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118 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly emotional journey, September 18, 2012
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This review is from: Life After Death (Hardcover)
I'm not the book reviewer in my family but this book moved me so much that I felt compelled to post a review.
The broad range of emotions I felt while reading "Life After Death" is unlike anything I have ever experienced from written words. It was truly emotionally draining. Laughter, hate, disgust, sadness, hope, happiness, joy, wonder, amazement... Maybe it is because I have followed the case for years, read every book published, court transcripts, watched the media coverage as well as the films. I feel close to these men I have never met. You would think knowing the ending, I would not have broken down in sobs, but I did. There are many realities out there that we go through life without ever knowing...
It blew my mind that this man, that failed two grades in school, never graduated, was wrongly convicted of murder and spent 18 years, pretty much in solitary confinement could write like he does. His mind is brilliant and his writing will move you. When he writes of his love for his now wife it will melt you, when he describes his hell (prison) you will feel despair and hopelessness...
"Life After Death" is not about the case. It is about Damien's life before and during prison and just a little after being released (it went to editing only 6 months after his release from death row). It is a book that will make you want to change the prison system and leave you wondering how such an injustice could happen in America (and does on a regular basis).
Read this book! It is worth your time. It just might change your life or at the very least make you pause and wonder how you can help right such injustices. It will cause you to take notice of how very blessed you are and as Damien hopes make you aware of all the "magick" around you.
Edit note
There was one paragraph towards the end of the book about an Arkansas law, that suggests they may execute a prisoner in any way they see fit. I am not sure this is an acurate statement. The US Constitution will supersede any state law that is in direct conflict with its provisions (except those specifically reserved for the states). So if there is an Arkansas state law that allows the warden to choose the method of execution, that law would be valid insofar as it does not conflict with the Constitution prohibition against "cruel and unusual" punishment. Such as starving an inmate to death which I belive is suggested in the chapter this law is mentioned.
I believe there was a court hearing earlier this year about the Arkansas law and that it was deemed unconstitutional. The focus of that case was on the chemicals used for executions so I am not sure if the wording lead some to think that the warden had full control over the method used. But then that is what courts are for not to write laws but to interpret them.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 19, 2012 10:33:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 19, 2012 10:34:27 AM PDT
Jane Favors says:
The law did give the correctional facility too much power in deciding the method, however our only method is and has been lethal injection. The Supreme Court found that the law "fails to provide reasonable guidelines for the selection of chemicals to be used." The problem with the law was that there was no discretion on the chemicals used for the injection. Basically that means that any chemical was legal - be it drano, windex, etc. You can see the problem here....the Arkansas legistlature meets again in January 2013 to further discuss and remedy this issue.

Posted on Oct 15, 2012 10:31:20 AM PDT
ditto, Henderson. This man's story, as well as his writing (esp. considering his upbringing), is truly a testament to the miracle of the human heart. And how vulnerable the poor are, should they become a target of our criminal and judicial system.

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 6:08:16 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 13, 2013 6:21:18 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2012 9:10:00 PM PST
J from NY says:
You'll also notice that neither Johnny Depp nor Eddie Vedder nor Marilyn Manson want to talk about how this guy has a mental health history of about 500 pages. Before he was arrested he murdered a dog, according to one witness, and tried to claw the eyes out of a classmate. I don't know if he's innocent or guilty, but frankly, the more I read, the more I lean toward guilty. This whole Hollywood show is disgusting.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2012 10:00:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 25, 2012 10:05:26 PM PST
Warren P says:
After reading the above comment I took a quick peek at J from NY profile and some of his reviews. He reviews every single thing he buys from paper staplers to dog laxatives. I can imagine him to be the kind of guy that carries a hundred keys hooked to his trouser belt just to make him feel important.
He obviously hasn't read the book as he would have known that Damien speaks of being sent to mental institutions by the real West Memphis loony town morons around him. In fact I think he said he didn't even mind at one stage because the food was better than at home.
Once at a certain age that decision could no longer be made for him.
Murdered a dog? Different so called witnesses surrounding his case have been discredited so any other hearsay by anyone that came from that community should just be ignored.
He actually and honestly admits to attacking a romance rival in school at some point plus various misbehaviours. So other that his dress sense and skate board interest (that a few began to follow) there nothing too remarkable about that.
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