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Eddie Vedder Looks On as West Memphis 3 Freed

Eddie Vedder
Bryan Bedder, Getty Images

The West Memphis Three — Damien Nichols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin — were freed today after 18 years in prison for the suspected murders of three boys. The release of three men had been championed by Eddie Vedder, Metallica and Disturbed, among other musicians, over the past several years. In fact, Vedder even showed up at the court hearing today.

In order to get released and avoid the death penalty for Echols, the three had to agree to a deal to plead guilty on three counts of first-degree murder in order to be released on time already served. The proceedings took place today at a court in Jonesboro, Ark.

The West Memphis Three’s story was documented in the HBO documentary ‘Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills.’ in an interview with the Associated Press last year, Vedder said, “Why are they innocent? Because there’s nothing that says they’re guilty.”

As part of the deal, the three men cannot file a civil-rights suit and must serve 10 years’ probation.

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