Tags: Boys Slain

Judge Accepts Plea Deal, Frees 3 Who Killed Cub Scouts

Friday, 19 Aug 2011 01:48 PM

JONESBORO, Ark. — Three men convicted of killing three 8-year-old Cub Scouts and dumping their naked bodies in a ditch have been allowed to change their pleas and will be freed after nearly two decades in prison.

Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley pleaded guilty Friday.

The so-called West Memphis Three agreed to a legal maneuver that lets them maintain their innocence while acknowledging prosecutors likely have enough evidence to convict them.

Two of the victims in the 1993 killings were drowned, the third corpse was mutilated, sparking rumors they had been sacrificed in a Satanic ritual.

Echols was sentenced to die; Baldwin and Misskelley received life terms. Misskelley initially confessed, but defense attorneys claim police took advantage of his low IQ.

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