Damien Echols, Johnny Depp among hundreds to protest executions

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LITTLE ROCK -- Hundreds gathered in Little Rock on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol to protest the upcoming execution of seven inmates by the end of the month.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchenson said not only is he trying to get justice for victims families, but the drug used to perform the executions is set to expire.

One of those protestors was former death row inmate Damien Echols. His name is well known in the Memphis area for being part of the West Memphis 3 along with Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley.

They were accused of sexually mutilating three eight-year-old boys, then killing them.

The case gained national attention after the HBO documentary "Paradise Lost" aired.

After spending years in prison, the three gave an alford plea allowing them to go free.

Friday was only the second time Echols has been in the state of Arkansas since.

The thought of returning to the state where he almost lost his life gave him nightmares, but he felt compelled to do it.

"This is probably the single most traumatic thing I’ve ever done in my life after being set to death row. I honestly can’t think of doing anything that would be harder than this for me."

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Hollywood actor Johnny Depp- a long time supporter - along with Echols' wife, Laurie, stood by his side Friday.

"I don’t know if this will do anything. I hope it will do something. I may walk out of here and they may go through with carrying all these executions out. I may not save a single person but for me I felt like this was my responsibility."

Those who attended the rally on Friday said while they're sympathetic for the victims' families, more lives should not be lost.

A spokesperson for Governor Hutchinson’s office said those on death row are there because a jury put them there and victim’s families need justice.

"These families have waited year after year. Their loved ones were taken from them with no notice, in brutal ways, through heinous crimes."

The first two of seven executions are set for Monday.

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