MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Nine years ago Wednesday, the West Memphis Three walked out of prison as free men.
Damion Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were convicted in 1994 of murdering three 8-year-old boys, Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Chris Byers.
Echols spent 18 years on death row, while Baldwin and Misskelley received life sentences.
Over the years, celebrities including Johnny Depp and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, pleaded for the release of Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley, who were dubbed the West Memphis Three. HBO films produced a series of documentaries on the case.
The three were released from prison in 2011 on what’s called an Alford plea, after new forensic evidence was presented as part of the case.
Wednesday, Echols tweeted out a picture of the Commercial Appeal’s front page from the day they were released, saying “Nine years ago today. Thank You.”
Over the years, Echols has written books about the case and his time in prison. Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of Stevie Branch, also wrote a book, and said he still believes Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley are responsible for the murders.