Paradise Lost

Friday, October 07, 2011

Critically acclaimed HBO documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger discusses the “Paradise Lost” series, directed with Bruce Sinofsky. The latest of which, “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory,” will be show on HBO in January 2012. The series follows three teenagers arrested in 1993 and wrongfully convicted of murdering three eight-year-old boys, and “Paradise Lost 3” concludes with the release of Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley, the West Memphis 3, after serving 18 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.


Joe Berlinger

Comments [15]


I am hoping you passed my email along to Damien, as I don't see it posted.

Sep. 20 2012 08:51 PM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

The state didn't care but their lawyers did.The confession was compelling .He stumbled over time frames only because the questions were not clear.He was very consistent and forthcoming with details of the facts in the confession I read. You are either easily gulled by propaganda or you're simply against the death penalty and will say anything to have it abolished or you are comitted to hoodwinking people who see through the innocence claim.

Oct. 12 2011 10:08 AM

What you read are NOT trial transcripts. The conditions have nothing to do with what the other two want. Do you think the state cared what the other two wanted when creating those for the release?? NO! They had no input at all with ANYTHING written in their conditions. Geez almighty! Done with you when u can't debate with facts.

Oct. 08 2011 06:19 PM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

The transcrips are on a website I found about the memphis three. You can find it.He swore on a bible-with his lawyer present who advised him to remain silent but he chose to answer all questions put to him[by the police if not at trial].he admitted to having lied initially because he was not under oath.That he had a seperate trial indicates that the defense knew he was telling the truth .That his confessions were inadmissable at the trial of the other two indicates the defense knew the confession was accurate. They did not want to be in a position fof telling a client to go on the stand and lie about the other two under oath. That he subsequently recanted all confessions indictaes to me that the defense got to him and so did anti-death penalty activists who convinced him that lying to save a life-his and his cohorts was not a bad thing. And if his lies could lead to the abolition of the death penalty that too was a lie worth telling.Because he has a conscience was easliy manipulated. That he was afraid of the police who were questioning him does not imply he therefore fabricated implicating the people he implicated. That is an inference ;his fear of the police may have led him to come clean and tell the truth.That he is prohibited from appearing publically with the other two indicates to me that the other two do not want to be embarrassed punblicaly if he again decides to speak the truth about their culpability in the boys murders.That is why he is not appearing with them and why he is not allowed to as part of the agreement.He is a loose cannon who still has a conscience and might again recant the recantation and revert to his second under oath confession where he followed his conscience and swore on the bible to tell the truth.He broke from the pack in his heart though powerful forces [defense attorneys, media, anti-death penalty activists etc] swarmed to get him to retract from his truthful confession.Hence the distancing of him from the other two.Even now when they are all free and out of harms way.I'm trying to find that website with the transcrip i reak-can't find it now-search and you'll find itr though . the site had pro and con views about this caseand every detail about the case as it unfolded. You'll find the transcrip of the confession on it .As well as transcrips of the fforensic evidence .

Oct. 08 2011 05:28 PM

I'd love to see the transcripts of Jessie testifying at his trial while under oath.....IT never happened! This is the problem with having a good debate. People want to argue their side but they don't even know the correct facts of the case! There was no bloody sock, no testimony from Jessie at ANY trials, he probably could not attend the interview with Jason and Damien because according to the conditions of release they are not allowed to. Being that he is still in West Memphis, I don't blame him for not wanting to do interviews. He has to continue to live in that area! I don't mind hearing any opinions of the case, when it's true. None of what was mentioned was even remotely factual!

Oct. 08 2011 10:06 AM
Bashia from West Central, Texas

Rose...I'm sorry to tell you, but you are very unaware of the facts of this case. Jessie (the retarted boy as you call him) has recanted his confession more times, than I can count. He never took the stand at his own trial, and refused to testify against Damien and Jason, because he knew he would be "lying"...

Forensic evidence, aka DNA, at the crime scene was NOT matched with any of the 3 convicted. As a matter of fact, the DNA found at the scene, was found to belong to one of the victims step father, and his friend.

I know Jessie, and the reasons he didn't get interviewed by CNN, aka Piers Morgan, because he didn't want to make 2 trips to New York in a matter of a week, and his attorney could not be available to join him, and he didn't want to go alone.

All 3 of the accused HAVE BEEN screaming their innocence from DAY 1...They alford plea made them plead guilty while MAINTAINING THEIR INNOCENCE. They took the plea, so they could continue with their investigation outside of prison walls...

There was NEVER EVER EVER a bloody garment of ANYONES found in ANY of the 3's home...

I have no idea where you are getting your information, but it's false. Everything you are saying is false !! UNTRUE !! 110%...

If you are a bit interested in educating yourself on this case, and want facts, here are some links for you, and for anyone else interested...

Oct. 08 2011 02:57 AM

Rose Ellen, you state that the "low i .q. defendent who confessed has never said his confession was false." However, the individual to which you are referring, Jessie Misskelley, describes in the Paradise Lost movies the manner in which the police interrogated him and coerced a false confession. In the so-called confession, the police elicited a response from Jessie that indicated the children were killed during the day, which was impossible as they were in school. As far as the murders themselves are concerned, pathologists have determined that the bite marks found on the children, which was central to the satanic ritual theory surrounding the children's death, were caused by animals, rather than humans. Apart from this, it is mere prejudice, innuendo, and ignorance, stemming from the fear of individuals who think or look differently from the status quo. There is no DNA evidence linking either Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin, or Damien Echols to this crime, yet they were imprisoned for nearly 20 years, and Damien nearly lost his life. This was a terrible travesty for all six boys involved.

Oct. 07 2011 10:21 PM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

He[the so called retarded boy] admitted to lying to the police in the first interrogation. People often lie when accused of a crime. On the stand he came clean when he was under oath[swearing on a bible]. Both these facts reveal that he was not retarded;he was smart enough to try denying everything when possible and felt compelled to come clean when he feared going against his religious beliefs. I just read the transcript of his testimony at trial and it is detailed and compeling. He never claims the boys were actually raped-but that is another straw dog the defense used to discredit him when no evidence of rape was found. He did say that the boys were molested sexully though. A shame that the one with the conscience gets discredited by you. And he testified that they did meet for satanic like rituals with other people. One of whom had a picture of those three boys on their bicycles. The person with the picture was not one of the three.So that is where this rumor came from. They played at satanic rituals on at least three occasions.

Oct. 07 2011 05:56 PM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

The low i .q. defendent who confessed has never said his confession was false. A low i q does not preclude him telling the truth about what he witnessed or participated in. The satement that his iq is that of a five year olds could be challenged;five year olds don't hang out in arcades. [unless they have high iq's perhaps].And many people have been wrongly deemed to have low i.q's, have in fact been shown to be very intelligent. Forensic evidence -DID put the defendents in contact with the boys and though that evidence was challenged-evidence is always challenged because the possibility always exists of mistakes or coverups. How else to defend against forensic evidence but to suggest it is unreliable?I believe a bloodied garment [with the blood of one of the boys] was found in one of the defendents home but was inadmisable in court. The absence of an alibi in conjunction with the confession and forensic evidence makes it reasonable to believe they are guilty. The boy who confessed has never claimed innocence .Neither has the defense-simply that there were problems with the trial. Only the supporters claim they are innocent. In overthrowing a conviction -no evidence was presented to actualy exonerate them. Not surprisingly they settled for the plea agreement.The film [by the way] DID try to implicat the stepfather. Now that he comes along to your view-you falsely claim you were not doing that in your film but obviously you were. Your dismisal of the family that has not bought into your narrative-by claiming they are just irrational due to the emotional impact of having their child murdered-is standard tactic of impuning relatives of victims when they don't go along with the defense. Like only the families of the victim should be emotional about the brutal murder of a child. And as if one can't be emotional and look at the facts too. In a civilized society we should all be emotionally impacted by the brutal murder of a child;AND we can adjuicate a case based on evidence too.It is unreasonable to think that with a confession,with forensic evidence, with the absence of an alibi,with confessing in jail to more then one prisoner- ,with a bloodied garment in the defendent's home ,with a witness seeing them together prior to the murders.etc. that they did NOT do it,that is unreasonable.I'm not surprised he[the low iq -Jesse?]defendant did not appear on CNN the other week-he either has a conscience and doesn't want to lie or his accomplices are afraid of what he would say-hence he is discreditied by being labeled as having the mind set of a five year old.How convenient for all-the other two and the media who don't have to do their homework.

Oct. 07 2011 02:57 PM
Roger Clinton from Arkinsawz

How about a film about the search for the "real" killers? Guess that would take a lot more work.

Can't Sean Penn and Eddie Vedder get out their magnifying glasses and fingerprint dust and help out?

"Vedder, come quick! I've found another clue!"

Oct. 07 2011 01:31 PM


What salient facts are you referring to? What evidence are you aware of that Lopate should have challenged his guest with that makes a better case against these kids than the botched forensics, prejudice, and childish absurdity of satanism on which they were convicted?

Oct. 07 2011 12:44 PM

It is dictatorship of the judges. They can do whatever they want. In many courts its is up a judge to recuse him or herself.

Oct. 07 2011 12:29 PM
Mike from NYC

Has anyone interviewed the parents or relatives of the original victims since they now know that the police and courts have allowed the real killer(s) to go free while they convicted these innocent young men? Have they protested the sloppy, lazy police work or are they angy that someone, anyone, innocent or guilty, is being punished for these horrendous crimes?

Oct. 07 2011 12:26 PM
rose-ellen caminer from jackson hts.

The hysteria over satanism notwithstanding, since then there has been nothing but wall to wall one sided coverage depicting these three convicted felons as innocent. Not one objective reporting about this case since their innitial conviction. If you're against the death penalty-that's a legitimate position but to push for its abolition by slanting cases is unfair. That is what has taken place regarding this case. I doubt Leonard will ask challenging questions as the media never has in this case.Your straw dogs of satanism allegations and the low IQ of the informant hides the salient facts of the case.

Oct. 07 2011 12:22 PM
sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

So who killed those boys? Is it a cold case now?

Will a lawsuit for wrongful imprisonment be filed?

Oct. 07 2011 12:21 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.