A blog dedicated to addressing myths and distortions in the murders of Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers, who were murdered May 5th, 1993, in a patch of woods located in West Memphis, Arkansas. The victims were three 8-year-old cub scouts, who had gone off to play together and never returned home. To date four films have been made on the murders and the trials of the men eventually convicted of the crime. The men were Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols, and Jessie Misskelley, who,at the time of the murders, were only teenagers. And through the media they’d come to be known as the West Memphis Three (WM3).
These men would eventually be paroled thanks to a well funded series of appeals, as a direct result of the media surrounding the films. Many celebrities had even come out not in support of justice for the victims, but in misguided support for the men convicted in their slaying. They had come to believe from the film portrayals that these men were some how innocent and rail-roaded. Some of the celebrity supporters would include, Lord of the Rings director, Peter Jackson, who donated more than 10 million dollars to defend these men. And another would be actor Johnny Depp, who is currently producing a film based on the life of Damien Echols.
After spending by some estimates $20 million, dragging out the appeals process, the men secured a plea deal where they were paroled after 20 years, and entered what is known as an Alford plea. An Alford plea under the law is considered the same as a guilty plea, but the defendant is still allowed to insist they’re innocent, but likely to be convicted based on overwhelming evidence. Essentially after years of denying their guilt, they pled guilty, but were allowed to save face with this deal.
And now they’re free, and able to enjoy their lives while their victims receive no justice, and their families no peace.