In 1994, 3 young men who were teenagers at the time were tried and convicted for the 1993 murders of three young kids in West Memphis, Arkansas. Damien Echols was sentenced to death by lethal injection, Jessie Misskelley Jr. was sentenced to life in prison with two 20-year sentences on top of it and Jason Baldwin was also sentenced to life in prison. At the time of the trial, because the kids wore all black and listened to metal music they were called Satanists and that the murders were part of a satanic ritual. Damien and the boys professed their innocence so much that HBO in the mid 90â€™s did a documentary which is part one dedicated to this case that clearly showed that maybe the wrong people are being convicted. Thru that documentary the public outpour was huge and even celebrities like Metallica who loaned their music for all the documentaries and also Dixie Chicks and etc. who have spoken out. Purgatory is the first documentaries sort of summed up with what is going on till the day of freedom. Then, from that came the continuation from a few years later and people shocked that the guys were still in jail, when now the evidence seems like it was not proving that they were guilty and clearly someone else did it.
Make no mistake about it, this documentary series raises a lot of questions that anyone with any common sense would wonder themselves about what happened during those two trials that led to the judge refusing all the way till he got on the senate seat a refusal to do a 3rd case. This time, Purgatory without a shadow of a doubt shows the real deal, and shows the new evidence of what clearly shows that the guys are innocent. This documentary series is so personal, so anger filled that if it happened in Arkansas, where else has this happened? And how many innocent people are in jail as scapegoats.
This documentary series clearly shows us how blind justice is, when people have their minds set. The thing that got me the most is that most of the dead kidâ€™s parents want to know who really killed their kids as well, that the guys behind bars are innocent. In 2007, new evidence was presented to a judge and denied, and the new evidence had a hair that could be linked to someone who was not even questioned. While this film, like the last one point their finger at a guilty party, almost seems fitting that you knew it had to be one of the fathers. Part 2: Revelations sort of pointed at Mark Byers as being the suspect and as you watch this behavior in that documentary you would have as well, but this time having went thru the same witch hunt himself, he is professing that justice was not served and that Terry Hobbs is the suspect they should have questioned because his alibi and witnesses all seem to have conflicting stories. Like Part 2, you get a chance to hear from Hobbs and you start to see cracks in his foundation, like when he tried to sue the Dixie Chicks for slandering him, and his court appearance a lot of facts came out of his mouth, that were later proven to be lies about what happened the night the kids were killed.
This documentary series goes from 1993, to 1997 and also covers on August 19, 2011 when on the advice of their council and Jesseâ€™s fear that Damien death row days would be over if they did not take the plea, they entered Alford pleas, which says they are innocent but they acknowledge that the court has enough proof to convict them of murder, which is basically saying I am still guilty and cannot sue the state for locking me up since 1993. They were released with ten-year suspended sentences, having served 18 years and 78 days in prison for a crime this documentary series clearly show they did not commit.
As a whole this documentary series is a must watch, as I am a supporter of the WM3 and have the bumper sticker on my jeep and a 12 year old t shirt and a 9 year old long sleeve t shirt and 3 documentaries now to prove that I know this is bullshit. This should be watched by every kid in every age group that shows what being different means in this world. It means, you will not only be judged by your peers but if they needed to you could be locked away behind bars without a care. If HBO never released that first documentary, they would have killed Damien without one ounce of care and swept it all under the rug, the power of the people and the power of motion picture kept that man alive. This documentary shows that we truly live in an era that people and media are easily misled and that if people would seek out the truth and demand that people are all treated fairly, maybe this may not happen again. 18 years of your life to be made an example of, this documentary shows that West Memphis is clearly as clueless and maybe just as guilty of trying to kill three men as the ones they falsely accused.
This is quite possibly one of the best documentaries series of our time, this is a must have.
10 out of 10