indieWIRE is providing moment-by-moment coverage of the West Memphis Three hearing, which began at noon central time in Jonesboro, Ark.
* Damien Echols: “I feel very much in shock and overwhelmed. I spent most of the last decade in solitary confinement.”He says he plans to continue the process of clearing their names.
* “This is not justice,” said Jason Baldwin. “I did not want to take the deal from the get-go but they wanted to kill Damien.”
* Said Echols: I want to publicly acknowledge and thank Jason, that he did it almost only for me.”
* Eddie Vedder is in the conference room, as is Joe Berlinger.
* Click here for indieWIRE’s article that contains details about the hearing, which holds the promise of release for the three men whose case has been defended in the “Paradise Lost” documentary series.
*The Arkansas District Attorny has announced that the West Memphis Three will be free men as of today.
*The D.A. said that with the promise of a new trial in December, it would be “practically impossible to put on a new case after 18 years. The sentences would be different and appeals would ensure.” He said he feared that a trail could result in the WM3 suing the state.
* “I believe this case is closed.”
* The terms of the case allow the judgments to stand while allowing the defendants to maintain their innocence.
* He says the defendants could very easily been acquitted in a new trial.
*CNN is streaming live coverage outside the courthouse. As of 12:37, there’s only people milling outside the courthouse; no audio.
*From Mara Leveritt, author of “Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three”:
I am in Jonesboro now and rumors are flying. It appears that an agreement has been reached between prosecutors and defense attorneys. However, I believe some media reports that have already been released are inaccurate.
Negotiations have been complex. An agreement, if one is approved in court tomorrow, will likely be complex too. Please remember how wild speculation distorted the start of this case. If a possible end is in sight, I hope that the next several sensitive hours will not also be marred—nor jeopardized—by a frenzy of speculation and rumors.