Two pieces of happy news this morning from Jason Baldwin of the West Memphis 3: He got engaged to long-time girlfriend Holly Ballard, and he’s starting a campaign to raise funds to help him complete a memoir project in which he says he plans to share “how hope saved my life.” The video for the Kickstarter campaign is seen above. 

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In a dispatch posted just before noon on his Facebook page, Baldwin  said that it took him a long time to ask his Ballard to marry him because he wanted to ask her father’s permission first, which he did when the pair visited Arkansas in  October. Ballard and Baldwin met when Baldwin was still in prison, and she accompanied him on the way out of Arkansas upon his release in August 2011. They both live in Seattle, Wash. now, where Baldwin recently completed an Associates Degree. While Baldwin said that “life is a little too crazy to set a date right now,” he promises to keep his Facebook fans posted about the wedding plans. 

As for the memoir, Baldwin wrote on Facebook that he hopes the project will be “a journey we can take together. It seems like an appropriate way to pursue this project, as all of you are already an integral part of this story.” The Kickstarter page for the fundraising campaign, which seeks to raise $25,000, includes the video message from Baldwin, in which he says he will use the funds to support himself during the year he’s writing the memoir. “I’m giving myself a year to sit down and type this thing out before I take it to a publisher,” Baldwin said. “That’s where you guys come in… please help me get my story out so I can share it with you. ” 


“Bad things happen to us,” Baldwin says in the video, “and we don’t choose those bad things, but we can choose how we respond to them — how we react to them, and how we allow them to motivate us to live in the future.” You can donate to the Kickstarter campaign here.