Jonesboro, Arkansas- The three men who were accused of killing and mutilating three young boys in an alleged satanic ritual are being release from prison today. The trio has been the subject of two previous documentaries, Paradise Lost and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, and the a third to be released at the Toronto Film Festival. Their case was one of the most notable murders trials of the 90’s.
Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin were teenagers when they were convicted of the murders in 1994. At the time of their trial, DNA testing was not available. Criminal attorneys can prove innocence if DNA evidence is available.
Their case garnered a lot of media attention, with celebrities like Eddie Vedder, Henry Rollins and Johnny Depp all championing their innocence, attesting that there was not sufficient evidence to convict them. Despite the lack of evidence, two of the men were given life sentences and one was given the death penalty.
In 2007, new DNA evidence surfaced, which placed other individuals in the house where the boys were murdered, and that animals may have mutilated their bodies.
With the representation of a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney it may be possible to avoid such harsh penalties.
A complicated legal maneuver allowed the men to go free with a district court judge stating they had served their time, but issued a 10 year suspended sentence against them.
According to the plea, the men will maintain their innocence while admitting there was enough evidence for a murder conviction. The producers of the Paradise Lost films provided funds for their criminal attorneys, who were instrumental in their release.