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"West Memphis Three" To Be Freed After 18 Years

After 18 long years behind bars, the trio known as the "West Memphis Three" are finally free after an Arkansas judge accepted a plea for their release.

According to the AP, the three men will be allowed to maintain that they are innocent -- a notion the three have maintained for almost two decades -- as long as they acknowledge that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them.

If you're not familiar with the story, and how it relates to music, we'll give you a brief refresher.

Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols, and Jessie Misskelley Jr. -- teenagers at the time -- were convicted of the 1993 murders of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. While the three were convicted, and Echols given the death sentence for "masterminding" the killing, there has been a strong public sentiment that the three were in fact innocent, largely due to the boys' inability to hire a suitable attorney and the lack of DNA testing at the time.

Many pointed to the fact that the boys were vilified as "Satanists" for being heavy metal fans as the primary cause for their conviction, and the music community has rallied behind the cause of the "WM3" ever since.

Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson publicly called the trial a "Salem witch trial" at the 2010 Revolver Golden Gods.

Earlier this year, an event was held in Little Rock to help raise funds for legal fees and awareness for the cause, and featured, among others, Johnny Depp and Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder.

An ABC news report called the crowd of family and friends around the the men -- Baldwin, now 34, Echols,36, and Misskelley, 36, -- "tearful and joyous" as the decision was announced.

You can watch a live news conference here.



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