The private investigator who worked to help Tonya Craft clear her name has written a book about his experiences during the case.
"That's why, one of the reason I wrote the book, to let people know, hey, this could happen to anybody," Echols said during a recent interview. What "happened" to him was his arrest, as he worked to clear Craft from charges of child molesting.
Catoosa County prosecutors sought, and gained, indictments against Echols for intimidating witnesses, effectively shutting down his work for Craft's defense. The charges against Echols were later dropped. He says that's because he taped his work and had recordings of his interviews with potential witnesses in the Craft case.
In The Echols Files: Catoosa County Justice, Eric Echols give details on his investigation and reveals how the Craft case changed his view of the justice system
"It's a business to be bartered, to be traded, to be manipulated, you know. It's a business, where, who's the biggest fish in the pond?" In his case, Echols says the biggest fish was a prosecutor who manipulated the system to stop him from finding the truth for Tonya Craft.
Being indicted, arrested, cuffed and booked in jail are life events that haunt him three years later.
"It hurts. It hurts, I mean, it's like one of those things where you have to say 'God, is this really happening to me? Did this really happen to me?' and it did."
Echols credits a strong support system with his survival, telling Eyewitness News, "I had a wife, who supported me, true and through, thick and thin, she was there."
But he realizes others aren't as strong, so he hopes to use proceeds from the book to create an indigent fund for potential clients.
"Because I went through that with Tonya, when she ran out of funds and things of that nature. It gets you thinking, there are so many people who can't hire an investigator."
Echols says, for the most part, his life has returned to normal. Except when he gets calls from potential clients in Catoosa County. He says he's not yet ready to be jailed again for doing his job.
Echols' book is available through Amazon.