'West Memphis 3' Released From Prison

Eddie Vedder and Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines show their support at hearing in Arkansas

August 19, 2011 2:05 PM ET
west memphis three john mark byers
John Mark Byers, adoptive father of Christopher Byers, a victim in the 1993 killings of three West Memphis, Ark., children, proclaims the innocence of three men convicted in the case outside of the Craighead County Court House in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
AP Photo/Danny Johnston

The "West Memphis 3," a trio of men convicted in 1993 for the killing of three 8-year-old Cub Scouts, have been released after nearly two decades in prison. The men – Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin – pulled off a tricky legal maneuver that allowed them to change their pleas to guilty and maintain their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors likely had enough evidence to convict them. All three will be placed on 10 years' probation. Echols had been sentenced to death, and Baldwin and Misskelley were serving out life terms.

Photos: Random Notes

The trio were the subject of two documentaries, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, and the books Blood of Innocents and Devil's Knot, all of which argued that they were wrongfully convicted. Musicians and celebrities such as Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Henry Rollins, Metallica, Disturbed, Johnny Depp and the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines have thrown their support behind the men, with Vedder and Maines showing up at the Craighead County Courthouse in Little Rock this morning for the hearing.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »