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#WestMemphis3 Plead GUILTY To Child Murder But Set Free After 18 Years

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A lot of people are talking about the 3 men walk that just walked free today after serving 18 years in prison for a crime they claim they did NOT commit.

The West Memphis Three -- comprised of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin -- were found guilty of killing 3 boy scouts in 1993. Misskelley and Baldwin were sentenced to life in prison. Echols was sentenced to death.

Even though the men have maintained their innocence for years ... today they plead GUILTY to the murders of Christopher Byers, Michael Moore and Stevie Branch....and then were set free!

In order to be released from prison, the men accepted a bargain known as an "Alford Plea" -- a "guilty" plea where the defendants still assert their innocence, despite evidence to the contrary.

The judge had a chambers meeting with each of the defendants ... and while each of the three men is still legally guilty of the crimes, the judge explained,
"in the interest of justice, they will go free."

The statement continues,
"Since the original convictions, two of the victims' families have joined forces with the defense, publicly proclaiming the innocence of the defendants. The mother of a witness who testified about Echols's confession has publicly questioned her daughter's truthfulness, and the State Crime Lab employee who collected fiber evidence at the Echols and Baldwin homes after their arrests has died.

In light of these circumstances I decided to entertain plea offers that were being proposed by the defense. I NEVER considered ANY arrangement that would negate the verdicts of those two juries. Guilt or Innocence was NEVER ON THE TABLE.

Today’s proceeding allows the defendants the freedom of speech to SAY they are innocent, but the FACT is, they just pled GUILTY.

I strongly believe that the interests of justice have been served today."

The statement continues,
"On behalf of the State I have preserved the verdicts of those juries and averted more prolonged and costly trials and appeals in this case.

The legal tangle that has become known as the West Memphis Three case is finished.

I have spoken with members of the victims’ families and I can tell you they are still suffering the loss of their little boys. Neither this nor any other proceeding can bring those children back.

As part of the plea and sentence negotiation the defendants were sentenced to a period of 18 years with credit for time served. Those sentences will be followed by 10 years SIS or Suspended Imposition of Sentence.

These defendants have spent roughly half of their lives in prison. I pray that during this time they have been rehabilitated.

The defendants are now at liberty and will remain at liberty so long as they do not violate the terms and conditions of the Suspended Imposition of Sentence agreement. ANY violation of these terms WILL RESULT in an additional 21 years of prison."

The West Memphis Three set the record straight today at their press conference.... claiming they served 18 years for a crime they "did not commit." BUT according to reports, the men CAN NOT sue over their incarceration.

So in a nut shell these men just plead GUILTY and were almost on death row but now they are free...You may be as confused as we are here but as of right now these men have walked and according to reports, right into the DMV to get their licenses.

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