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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

No Avatar
121.

SouthrnHunnix420    

So why are only 2 of them being released? That's bull****.

1098 days ago
122.

A local yokal    

There's nothing about this on the wm3.org website. Nothing about this pretty much anywheres else. And this article reads a lot like "We heard this from a friend who has this uncle...". I'll wait till I hear this from a completely second source.

1098 days ago
123.

A local yokal    

There's nothing about this on the wm3.org website. Nothing about this pretty much anywheres else. And this article reads a lot like "We heard this from a friend who has this uncle...". I'll wait till I hear this from a completely second source.

1098 days ago
124.

Jake    

I think it's obvious that the only reason they would admit guilt after all these years is to get out of prison. The state of Arkansas doesn't want to get embarassed by the way they handled this case or get sued and so they will probably agree to this deal.

1098 days ago
125.

Vicki Holifield    

Okay first of all, Tmz and everyone else out there need to have all of their facts together before posting a story like this. Do some more research TMz! Also, I totally understand the "plead guilty and get off ****." because i was arrested for aggravated assault which was actually self defense and it drug out in court for 4 1/2 years, until finally the court offered that if I would just "PLEAD OUT" then all of it would be over and everyone could go home. Though I did not actually commit the crime, 4 1/2 years of taking off work, and paying an attorney, and a baby on the way, I took it. Our Justice system is Royally F0cked! The WM3 are innocent, and now the real killer/s will never be investigated because they are going to make them "plead out" so the state has their conviction and the case is closed and the PD and AR has their "case solved" THE WM3 shouldve been released years ago, but the narrow minded jurors, PD, and original defense attorneys should sleep well knowing that 3 teenage boys whose only crime was they liked a little Pantera and wore goth clothes, that they RUINED their lives as well as the memory of the 3 beautiful boys that were so horrendously murdered, all because they were too back wooded, po-dunk, small town- know it all, mass hysteria, Scare Tactic, Narrow Minded to see anything other than the Cover on that book! (Book used as a euphamism? for the WM3 guys)

1098 days ago
126.

trish    

TMZ do ur research first, this deal isn't what there release is about. There not confessing there guilt in order to be released, its regarding the results of DNA evidence from this summer that exonerates them, and the 2 unidentified males from the scene that links back to one of the boys step fathers... NICE WORK!!!!! on falsely reporting something you have NO CLUE ABOUT

1098 days ago
127.

Greg    

The are taking an Alford Plea. There is no admission of guilt and they will be released. This is purely for the prosecution to save face. These guys are innocent.

1098 days ago
128.

Jasmine    

This is the most irresponsible piece of "reporting" I have seen from TMZ in a long time. Instead of going from valid sources like CNN and Reuters you are reporting from some TV station in Memphis and a disgruntled step-parent who was once a suspect and what he "heard" from a "valid source in the justice system"??? Why don't you update with the latest source from CNN that explains in better detail the negotiations. All they are acknowledging is that the prosecution would have enough evidence to re-try them. But it also mentions that Terry Hobbs' DNA was all over the murder scene. Report FACTS, Harvey Levin or stick to Pari******on's herpes and Kim Kardashian's ass size!

1098 days ago
129.

Denice    

They aren't confessing to the crime. They are looking at an Alford Plea, which says that they agree the state has enough evidence to convict them of the crime.

http://wm3org.typepad.com/blog/2011/08/apnewsbreak-deal-could-allow-3-men-to-maintain-innocence-claim-in-ark-boys-1993-deaths.html

1098 days ago
130.

Jasmine    

Hey Harvey, Associated Press or TV station and speculation? Post a freaking clarification/retraction article! http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/apnewsbreak-deal-could-allow-3-men-to-maintain-innocence-claim-in-ark-boys-1993-deaths/2011/08/19/gIQAFDHvOJ_story.html

1098 days ago
131.

Barb    

I just read a news article about this. They are taking an Alford Plea which means they acknowledge that the state has enought to convict them but they are not admitting guilt.

1098 days ago
132.

Arkansas    

Your facts are so convoluted it's not even funny. If your going report on something take five freakin minutes to actually READ a transcript or SOMETHING... ANYTHING. They are not admitting guilt. Admitting that there is sufficient evidence to retry the case. Echols was sentenced to death, the other two got a life sentence and one of the stepfathers and his buddy are the only ones whose DNA showed up at the crime scene. If you want an interesting story, why not ask why this step father is NOT a suspect. Arkansas botched this from the word go and I promise you, had this not come to HUGE national attention, Damien would have been dead years ago and those other two boys... long forgotten. They knew they had the wrong ones when they arrested them. Fear and ignorance is what found those boys guilty. Not anything even remotely resembling evidence. The only confession from a boy with an IQ so low, he shouldn't have even been found competent to stand trial.

1098 days ago
133.

Arkansas    

Your facts are so convoluted it's not even funny. If your going report on something take five freakin minutes to actually READ a transcript or SOMETHING... ANYTHING. They are not admitting guilt. Admitting that there is sufficient evidence to retry the case. Echols was sentenced to death, the other two got a life sentence and one of the stepfathers and his buddy are the only ones whose DNA showed up at the crime scene. If you want an interesting story, why not ask why this step father is NOT a suspect. Arkansas botched this from the word go and I promise you, had this not come to HUGE national attention, Damien would have been dead years ago and those other two boys... long forgotten. They knew they had the wrong ones when they arrested them. Fear and ignorance is what found those boys guilty. Not anything even remotely resembling evidence. The only confession from a boy with an IQ so low, he shouldn't have even been found competent to stand trial.

1098 days ago
134.

Chris    

Finally! They are not admitting their guilt. In what’s called an Alford plea, they would agree that prosecutors have a solid amount of evidence against them — likely enough to win a conviction, while still maintaining their innocence. This is fantastic news, though bittersweet, as it would have been justice to have the verdict overturned. I don't blame them for agreeing to this. They've spent enough time in prison for something they didn't do.

1098 days ago
135.

lanie    

First of all, all the people posting links to the WM3 propaganda sites are idiots. The supporter sites are biased. Go to the HOAX board - google DownOnTheFarm "WM3" - that site points out that their innocence is a farce and has more accurate information than the HIGHLY biased WM3 propaganda sites.

These guys did it. Read Damien's psych records on Callahan's. I believe he will kill again, if he is set free. He is a very disturbed man.

This just proves that power and money can help people get away with murder. All the news shows were so biased - trying to make this into a "who done it" and celebrities lined up to defend them. I wonder if Johnny Depp ever sat down and read all the trial transcripts and do****ents in this case, especially Damien's psych reports.. Somehow I doubt it..

Mark my words; Damien is DANGEROUS...and likely will kill again..

1098 days ago
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