#6: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Being a huge Metallica fan back in the 90’s during my high school years, I remember hearing about this case. My views have changed throughout the years about the case but my belief in these boys, now men, being wrongfully convicted as guilty parties to the murders of three young children has never changed.
Even if you were to believe that Echols, Misskelley Jr. or Baldwin had anything to do with these murders, I find it hard for you to believe that they were not wrongfully convicted given the evidence presented. The story at the base of it is a document of American justice gone wrong. With a town struggling to find reason in the senseless murders of three young boys in 1993, accused and arrested three boys based off of a forced confession by Misskelley and rumors of satanism among the teen’s peers and the town’s population.
The documentary was already in post production when the latest development of the WM3 entering their Alford Pleas happened. I always have liked the documentaries. The second one was a weak representation of the legalities of the case but showed the aftermath and a follow-up of the people affected by this crime and documented the efforts made to free the West Memphis Three.
This new entry is probably the better sequel to the first one as it really focuses on how the State of Arkansas is questioned about the conviction and what evidence it based that conviction on. While the first half recaps what has happened in the case’s history by combining footage from the first and second documentary as well as some new footage. Berlinger & Sinofsky convey to viewers of the documentary that the walls of truth and the use of misjustice begin to close in on the State of Arkansas. One could say that the Alford Pleas not only saved the WM3 but saved the asses of the judicial parties of the State. A new trial would have begun in December 2011 and even the State is documented of saying they would have been acquitted. However, there was always the chance of them not being acquitted given the new trial.
Paradise Lost 3:Purgatory is a definite watch but if you never have seen the previous two documentaries, do yourself a favor and watch them as well.