Exclusive: Jason Baldwin Of The West Memphis Three Evaluates His Public Perception In Clip From 'Paradise Lost'

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by Drew Taylor
November 20, 2012 1:45 PM
4 Comments
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If you don't know the story of the West Memphis Three, a trio of men who were wrongly convicted of murdering three young children back when the defendants were still teenagers, it's one of the most compelling true crime tales in recent memory. Thankfully, documentarians Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky have been there for the whole ordeal, completing three riveting documentaries on the subject, titled "Paradise Lost," the last of which, "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory," captured the sort-of happy ending for the three convicts. The movies have just been compiled into a deluxe DVD box set which hit stores earlier this month, and now we can bring you an exclusive clip from the set.

The clip, from the box set's voluminous special features, features Jason Baldwin, who, along with Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley, Jr., was convicted of killing three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas (Baldwin and Misskelley, Jr. were sentenced to life; Echols was sentenced to death), mostly because he listened to heavy metal music. After arduous, prolonged legal wrangling, and nearly 20 years in prison, the West Memphis Three were released, while entering into a morally iffy Alford Plea, which allowed them to assert their innocence while acknowledging that the persecution had accumulated enough evidence to convict them. Their freedom, in other words, is bittersweet.

"My life has been a constant seesawing of extremes," Baldwin says as the brief clip begins, which is honestly pretty articulate for a guy whose years could have been spent being formally educated were instead wasted behind bars. He then goes on to describe the different attitudes of people on the outside – those who believed in his innocence and others who were ready to condemn.

Like the documentaries themselves, it's a poignant and heartfelt little bit of footage and we highly encourage you to watch. If anything, the story of "Paradise Lost" is one in which the genuine goodness of the human spirit ultimately triumphs over bureaucratic red tape and small town finger pointing, even if it takes a really, really, ridiculously long time.

"Paradise Lost" Trilogy Collector's Edition DVD is out now.   

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More: Paradise Lost, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

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4 Comments

  • MB | November 22, 2012 1:11 AMReply

    Fred Walsh--- Your man crush on Damien is starting to get a little weird dude... Time to find a new obsession...

  • west memphis three information | November 21, 2012 11:08 PMReply

    Echols was not convicted or sentence to death "because he listened to heavy metal music." He was convicted because of the evidence and repeated confessions.

    There are two sides to the West Memphis Three case. The movies about the West Memphis Three only present the side of the defendants. They were found guilty by a unanimous jury the first time and then plead guilty last year instead of waiting for a trial.

    One reason they were found guilty was because of their repeated confessions and statements. Misskelley confessed FIVE times, three times to the detectives, once to the police and once to his own lawyer. Echols went around saying he committed the crimes to at least three different people after the crimes were committed. All of the West Memphis three had failed alibis.

    Echols' journal contained morbid images and references to dead children. Echols' stated under cross-examination that he was interested in the occult. The police took a necklace from Echols when he was arrested. An outside crime lab later found blood from two distinct DNA sources on the necklace. One source was consistent with Echols himself. The second source was consistent with both victim Steven Branch and co-defendant Baldwin. A car load of people saw Echols in muddy clothes near the crime scene.

    Echols had a history of threats of violence, violence, 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. See court documents exhibit 500 for evidence of this. for the other side of the story see wm3truth com

  • MB | November 22, 2012 1:12 AM

    Fred Walsh--- Your man crush on Damien is starting to get a little weird dude... Time to find a new obsession...

  • West Memphis Three Information | November 21, 2012 11:04 PMReply

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