West Memphis Three

What It’s About:

 (From the official website): Shortly after three eight-year-old boys were found mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas, local newspapers stated the killers had been caught. The police assured the public that the three teenagers in custody were definitely responsible for these horrible crimes. Evidence?

The same police officers coerced an error-filled “confession” from Jessie Misskelley Jr., who is mentally handicapped. They subjected him to 12 hours of questioning without counsel or parental consent, audio-taping only two fragments totaling 46 minutes. Jessie recanted it that evening, but it was too late— Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols were all arrested on June 3, 1993, and convicted of murder in early 1994.

Although there was no physical evidence, murder weapon, motive, or connection to the victims, the prosecution pathetically resorted to presenting black hair and clothing, heavy metal t-shirts, and Stephen King novels as proof that the boys were sacrificed in a satanic cult ritual. Unfathomably, Echols was sentenced to death, Baldwin received life without parole, and Misskelley got life plus 40. 

For over 14 years, The West Memphis Three have been imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit. Echols waits in solitary confinement for the lethal injection our tax dollars will pay for. They were all condemned by their poverty, incompetent defense, satanic panic and a rush to judgment.

How Henry Helps:

In 2002, Henry organized the benefit CD Rise Above, featuring Slipknot, Slayer, Motörhead and Queens of the Stone Age, among others, to raise funds to help the West Memphis Three.  He continually makes reference to the cause on his radio show Harmony In My Head on LA radio station Indie 103.1.  There is also a book, Broken Summers, which documents the process.

In October 2004, Henry and Jello Biafra donated signed merchandise to be sold at a monthlong exhibition supporting the Three in Phoenix, Arizona.  Performed at the Skeleton Key Art Auction to benefit the WM3 on May 12, 2006. 

Current Status:

10/29/2007 – Attorneys for the West Memphis Three have just filed a Second Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, which basically presents scientific data that proves the boys are innocent.   The statement is a major step in proving that the evidence used to convict the boys was faulty.  However, the defense is still struggling financially and can use your help.

To Find Out More:

The West Memphis Three Official Site
A review of Rise Above for VH1

Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three (Book)
By Mara Leveritt Buy it from Amazon

Rise Above: The West Memphis Three Benefit CD
Buy it from Amazon

Visit Damien Echols’ Skeleton Key Art Auction website, set up to support the West Memphis 3.  Official site.

Broken Summers by Henry Rollins
Buy it direct from 2.13.61

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