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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.

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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

No Avatar
91.

Max Smart    

I've heard a fair bit about this case & I'm inclined to believe they are innocent, but not 100% sure. It makes me think that either way they shouldn't have been convicted and the whole thing was botched. I think it was an emotional conviction & they didn't have anywhere near enough hard evidence. It would be sad if they were innocent & have to say they're guilty to be freed. It just makes it even more murky. It would also be dumb if they were guilty & freed.

1126 days ago
92.

SHYLO    

and to think if your child is different, at the wrong place!!ohh jail for their teenage years then , OH im sorry your NOT GUILTY! IM gonna let you free! but who or what can take back years in jail??The pain they had to have done TO THEM IN JAIL!!! how is that replaced???how many other kids are sitting in jail because their DIFFERENT and cant afford a good lawyer! these families were ripped knowing their children were innocent and could not afford a lawyer to prove that!!

1126 days ago
93.

mattcollen    

This is a back door deal... The state knows they are innocent. The state is on the hook for jury tampering and many other things. Also, DNA has cleared the WM3, so the state decided to cut a deal and release them in a way where the state could not be sued.

1126 days ago
94.

jacinda    

TMZ IS MISINFORMED AGAIN! YOU CAN SUCK IT: http://wm3org.typepad.com/blog/2011/08/wm3-leave-prison-with-all-belongings-source-says-they-are-not-expected-back-1.html

1126 days ago
95.

duh    

really tmz??? They are not admitting guilt to get out. If anything admitting guilt would mean they stay in prison. There is a meeting in judge chambers and a news confrence on friday, my guess is they will all be set free very very soon. As there was a recent court hearing about evidence and it ended with dna being re tested and not being linked to ANY of these three men. So then, why would they admit guily when they are about to all be set free? My guess--the state wants them to admit guilt so the men cant sue them. Props to johnny Depp for putting his reputation on the line to fight for the rights and freedom of these 3!!!

1126 days ago
96.

Lea    

You can always make a story seem true for some people when it's told with the right spin. Why "smart" celebrities fell for it is beyond me. Even worse is the people who believe since these people believe it, I should too! I lived in that area when this happened. No One would let their children from their sight. Funny thing too, no more children were killed after this or anywhere else for that matter in the same fashion these boys were killed. This is an afront to the memory of those three boys.

1126 days ago
97.

Don Alex    

FREE THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE!

1126 days ago
98.

fran    

I think Johnny Depp is a fantastic actor... that the only reason people are taking his word...why would these people admit to guilt if they didnt do it..and why would the courts release a confessed murder of three children...Johnny better be absolutely correct in defending these 3 murders, his word is on the line here,what if they get out and do it again.

1126 days ago
99.

MikenMem    

The facts are all 3 of these men were convicted by a jury. So you can be sure that in one day a Judge is not going to throw out the jury's convictions, have the Prosecutor make the decision to retry them and give the 3 men a chance to plea bargain out of the second trial. There is some indication that they are going to be released but it won't be because they are offered a plea deal for a conviction that a jury has already handed down.

1126 days ago
100.

duh    

to lea: Funny thing too, no more children were killed after this or anywhere else for that matter in the same fashion these boys were killed.


ever think that the REAL killer was watching the news about this and thought hey i got away with it? They would most certainly know that if the same crime was committed that the search would be on again and thats why no more children were killed after this or anywhere else for that matter in the same fashion these boys were killed.

bet that didnt pop into your head did it?

BTW people dont believe the story because johnny depp and other celebrities also believe it. We do have our own minds and can also think for ourselves ya know!! We, as well as famous people believe it because the facts and evidence point to their innocence.

1126 days ago
101.

St Murphy    

i still think it was the mentally unstable step father with the blood on his knife that was matched up to his son.

1126 days ago
102.

St Murphy    

correction *father not step!

1126 days ago
103.

Chris    

This pretty much spells it out and where TMZ probably got their info. Good article.
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/aug/18/plea-deal-release-west-memphis-three/

1126 days ago
104.

Deborah    

They admit to killing these people, yet are released.???? I missed something...maybe there should be a trial??????????? Hey, a jury would be an idea (just not from Florida. You KNOW how they are)

1126 days ago
105.

Claus    

TMZ must be missing some details because this makes NO sense. What the hell???

1126 days ago
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