A Cry for Innocence

A Cry for InnocenceDamien Echols, 35, has spent his entire adult life on Arkansas' death row. Every day, he faces the possibility of execution. But there is a bright spot in his life.

Lorri (his wife) is familiar with every facet of Damien's case and works day and night with the legal team, fighting not only for Damien on death row, but for Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, the other convicted men who are serving life sentences.

"We have gone through every aspect of this case and there was never been anything that pointed to their guilt," she explains.

They are known as the West Memphis Three, and they are now actively supported by people who could really make a difference, like Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and actor Johnny Depp.

Despite all that, the Arkansas courts have upheld all three convictions for more than 16 years. Prosecutors maintain that Damien, Jason and Jessie are responsible for the cold-blooded murder of three 8-year-old boys.

However, on August 19, 2011, Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were released from prison as part of an Alford plea deal, a rare legal mechanism in which "no contest" pleas are entered but innocence is nevertheless maintained.

Watch the full documentary now

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Ratings: 7.64/10 from 11 users.
  • Nwttp

    How these kids got convicted, even if they did it, just goes to shown you how idiotic the average person is.

  • Nwttp

    As far as I'm concerned, prosecutors who fight for the death of someone they aren't 100% sure is guilty are no better than murderers.

  • Nwttp

    Any know how old this is??

  • Imightberiding

    I'm certain I saw a recent report about Damien Echols pleading to some level of guilt & as a result being set free. Not sure about the other fellows but more than likely they have gone free as well. Some sort of time served or plea bargain agreement between the boys(men now) & the prosector.

    It was my understanding that although Mr. Echols plead guilty to some extent, he still maintains his innocence & now that he is out of prison pledges to find the real killers.

  • Imightberiding

    If you read the title & introductory you most likely would have noticed the date was 2010. A little suggestion to enjoy future docs. The date is almost always posted in the top left hand corner of the title & intro. Cheers!

  • dewflirt

    Is this one that I shouldn't watch? Are there things I don't want to see?

  • http://www.facebook.com/roger.gordon.169 Roger Gordon

    If you like sout-central accents then go for it :P

  • pwndecaf

    They all took an Alford Plea, which is a plea of guilty but I didn't do it, in exchange for instant release. Instant is not the operative word after 16 years.

  • Pysmythe

    No, nothing here you wouldn't want to see, but things you don't like knowing. Like the deaths of three precious little boys, and a state's willingness to put (and keep) three outsider teenagers in prison, one of them on death-row, for crimes they clearly didn't commit.

  • dewflirt

    I sort of watched paradise lost a while back, mostly with my eyes on something else and a bit of tactical volume control. Saw and heard bits of nasty detail and really didn't want to see those bits again, just hear the story. Think I'll skip this then. Those poor little mites, and their families, and the teens and their families.... Too many ruined lives :(

  • Pysmythe

    There isn't anything gruesome in this one at all, mostly just about the mishandling of the case and other potential suspects.
    Still, I don't blame you...
    The three were actually released in August of '11 on kind of a bullsh-t plea deal, in case you didn't know about that already. But I guess that was better than waiting around another 5 or 10 years, while the state dragged out the whole process, hoping to be exonerated completely...

  • dewflirt

    Yeah, I did check in on them from time to time. I was hoping this film might cover the lead up to that. If it's not too gruesome I might watch later, thanks Pysmythe :)

  • wald0

    I wasn't aware that they had released these poor guys until watching this and then doing a google search. Someone should make a documentary explaining the unfair way in which they were released. Each was required to admit to some level of guilt, even though they are innocent, and then sign a form saying they would never attempt to sue the state of Arkansas for wrongful imprisonment.

    I think that if they went before the judge and explained they were being wrongfully kept in prison or on death row if they refused to sign he would void the agreement. Of course that would put these poor guys back in jail and on death row though, so I see why they don't pursue it. What heppened here is wrong though it is like me threatening someone with death or imprisonment if they don't sign a contract, its illegal coercion and should not be respected as valid. Its not about money, though I would imagine these guys are finding it hard to get a job now, its about the state admitting what they did, the people of that community realizing what they fueled, people every where realizing how easy it is to imprison the innocent and as a result ruin their entire life (remember we only get one). The industrial prison complex is eating this country alive for profit, shattering whole families and communities. When will they come for you and me?

  • Nwttp

    Thanks! never would of seen that on my own.

  • http://1iotofoto.wix.com/otofoto oQ

    "The industrial prison complex is eating this country alive for profit, shattering whole families and communities. When will they come for you and me?"
    I thought i'd repeat this part of your comment in case anyone missed the end of your writings.
    so true!
    1i

  • Pysmythe

    The best for all of that is 'Paradise Lost 3- Purgatory'. Did you see that one yet? I watched it last night, and it's excellent, but... there ARE a couple of (relatively quick) shots in it you really wouldn't want to see. Why they felt they had to put those in there, instead of using illustrations or recreations, I'm sure I don't know. But I didn't get the impression it was done just to cater to some morbid interest, considering the quality and content of the doc overall. If you haven't seen it yet, and want to, maybe you could have someone else watch it first, so they could warn you when to look away for a couple of seconds?

    Not too practical, I know.

  • Milosc

    A similar story happened in Russia, with the "2 guys, 1 hammer" situation

    When Satanism and/or locally well connected perpetrators are involved, the judicial outcome tends to be less than stellar. See: "Conspiracy of Silence", here, for more example

  • Spam Account

    Why would anybody want to look away? I'm pretty sure most everybody can handle reality. If not, they probably shouldn't be here. No need to sugarcoat everything. That's half the problem.

  • leprachaunz

    I am not going to get into the pros and cons of the Death Penalty, but I believe it is barbaric to keep someone on Death Row for sixteen years.
    Actually, I am going to comment on the Death Penalty. As a Christian, I believe it is wrong to take the life of another.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jamesdmitchell13 james mitchell

    If you believe in God, I have some swamp land in Florida you can buy.

  • leprachaunz

    OK James, I drain the swamp and give you the alligators.
    What I'm saying is that no one has the right to take the life of another.
    If he is to be locked up for the rest of his life, so be it.
    A trial has just closed in New Zealand, where I live.
    A father has been convicted of beating to death, his two year old son.
    I think they should lock him up and throw away the key.
    He will be called to answer for his actions, if not in this life, certainly the next.
    Leprachaunz

  • Andrew Hanlon

    Don't believe the hype. This documentary ommitted a few facts: they found fibres on the boys clothes from Damien and Jason Baldwins clothes, blood from the boys was found on Damien Echols necklace and blue candlewax consistent with candlewax from Damiens bedroom was found on the boys clothing. There was also a probably semen stain (washed out from 18 hours of submersion) found on the boys clothing, none of the alibis that Damien and his friends gave added up, he was seen by four people walking along the highway about two hundred yards from the scene covered in mud, the knife found in the lake was identified by multiple witnesses as being Damien's knife (why would someone throw a perfectly good knife in a lake?) and Jessie Misskelley has repeated his confession numerous times, and several friends and acquantainces of the other two have said that they had confessed to them in private. Good entertainment, but utter bullsh*t.

  • http://twitter.com/Kirsten1970 Kirsten

    They stuffed up the trial by going to hard on the satantic stuff ... in reality it was just bullying by mostly Damien and Jason which got out of hand, Damien at the time was trying to outdo his last awful deed to impress his friends and increase his reputation because he enjoyed the attention. Also come on with the targeting of Terry Hobbs .. I mean holy crap .. they know they're guilty and I think the truth will come out because Jessie, will keep admitting it because he prefers to live with the truth.

  • http://twitter.com/Kirsten1970 Kirsten

    Yes there are a LOT of facts the documentaries choose to leave out. I'd like to see the 250 hours of footage from the time of the trials that haven't been shown. It'll all come out one day, I'm sure of it. I think Damien does actually believe he has derived some kind of power from this act, and I also know that he still believes in 'Magick' because it's all over his twitter account. I don't believe it was a satanic sacrifice, but I do believe Damien's actions at the time had satanic overtones, because it was part of the image he was trying to project at the time and still is. In reality I think he did it for shock value, and because they were drunk and things got out of hand.

  • Fee83

    wow. you might want to check your facts.
    you're utterly and completely WRONG.

  • Fee83

    these three are innocent.
    look at the FACTS. how ignorant can some people be?

  • Fee83

    all of their alibis added up. have you even read about this or watched any of the docos?? lol

  • Fee83

    they stuffed the trial up FULL STOP. false confession PLUS they are all innocent, the prosecutors had no proof. there was an EXTREME amount of doubt.
    There was no evidence whatsoever to say that these three committed the crime. Terry Hobbs had the motive AND the opportunity. Too bad these Americans were so ignorant that they didnt even investigate him at the time.

  • tom

    i would sue the s*it out of that red neck state, sometimes i wonder how the USA can even run a country

  • Smiley

    I completely agree no one should be able to take another life eye for an eye is crap! What does it prove? It certainly doesn't make anyone feel better just hurts more people in the end. I've had 3 people in my life murdered it's not going to make everything better if their murders were dead. I want them to rot in a cell (which in Canada doesn't seem to work anyways) One day karma will catch up with them.

  • Laurence Smith

    The Damien Echols that was loose on the streets at the time of the murders was a socipath who should have been in a mental institution except he hadn't done anything serious enough. Echols propositioned one of the boys to pleasure him and when the boy(s) refused Damien had no way out but to kill them because he could not risk the boys telling their parents they had been propositioned. Damien became a great actor. The cops had to do what they could to convict this psycho because the rain had destroyed forensic evidence. There had to be 3 boys present to keep the 3 cub scouts from running away. No one single adult could have kept the 3 boy victims from running of as they would have run in different directions.

  • Laurence Smith

    Let me get this straight! As a Christian you belive it is wrong to take the life of another, but it is okay for a murderer to take the life of another. DId you graduate highschool with that logic?

  • Joe Sherwood

    "come on with the targeting of Terry"? REALLY? did you not even see the evidence that a hair with Terry Hobbs' dna was found in one of the knots tied? there was no dna evidence tying ANYBODY to the crime other than Terry Hobbs, his alibis were ALL proven to be lies, and you think he is the innocent one? Even his ex-wife Pamela, the mother of Stevie Branch, has said that she now thinks he is the person guilty of it.