Sunday, February 16, 2014

CNN airs HBO's "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory", detailed documentary series about the West Memphis Three; also Sabine, TX murder on AC360

CNN is re-airing HBO’s lengthy series on the “West Memphis Three”, called “Paradise Lost”.  The first film was called “The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills”, the second was “Revelations” and the last is “Purgatory”. 
That is, the film aired on February 16, 2014 is “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”, running 2-1/2 clock hours. The directors are Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.

Compared to the Sony film “West of Memphis (Movies blog, January 25, 2013), this film gave much more time to interviewing the three wrongfully convicted men, especially Echols, as well as the father of one of the boys.

The film seemed to stress the need for forgiveness on both sides, and the idea that living in a free democratic society causes some essential risk to everyone of wrongful convictions.

The father of one of the victims has to deal with having ranted his own hate when he finds out that the conviction was compromised,  The documentary also shows how the media played up the occult cult idea in the 1990s.
Yet, the State of Arkansas was unwilling to allow new trials based on DNA findings that could not have been made in 1994.  Furthermore, the police work in 1993 was incomplete, and seemed predicated on pressuring a mentally disabled young man to confess and implicate the others.

The film ends with the showing of the Alford Plea.

The documentary also covered the defamation lawsuit by Terry Hobbs against Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, story here. (There was a film “The Dixie Chicks: Shut up and Sing” from The Weinstein Company in 2006.)

HBO offers a bonus scene on YouTube:

HBO’s site is here
The broadcast was followed by an AC360 special report, “Cover UP? A Mysterious Death in Texas”, about the death of Alfred Wright in Sabine County (in the swampy SE part of the state), after he disappeared after visiting a liquor store, with unclear surveillance evidence.  The idea of putting a dime on someone’s bed to send a warning to keep quiet is indeed chilling. Who knows the "family bed"?  The link is here. The documentary talked about meth labs in the area. 

 Wikipedia attribution link for Mississippi River picture. 

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