West Memphis Three Released After Spending 18 Years In Prison
It was just announced in Jonesboro, Arkansas, that the "West Memphis Three" are now free men.
Essentially, authorities told reporters, they pleaded guilty to the murders of three young boys in 1993. But they are free to maintain they are innocent of the crimes. And the state has acknowledged that it probably could not proceed with a retrial of them.
Damien Echols was sentenced to die for the brutal killings and Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were sentenced to life terms. Misskelley initially confessed, but defense attorneys claim police took advantage of his low IQ.
The defendants, whose case and cause were taken up by celebrities following a pair of documentaries, are known collectively as the "West Memphis 3." They were convicted in 1994 of killing Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore and leaving their naked bodies in a West Memphis ditch. Eddie Vedder, lead singer for Pearl Jam was in attendance this morning when the decision was made.