It seems we’ll never know if the West Memphis Three were guilty of the horrific murders of three Cub Scouts or not. We do know an agreement has set them free after 18 years.
(Note this from Wikipedia: In July 2007, new forensic evidence was presented in the case, including evidence that none of the DNA collected at the crime scene matched the defendants, but did match Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the victims, as well as a friend of Hobbs’ whom he had been with on the day of the murders.)
JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Three men convicted in the nightmarish slayings of three Cub Scouts went free Friday, nearly two decades after they were sent to prison in a case so gruesome it raised suspicions the children had been sacrificed in a Satanic ritual.
Doubts about the evidence against the trio had persisted for years and threatened to force prosecutors to put on a second trial in 2012.
Instead, the so-called West Memphis Three were permitted to plead guilty to murder in exchange for time served, ending a long long-running legal battle that had raised questions about DNA and witnesses – and attracted support from celebrities such as Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder.
The killings were particularly shocking. The boys – Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore – were found naked and hogtied, and rumors of Satanism roiled the community in the weeks following their deaths. Branch and Moore drowned in about 2 feet of water; Byers bled to death and his genitals were mutilated and partially removed.
Police had few leads until receiving a tip that Echols had been seen covered in mud the night the boys disappeared. The big break came when Misskelley unexpectedly confessed and implicated Baldwin and Echols in the killings.