Target: Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe
Goal: Urge Governor Mike Beebe to pardon the “West Memphis Three”: Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols, and Jessie Misskelley Jr.
After almost two decades in prison for the alleged murder of three young boys, Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols, and Jessie Misskelly Jr., known as the West Memphis Three, are free after proclaiming innocence and pleading guilty. In an agreement between the prosecution and the state, the men were able to enter an Alford plea allowing them to maintain their innocence and admit they are only pleading guilt because it is in their best interest. Please sign this petition and urge Arkansas Governor, Mike Beebe, to pardon the West Memphis Three in light of their release from prison and acknowledgement of innocence by the state.
In May 1993 the nude, mutilated, and bound bodies of three 8-year-old boys were found in a drainage canal in West Memphis, Arkansas. In an astounding display of profiling by the police, 18-year-old Damien Echols became a suspect because he wore black, liked heavy metal music, and considered himself a Wiccan. 17-year-old Jessie Misskelly Jr. was an old acquaintance of Echols’ who surfaced during the investigation. Despite Misskelly’s low IQ and mental disabilities, police accepted his shaky confession after a nearly 12-hour police interrogation. Misskelly confessed to the murders and implicated Echols and 16-year-old Jason Baldwin as his accomplices. Misskelly and Baldwin were sentenced to life in prison while Echols faced the death sentence in solitary confinement.
After a number of appeals and public efforts by celebrities and some of the victim’s families, the West Memphis Three were given a hearing by the Arkansas Supreme Court. Due to lack of genetic evidence found at the crime scene and inconsistencies in the trial, witness accounts, and Misskelly’s original confession, the men were offered a deal that would vacate the previous convictions in exchange for so-called Alford guilty pleas. The Alford plea allowed the men to assert their innocence, as they have since the investigation began, while at the same time admitting guilt for the sole purpose of getting released from prison and capital murder convictions.
Please sign this petition and urge Governor Beebe to grant the West Memphis Three a pardon due to lack of evidence, juror misconduct, and for the 18 years and 78 days served by the three innocent men.
Dear Governor Beebe,
Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols, and Jessie Misskelly Jr. were wrongfully convicted of capital murder in 1993 as the West Memphis Three. Despite lack of evidence, inconsistent eye-witness accounts, profiling by police, and a confession from a mentally disabled teen, the three men were forced to plead guilty, while continuing to assert their innocence, as part of a deal for freedom after almost two decades of false imprisonment. Please extend a pardon to these three men in order for them to live normal lives as contributing members of society without the cloud of false capital murder convictions interrupting their ability to achieve.
In May of 1993 the three teenagers were convicted based on assumptions by small town citizens who viewed the accused ringleader as an outcast. Damien Echols wore black, enjoyed heavy metal music, and considered himself a Wiccan at age 18. His “goth” personality led to a criminal investigation when the bodies of three 8-year-old boys were found mutilated, nude, and bound in West Memphis. During the investigation, police interrogated Jessie Misskelly Jr., a mentally disabled, then 17-year-old, during a nearly 12-hour interrogation where Misskelly confessed to the murders and implicated Echols and another teen, 16-year-old Jason Baldwin.
Granting the men a pardon for having served 18 years and 78 days in prison for crimes they didn’t commit as part of a corrupt and inconclusive trial, would allow the men to lead fulfilling lives as regular citizens. Please award these men the pardon they deserve, thereby canceling the relevant penalties faced by convicted felons, and granting forgiveness for the accused crimes.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: policymic via Yahoo