Like everything else about the now-infamous and controversial West Memphis 3 murder case, today’s news that an Arkansas judge granted defendants Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley immediate freedom after serving 18 years in prison – Echols on death row — could be straight out of a movie.

Incredibly, it really was a movie that helped bring an end to years of incarceration — two movies, in fact: the 1996 HBO documentary, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and its follow-up, in 2000, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations. Created by filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, the docs chronicle the West Memphis 3 defendants’ struggle to prove their innocence since May 1993, when they were arrested for allegedly killing three Cub Scouts and dumping the boys’ mutilated bodies in an Arkansas ditch.

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