Monday, August 22, 2011

West Memphis Three Out Of Jail


After serving 17 years for the murder of three children, the trio known as the West Memphis 3 were released from prison Friday. DNA testing last year showed the three were not present at the scene. However, in order to secure their freedom, the three took a deal which is basically admitting they are guilty. The complex deal basically means the three are free to try and clear their names and can go to court later to do so, but will have a tough time suing the state and are basically out on a suspended sentence. One of the three took the deal because he wanted out of jail. The other took it to save the life of the third who was the only one sentenced to death.


So, what do you think? Do you think the trio is guilty?

35 comments:

yourfaceisamess said...

the creepy step-father of the one murdered boy did it.

Robert said...

Excuse me, but does the question make sense? If they "weren't present at the scene", how could they be guilty?

old ;ady said...

Never thought they were guilty. Always thought it was one of the fathers/stepfathers. Now they have DNA from the crime scene from the one stepfather and his friend, but because of the deal don't have to go after them. Can only hope that KARMA smacks the stepfather up side his head.

Ryan said...

It turns out it's not even the creepy stepfather. (I think you meant the stepfather of the byers boy).

It was another of the stepfathers.

There is no chance in hell these guys did this.

They were just kids, and Damien was essentially sentenced to death for being a hyper-intelligent smart-assed pre-goth loner.

You show a jury pictures of three mutilated cub scouts and they will want to punish someone. Damien was an easy target.

The Miskelly kid was 17 and had an IQ of 70 and after two days of interrogation, he confessed because he believed that he would get to go home if he did.

His confession got nearly every fact about the murders wrong.

Thank God these guys have been released.

Unknown said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Memphis_3

reading the wiki on this and the sheer volume of cataclysmic fuck-ups would be funny if it weren't such a horrifically tragic situation.

Pugs said...

Very glad they were released but I still think they got a raw deal. After watching the HBO documentaries I was convince they were innocent - but it was only some recent evidence that convinced me that the stepfather of another boy and his friend are implicated.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

Its a raw deal, but at this point they needed to take whatever they could get and try to have some kind of life.

nataliesinger said...

I'm having a really hard time understanding that they were let go because it appears they are not guilty but to be let go they had to admit guilt. Anybody know a link on this so I can full understand how that works? I just don't get it.

Momster said...

I'm glad they're free, but they are going to have hard time adjusting to society. Good luck to them.

And those three kids (the ones murdered) died horrifically--and if it was by someone they knew? Even more tragic.

bramblewitch said...

So glad you finally put this up. So glad they got out, but I agree they will have a hard time. What a horrible human rights abuse this has been.

They are not guilty.

Sue Ellen Mishkey said...

I am a big fan of suing the shit out of the State/Country when people are falsely condemned for crimes they didn't commit, so it really chaps my ass that they won't be able to do so. Or will they? Dun dun dunnnn.

ms snarky said...

I heard an interview with a reporter in the area, apparently no one ever thought they were guilty, but the prosecution needed a scapegoat and the state won't admit it was wrong even though the evidence shows the boys were innocent. Pretty scary.

Sonia in MO said...

Nataliesinger, they plead under an Alford plea, in which they plead guilty acknowledging the prosecution has sufficient evidence against them, but they maintain their innocence and can work to prove it. Here's a wikipedia link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alford_plea

Belle said...

I'm from Arkansas and remember when those little boys were found. It was a tragic and horrid time.

Most people didn't think the WM3 did it, but through police coersion, uber-crazed conservatives wanting to burn a witch/Satanic cult follower (or so they painted Echols), and a judge wanting to be elected to higher office (now state Senator Jim Barnett) they had no chance.

I'm glad they are free. I think the deal stinks to high heaven. And I think the state should be sued for wrongful imprisonment.

surfer said...

@Natalie. This involved something called an Alford Plea - here is the definition.

"In an Alford Plea, the criminal defendant does not admit the act, but admits that the prosecution could likely prove the charge. The court will pronounce the defendant guilty. The defendant may plead guilty yet not admit all the facts that comprise the crime. An Alford plea allows defendant to plead guilty even while unable or unwilling to admit guilt."

The three stood up in court and said while they were innocent of the charges, they were pleading guilty (Alford Plea). Since the trial, some witnesses changed their stories and the person who collected crime-scene evidence has died. It was also said that the prosecutors would not have let the three out if they truly believed they were guilty. So while technically the prosecution could re-try them, that won't happen, especially now that the DNA shows they were not present.

Sorry for this being so long.

__-__=__ said...

Even if they sue the County/State/whatever, it's only the taxpayers who pay. The people truly responsible continue to have their jobs and walk the earth as if nothing ever happened. It's a sad state of affairs when people, real people, aren't punished for letting this type of thing happen in the first place. Sounds like a gross dereliction of duty to me. Whether on the part of police, prosecutors or judges I really don't know. I don't think society can survive if this type of thing - no accountability, no responsibility, continues.

B626 said...

That's why they had to take that plea(remove the chance to sue$$$) although i'd go find a good lawyer at take it all the way to the supreme court to overturn it. Of course they're not guilty. You can watch it for free on the net but I wouldn't do it on a full stomach.

PotPourri said...

So sad. Imagine if this had been your life thrown away without care...

Cindy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Treesap-Covered Lady, the Humanist said...

@Natalie and everyone else who's confused about the plea deal, ABC does a pretty good job of explaining it:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/west-memphis-free-dna-evidence-feeds-doubts/story?id=14340244

I was seven when this happened so I'm just not learning about it.

Sue Ellen Mishkey said...

@B626

That is exactly what I would (try) to do if that were me.

F. That.

surfer said...

SueEllen - I would "like" your comment if I could.

Anonymous said...

I still don't get it. If the DNA prove they are innocent why still plea guilty. They must have had not that great lawyers for them to plea guilty.

nataliesinger said...

Thank you everybody who answered my question....appreciate it xn

surfer said...

Oh, and the judge put them each on probation for TEN years, which I think was unnecessary, but sets them up for failure (I hope not). The judge told them that they could end up back in prison for another 21 years. Unbelievable.

Texshan said...

This whole thing has been a giant clusterfark from the beginning. The prosecution couldn't admit that they made a mistake in arresting the WM3, and decided that putting them away was the easiest and most convenient thing to do. No one with half a brain and a mere smattering of knowledge about the case would believe they were guilty. Now, two decades later, the DNA exonerates them, but since the state STILL can't admit they made huge mistakes, they give the WM3 the chance to get out of prison only by basically saying the prosecution didn't make any mistakes -- that there was enough evidence to convict them. It's totally ridiculous, and the lives of the WM3 and their families have been ruined.

Linnea said...

What REALLY upsets me about this deal (apart from the things already mentioned here) is that the real killers are never going to be punished. As far as I understand it, the case is still closed because they plead "guilty" so they are not going to try to find out who really did it.

ardleighstreet said...

So one of the step-parents DNA turned up at the scene but noone is going forward with it???

WHY NOT????

The 3 boys; that got jail terms; can they sue the individuals (ie Jim Barnett) involved but not just the govt?

KP said...

I saw in a documentary that there were bite marks on the boys and one of the stepfathers later had ALL of his teeth pulled and started wearing dentures.

Anotheramy said...

They finally let these poor kids out a year after finding proof that they didn't do it. Think about what you've experienced in the last year. They missed all of that waiting for the system to finally get around to their paperwork.

kerri said...

I have followed this from the very beginning, these three men have had their lives torn apart. I pray they can find some happiness now.

nunaurbiz said...

INNOCENT! Botched investigation and corrupt, botched prosecution.

There will be no attempt on the state's part to seek the real killer (likely the stepdad). It would also mean prosecutors would have to admit they convicted the three and almost executed one. Prosecutors don't like doing that.

Maja With a J said...

Innocent. I've been following this since watching "Paradise Lost" back in '93 or something and it is truly outrageous the way the real killer(s) will never have to pay for it. Shit, even some of the parents of those poor murdered boys have changed their minds and think the WM3 are innocent.

Sara D said...

This one breaks my heart. I saw both documentaries and it was so obvious these boys didn't do it.
I saw that they all had to take the plea to get Damien off of death row.

And that prosecutor knew "way back when" that they didn't do it. You could see it in his eyes.

B said...

I've followed this case for 11 years.It's so nice to hear all of this support for the WM3!

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