Vedder's friend to walk free from jail after admitting guilt in murder - report

Author WENN
19 August 2011
Vedder's friend to walk free from jail after admitting guilt in murder - report

Two of the incarcerated three men Pearl Jam star Eddie Vedder has been seeking justice for over the past decade are to plead guilty to killing three boy scouts in return for their freedom, according to shocking new reports.

The West Memphis 3, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin, were each sentenced to life in an Arkansas prison in 1994 for the satanic killings. Echols was also sentenced to death and has been on Death Row ever since his sentence began.

The three men maintained their innocence for 17 years and their fight for a new trial was picked up by Vedder and celebrities like Dixie Chicks star Natalie Maines and Johnny Depp following the revelation that DNA evidence at the scene of the crime did not match the trio.

Last year during a TV interview about the West Memphis 3, Vedder revealed he had become close friends with Echols and his family, and often visited him.

The rocker said, "Sometimes, when I'm in open spaces, he's on my shoulder. I'm thinking about him a lot."

Echols is reportedly one of the two men who has admitted guilt in the murders.

An emergency hearing has been scheduled for Friday, and Steven Branch, the father of one of the slain scouts, has revealed two of the men will be free men after the court session.

The angry dad tells local Arkansas news show WHNT 19, "It's a sad day for the justice system when it's going to allow a convicted child murderer to be set free simply by admitting that he killed the child.

"If the justice system allows this, it's going to open the door for every convicted murderer on Death Row to have to say, 'Yes I killed him,' and be set free (sic)... There's some kind of old law that they came back with to allow them to do this.

"It's 18 years since I've seen my son... He's not gonna be set free, I'm not gonna be set free - so why should he (Echols)."

Branch told the news show he had received the news of Echols' release from a "reliable source" in the local justice system.

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