Saturday, August 20, 2011

News on case ‘West Menphis Three’

“’West Memphis Three' freed in '93 slayings”

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“New evidence had arisen to potentially challenge the convictions of the men, one of whom had been on death row, for the deaths of three young boys.

The men known as the "West Memphis Three," who served more than 18 years behind bars for the notorious 1993 murders of three young boys — and became a cause celebre among actors and musicians who doubted their guilt — won their freedom in an Arkansas courtroom Friday after new evidence arose to potentially challenge their convictions.
Their legal absolution, however, was not clear-cut. In an agreement with prosecutors, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley, both 36, and Jason Baldwin, 34, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder charges but will also able to claim they are innocent, a rare arrangement known as an Alford plea.
"It's not perfect by any means," Echols, pale and in tinted shades, said at a news conference after the hearing. "But at least it brings closure.... We can still try to clear our names. The only difference is now we can do it from the outside."
Echols, the alleged ringleader, had been on death row. Baldwin and Misskelley were serving life sentences.
The gruesome slayings of the 8-year-old boys — Christopher Byers, Steve Branch and Michael Moore — terrified the small city of West Memphis, Ark., leading to rumors that a Satanic cult was responsible. After disappearing one afternoon in May 1993, the second-graders were found "naked, bound and in horrific condition, submerged in a creek in the woods," according to a court filing. (..)”

in Los Angeles Times

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