Actor Johnny Depp said Saturday he and Damien Echols, one of three men who claimed to have been wrongly convicted for 1993 satanic ritual murders, got tattoos to mark their special bond after Echols was released from prison last year. “There was an instant connection, some brotherly kind of love there,” Depp told a press conference at the world premiere in Toronto of Amy Berg’s film “West of Memphis,” which chronicles the miscarriage of justice that sent three purportedly innocent men to jail.
For four years now, Robert J. Wilkes has insisted he did not hurt his infant son the night baby Gabriel fell suddenly and fatally ill. A jury didn’t buy it. Wilkes was sentenced to 40 years in prison for killing the 3 1/2 -month-old boy in what a prosecutor called “a violent and repetitive and rageful act.” Now the Montana Innocence Project is appealing Wilkes’ conviction, saying his public defender was ineffective and that new evidence shows Gabriel suffered from a rare and commonly fatal liver disorder. “There can be no greater tragedy in this world than the untimely death of an infant. Nothing can be done to bring Gabriel back to his family,” it wrote in the appeal filed last week in Missoula County District Court. “But just as surely, Robert Wilkes was unjustly convicted of a terrible crime. That wrong can now be righted.”