I don’t know how many people know about this story, but in short it’s something like this. Somewhere in the bible belt three kids were brutally murdered, the killings seemed to have a ritualistic feel about it. Three teenagers were arrested. At this point thing get blurry, because there were confessions and there seemed to be evidence condemning the three teenagers, now dubbed the West Memphis three. In their defense however, claims were made of extreme pressure during police interrogation forcing a false confession. There was a lot of evidence and more evidence has surfaced since that make it extremely unlikely that the West Memphis three were actually guilty, still they were convicted and two of them sentenced for life imprisonment and one for the death penalty.
|above the victims, below the West Memphis three|
I have seen the documentaries and based on what I saw there I could only conclude that the West Memphis three were arrested because they were different, they listened to heavy metal and showed interest in horror and the occult. One also had some psychological issues not unlike many other teenager hooked on Anne Rice these days. Living in the bible belt that’s apparently enough to get you death sentenced. I could identify with the west Memphis three and at that age that story could have been mine (if I hadn’t lived here in the Netherlands where people are quite a bit more tolerant). The music I listened to, the movies I watched and also the interest in the occult, identifying was easy. It scared the F**K out of me that such a thing could happen and it really felt connected to the guys.
After 18 years they are now released. What I understand is that although they maintain their claim of innocence they had to agree that evidence against them was strong enough to convict them. All three were released under the label “sentence served”. I feel an enormous relieve that the death sentence hasn’t been carried out and the West Memphis three are finally free, but I can’t shake that uneasy feeling that besides the fact they lost 18 years of their life they still have not been declared innocent.