The 1993 Robin Hood Hills
murders in West Memphis AR
Police arrest photographs of
Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols, & Jessie Misskelley, Jr..
In 1993, three eight-year old boys were viciously murdered in Robin Hood
Hills, West Memphis, AR. Three teenagers -- often referred to as the "West Memphis Three" were accused of the crime. After a
bungled police investigation and a trial that appealed to the juror's fears and
bigotry, the teens were convicted.
DNA evidence found was found on a human hair at the murder scene. The DNA has conclusively proved that all of the West Memphis Three are innocent. However, the DNA sample is a match to about 1.5% of the population, including a step-father of one of the victims. A surprising number of media articles incorrectly say or imply that the step-father's DNA was found on the scene.
Until 2011-AUG-19, the three remained in jail, apparently innocent, while the perpetrator(s) went free. They were allowed to file an Alford Plea in which they claim innocence of the crime but acknowledge that there is enough evidence to prove their guilt. This was their only way to obtain their freedom, and is regarded as a guilty plea by the prosecution. This allowed the state of Arkansas to avoid a wrongful imprisonment law suit by the West Mempthis Three and a probable payment of millions of dollars in reparation.
Echols, 36, was released from death row. Baldwin, 34 ad Misskelley, 36 were serving life sentences when they were released.
The film "West of Memphis" tells their story. It opened throughout North America on 2013-FEB-01. According to Bruce Demara, entertainment reporter for the Toronto Star:
"There is no justice when the real killer remains free. That director Amy Berg and co-writer Billy McMillin dare to point a finger at Terry Hobbs -- the step father of one of the victims -- and to cite compelling evidence of his guilt is an act of staggering courage. That the justice system in Arkansas refuses to hold any of its own to account for an avalanche of incompetence and collusion -- and worse -- is an appaling act of cowardice."