"Lost in Paradise 3: Purgatory," the third documentary in the series chronicling the conviction of a group of men who have come to be known as The West Memphis Three, makes its debut tonight on HBO.
The West Memphis Three -- Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelly Jr. and Jason Baldwin -- were convicted of murdering three elementary schoolboys in 1993 in West Memphis, Arkansas. The men were teenagers at the time of their conviction.
The first two "Paradise Lost" documentaries drew national attention to the men and the flimsy evidence used in their convictions. People from all over the country, including rock star Eddie Vedder and actor Johnny Depp, took up their cause and worked to earn them new trials.
Facing mounting evidence of their likely innocence (including recantations of testimony and new DNA evidence), the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered hearings for a new trial, but before that could happen, the men were offered the chance to admit guilt without confession and be sentenced to time already served. The Alford Plea, a rarely-used legal maneuver stemming from a 1970 North Carolina case (North Carolina v. Alford), meant the men -- who vehemently profess their innocence -- walked free.