'West Memphis 3' get support from Vedder, Maines, Rollins...
When the "West Memphis 3" were freed from 18 years of imprisonment, emissaries of the entertainment world were there -- as they have been for years.
Arrested as teenagers, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley, both now 36, and Jason Baldwin, now 34, had long garnered support among musicians and Hollywood types because their black clothing and fondness for heavy metal music were used against them in trial. Prosecutors had suggested that the teenagers were Satanists who'd committed an "occult murder."
On Friday, when the men were released, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam were in the courtroom. James Hetfield of Metallica offered this commentary in an interview with a Times reporter: "The way you dress, the things you listen to... I can basically speak for myself, growing up, that that was just a sign of wanting to be creative and be different."
And former Black Flag singer Henry Rollins, who had released an album to benefit the defense team, said in an email with a Times reporter that he was happy for the men -- but he's upset that "so much has been lost."
"Three boys were killed," he said. "In my opinion, the wrong people were incarcerated and the person or persons who did it are still out there, alive or dead, still not brought to justice."
Not everyone agreed. As the men left the courtroom, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported, someone in the audience yelled: "Baby killers."
-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta
Photo: Former Black Flag singer Henry Rollins released an album in support of the men's defense. Credit: Getty Images