The three men convicted in the grisly murders of three West Memphis Cub Scouts won new hearings Thursday to argue their innocence, more than 15 years after they were sent to prison despite scant physical evidence linking them to the crime scene.Free the West Memphis Three has been the subject of many a tribute album, benefit and song over the years, the likes of which have come from names like Henry Rollins, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, Winona Ryder, Sheperd Fairey, Johnny Depp, Tom Waits, Killing Joke, and countless others. Why? Because for lack of any real evidence, things like heavy metal t-shirts and Stephen King novels were used as evidence to prove the guys committed the murders as part of a satanic cult ritual. For more on the details behind the case, head to their website and check out a video on the recent development below.
The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered the hearings to decide whether new DNA analysis - and other evidence not introduced at the 1994 trials - could lead a reasonable jury to acquit death-row inmate Damien Echols as well as Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, who are serving life sentences.
The ruling was a major win for Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley, who are known to sympathizers as the West Memphis Three and have gained the support of celebrities as well as legal scholars who say they were wrongfully convicted. Echols has been on Arkansas' death row since 1994, when he was 20, after being convicted in the deaths of 8-year-olds Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore. The three boys were found beaten, nude and hog-tied in an area known as Robin Hood Hills in West Memphis. -[Washington Post]