One of the West Memphis Three: From prison to Oscars
February 26th, 2012
06:38 PM ET

One of the West Memphis Three: From prison to Oscars

As "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" director Joe Berlinger phrased it on the red carpet for the Academy Awards Sunday, it certainly wasn't "a typical day for a documentary maker, or a guy who was in prison seven months ago."

The guy Berlinger's referring to is Jason Baldwin, one of the West Memphis Three who was released from prison after 18 years last August, and the subject of Berlinger's "Paradise Lost 3" documentary with Bruce Sinofsky.

All three arrived at the Oscars on Sunday, with Baldwin especially taken aback by the transition his life has taken.

"Every day I wake up and I thank God for the community that came together," Baldwin told us on the red carpet. "Everybody came together and made it possible for us to be free now."

And not just out of prison, but also at the Oscars: "I just told Bruce [Sinofsky]," Baldwin said, "do not pinch me because I don’t want to wake up."

"Paradise Lost 3" is nominated for a best documentary feature Oscar at tonight's show.

Filed under: Awards Season • Oscars 2012

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. west memphis three were guilty

    The state probably accepted the Alford plea offered by the defense because they would have been up against an OJ style defense. It would have cost them millions to prosecute and if they lost, more money.

    The 3 were convicted on solid evidence. Misskelley knew what he was doing when he confessed. He had been in legal trouble before and was a street smart kid. He confessed THREE times, once in front of his lawyer.

    The DNA found at the scene of the crime of the three murdered boys that was supposedly from Hobbs was from a hair that could have come from simple contact with one of the victims. The hair could have belonged to 1.5 percent of the population (or several million people). The so called new witnesses are fourth hand statements against Hobbs. The evidence against Hobbs is very weak. The evidence and the many confessions against the WM3 is much stronger.

    Misskelley also told two other people about the crime before he was arrested. Baldwin told someone else he committed the crimes. Echols was seen in muddy clothes near the crime scene. Echols is reported to have either told or bragged about the crime to four people before he was arrested.

    Echols had a history of psychiatric treatment and psychotic behavior. His reported actions included brutally killing a dog, starting fires at his school, threatening to kill his teachers and parents and stating he liked to drink blood.

    The one sided movies and websites about this case leave out the evidence showing why they were found guilty. Yet they were found guilty once and plead guilty a second time.

    February 29, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. truther

    Problem is, Gena. They did do it, were convicted of doing it, and then plead guilty to doing it.

    February 27, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      Explain this then, truther.. Why would the state of Arkansas let them go free if they really thought they did it? Do you really think that if the state believed they brutally murdered those three boys that they would have set them free, Alford plea or not? Do you really believe they would have let them maintain their innocence? The answer is NO to all of the above. These young men had nothing to do with the murders and all the evidence proves this. They were convicted on lies and propaganda. The "witnesses" came forward and admitted they lied. Terry Hobbs was proven to be lying about not seeing the boys that day. His DNA was found at the crime scene as was that of his friend he was with that day. What evidence do you have that Damien, Jason, and Jessie did it? If it was the so-called confession Jessie gave, you really need to rethink it. First of all, he was a minor and there was no parent present. Secondly, he has an IQ that would qualify him as mentally deficient. Thirdly, they coaxed him providing him the correct answers to the questions promising him he could go home. (Example: When asked what time they abducted the boys, he said it was that morning. This was not true as the boys were in school that day. So they next asked, that evening, when did you abduct the boys?) Look at the transcripts of the interview. They kept asking until he got the right answer. They railroaded these three young men because they were different. It is a shame people like you are so blinded by the idiocy that you cannot see the truth..

      February 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gena

    I wish him all the best in life and hope that someday the 3 of them will get their names cleared. They deserve the best that life has to offer. Best of luck in whatever you do in the future because Lord knows they have paid enough while they were in jail for something they didn't do.

    February 27, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |

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