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Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Threeby Mara Leveritt
Synopses & Reviews
*SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING REESE WITHERSPOON AND COLIN FIRTH *
The West Memphis Three. Accused, convicted…and set free. Do you know their story?
In 2011, one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in American legal history was set right when Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were released after eighteen years in prison. Award-winning journalist Mara Leveritt’s The Devil’s Knot remains the most comprehensive, insightful reporting ever done on the investigation, trials, and convictions of three teenage boys who became known as the West Memphis Three.
For weeks in 1993, after the murders of three eight-year-old boys, police in West Memphis, Arkansas seemed stymied. Then suddenly, detectives charged three teenagers—alleged members of a satanic cult—with the killings. Despite the witch-hunt atmosphere of the trials, and a case which included stunning investigative blunders, a confession riddled with errors, and an absence of physical evidence linking any of the accused to the crime, the teenagers were convicted. Jurors sentenced Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to life in prison and Damien Echols, the accused ringleader, to death. The guilty verdicts were popular in their home state—even upheld on appeal—and all three remained in prison until their unprecedented release in August 2011.
With close-up views of its key participants, this award-winning account unravels the many tangled knots of this endlessly shocking case, one which will shape the American legal landscape for years to come.
"Brutal, riveting....The true horror of Leveritt's well-written book is that this barely believable fate could potentially befall any American." Henry Rollins
"Well written in descriptive language, the book is an indictment of a culture and legal system that failed to protect children as defendants or victims." Library Journal
"Leveritt's carefully researched book offers a riveting portrait of a down-at-the-heels, socially conservative rural town with more than its share of corruption and violence." Publishers Weekly
"Free the West Memphis Three."
Maybe you've heard the phrase.
But do you know why their story is so alarming?
Do you know the facts?
The guilty verdicts handed out to three Arkansas teens in a horrific capital murder case were popular in their home state — even upheld on appeal. But after two HBO documentaries called attention to the witch-hunt atmosphere at the trials, artists and other supporters raised concerns about the accompanying lack of evidence. Now, award-winning journalist Mara Leveritt provides the most comprehensive look yet into this endlessly shocking case.
For weeks in 1993, after the murders of three eight-year-old boys, police in West Memphis, Arkansas, seemed stymied. Then suddenly, detectives charged three teenagers — alleged members of a satanic cult — with the killings. Despite stunning investigative blunders, a confession riddled with errors, and an absence of physical evidence linking any of the accused to the crime, the teenagers were tried and convicted. Jurors sentenced Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to life in prison. They sentenced Damien Echols, the accused ringleader, to death. Ten years later, all three remain in prison. Here, Leveritt unravels this seemingly medieval case and offers close-up views of its key participants, including one with an uncanny knack for evading the law....
From the prize-winning investigative reporter who has had the inside track on the story since it first broke in 1993 comes the definitive chronicle of the notorious child murders in West Memphis, Arkansas. of photos.
About the Author
Mara Leveritt won a White Award for investigative journalism in 1991, was named Arkansas Journalist of the Year in 1992, and was awarded Arkansas’s Booker Worthen Prize in 2000 for her book The Boys on the Tracks. A contributing editor to the Arkansas Times, she lives in Little Rock.
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