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  1. #1
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    Damien Echols Psychiatric History & Treatment

    There are a few questions related to DE's psychiatric history and treatment on Death Row so I thought I'd start a thread to discuss it here ..
    You don't get a medal for switching alliances just before the result, as it becomes apparent the other team is set to win.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pensfan View Post
    Here’s something we can all agree upon. The records from Damien’s mental health evaluations show that Damien Echols is a very mentally disturbed person.

    [Mother] was most concerned about son “not learning to deal with anger and rages”. [Mother] mentioned her belief that son may be responding to outside stimulation. Voiced fear “son may be crazy.”

    "He is quite paranoid.” Elsewhere a nurse wrote, “Verbalized concern that there is surveillance cameras behind his mirror & under his desk in his rm — cautioned peer that staff are constantly watching them

    Approx. three hours after Damien arrived, he was sitting in rec. area with several other residents. One of the boys had scraped his arm a little, and it was bleeding some. Without warning, Damien grabbed the arm that was bleeding, and began to suck the blood from it. The boys all stated he had been saying he had not taken his medication the night before, and he was about to “go off on them”. Damien was asked why he did this, and he stated “I don’t know.” He also told staff he had threatened to kill his father and eat him.

    Although frequently unsuccessful in these aims, this teenager believes that past degradations may be undone by provoking fear and intimidation in others.

    Damien relates that a spirit is now living with him. The spirit was put inside him last year. He indicates that a month ago the spirit decided to become part of him and he to become part of the spirit. This is reportedly a spirit of a woman who was killed by her husband. When questioned about how he feels with this spirit or what the difference is, Damien is able to relate that he feels stronger and more powerful with this spirit. He has not seen the spirit but does hear the spirit. In addition, he also reports conversations with demons and other spirits.

    Damien explained that he obtains his power by drinking blood of others. He typically drinks the blood of a sexual partner or of a ruling partner. This is achieved by biting or cutting. He states “it makes me feel like a God”. Damien describes drinking blood as giving him more power and strength. He remembers doing this as far back as age 10.

    [Patient] has made threats to kill himself by hanging w bed sheet or tying socks together & told grandmother today that he would cut his mother’s throat.

    The patient appeared to be sniffing the air around him as if he were responding to an external stimulus. When he was questioned as to what he was doing, the patient gave an inappropriate smile and was unwilling to discuss what he was doing. Upon several occasions, the patient also cut his eyes in one direction or the other as if he were hearing or thinking of something before he spoke.

    The patient denies suicidal or homicidal ideation at this time, however, in talking with family members, they state that he made it quite clear that he had thoughts of harming other people

    Mr. Echols has been evaluated on three separate occasions by three different psychologists, each of whom administered a battery of tests. A prominent feature of each evaluation was the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), which was administered on June 8, 1992; September 2, 1992; and February 20, 1994. The independent test results were quite consistent; all revealed valid profiles and strong indications of depression, mania, severe anxiety, delusions and psychosis.
    Test results for the June 8, 1992, MMPI reflected elevations on scores of psychotic thinking, including hallucinations, paranoid ideation, and delusions, as well as severe anxiety and other related emotional disturbances. The suggested diagnoses were schizophrenia, disorganized type; and bipolar disorder, manic. Individual responses on this test revealed that Mr. Echols was afraid of losing his mind, had bizarre thoughts, and had very peculiar experiences. Three months later, on September 2, 1992, a second MMPI was administered. The test results very closely paralleled the findings of the earlier MMPI. Shortly before Mr. Echols’ trial began in 1994, he was administered the MMPI a third time for the purpose of identifying mitigating evidence. Like the other two, this MMPI revealed psychotic thought processes consistent with schizophrenia.
    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/img/exh500.html
    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/gwoods.html

    Pensfan
    verified psychiatric mental health nurse
    Bringing this over from the Common Ground thread ...
    You don't get a medal for switching alliances just before the result, as it becomes apparent the other team is set to win.

  3. #3
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    I asked previously if DE received any psychiatric treatment in jail .. I understand he did not ..

    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee30 View Post
    George woods affidavit from Callahan states he received no psychiatric treatment in jail.
    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/gwoods.html

    Is this right .. is there any more recent information?
    You don't get a medal for switching alliances just before the result, as it becomes apparent the other team is set to win.

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    To be honest I don't see why they would, after all, he was a dead man walking. JMO

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    Quote Originally Posted by gheckso View Post
    To be honest I don't see why they would, after all, he was a dead man walking. JMO
    I think they do, since drugs are often administered to prisoners on death row one would assume a psychiatrist would need to be involved?
    You don't get a medal for switching alliances just before the result, as it becomes apparent the other team is set to win.

  6. #6
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    I guess I might be overly cynical. If the state was to spend money on a psychiatrist then they may think it priority to treat prisoners that will return to population, Is death row even considered part of the correction system? and to what ends?

  7. #7
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    any physician can write a script for sedatives, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds. no psychiatrist needed for that. not even the infirmary doc really. all is needed is for the doc to look at the inmate file, and send a nurse to administer the drug. earlier on in his incarceration, '96 there is an interview with DE in which he is bears all the characteristics of being under some type of sedation. with no psychiatric evaluation, as is recorded, they could have sincerely been playing with fire considering his previous records from the mental health facility. if we are to believe the notes and assessments made by the mental facility staff were, in fact, accurate he would be in a highly delicate mental state. the prison authorities likely didn't care since as gheckso so rightly phrased it, he was a dead man walking. for me the proof in the pudding of DE's stable mental state is he didn't go over the edge. here's that clip i mentioned... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOuEo1ouDOk
    Hinky Dinky Parlez Vous!-Sleuthy Gal

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by EntreNous View Post
    for me the proof in the pudding of DE's stable mental state is he didn't go over the edge.
    He was clearly way out in the deep end when he wrote his letters to Glori Shettles. Some notable excerpts:

    They can’t beat me and God still tried everything he can to kill me but he can’t. Death can’t stop me. I would be only the third person in history to raise from the dead. Lazarus, Jesus Christ, Damien. I will prove it very soon. Afterwards I will come to power and nothing will stop me.
    ...

    They will all believe it very soon. Unmask, Unmask …. And the Red Death held sway over all. Now they take their medicine. They’ll take it and they’ll like it, the stupid little shits, or they’ll have their brains bashed the **** out.
    ...

    I can end all of you anytime now, you stupid ****s. I can see physical changes happening in my body. I can tell it’s getting ready. The abonations have already begun to be spit forth from the Earth. I have seen some of them. I will become one soon. I will be the king of freaks. I see a perfect explosion, God’s amunition dump going up in the flames of righteousness, Satan storming heaven, his artillery captain a fiercely grinning fool with red flayed cheeks, Damien by name, never to be Michael Hutchison again. The end is here. Kiss your ass goodbye. People could see if they would open their eyes and see.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." — Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. — Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    He was clearly way out in the deep end when he wrote his letters to Glori Shettles. Some notable excerpts:
    profoundly disturbing

  10. #10
    I just wonder what kind of letters I would write if I had been in Damien's situation at his age at the time. The early letters (prior to the murders) were possibly an attempt to get SSI checks, also possibly aided by a well-intentioned counselor. (Of course, since this would have been highly unethical behavior, no one will ever admit to it.) Anything said or written post-conviction or even during the trial could possibly be colored by his frustration and/or fear at the time. Again, I wonder how any teenager or adult would react if falsely accused/convicted of such horrific crimes. I'd like to think that I wouldn't be bitter, but I just don't know.

    I say the above because I have been told during my teaching careers on numerous occasions and by different counselors that, occasionally, for well-intentioned purposes, mental health professionals have exaggerated and even sometimes falsified reports in order to make a patient eligible for SSI. Also, sometimes, the mental health professionals have coached the patient as to how to answer questions, etc. for the same purpose. I can't say that I approve of such actions, but I do understand the reasoning behind them. So, far be it from me to judge such people.


  11. #11
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    All of those things are possible. On a more general note, I have always wondered if I could have found myself in the exact same predicament as the WM3. I got into fights as a teen. It also would not be surprising to find the following lyrics written in a notebook or somewhere:

    He's the wolf screaming lonely in the night
    Blood stain the stage
    Tear in your eye
    Tempted by his lie
    Knife in your back
    He's rage

    Razor to the knife
    Lonely is our lives
    Heads spinnin' round and round
    Seasons of wither
    Stand and deliver
    Strong and laugh and come on

    Shout shout shout
    Shout at the devil
    Shout shout shout

    I suppose I would have been as good of a suspect as many if I lived in West Memphis at the time. Tough discerning between adolescent acting out and something more serious IMHO.

  12. #12
    The fact that my son, who is one month younger than Damien and who wore those black heavy metal T-shirts to school every day, could have been in Damien's shoes (and, on a much-less critical level, was - being falsely accused of theft because he was seen in the area and had long hair and wore a black shirt even there was no description of the thief) is one of the reasons that I became interested in this case. It's really amazing what personal knowledge and experience can do for one's understanding!

    BTW, do I recognize the Crue above?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LadyL View Post
    profoundly disturbing
    Some obviously consider Echols' ravings perfectly understandable.

    Quote Originally Posted by reedus23 View Post
    I have always wondered if I could have found myself in the exact same predicament as the WM3.
    I wondered that about myself for awhile, when I'd only read a the Wikipedia article and various sources cited in it, watched West of Memphis, and googled around to find various other mainstream accounts. Then I came across the actual details of Echols' criminal and psychological history which proved I'd been flagrantly mislead.

    What about your youth, did you ever do anything along the lines of:

    • threaten to kill people, inlcuding cutting someone to peices and burry them in your girlfriend's front yard, murder and eat your father, slit your mother's throat?
    • prompt your parrents ever express fear of what you might do to them and their other children?
    • get aresseted for terroristic threatening, put on probation, and sent to a detention center for such offenses?
    • set fire to your classroom?
    • torture and multiate animals, including beating, disimboling, and stomping a Great Dane to death and then come back with battery acid to burn its hair and skin off?
    • engaged in mutiple physical confrontations with peers, including one in which you attempted to gouge someone's eye out?
    • assuallt people to drink their blood?
    • profess a beleif that drinking blood gives you power, and that you communicate with demons through rituals?
    • claim to be ihabited by the spirt of a murdered woman, and claim that state of possession makes you feel stronger and more powerful?

    Unless your answer to most of those questions is yes, you were never in a position to be considered a potential suspect in such murders.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." — Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. — Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

  14. #14
    In my dealings over the years with teenagers, I have had more than a few make many similar statements to those posted above as being made by Damien. I have also heard teens say things to each other in order to shock or gross out the other person. I understand the psyche of a person like Damien at eighteen, often saying shocking or disturbing things to adults just to see what reaction he will get.

    What some people don't realize is that, when one lives in abject poverty, as Damien did, it is a form of amusement to say these types of things. I know that sounds bizarre to most of us, but it is the way things are for many in poverty - seeking entertainment wherever and however they can, so long as the actions are legal. Some in poverty do resort to crime, often robbery, in order to survive, but most simply rely on their own wits and imagination to provide them entertainment.

    I have attended several seminars about poverty and how people living in poverty think and act, as most of my teaching experience was spent in "inner city" schools where poverty was the status quo. Although I can see how those not familiar with the effects and realities of poverty would be extremely disturbed by Damien's statements, my specialized knowledge and experience has taught me to realize that these types of statements are often a cry for help - a desperate attempt to get out of the poverty in which the person making the statements finds himself/herself. Damien apparently has a very active imagination and a high intelligence because he made many such statements throughout his youth.

    As I said before, I believe that at least some of these statements were made in an attempt to exaggerate his condition so he would be eligible for SSI. The teachers used to call this the student's "crazy check." We could always tell when the family needed more money because a normally calm and respectful student would "act out" in class until they were reported to the authorities. This "report" is what Mama needed in order to get another check. Sad, but true.

    Now, I'm sure some here will question my statements. That's fine. However, as I've said repeatedly, I have witnessed these things personally and no one can refute my personal experiences, anecdotal though they may be. They were real, and they accurately depict the realities of teenagers living in poverty. That was Damien's problem - that and possibly a bit of bipolar disorder, which was improperly treated, exacerbating it. That is my explanation of the infamous "Exhibit 500" and all its various stories, conversations, reports, etc.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs G Norris View Post
    Bringing this over from the Common Ground thread ...
    I don't know how to quote Pensfan's post about DE's mental health evaluations. Curious as to what Pensfan makes of it? To me, I sense a little crazy going on. But it seems that the crazy was just turned off like a switch and poof normal now. Interesting.

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