Convicted eighteen years ago for the savage murder of three young boys. Prosecutors claimed they had done the act as a satanic sacrifice and they were convicted chiefly on the basis of liking heavy metal and thus coming across as trouble making weirdos to the good Christian folk of West Memphis, Ark. Sacrificed so that the people of this town and hundreds of others could go on believing that there was such a thing as Satanism, such a thing as Satanic sacrifice, and that they were anything more than willfully gullible morons for believing such tripe. Three men who had their youths stolen from them, so that good Christian folk could assure themselves that deviation from their oppressive norms could only possibly be inspired by the blackest evil.
It is a disgrace that these men were convicted on fantasy evidence, and almost as much of a disgrace that they were forced to plead guilty and agree to plead guilty and agree not to sue the state in order to gain release. The only other possible path to freedom was a new trial, in which they would have to face another jury of good Christian Arkansas folk, and ask them to accept the the judgment of their peers and by extension their own was no more godly or less fallible than anyone else's. This was a gamble that the WM 3 had already taken and lost before. Of course they didn't take it again.
It's a case that bears some similarity to that of Cameron Todd Willingham. A Texas man who was executed for the burning murder of his children in 2004 in spite of, in all likelihood, being innocent. That is unless you believe in forensic evidence of arson that turned out to be made up voodoo; or that, more importantly, a petty criminal who had a skull tattoo and liked loud rock music is automatically guilty of whatever he is accused of. Willingham could of had his sentence commuted to life, if he had plead guilty, but he refused. He fought the charge right until the end, but it was futile. The good people of Texas are more manly and righteous than we are, after all. And governor Rick Perry, fresh new hot contender for the presidency, is too heroically anti-murder to imagine there being any such thing as a wrongfully convicted man.
Everyone knows, after all, that morality has nothing to do with reason or compassion. Being good is a matter of being strong unyielding and brave and nothing more. And everyone knows that we true Americans are demigods, and that heroic blood-knights in the war against Satan is the minimum standard of who we must be.
Broken eggs to make an omelet; etc. etc.