The West Memphis Three has been a cause celebre for metal fans and celebrities alike since 1993, when Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin were found guilty of the deaths of three Boy Scouts in Arkansas. Now it appears that two of the three will be released from an Arkansas prison tomorrow. According to WREG, an agreement has been reached in which the three will admit guilt to the crime, with two being allowed to go free with time served.
Echols, Misskelley, and Baldwin were found guilty, with the prosecution stating that the three boys were murdered in a satanic ritual. Echols was sentenced to death, Misskelly was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20 year sentences, and Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment. While DNA evidence was found not to match the defendants, the three remained in jail. A 1996 documentary, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hills, outlined the case and trial, and marked the first time Metallica let their music be used for a film. Many metal fans rallied around the three, stating that they were unjustly sentenced due to their love of metal, belief in satan and their appearance. In 2002, The Rollins Band released Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three, in which the band covered Black Flag songs with contributions from the likes of Ice T, Hank III, and Clutch’s Neil Fallon. There are many questions remaining, and hopefully they’ll be answered tomorrow. We’ll follow up once the hearing is complete.
UPDATE: All three of the West Memphis Three have been released from prison.