Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson continues to fund the West Memphis Three investigation even after their release from prison.
While the men are free, they are still technically considered guilty in the books. Like we told you when their freedom happened, they are still allowed to maintain their innocence, but in order to leave prison, they were required to say the state's prosecution had enough evidence to convict them.
Of course, many have believed in their innocence since the 1993 murder case occurred. Furthermore, by allowing the men to go free, it is widely felt the justice system in Arkansas finally came around to their innocence also. Unfortunately, in order to free the men so suddenly, they had to walk lightly around the technicalities of the law.
So what's left to do? Clear the names of all three: Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley Jr., and Damien Echols. And that's exactly what people like Peter and partner Fran Walsh intend to do.
Ken Kamins, Jackson's manager, elaborates:
The ongoing work will focus on proving the convicted men’s innocence, as it always has, evidence testing and further investigation which will hopefully lead to the unmasking of the actual killer. When Peter and Fran got involved, they had to decide how to best serve the case. Damien, Jason, and Jessie had great public advocates in Eddie Vedder, Johnny Depp, Natalie Maines, Henry Rollins, Paradise Lost, and everyone else who was raising money and bringing public attention to the case. Peter and Fran, therefore, decided to put their attention into funding and spearheading DNA work, hiring forensic and other experts, plus extensive private investigations into all aspects of the case. Because Peter and Fran’s role required a very close relationship with the defense lawyers, in particular Damien’s team, they have always respected and understood that their role had to be of a confidential nature. They have worked very closely with a number of Damien’s attorneys and over the years they have become close friends with Damien and [his wife] Lorri. They have always believed that if they could get Damien free, Jason and Jessie would benefit too. This work is ongoing. Peter and Fran are heavily involved in ongoing investigations, and the release of the guys is far from the end of the story.
Ahhh! It's so great to hear news like this!
We're elated the men are free, but it's good to know the fight for their names is one still fueled with passion.
We believe in them, as we always have, and we sincerely hope they can live to see the day their names are cleared.
[Image via AP Images.]
Tags: arkansas, damien echols, fran walsh, jason baldwin, jessie misskelly jr, johnny depp, justice system, ken kamis, lord of the rings, murder case, peter jackson, west memphis three