Three men convicted of killing three 8-year-old boys in Arkansas back in 1993 -- otherwise known as the West Memphis Three -- were released from jail on Friday. As reported by CBS News, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin agreed to a legal maneuver that lets them maintain their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors most likely have enough evidence to convict them.
Because the bodies of the murdered boys -- Christopher Byers, Steve Branch and Michael Moore -- were found in a drainage ditch severely mutilated, police suspected Satanic cult activity. After a nearly 12-hour interrogation by the police, Misskelley, then 17, confessed to the murders and implicated Echols and Baldwin.
In the years since their convictions, doubts about whether the men were provably guilty began to arise. Henry Rollins, the former Black Flag singer, was an outspoken critic of the case. Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder and members of Metallica also called for the release of the West Memphis 3.
Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines has been an advocate for the release of the West Memphis 3. "Three men are free after 18 years of wrongful imprisonment," she tweeted Friday. noting that she donated to their defense fund in 2005.
Mandy Moore agreed. "Incredible!" she tweeted. "Justice served. Still, such a sad story."
Russell Simmons, however, didn't agree with the decision to let the men walk free. "If the West Memphis Three is not just another wake-up call in our failing criminal justice system, then I am not sure what is," he tweeted.
Tell Us: Do you agree with the decision to let the West Memphis Three walk free?
- Jessie Misskelley
- Damien Echols