West Memphis 3 Victims Want HBO Documentary Excluded From Oscars


This past August, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley — better known as the West Memphis 3 — were released from prison. The trio had been accused of murdering three young boys in 1993, however questions arose during the trial and many wondered if they were wrongfully accused. These discrepancies were brought up in a series of HBO documentaries called ‘Paradise Lost,’ which were later credited with helping spring the three from prison.

The last of these films, ‘Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory,’ has been submitted for Oscar consideration in the Best Documentary category. However, not everyone’s happy with the prospect of it winning an award. One of victim’s parents are currently lobbying the Academy to exclude ‘Paradise Lost’ from consideration.

In a letter sent on Nov. 22, Todd and Dana Moore stated that, “Because of public pressure that exploded due to gross misrepresentations of fact in the two previous documentaries, [our son] Michael’s killers were unjustly able to enter into a plea agreement, were released from prison and now pose additional threats to society. We implore the Academy not to reward our child’s killers and the directors who have profited from one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated under the guise of a documentary film.”

In a response, ‘Paradise Lost’ co-creator Joe Berlinger stated that the filmmakers “feel tremendous sorrow for [the victim’s families]. We understand why a film that comes to a different conclusion than they do would make them feel this way. We stand by our films. We fervently believe the West Memphis Three are innocent.”

The Oscar nominations will be announced on Jan. 24, 2012.