PARADISE LOST

Paradise Lost is a documentary which tells us how 3 teenagers Jessie Misskelley,Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin were accused for murdering 3 little kids Stephen Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore.In this film we can clearly appreciate how these guys were accused without no enough proves or reasons.

On May 5, 1993, the bodies of three eight-year-old boys were found next to a muddy creek in the wooded Robin Hood Hills area of West Memphis, Arkansas. A month later, three teenagers were arrested and accused of raping, mutilating and killing the boys.

Through graphic crime-scene footage, TV news clips and extensive original reporting, the America Undercover presentation PARADISE LOST: THE CHILD MURDERS AT ROBIN HOOD HILLS takes an insider's look at this notorious murder case -- and the town that was changed forever by it. This powerful verité documentary is directed, produced and edited by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, the team responsible for the acclaimed 1992 feature film "Brother's Keeper."

The dark odyssey began with the tragic murders of Stephen Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore, whose mutilated bodies were discovered in a shallow creek along Interstate 40 in West Memphis, Arkansas. The community demanded justice and, one month later, the police charged three teenagers with sacrificing the boys as part of a Satanic ritual. One of the suspects, 17-year-old Jessie Misskelley, reportedly confessed to police that he had watched 18-year-old Damien Echols and 16-year-old Jason Baldwin choke, mutilate, rape and kill the children. While Misskelley denied taking part in the torture and killings, he admitted helping subdue one victim who tried to escape. His confession led authorities to decide that Misskelley would be tried separately before the other two.

During his trial, Misskelley spent most of his time with his head bowed. In jail, he called his girlfriend to share his latest sexual fantasy. Subsequently found guilty on all counts, Misskelley was sentenced to one life sentence (for Michael Moore, whom he'd prevented from escaping), and two 20-year sentences (for the other two victims). Later, he was offered a generous plea bargain in which the life sentence would be removed in exchange for his testimony against the other two defendants. However, he turned down the deal.

In light of Misskelley's decision not to testify in the second trial, the prosecutors concluded that the odds of convicting Echols and Baldwin were 50-50, even as the two maintained their innocence. Echols admitted reading books about occult sacrifice, but the police linked him to the crime solely on the basis of his black clothing, affinity for heavy-metal music, and antisocial demeanor. While the younger Baldwin had little to say, Echols talked openly about his mistrust of authority, and vowed to take the stand during the trial, a strategy rejected by Baldwin's lawyer.

As the second trial began, prosecutors brandished a serrated knife that police recovered from a lake next to Baldwin's house, and argued that Echols and Baldwin had boasted of the killings in front of two girls.

After a parade of expert witnesses, Echols took the stand and was grilled by the prosecution about his lifestyle and possible links to white-witch groups.

Late in the trial, the defense dropped a bombshell: Mark Byers, stepfather of one of the victims, had given the HBO film crew a knife with traces of blood on it. Tests from the knife indicated that the blood was consistent with both Byers and his stepson, and thus inconclusive. Although there were possible inconsistencies in Byers' testimony, the trial remained focused on the two boys.

In his summation, Baldwin's attorney admonished the jury not to believe Baldwin's "guilt by association" with Echols. As the jury deliberated, Echols received a surprise guest: his infant son, born to his girlfriend during his incarceration.

Ultimately, the jury convicted both boys. Echols was sentenced to die by lethal injection. Baldwin was sentenced to life without parole. All three are appealing their convictions.

Interviewed in jail, Echols is asked about his fate. "I kind of enjoy it," he muses, "because now, even after I die, people are gonna remember me forever. It'll be sort of like I'm the West Memphis bogeyman. Little kids will be looking under their bed before they go to bed -- Damien might be there."

ix years after the verdicts, PARADISE LOST 2: REVELATIONS revisits West Memphis to update the stories surrounding the case and explore many unanswered questions, including: Is it possible that the wrong people are in jail?

This harrowing documentary sequel was produced and directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, the team responsible for the original “Paradise Lost” (Emmy® and Peabody Awards, named Best Documentary by the National Board of Review).

PARADISE LOST 2 returns to the site of the “Robin Hood Hills” murders to probe issues raised by the first film, and by the groundswell of public interest that it inspired. Featured are in-person interviews with the convicted men: Jason Baldwin, now 22, sentenced to life without parole; Jessie Misskelley, now 23, sentenced to life plus 40 years; and Damien Echols, now 24, awaiting execution on death row. Today, Echols has exhausted his state appeals options, and his last hope lies in a pending federal habeas corpus proceeding. If a federal judge declines to hear his case, his execution by lethal injection could take place as early as this year. Also included in the film are interviews with the original judge, police investigators, one of the victims’ parents, and the support group “Free the West Memphis Three.”

PARADISE LOST 2: REVELATIONS raises a number of provocative questions. One of the keys to the prosecution’s case was a confession by Misskelley, which some think was coerced. Misskelley has an IQ of 72 and was questioned by the police for 12 hours without a lawyer or family member present. Only the final 45 minutes of the interrogation were recorded. “Finally, I just...said something where they would just leave me alone,” said Misskelley in a 1998 interview for PARADISE LOST 2. Chief investigator Gary Gitchell maintains, as he did during the trial, that Misskelley was in no way coerced and that the confession is valid.

The prosecution claims that the crimes took place in the ravine where the bodies were discovered, yet no blood, fingerprints or any other evidence were found there. The prosecution’s theory, as presented to the jury, was that all this evidence was washed away by water in the ravine.

Criminal profiler Brent Turvey contends that autopsy photographs show what he believes to be bite marks on the victims’ bodies, but the marks are not recorded in the original autopsy reports. A bite mark is similar to a fingerprint in terms of identification. An odontologist hired by the defense states that the alleged bites do not match any of the defendants’ dental impressions. The prosecution and its experts, however, claim that the marks are not bites, but rather impressions made by a belt buckle.

Some believe the real killer is John Mark Byers, stepfather of one of the murdered boys. Since the killings, Byers has been convicted of stealing property from a neighbor’s house, writing bad checks and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Additional tragedy touched Byers when his wife Melissa died in her sleep at home in 1996. The cause and manner of death are still listed as “undetermined.”

PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY, the conclusion of the award-winning trilogy that spawned a world-wide movement to free three convicted men – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley – known as The West Memphis 3, tells the complete story of one of the most notorious child murder cases in U.S. history. Provocative and timely, the film chronicles stunning new developments, culminating in the startling and unexpected conclusion just a few months ago, when Echols, who was on death row, and Baldwin and Misskelley, who were serving life sentences without the possibility of parole, were finally freed from prison after more than 18 years.

PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY reveals recent DNA and other forensic evidence (unavailable at the time of the murders), as well as other troubling developments, including allegations of juror misconduct, that suggest the trio did not receive a fair trial. The film includes new interviews with Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley, who are now in their 30s, and many of the subjects of the first two documentaries, including John Mark Byers and Terry Hobbs, stepfathers of two of the victims and frequent targets of the media (and each other).

Besides drawing on 150 hours of footage shot since 2004, the filmmakers pored over hundreds of hours of original video and 16 mm footage from the first two productions, discovering compelling full-length scenes with new relevance. PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY also contains rarely seen news footage that is no longer available to the public, but had been meticulously archived by the filmmakers, as well as previously unseen photographs taken by Berlinger and director of photography Bob Richman over the course of 18 years.

The documentary ends with a stunning denouement, when Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley entered rarely used Alford pleas and were finally released from prison on Aug. 19, 2011, agreeing to plead guilty while asserting their innocence in order to secure their freedom, and most urgently, to get Echols off death row.

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