the past few years to learn how to use a cell -- I'm still not very good with a computer.
It is a gradual learning process.
Autism is like a Rip Van Winkle story is that.
The book is called life after death -- -- we just really barely scratched the surface here this summer to talk about but I appreciate.
You're giving -- our audience a little bird's eye view of what you went through it's an incredible story.
And thank goodness for your freedom and certainly an argument -- about what my view why we should not have a death penalty in this country.
I thank you -- very much for coming on the program tonight I could not what -- Thank you very much -- book is called life after death -- Nichols.
A part of the Memphis three the West Memphis three that is and they really remarkable remarkable story and he is remarkable.
Writer a talent he discovered while he was in jail.