S2E8: From Prison to Proclaiming Justice: The Wrongful Conviction of Jason Baldwin
At 16 years old, Jason Baldwin along with Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley – known as the West Memphis Three – was convicted in 1994 of killing three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, AK. There was no DNA linking the WM3 to the crime, and some of the DNA found at the crime scene even seemed to implicate the stepfather of one of the victims. The case gained national attention soon after the teenagers' arrests when word was leaked that the murders were committed as part of a satanic ritual. A key prosecution witness in the second trial was a self-proclaimed cult expert who stated that the murders bore "trappings" of the occult. This testimony, combined with testimony about books Damien Echols read and some of his writings, plus evidence that he and Jason Baldwin liked heavy-metal music and several black t-shirts were found in Jason’s closet, helped to convict the two teenagers. Jason received life without parole; Echols was sentenced to death, and Misskelley was sentenced to 40 years. After serving more than 17 years in prison, all three of the WM3 took the Alford Plea, which meant that the state of Arkansas admitted no wrongdoing. After being released, Jason Baldwin executive produced the 2014 film about his tragic saga, Devil’s Knot. He is joined by the co-founder of the Innocence Project, Barry Scheck.
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.