I want to write about a documentary produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh called West of Memphis. I think it’s a good sign if a film makes you think about certain issues, even if those issues kind of make you feel down. West of Memphis certainly isn’t a feel-good documentary. In fact, it sort of gets the blood boiling, if anything. I was disturbed by it, and also saddened. But it’s a story that deserves to be told, although justice is definitely not served in this case.
This documentary came out in 2012 and is about the murder of three 8 year old boys and the arrest of three teenagers for the crime. There have been quite a few documentaries about this case but I have not seen any of them, and only saw this one a couple of months back. It’s such a complex case that it would be hard for me to describe all the twists and turns the story takes, but basically (and I don’t think there is a need here for me to include a spoiler warning but if you do not know anything about the case and do not wish to, please read no further), the three teenagers who were arrested were scapegoats and were wrongly convicted.
Putting it in such a simple sentence, however, does not seem to convey the level of incompetence that occurred in relation to this case, and not only that but the fact that they most likely found the real killer (I say “most likely” but really, they found the killer… there’s DNA proof!) but chose to close the case and leave the killer alone is just mind-boggling and infuriating. The three teenagers who were arrested were finally freed after more than 18 years in prison, but they were freed only after they agreed to plead guilty to the crime! In effect, this means that it was NOT a wrongful conviction case (a wrongful conviction would probably mean they can sue for damages). So now, the politicians’ asses are covered, the case is now closed, and the real killer continues to walk scot-free without serving a single day in prison. And amidst all the corrupt political strategies used in handling this case, where is the justice for three terrified 8 year old boys who were brutally tied up and murdered?