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Celebrities call for release of 'West Memphis Three'

by Mark5019 / May 13, 2006 10:12 AM PDT

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- An art show featuring work by an Arkansas death row inmate opened this weekend to kick off a series of events this month advocating the release of three convicted killers whose cause has been championed by celebrities.

Damien Echols, 31, was one of three teenagers convicted in the 1993 bludgeoning deaths of three 8-year-old boys whose bodies were found in a ditch near their homes in West Memphis, Arkansas. The convicts became known as the "West Memphis Three."

Supporters claim Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin, were railroaded because they listened to heavy metal, dressed in black clothing and read Stephen King novels. The case has become a cause celebre for a host of musicians and other big names, including Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, punk rocker Henry Rollins and comedian Margaret Cho.

"I think America can do a little better for you than what they got, being thrown in prison on such intense charges with no physical evidence," said Rollins, who spoke at the art show on Friday. "This shouldn't happen in America."

The one-night show and auction

where will it end? thats why you kill thses scumbags:(

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Ahhh, their next ''cause'' now that the Tookie Williams
by MarciaB / May 13, 2006 12:43 PM PDT

saga is over. Hopefully they will be as unsuccessful with this one.

This line in the article got to me: ''These were three poor kids with no resources to defend themselves, but there's an enormous amount of political support and resources being put into it now,''

Unfortunately, the sadness being sent forth here is not for the three 8-year-old boys that were brutally murdered 13 years ago, but for the 3 who were arrested, tried, and found guilty. Sad

I say that if these ''celebrities'' want to have so much sympathy and time for murderers, let them sit in prison with them. I don't care to have their bleeding hearts splashed in any direction near me.


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i agree
by Mark5019 / May 13, 2006 12:57 PM PDT

thats why dp is best no release

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A few years back,
by John Robie / May 13, 2006 2:27 PM PDT

one of the Discovery, History, TLC channels on TV put on a 2 hour documentary showing mostly the actual trial and newsfilm of that murder of the 8 yr old in West Memphis (just across the Mississippi river). Damien's two friends admitted the murder as I recall and described the events. Damien considered himself as the mystery Devil, dressing in black, even every day of the trial. There was no doubt that Damien murdered the boy from the evidence. The documentary needed a strong stomach to watch.

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I'm a strong advocate of capital punishment...
by AdelaideJohn1967 / May 13, 2006 4:46 PM PDT
In reply to: A few years back,

And it's cases like this that further fuel this in me when I see or hear of things like this..

Another example was the murder of that little boy in the UK by two older "children" and this is where I take issue with the courts...

I don't know what the legal situation is in the USA or the UK but over here in Australia one is considered a child up until they turn 18 and they have a totally seperate court for those under 18.

The thing that get me though is that you can even rape or murder someone and providing in the law that you are under 18 you will most likely get away with it and I've seen such cases where the offender gets nothing more then a good behaviour bond...

So where's the justice when one of these "children" murders a loved one? And if you ask a lawyer or Judge why they didn't peanlise the little ****** they say that because they're underage they don't know right from wrong.... Phuleeze......

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John, here in the US,as a rule...
by Paul C / May 13, 2006 7:10 PM PDT

...the same principle applies. Those under 18 are prosecuted as juveniles and are spared serious (i.e., adult) punishment.

On occasion, a prosecutor will seek that a juvenile be tried as an adult. Generally, this occurs when a juvenile stands accused of a really horrific crime and/or if the prosecutor believes that the accused definitely understood the consequences of his or her actions and is therefore not entitled to the special protections accorded most juvenile offenders. However, cases in which prosecutors seek the death penalty against juveniles are rare in those states that permit capital punishment (remember, in our system each state determines what punishment shall be imposed for violations of state law).

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But as a rule I'd like......
by AdelaideJohn1967 / May 14, 2006 7:18 AM PDT

While in favour of capital punishment as a rule I'd
very much like it of it was proven beyond a doubt
that the person charged had acted in a premeditated
manner. Of course that might be harder then it sounds
in practice but its a starting point.. At least then
no-one can say that the prosecution railroaded or
coerced a confession out of the suspect.

And I'd probably prefer that the range of offences
be widened. For example here we had a case a few years
back where 3 juveniles 15, 16, and 17 killed a woman
in her 30s, but not before humiliating her by making
her perform oral sex acts and being annally raped by
each offender. She then was killed. Now what kind
of punishment did you think they got?

They got a "very stern lecture" from the Judge and
a $3000 good behaviour bond each.....

And this is the kind of thing that piss me right off.

Just too many do-gooders in society and too many
people with a "victim" complex including the

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As am I,but...
by tomron / May 13, 2006 11:43 PM PDT

The draw back to capital punishment is the potential for someone innocent to be executed.Since this is irrevocable it is by far the worse act that society can allow.

Don't misconstrue,i'm not saying that we should not have the death penalty,I don't want to see someone innocent executed.

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and how many get life
by Mark5019 / May 14, 2006 6:30 AM PDT
In reply to: As am I,but...

i mean real life there released on parole and kill again

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I agree...
by tomron / May 14, 2006 8:30 AM PDT
In reply to: and how many get life

that bull where someone waits on death row for 20 years or as you said,parole and kill again.Thats cause the system is full of it.Its not about justice for the victims.I'm just saying that i hate to see someone innocent get excecuted.

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Innocent or guilty?
by John Robie / May 14, 2006 7:40 AM PDT
In reply to: A few years back,

What can be noted is that there has not been anymore killings of children in or around Memphis, something like the Atlanta killings of 21 children stopped after Wayne Williams was caught.

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Would have been nice...
by EdH / May 13, 2006 10:49 PM PDT

if the article said anything about the case against these guys. They make it sound like they were just rounded up and convicted because of the music they listened to, with no evidence whatever. I kind of doubt it, but I can't form an opinion without the information.

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Come on Ed,
by duckman / May 13, 2006 10:51 PM PDT

don't you know we live in a country in which it is standard policy round up anyone and put them in jail for no reason and no trial and no appeals?

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(NT) (NT) Bush wasn't even President then! How did this happen??
by Evie / May 13, 2006 11:06 PM PDT
In reply to: Come on Ed,
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I saw that. Bet it wil be very balanced...
by EdH / May 13, 2006 11:34 PM PDT
In reply to: Movie in the works :-(

I did a quick Google News search and found nothing about the evidence against these guys. It's all basically the same story, which echoes the defense claims almost verbatim .

I am sure there must have been coverage of the trial at some point. I'd like to know what REALLY happened, not just the claims of teh defense.

Hey, maybe they WERE railroaded, Let's see the evidence so we can judge. Writing such a one-sided story is intolerable.

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Me too, and it is frustrating
by Evie / May 14, 2006 12:06 AM PDT

At least a while back when someone was boo hooing about a "child" on death row, the other side could be readily found to dispell the propaganda. As you say, it IS possible they were railroaded.

Evie Happy

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There is a
by John Robie / May 14, 2006 8:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Movie in the works :-(

1 hour 50 min. documentary film that I believe was made for TV:
"Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)"

which won several awards:

I'm not sure if I saw that particular one.

Also a sequal #2.
Perhaps they can be rented.

A movie with actors can leave a lot to be desired, re the movie of the two brothers killing their wealthy parents in California.

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As I've been looking at this ...
by Evie / May 14, 2006 8:23 AM PDT
In reply to: There is a

... I think I may have actually seen whatever documentary you saw on "one of those channels" a while back. It's jogging memories but can't put my finger on it.

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And of course, innocent Blacks in the wrong place

at the right time are never ever railroaded in America, right Mark? Just because they were convicted by a Southern jury doesn't mean they were guilty, since apparently there was very little real evidence against them. The problem, of course, is that the presumption of guilt turns around upon conviction, even if it was on flimsy evidence. Let's put it this way -- if it were three middle-class white boys accused of bludgeoning three Black children on the same evidence, there's no way there would have been a conviction. That doesn't speak to their real guilt or evidence -- I don't know, but then again, neither do you!

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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by Evie / May 14, 2006 7:37 AM PDT
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Can't wait to hear
by duckman / May 14, 2006 7:43 AM PDT

him try to get out of this one !!!!!!

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He's not gonna answer Evie. The guy is...
by Jack Ammann / May 14, 2006 3:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Can't wait to hear

...bomb throwing, cut and run, bash the USA WIMP.

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means he would have to read the article
by Mark5019 / May 14, 2006 8:08 AM PDT

but thats dk our spiecial mod

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Or even just click on your link w/o reading ...
by Evie / May 14, 2006 8:25 AM PDT

... there was a picture of one of them.

This isn't the first time for DK dining on ped cuisine Wink

Evie Happy

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by duckman / May 14, 2006 8:29 AM PDT

one should spend more time reading links in posts rather than selectivly editing others for ones own taste.

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(NT) (NT) Now there's a thought!
by Evie / May 14, 2006 8:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Perhaps
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by dirtyrich / May 14, 2006 10:23 AM PDT
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You're right, Evie <sheepish grin>
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / May 16, 2006 1:30 PM PDT

And I did blow it (the usual problem -- dashing off a quick reply w/o adequate time). OTOH, while the bias was in this case not racially based, it was based on poverty, attire, and apparently excessively long interogation of a mentally challenged kid:
Free the West Memphis Three.

So while I got a crucial detail wrong, my question as to whether one should simply assume that the verdicts were correct certainly stands. Under the new rules for who's considered "disadvantaged" in terms of admission to college/grad school and eligible for special scholarship/tutorial programs, etc, these kids would qualify as "underprivilged" w/o any question. And while race is the most obvious cause of bias in our society, it's far from the only one!

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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and to think some others here were
by Mark5019 / May 16, 2006 1:56 PM PDT

saying you were right vbeg:)

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The irony of this ...
by Evie / May 16, 2006 11:12 PM PDT

... is that you continue to ''lecture'' about bias while demonstrating an incredible amount of it yourself.

You assumed they were black. Assumed they therefore must have been railroaded by a presumably racist Southern jury. That the justice system was biased, etc.

It may well be that these three were scapegoated. It is unfortunate that even the Court TV website on this reads more like a summary of the ''free the Three'' website than a presentation of both sides. For example, where is a transcript of the confession evidence presented at trial. Is there anything in the court papers at the time about the mental capacity of the confessee? These are important questions.

In the past, the vast majority of the ''save this guy'', ''free that guy'' movements are displaced sympathy for ruthless killers. I remember a long discussion we had here about the death penalty for a ''child'' who brutally killed a couple must months shy of his eighteenth birthday. It didn't take long to find that this was no child.

Lastly, I would say that if you are going to be in the business lately of calling out certain Subject lines, you might wish to refrain yourself from such sarcastic lines as ''And of course, innocent Blacks in the wrong place at the right time are never ever railroaded in America, right Mark?

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