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The West Memphis Three — Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley — attended two screenings Monday of Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, the third in a series of HBO documentaries about them and the 1993 murders that put them behind bars for 18 years.
The first screening took place at HBO’s New York headquarters, followed by a luncheon and press conference. The second screening was at the New York Film Festival, followed by a Q&A.
Both events showed the new version of the doc, which filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofksy added after the men’s release from prison. The film is a follow-up to their 1996 film Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and its 2000 sequel Paradise Lost 2: Revelations.
Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were freed on Aug. 19 after their convictions for the murders of 8-year-olds Michael Moore, Steve Branch and Christopher Byers were set aside. They pleaded guilty to lesser charges to be released immediately instead of going through a lengthy trial, despite claims from defense lawyers that the lack of DNA evidence from the three would have helped set them free, according the Associated Press.
A judge had to grant the trio special permission to attend the New York events because their release terms forbid them from associating with felons.
Berlinger, Sinofsky, Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley took part in the HBO press conference. Misskelly, who left the press conference shortly after it began, sat out of the New York Film Festival Q&A.
Echols said of the filmmakers at the Q&A, “If they wouldn’t have been there in the beginning, then there’s every chance the case would have just sank into obscurity, and people would have forgotten about it.”
Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, Johnny Depp and Jack Black were among the entertainers to speak out on behalf of the convicted three and proclaim their innocence throughout their incarceration.
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory will air on HBO in Jan.
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