Earlier today, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelly, and Jason Baldwin—the trio known as the West Memphis Three—were finally released after spending 18 years in jail for the murder of three young boys.
The case became a perpetual headline-grabber, mostly because of the excellent documentary Paradise Lost (and its follow-up, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations), which revealed that the three defendants were imprisoned with no real evidence and were essentially the victims of a witch hunt because they dressed in black and listened to heavy metal.
One of the group’s biggest supporters over the years has been Henry Rollins, who has worked tirelessly to bring attention to their innocence and has put out a number of releases to benefit their defense fund (including the 2002 compilation Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three, which featured vocal contributions from Chuck D, Iggy Pop, Ice-T, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, and of course Rollins himself).
“It is a good day,” Rollins said in a statement given to EW just before he hit the stage for a concert in Edinburgh, Scotland. “My joy at hearing the news is however tinged with frustration that it took so long and that there is a person or persons who still need to be brought to justice.”
Had he been Stateside, he almost certainly would have joined Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder and former Dixie Chick Natalie Maines at the courthouse in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where the trio was subject to a hearing that ended with their liberation.
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