Thursday, August 19, 2004

Free the West Memphis 3!!!



Here's a case of the 'Satanic Panic' that gripped the country's smaller towns (like the one I grew up in) back during the late '80s, early '90s. I was just like these young men back then. I had the same look, and was about the same age as the WM3...

On Cinco de Mayo 1993, three 8 year old boys went missing in a small Arkansas town. The next day they were found brutally murdered by unknown assailant(s). Upon finding the bodies, the police investigator was heard to say, "That Damien Echols has finally done it." Convinced that Echols was some sort of 'devil-worshipper', and armed with no evidence, other than Metallica T-Shirts and Pink Floyd lyrics, the police began a frame job on the town's metal-heads.

After many hours in an interrogation room, a confession was coerced from a mentally retarded boy who knew Echols. The confession, a farce from beginning to end, (the police often corrected him to make the story fit) was used to convict 3 young men of the heinous crime. The judge for the trial wouldn't allow an expert witness to speak who could confirm that the 'confession' of Misskelley was coerced. Jason Baldwin, a friend of Damien's, Jessie Misskelley, the slow boy with an IQ of 71, and Damien Echols, the supposed ring-leader, were all convicted. The first 2 were sentenced to life in prison. Echols was sentenced to death.

At the very least, these young men deserve a re-trial. The horror that befell the three little boys who were the first victims is made double if in fact the WM3 are innocent. This really bothers me. Being the same age as a death-row inmate who may be innocent... who's only crime may be doing the same kind of kid stuff I did back then is too much. It could've been me. Someday, it could be you.

For more info, and I know you want to know more, go to http://www.wm3.org

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