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Thread: West Memphis 3 To Be Freed

  1. West Memphis 3 To Be Freed

    Jonesboro, Arkansas (CNN) -- Three men convicted in the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, were ordered released after entering new pleas following a court hearing, prosecutor Scott Ellington said Friday.

    Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 18 years in prison with credit for time served, a prosecutor said. They were to be released on Friday.

    The three entered what is known as an Alford plea, which allows a defendant to maintain innocence while simultaneously acknowledging that the state has evidence to convict, Ellington said.

    Critics of the case against the men argued that no direct evidence tied the three to the murders and that a knife recovered from a lake near the home of one of the men could not have caused the boys' wounds. More recent DNA testing also demonstrated no links, according the mens' supporters.

    While Ellington said the pleas entered Friday validate the decision of jurors who sent the men to prison, it also spares Arkansas the possibility of a retrial that would have been difficult to prosecute after so many years. The trio was likely to win the right to new trials later this year.

    "This is an appropriate resolution to this case at this time," Ellington told reporters. "Only time will tell as to whether this was a right decision on my part."

    Echols said in a news conference after his release Friday that he will continue to work to clear his name.

    Baldwin said he initially opposed the deal worked out between the men's attorneys and prosecutors. "This was not justice," he said.

    The case drew national attention, with actor Johnny Depp and singers Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines trying to rally support for the men's release. Vedder and Maines were at the courthouse on Friday, according to CNN affiliate WMC-TV.

    John Mark Byers, whose son Christopher Byers was one of the three victims, said he believes the three men are innocent. He said releasing them without exonerating them of the crime is an outrage.

    "They're innocent. They did not kill my son," Byers said before the hearing.

    The father of another of the victims, Steven Branch, also blasted the decision, but for another reason.

    "I don't know what kind of deal they worked up," Steve Branch told CNN affiliate WMC-TV before the hearing. "Now you can get some movie stars and a little bit of money behind you and you can walk free for killing somebody."

    Echols was sentenced to death and Misskelley and Baldwin were given life sentences in the May 1993 slayings of Steven, Christopher and fellow second-grader Michael Moore. The boys' bodies were mutilated and left in a ditch, hogtied with their own shoelaces.

    Prosecutors argued that the men convicted, teenagers at the time, were driven by satanic ritual and that Echols had been the ringleader.

    DNA later failed to link the men to the crime, and the state Supreme Court ruled in November that all three could present new evidence to the trial court in an effort to clear them. A decision is pending on whether the three should receive a new trial. Friday's action could negate the need for that.

    The DNA tests were conducted between December 2005 and September 2007, according to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

    The material included hair from a ligature used to bind Moore and a hair recovered from a tree stump near where the bodies were found, court documents said.

    The hair found in the ligature was consistent with Branch's stepfather, Terry Hobbs, while the hair found on the tree stump was consistent with the DNA of a friend of Hobbs, according to the documents.

    Police have never considered Hobbs a suspect, and he maintains that he had nothing to do with the murders.
    http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/19...iref=allsearch

    Fuck yeah.
    Boo, Hiss.

  2. I was surprisingly emotional about this.

    Still, very bittersweet considering the State of Arkansas admits no wrongdoing and they aren't able to sue (and technically had to plead guilty to get released)

  3. #3
    All I know about the case is Eddie Vedder said something about it in a Do the Evolution live recording.
    Quote Originally Posted by Razor Ramon View Post
    I don't even the rage I mean )#@($@IU_+FJ$(U#()IRFK)_#
    Quote Originally Posted by Some Stupid Japanese Name View Post
    I'm sure whatever Yeller wrote is fascinating!

  4. He was at the court today when they were released. Same with that Dixie Chick singer

  5. Well it's good that they got out, but what Dave said is true. The fact that they had to plead guilty and get nothing for the time they spent wrongly imprisoned.
    You sir, are a hideous hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by YellerDog View Post
    All I know about the case is Eddie Vedder said something about it in a Do the Evolution live recording.
    Is there anything Pearl Jam can't do?
    Quote Originally Posted by rezo
    Once, a gang of fat girls threatened to beat me up for not cottoning to their advances. As they explained it to me: "guys can usually beat up girls, but we are all fat, and there are a lot of us."

  7. It's always good to see justice done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drewbacca View Post
    Is there anything Pearl Jam can't do?
    Make good music.

  8. False. Unless you mean make bad music. Maybe that's what you meant.
    Quote Originally Posted by rezo
    Once, a gang of fat girls threatened to beat me up for not cottoning to their advances. As they explained it to me: "guys can usually beat up girls, but we are all fat, and there are a lot of us."

  9. #9
    i'm very happy to hear this, despite the stipulations.

    I'm also really surprised that out of all the *~subculture and gothic~* centered people I have on my facebook and twitter, not one posted about them being freed.
    Quote Originally Posted by dechecho View Post
    Where am I anyway? - I only registered on here to post on this thread

  10. Quote Originally Posted by Satsuki View Post
    I'm also really surprised that out of all the *~subculture and gothic~* centered people I have on my facebook and twitter, not one posted about them being freed.
    I'm on your Facebook and I posted about it within minutes of it happening

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