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Rise Against, Tom Morello React as Eddie Vedder Cheers Release of West Memphis 3

Eddie Vedder / Tim McIlrath / Tom Morello
Gareth Cattermole / Kevin Winter / Michael Buckner, Getty Images

As we reported earlier, the West Memphis Three — three men who served 18 years in prison for the murder of three boys — were freed today (Aug. 19) after years of support from various music artists who felt they were wrongly convicted.

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, who was present at the Jonesboro, Ark., courtroom where today’s proceedings took place, let out an audible cheer when the decision to release the three men was announced.

The singer had been campaigning for the release of Damien Nichols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin for several years. Vedder was sitting next to Nichols’ wife during the announcement, and later hugged Nichols himself.

Rise Against simply tweeted, ‘West Memphis Three Free,’ while Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello was asked a question about the topic in the middle of an interview he was doing for Alternative Press today.

“I’ve seen the documentaries on [the WM3 case],” Morello told Alternative Press. “I don’t really know much about the case, so I’m not really going to weigh in one way or the other. The one thing that did seem clear to me was that there was certainly a lot of prejudice in the courtroom, against particularly that one young man [Damien Echols], because of his lifestyle. There seemed to be some prejudicial stuff that went on because it was an alternative kid.”

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