West Memphis Three “Plead Guilty”, Freed After 18 Years

the-west-memphis-3-may-be-released-25932-1313766108-1The trio of teenage friends were accused and convicted of several child murders in Arkansas in 1993, with the evidence more or less amounting to their interest in heavy metal music and dark-colored clothing. DNA evidence since confirmed their innocence, turning them into a cause célèbre as symbols of legal injustice, ’90s-era hysteria over provocative music, and, more broadly, the human tendency to scapegoat outsiders. The Los Angeles Times writes:

The three men known as the “West Memphis 3,” who have been imprisoned for 18 years for a notorious 1993 child-murder case, have won their freedom in an Arkansas courtroom.

In an agreement with prosecutors, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin pleaded guilty to the murders of three 8-year-old boys in May 1993, but are able to claim they are innocent, an arrangement known as an “Alford plea.” The three men were released Friday after serving sentences of 18 years plus credit for time served.

“Today’s proceeding allows the defendants the freedom of speech to SAY they are innocent, but the FACT is, they just plead GUILTY,” Scott Ellington, district prosecuting attorney for Craighead County, Ark., said in a prepared statement.

The case of the West Memphis 3 — teenagers when arrested — became a cause celebre in music and Hollywood circles as questions emerged about their trial, in which prosecutors argued that the suspects, who favored black clothing and heavy metal music, murdered the boys as part of a satanic ritual.

At one point, Misskelley confessed to police that he, Echols and Baldwin had attacked, raped and murdered the second-graders. Supporters said the confession was false and coerced, and noted that Misskelley is mentally disabled.

Since then, the Arkansas Supreme Court determined that DNA evidence found at the scene “conclusively excluded” the three, and attorneys for the men had asked for a new hearing to consider new evidence.

, , ,

  • Hadrian999

    even their release is shady,

  • Hadrian999

    even their release is shady,

  • Hadrian999

    even their release is shady,

  • http://twitter.com/RedStarGazette Red Star Gazette

     Truth. It’s a huge game of “cover your ass.” Check out this article on the subject from Made Man:

    http://www.mademan.com/the-true-tragedy-of-the-west-memphis-three/

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NF5UFH32BR4YGRVLX54GXXMP4M Rusty R

    Damien is going to kill again.  I pray for the next victims families in advance.

    • Nyxynox

      You obviously don’t know anything about this case…

      • Jonathan Fields

        cmon it’s a troll

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NF5UFH32BR4YGRVLX54GXXMP4M Rusty R

    Damien is going to kill again.  I pray for the next victims families in advance.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NF5UFH32BR4YGRVLX54GXXMP4M Rusty R

    Damien is going to kill again.  I pray for the next victims families in advance.

  • Mamagriff50

    This is a total tragedy. 3 innocent men having their lives taken away. Forced to plead guilty for freedom, just so they can’t sue for wrongful imprisonment. Not only that but the real killer[s] are still free and probably still killing children. The families will never have their justice. Such a shame. My heart goes out to them. I do think these 3 men need some kind of compensation. Atleast a little justice would be served.

    • Hadrian999

      rough spot, they have to plead guilty because they can’t trust the legal system. the only reason they are being given the plea bargain is because the prosecution know they have no real case, no other reason to give suspended sentences for triple rape and murder of children. it is an example of the decline of our nation. you can no longer trust the legal system, the political system, or the economic system. the win at all costs no matter who you have to fuck over mentality the pervades our culture is killing us.

    • tooCents

      They should be compensated big time. Maybe they can write books, get a TV movie about their story. Because I doubt the state will compensate them -it might claim they pleaded guilty!

  • Mamagriff50

    This is a total tragedy. 3 innocent men having their lives taken away. Forced to plead guilty for freedom, just so they can’t sue for wrongful imprisonment. Not only that but the real killer[s] are still free and probably still killing children. The families will never have their justice. Such a shame. My heart goes out to them. I do think these 3 men need some kind of compensation. Atleast a little justice would be served.

  • Hadrian999

    rough spot, they have to plead guilty because they can’t trust the legal system. the only reason they are being given the plea bargain is because the prosecution know they have no real case, no other reason to give suspended sentences for triple rape and murder of children. it is an example of the decline of our nation. you can no longer trust the legal system, the political system, or the economic system. the win at all costs no matter who you have to fuck over mentality the pervades our culture is killing us.

  • Nyxynox

    You obviously don’t know anything about this case…

  • tooCents

    couple of sad truths: Public Defender = conviction. And cops regularly get false confessions.

  • Anonymous

    couple of sad truths: Public Defender = conviction. And cops regularly get false confessions.

  • Anonymous

    They should be compensated big time. Maybe they can write books, get a TV movie about their story. Because I doubt the state will compensate them -it might claim they pleaded guilty!

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    I remember that case…it was suspicious even then…but confessions tend to make the public close their eyes and go back to sleep. Only the diehards who distrust law enforcement accept that confessions are routinely false…extracted after mental torture and death threats…and sometimes actual physical torture. Once you’ve watched friends take a plea deal for things they didn’t do…because they’ve been threatened with far worse if they don’t play the game…its impossible to ever look on the legal system with anything but complete suspicion and total contempt.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    I remember that case…it was suspicious even then…but confessions tend to make the public close their eyes and go back to sleep. Only the diehards who distrust law enforcement accept that confessions are routinely false…extracted after mental torture and death threats…and sometimes actual physical torture. Once you’ve watched friends take a plea deal for things they didn’t do…because they’ve been threatened with far worse if they don’t play the game…its impossible to ever look on the legal system with anything but complete suspicion and total contempt.

  • Nunzio X

    Once again, proof is provided that you should NEVER talk to the police.

  • Nunzio X

    Once again, proof is provided that you should NEVER talk to the police.

  • Jonathan Fields

    cmon it’s a troll

  • hawaiiguy

    what a shit deal, you can plead guilty and we’ll let you go free but you can’t come back and sue us, got it white trash?

  • Anonymous

    what a shit deal, you can plead guilty and we’ll let you go free but you can’t come back and sue us, got it white trash?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/ZYCERIN Zycerin

    It’s amazing what the legal system will do (and have others do), just so they won’t have to admit they were wrong!
    The REAL killer is probably stocked up on popped collars…

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/ZYCERIN Zycerin

    It’s amazing what the legal system will do (and have others do), just so they won’t have to admit they were wrong!
    The REAL killer is probably stocked up on popped collars…

  • jchadbou

    It would be easy to blame Satanism for these types of crimes since Satanism endorses the right to kill others.  But our legal system, on the otherhand, also gives the right to kill others to the District Attorney in capital murder cases.

  • jchadbou

    It would be easy to blame Satanism for these types of crimes since Satanism endorses the right to kill others.  But our legal system, on the otherhand, also gives the right to kill others to the District Attorney in capital murder cases.

  • $4251815

    If it were me, it would take a lot to stop me from seeking a Tarantino-style vengeance. A lot of pot and money that is.

  • ZombieSlapper

    If it were me, it would take a lot to stop me from seeking a Tarantino-style vengeance. A lot of pot and money that is.

  • Selfreliant1

    Watch the movie-these guys are guilty and should NOT have been sent free. 

  • Selfreliant1

    Watch the movie-these guys are guilty and should NOT have been sent free. 

  • Cristi

    I studied this case heavily when I was in high school back in 2000.  I knew that they were innocent!  This is a classic example of judgment based only on appearance.  Just because someone does not fit the societal norm, does mean that they are less of a person, or have loose morals. 

  • Cristi

    I studied this case heavily when I was in high school back in 2000.  I knew that they were innocent!  This is a classic example of judgment based only on appearance.  Just because someone does not fit the societal norm, does mean that they are less of a person, or have loose morals.