June 3, 2006 marks the 13th anniversary that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. were arrested for murders they did not commit. It is also West Memphis Three Worldwide Awareness Day, the perfect opportunity for supporters to join together and let the world know the truth about their unjust convictions. All over the globe, people will stage concerts, screen Paradise Lost I & II and host benefits to raise money for the WM3’s defense funds.
Here’s some background info from WM3.org:
Shortly after three eight-year-old boys were found mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas, local newspapers stated the killers had been caught. The police assured the public that the three teenagers in custody were definitely responsible for these horrible crimes. Evidence?
The same police officers coerced an error-filled “confession” from Jessie Misskelley Jr., who is mentally handicapped. They subjected him to 12 hours of questioning without counsel or parental consent, audio-taping only two fragments totaling 46 minutes. Jessie recanted it that evening, but it was too late, Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols were all arrested on June 3, 1993, and convicted of murder in early 1994.
Although there was no physical evidence, murder weapon, motive, or connection to the victims, the prosecution pathetically resorted to presenting black hair and clothing, heavy metal t-shirts, and Stephen King novels as proof that the boys were sacrificed in a satanic cult ritual. Unfathomably, Echols was sentenced to death, Baldwin received life without parole, and Misskelley got life plus 40.
For over 12 years, The West Memphis Three have been imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit. Echols waits in solitary confinement for the lethal injection our tax dollars will pay for. They were all condemned by their poverty, incompetent defense, satanic panic and a rush to judgment.
More information on the West Memphis Three can be found at WM3.org and Wikipedia, along with Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky two documentaries on the subject: “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills” and “Paradise Lost 2: Revelations”