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The Lives Of Six Boys, Entertwined And Changed Forever: The Memphis Three Leave Prison
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There are questions in the case of the Memphis Three, questions that may never be answered, partially because they may not ever even be asked. According to the prosecutors in West Memphis, Arkansas, the case is now closed. They will not be looking for the person or persons that might be linked to the case, because according to the office’s beliefs, the killers were caught in 1993, prosecuted and put into prison. New evidence has surfaced that has changed the case and allowed three men in their thirties to be free for the first time in decades.

Back in 1993, Damien Echols, at 19, the oldest of the three boys and his friends, Jesse Misskelley Jr., aged 17 and sixteen year old, Jason Baldwin were outcasts, loners who may have dabbled in the Occult. Their dark clothes, strange hair styles and musical tastes may have made them easy targets in the small town. After the three young victims were found, West Memphis was gripped by what was described as “satanic panic”.

Misskelley, who has been described as mentally challenged, originally gave a statement to the local police that implicated himself and his two friends but the confession was recanted several days later and was not allowed to be introduced during the trial. Echols as the oldest was tried as the ringleader, often referred to as the mastermind among the trio. He was convicted of all charges brought against him and sentenced to death. Echols has been sitting in isolation on death row since the mid 90’s.

The West Memphis Three entered what is known as an Alford Plea. The men would enter a guilty plea while still technically maintain their innocence. Legal experts are questioning why, if the prosecution is so convinced that the three men truly are guilty, they would go ahead with this type of arrangement which has divided the town and gained national attention.

Steve Branch, the father of young Steven Branch maintains that the right men were in prison and is outraged by the court’s decision to allow them to be out and free. The stepfather of one of the other victims, however, was always convinced that the Three were innocent and is angered that they had to admit guilt for something they did not do. Some in the small community believe that the real killer might have been the stepfather of one of the three boys who were killed.

The three victims were all found naked and bruised, hogtied and then dumped in a drainage ditch. All three boys had been sexually abused; one victim had been partially castrated before they were dumped. At the time of the murders, the prosecutors believed that the deaths were part of a satanic ritual, but there was no real concrete evidence to link Echols, Baldwin or Misskelley to the scene or any of the victims. DNA evidence gathered at the scene did just the opposite in fact, eliminating all three from involvement.


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