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The West Memphis Three want new DNA tests!
Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin, three men known as the West Memphis Three, are calling for their names to be cleared once and for all in a sordid murder case, nearly 30 years after the fact.

The three men were arrested and wrongly convicted as teenagers in the savage murder of three young children in West Memphis, Arkansas, in 1993.

Although no motive or physical evidence linked them to the crime at the time, the teens were quickly targeted and accused of performing a satanic ritual there.


In 2007, it was recognized that the DNA of Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley did not match any of those found at the crime scenes, and they were released from their life sentences (and the death penalty for Damien Echols), on condition that they sign an Alford plea – an admission of guilt, but containing a protest of innocence.

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It should also be remembered that their story had quickly gone viral by the time of the trial, thanks in particular to true crime documentaries such as Paradise Lost, made in three parts from 1994 to 2011, and West of Memphis, released in 2012.

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But also (and above all) with the help of numerous celebrities including Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Natalie Maines (The Chicks), actor Johnny Depp and actress Winona Ryder, Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) and the band Metallica (who donated three of their songs for the Paradise Lost documentary).

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But, even though they are now free, one of the three, Damien Echols, wants more!

DNA technology has come a long way since 2007… and it’s now possible to find the killer thanks to new tests such as DNA profiling via genealogy sites like Ancestry, for example.

A request made by Echols was refused, the judge stating that only prisoners can make such a request, and that Mr. Echols is no longer considered as such.

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This is why, on June 2, the Innocence Project (an organization working for the release of the wrongfully convicted) filed a brief in support of Echols’ efforts.

At the same time, Innocence Project is asking everyone to support the West Memphis Three by signing a petition available on the website, sharing their stories on social networks, reading the book Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, or watching the documentary Paradise Lost on HBO (and Crave).

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