Sunday, 21 August 2011

The West Memphis 3 are finally free, after 18 years.

In 1993, then teenagers Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., and Damien Echols were sent to prison for allegedly murdering three 8 year old boys, but evidence was always sketchy and many believed they were scapegoats. Such incidents are no doubt tragic, but as heavy metal lovers in a Bible-thumping community, the three teenagers were singled out as the culprits with little evidence beside their alternate tastes. Today, after 18 years in prison, maintaining their innocence, the three were finally freed.

Now, they were released under a plea of acknowledging the evidence against them, essentially saying they were guilty but allowed go free. But after such a long time, no one could be blamed for their accepting this most releasing of offers. The biggest sadness is the state of Arkansas not admitting the mistake they made in their investigations and the families of the victims not having the appropriate closure.

3 by Disturbed, a single released to raise funds
for the defense of the West Memphis Three.

The three have been a worthy cause of many celebrities, including Metallica, Johnny Depp, Henry Rollins, Peter Jackson and Disturbed, as the evidence should never have been strong enough to convict them, yet it did. Filmmakers Joe Berlinger (director of the underrated Blair Witch 2) and Bruce Sinofsky released a documentary entitled Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills in 1996, follow up Paradise Lost 2: Revelations and due to be followed up by a third film (which will now have to be recut to add in this fantastic turn of events).

Trailer for the captivating Paradise Lost:
The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills.

The first film is one of the finest documentaries I have ever seen (the sequel is apparently more biased), opening my eyes to an event that otherwise I would never have known about. What is interesting is how the filmmakers stop becoming observers and become entwined in the saga when they are inadvertently given a possible murder weapon. This is a must-watch documentary that will certainly boil your blood, but with today's news, it can be viewed with the safe knowledge that something resembling justice has been served.