(Memphis 3/30/2012) - One of the West Memphis 3 was the guest speaker at the University of Memphis Law School today. Jason Baldwin was there to participate in a symposium "Cultural Competency and the Death Penalty".
Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley and Damien Echols were convicted of murdering three 8 year old boys in 1994. They spent 18 years in prison before new DNA evidence revealed they could not be tied to the bloody crime scene. They were released in August 2011 after agreeing to plead guilty and not to file a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas.
"One thing I want to dedicate my life to is utilize my experiences. Go to college. Go to law school and try to prevent other people from going to prison," said Baldwin.
Baldwin is hanging out in the lounge of the University of Memphis Law School.
He's here to share his experiences over the last 18 years.
"We were poor, pretty much what a lot of people call trailer trash, and we couldn't mount a defense," Baldwin said.
Baldwin hopes by addressing lawyers and future lawyers at the symposium the story of what happened to him won't be repeated.
"They put my best friend on death row for something he didn't do and if it wasn't for all these wonderful miracles and all these heroes he would have been murdered by the state," he said.
Baldwin says he doesn't spend his time being angry at what happened to him and his friends.
"I wake up everyday and I'm just so happy to be here," said Baldwin.
He is happy that the 16 year old kid that was arrested on his last day of 10th grade is finally beginning to live life even if it is at the age of 34. He plans to make the most of it.
"My attorneys are continuing to fight the case trying to find who actually committed the crime in hopes of not just exonerating us but finding justice for Stevie, Christopher and Michael," said Baldwin.
Baldwin begins college Monday.