West Memphis Three Set Free After 18 Years in Prison … After Pleading Guilty to First Degree Murder Charges


The WEST MEMPHIS THREE, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, set free and released today after pleading guilty to first degree murder in the death of three 8 year olds in West Memphis. Following their admissions of guilt, the three were sentenced to time served. Echols, Misskelley, and Baldwin were convicted in 1993 of murdering and mutilating the bodies of Michael Moore, Stevie Branch  and Christopher Byers. However, the WM3 took the “Alford plea” in which they could continue to claim their innocence but pleaded guilty in exchange for an 18-year sentence and credit for time served.


All members of the West Memphis Three were released today after pleading guilty to first-degree murder charges in the 1993 deaths of three West Memphis 8-year-olds.

Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley stood before Circuit Court Judge David Laser and entered the guilty pleas while maintaining their innocence in the case. Echols and Baldwin pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder. Misskelley pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder.

They were given credit for time served and a 10-year suspended sentence for their pleas in an agreement with prosecutors.

However, before you jump on the Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder band wagon that that the three were innocent of any crimes, one best look at some of the great investigative work done by crime blogger, Blink on Crime. Sure there were screw ups, but there was also more than what the WM3 and their mouth pieces are saying.  More at Blink on Crime including the previous investigative work regarding the murder case of the West Memphis Three, HERE and HERE.

One thing that would need to be considered, if the defense had such a strong case, if the evidence and DNA was so tainted, if there were so many errors committed by law enforcement in the investigation, if there were witnesses who’s stories changed, if the West Memphis Three were so innocent and had all these things going for them, why did they plead GUILTY TO MURDER?

Sadly, in the end it would not appear to be justice for Michael Moore, Stevie Branch  and Christopher Byers. It was a reduction of risk for the WM3 to get out of prison and a money decision by the State. This was not justice … it was risk management on both sides.

If you liked this post, you may also like these:

  • The West Memphis Three Series Part I: Set Free Or Where They Should Be?
  • Drew Peterson Found Guilty of Murder in the Death of Kathleen Savio
  • Casey Anthony found NOT GUILTY of 1st Degree Murder
  • Mother Throws Children Off Pier To “Send To Heaven” Aquittted of Murder Charges
  • Former Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-IL) Jr. Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison … Using His Campaign as his “Personal Piggy Bank”

  • Comments

    12 Responses to “West Memphis Three Set Free After 18 Years in Prison … After Pleading Guilty to First Degree Murder Charges”

    1. hope on August 19th, 2011 9:52 pm

      I could only bear to read the first of the series of articles Blink had written concerning the three cub scouts who were murdered in this case as the crimes committed against these eight year olds were enough to make me physically ill. I found her article to be compelling, especially, where she was able to tie some of the wounds to a pick that was acquired in a trade and then returned after the murders.

      In an age where thousands of citizens volunteer their time and efforts to support law enforcement through searching or providing tips in an effort to solve crimes committed against our fellow citizens; it seems our justice system is failing us… and that is concerning. We, supposedly, have the best court system in the world and, yet, compelling evidence is ignored and truth falls on deaf ears. This is a prime example of justice gone awry, imo.

      Can’t ignore the good work done by good people for a good cause; but reading about a judges decision like this one is disheartening. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have to feel deprived by a system that relies so heavily on science, even when it defies logic.

    2. Julia on August 20th, 2011 5:23 am

      Happy for the boys they get a second chance in life. The investigation and proceedings were a sham, I hope they’ll receive compensation.
      SM: In the end, no justice for the 3 murdered boys.

    3. hope on August 20th, 2011 12:35 pm

      IMO Touch DNA ia going to become a problem in many cases in the future… a prime example is the new evidence, which didn’t amount to a hill of beans in comparison to overwhelming evidence of guilt in this case.

      Hope Julia has enough displaced compassion to offer them a place to live


    4. Jayne (on the left coast) on August 20th, 2011 12:48 pm

      Meh the hollywood glitterati, they are known to love cop killers like Mookie Williams and his ilk. Whenever they get involved I am very suspect of the who they are proclaiming innocent.

    5. Wolfgang on August 20th, 2011 3:20 pm

      I don’t remember this case but like Hope, this is sickening. More than one wild person did this horrible crime! There seems to be a lot of evidence toward these now free and able to take advantage of society. Money talks!

    6. tjo on August 20th, 2011 9:46 pm

      i will not visit this website again. whoever wrote the article about the memphis 3 knows nothing about the case. it is obvious the step father did it. the kids were strung up because they were goth in a redneck town.
      SM: Not sure which article you are referring to but also do not know how much actual unbiased research you have done in the actual evidence of the case either.

      There were many issues with the initial investigation. Sadly, in the end there was no justice provided to the 3 young boys that were murdered.

    7. Scott on August 22nd, 2011 10:45 am

      You people that think these boys are guilty need to do some research on the case..

      Hope….you have no idea what you are talking about…there IS plenty of evidence that points away from these boys; INCLUDING the fact that they weren’t even in the area at the time of the murders; but the STEP FATHER was seen in that area at the time of the murders…48 HOURS did a fantastic piece on this and I’ve been following this case since the beginning.

      OVERWHELMING evidence of guilt? Please prove it….YOU CAN NOT.

      Even the mother of one of the murdered boys believes that her ex husband and then step father killed those boys; when he was in possession of a piece of evidence that the boy never let go of; the step-father hid that evidence and his wife found it months later….

      Jayne, the Hollywood types are not the ones that freed these boys and are not the only ones who support these boys. I bet if you took a poll; the majority of people would believe these boys innocent. This is entirely different from the Casey Anthony debacle so please don’t go there….

      Wolfbang – it does not take more than one person to subdue or hold kids of that age hostage. If he had a gun; he could have scared them to not flee. It’s not rocket science…

      The step-father clearly did this from everything I’ve read over the past 15 plus…..aside from that, my father, a former homicide detective in one of the toughest areas in the country for 30 years; believes the boys are innocent from everything he’s seen and read for the past 15 years as well….

      I’ll take a seasoned veteran LE with high accomodations in the homicide field over you fools who think these boys are guilty.

    8. Wolfgang on August 23rd, 2011 5:39 am

      Scott….Your hostility is showing. Everyone can have an opinion. Yours is not the only one allowed. get over yourself.

    9. laurie on August 23rd, 2011 9:27 am

      were both step-dads likely involved? many suspected byers for a long time. is there good reason to ‘exhonorate’ him? lie detectors can be easily fooled by some exp liars–as he showed himself to be.

    10. sandy on September 10th, 2011 12:08 am

      LOL athope :) yes send them to Julia!

      BTW did i mention i DO think the 3 are GUILTY!

    11. vicki on September 10th, 2011 12:10 am

      I just don`t see how some people could possibly think those 3 monsters are innocent!

    12. Tom on January 13th, 2012 12:16 am

      “Those 3 are innocent! I saw it myself on an HBO documentary! Everybody knows that tv people aren’t biased and don’t edit their programs to influence their audience! Damn it! It all happened just like HBO said!”

      I’m waiting for HBOs 3 part investigation on finding the “real” killers. Those 3 babies still don’t have justice while every one else is getting invited to Hollywood parties and making bank.

      Screw HBO and the trash they churn out daily to make they’re millions of dollars as we go morally & financially bankrupt. It’s all about the money, not justice. And yes, even “tv people” are corrupted by it, not just Wallstreet and government. It’s time to wake up.

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