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Aug 20 2011

Headline Muse, 8/20

Through a highly unusual plea
A new world, for the West Memphis Three
The deal that was built
Meant admitting to guilt—
Would you say that you killed, to go free?

Headline: Deal Frees ‘West Memphis Three’ in Arkansas

The more I read about this, the more interesting it gets. Though officially all three have now confessed, they very publicly maintain their innocence, noting that confession was necessary in order to gain release. In the case of one of the men, release means from death row. And many writers make the case that the evidence against them was slim and disappearing, that their case was likely to be reviewed and probably overturned.

I don’t claim omniscience. I don’t know their guilt or innocence for a fact, and cannot. But it is an interesting exercise to put myself in the position of the various players in this. Could I confess to a crime I did not do, to save myself? To save a friend? Could I, knowing they might soon be proven innocent, offer a plea bargain wherein inmates must confess to murder in order to save a friend?

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