The Madeleine Brand Show

The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Madeleine Brand

A horrible crime in Arkansas, freedom almost 20 years later

by The Madeleine Brand Show

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A third and final installment in the "Paradise Lost" documentary series about the West Memphis Three will air on HBO Thursday. Joe Berlinger and Jason Baldwin join the show to discuss.

Nearly two decades ago, three little boys were found murdered in a forest near West Memphis, Arkansas. They had been stripped naked and hog-tied. One of the boys' genitals had been mutilated. Police pinned the crime on three teenage boys whom they said killed the eight-year-olds as part of a satanic ritual. Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelly were convicted of the murders, based on little more than sketchy evidence and the fact that they dressed in black and listened to heavy metal music.

The case drew massive media attention, including from filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, who were sent by HBO to document the trial. Their 1996 film, "Paradise Lost," raised serious questions about the case against the young men and quickly turned into a national cause celebre. Stars like Eddie Vedder, Johnny Depp and Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks all campaigned on their behalf, but until this year, all appeals were denied. Now after almost two decades in prison, the men have been freed.

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