This isn't local, but it is amazing: Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelly–also known as the “West Memphis 3” from the Paradise Lost documentaries–were set free today after 18 years in prison in Arkansas.
Filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky were in the Jonseboro, Ark., courtroom when it happened, according to a release from HBO Films.
If you haven't seen Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996) and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000) rent, TiVo or buy copies.
Baldwin, Echols and Misskelly were arrested in June 1993 for the rapes, mutilations and murders of three eight-year-old boys found a month earlier next to a muddy creek in the wooded Robin Hood Hills area of West Memphis, Ark.
As the documentaries show, the main evidence against the then-teens was their fondness for black clothing and heavy metal, which in Arkansas obviously means you worship the devil and drink the blood of eight-year-old boys. The case sparked a national debate and celebrity support for the defendants. Meanwhile, the original film cast suspicion on a certain person close to one dead boy–suspicions that only grew in the sequel.
Berlinger and Sinofsky's Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next month, tours other festivals this fall and debuts on HBO in January 2012.
That film now has its ending.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.