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WEST MEMPHIS 3

Two Men will 'Admit Guilt'

In Exchange for Freedom

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

0818-west-memphis-three-2BN
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.

update_bar
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."



179 COMMENTS

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61.

Terry    

They didn't do it so they won't be confessing to anything. The reason for the trial is that there is GROUNDBREAKING evidence being introduced. go to http://wm3org.typepad.com/blog/2011/08/breaking-surprise-west-memphis-3-hearing-tomorrow-wm3.html for details

1160 days ago
62.

Sydney Adams    

It makes absolutely NO SENSE they would be forced to admit guilt in exchange for their freedom.

1160 days ago
63.

Lisa Lawson    

This doesn't make sense at all - how can changing your plea for a crime, for which you've already been tried and convicted, get you released from jail? What does the plea even matter, after the conviction has been handed down? And since when is Byers on THEIR side, with the "they never should have been arrested" comment? It's always been my understanding that he believed them to be guilty (questions about his own guilt/innocence notwithstanding).

1160 days ago
64.

Berry    

Cocaine-snorter Depp must be ecstatic now. "I help free my favorite, now self-admitted, child killer! Yay! My 13-year old female fans, whom I want to call me 'Johnny', looove me!"

1160 days ago
65.

lanie    

I've studied this case - Jessie even admitted guilt AFTER he was found guilty while his lawyer begged him not to..but he admitted guilt in the presence of his lawyer and admitted they had been drinking whiskey in the woods right before the murders..

When the DA, LE and the defense attorney went to the woods - guess what they found in almost the exact same spot Jessie told them they could find it... The Tennessee Williams whiskey bottle that Jessie talked about in the confession.

They're guilty as all hell. And people should know where Damien is at - at all times. Read his psych reports from when he was in and out of psych hospitals after he was arrested before the murders. He admitted he was homicidal.

He was so messed up that he even got disability, because of his severe mental issues.

Read up, folks.. Damien Echols makes Casey Anthony look like an angel.

1160 days ago
66.

lanie    

Wonder what all the celebrity endorsers of these murderers will say when they hear them proclaim their guilt. even an Alford plea makes them look pathetic.

They did it and they're getting away with murder.

HIDE YOUR CHILDREN.. Damien is a dangerous man.

1160 days ago
67.

thomas    

tell me why a prosecutor would make a plea deal to 3 guys they already had convicted and in jail? why make a deal just to have them "admit" their guilt? if the prosecutor gets them to "admit" their guilt wouldn't that just reaffirm their position that they are in jail for the right reasons and their sentences were just? someone please investigate this prosecutor... i want the west memphis three free but not like this.

1160 days ago
68.

Sonja    

Yeah Lanie imagine being 18yrs and arrested for a crime you didn't commit...he was suicidal. Not a monster. Nice try though.. good thing they had that whiskey bottle evidence to get Jessie's DNA off of at the crime scene right.. oh no they didn't did they. Yeah, Jessie and his 72 IQ, hours of police leading, misleading questioning.. please. Who cares that bites on the kids didn't match any of these guys, so what if the step father lied about seeing his own son, so what that one of his hairs was in the ligature, but yeah they are guilty as hell may ass. You must have some pretty selective reading skills when it comes to the reports and transcripts of this case.

1160 days ago
69.

MATT    

TMZ: They will NOT be admitting their guilt. that is not true. why would you report on rumors? thats ridiculous.

1160 days ago
70.

Chris    

How transparent is the Arkansas justice system. Time to cover your collective asses so you don't get sued for the false imprisonment. The writing is on the wall, these kids will be getting out anyway. I wonder if the third refuses to admit guilt? This is why it is so important not to shirk your jury summons.

1160 days ago
71.

Superman    

Huh? What difference does it make if they confess?!? They are already convicted for life sentences! It sounds like prosecutors are caving-in to the media telling them that they caught the wrong guys...so, instead of ignoring them, they are letting killers get out for a "I told you so" confession. TMZ, your update makes no sense...why shouldn't they have been arrested if they were guilty?

1160 days ago
72.

MATT    

TMZ: They will NOT be admitting their guilt. but they will be released. admitting guilt,that is not true. why would you report on rumors? thats ridiculous.

1160 days ago
73.

bunny    

May I ask who is writing this article? This person knows NOTHING about the case, clearly. Only one confessed and he's retarded. There is DNA evidence pointing it to the real killer, who happened to be married to Stephen's mom at the time. Yeah, do some research and quit TMZ.

1160 days ago
74.

Ling~Ling    

Umm.....WREG tv is not the most reliable news source around here. The other new channels are not reporting that story. I don't believe they are pleading guilty. New DNA evidence has been discovered and it has ruled that 100% they are NOT the DNA that was found on the boys. I think they are being released due to that. They are NOT guilty of anything other than being the scapegoat of the West Memphis Police Dept. Oh, and listening to Metallica.

1160 days ago
75.

Everyones~A~Star    

Why would they let confessed killers free?

1160 days ago
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