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A plague upon our houses

“Sometimes it’s even more disturbing to see the cases of mental retardation on Death Row than it is to see the insane.  I say this because there is often something very childlike in the actions of the retarded.  To see a retarded person being led to execution is an abomination.  It’s something that should never happen, yet it does.  Sometimes even innocent retarded people are executed, which is a double travesty.  There was a guy here who had the IQ of a child, and it was common knowledge that he did not commit the crime he was convicted of.  He was here because he was taking the blame for something his brother had done.  He was eventually executed in his brother’s place.  The guy was blatantly and obviously retarded, and he lived on a diet of potato chips, candy bars, and cake.  He acquired the money for these things from a nun who came to see him every so often.  Sometimes his mother would come see him, and since they had nothing to talk about they would both put their heads down on the table and sleep.  It was heartbreaking to witness.  I don’t recall ever seeing him take a shower.  He just sat silently in his cell until the day he was killed.” — Damien Echols, Life After Death

Published inDamien EcholsLit & Crit

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