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Two Men will 'Admit Guilt'

In Exchange for Freedom

8/18/2011 2:25 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Two members of the West Memphis 3 will be released from an Arkansas prison after "admitting guilt" in the deaths of 3 Boy Scouts back in 1993 ... this according to local reports.

The WM3 -- comprised of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin -- were each sentenced to life in prison for the killings of Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers -- whose mutilated bodies were found in a wooded area in West Memphis, Arkansas in May 1993.

For years, Echols, Misskelley and Baldwin have claimed they were 100% innocent of any crime -- and their plight caught the attention of HUGE Hollywood stars like Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder ... who rallied for their release from prison.

There have been several documentaries made about the case ... most of which suggest the men may not have committed the murders.

But now, according to WREG-TV, two of the men -- one of whom is reported to be Echols -- have apparently changed their tune in exchange for their release from prison ... though it's unclear when the men will be released.

It's also unclear WHY the men would be released if they're confessing to such a heinous crime.

2:52 PM: TMZ spoke with a rep for John Mark Byers -- a step-father of one of the victims who was also portrayed as a suspect in the documentary, "Paradise Lost."

The rep tells us John will "definitely" be in court tomorrow -- but calls the situation a "double-edged sword" because "even though they should never have been arrested, a murderer is getting the last laugh."


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Previous 15 Comments | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10


Lawdy, people are stupid. The guys are innocent, the trial was bungled and the state is offering this to save face. They were awarded the right to another trial, but rather than deal with the backlash of the illegal manuevers of the prosecution that will be exposed during the retrial The State of Arkansas offered this to the guys. They had a choice to stay and be fully exonerated or leave today. Which would you pick? And to say that Damien will kill again is as ignorant a statement as I've read.
1. He didn't kill anyone in the first place. A troubled teen acting like a goth weirdo is hardly a crime - nor is it uncommon. I have read the do***ents concerning his stay in the psyche ward and I'm pretty sure I heard the same ramblings from our resident high school weirdo. However, the intelligent and peaceful person Damien has become in spite of this ordeal is amazing to me, as I would be angry and hostile were I in his shoes. He's the exact opposite. 2. He is the most well balanced, calm and thoughtful man who will luckily get a 2nd shot at a beautiful life with his lovely wife. He deserves it. You simply don't know what you are talking about. But it's not uncommon for idiots to masquerade as experts on the internet.

1124 days ago


Folks, they are "Admitting guilt" so that they can't sue the state for false imprisonment. That is the only way they are getting out. Don't you understand this? They are not guilty of these murders.

1124 days ago


Dear Readers,

It's called an Alford Plea!! This means that they are not pleading guilty, it means that they are maintaining their innocence but agreeing that the prosecution has a solid amount of evidence against them that is likely enough to win a conviction. So you see, they are not admitting guilt to the crime to get out of jail. Geesh!

1124 days ago


They are NOT admitting guilt! TMZ has it's facts way wrong, and media reports like this are the EXACT thing that got them convicted in the first place.

1124 days ago


So happy the WM3 are free. There was NO physical evidence linking any of them to the crime. They should have been let go a long time ago. THEY ARE INNOCENT!!

1124 days ago


Before you comment on something I suggest that you fully educate yourself on the matter. These three men were committed on evidence that did not exist. I am glad that they are free and I hope that justice for the three murdered children will be pursued.

1120 days ago


I have followed this case my whole life considering i am the same ages as these guys and have always proclaimed their innocence. I believe our society is skeptical of any misfits persay and the youth of the 90s were outcast that were always quick to be judged. My heart goes out and they are in my prayers. This is definately a miscarriage of justice but they are at least free.......

1115 days ago

Not Ignorant    

It's called the Alford Plea..Get it right....oh that wouldn't give you the DRAMA though huh? Under the deal ironed out by defense attorneys, they will be able to maintain their innocence, but had to agree that prosecutors (sounds like the West Memphis Prosecutors) had enough evidence to find them guilty. An Alford plea in United States law is a guilty plea in criminal court,where the defendant does not admit the act and asserts innocence. Under the Alford plea, the defendant admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt (only in West Memphis)Look it up. 'PEOPLE' reported it right.

1086 days ago


What they did was not actually admit guilt, they said that the state may have enough evidence against them to find them guilty, while maintaing their innocence. If you watch Paradise Lost 3 you will see at the end that the assitant DA admits if they gave them a new trail they would most likely be found not guilty. They wanted them to take the Alford plea so the state wouldn't have to give them a new trial, the state was scared that they were wrong so they took the easy way. Once more never did these men admit to the murders TMZ needs to do better research.

905 days ago
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