Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh step in to help fund the move to successfully release the West Memphis 3.
Sir Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh has used their money and influence and has helped end a successful seven-year legal fight to free three American men found guilty of murdering young boys.
The Hobbit director says he has no plans to use their story to make a movie.
Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were released from an Arkansas prison on Saturday after serving 18 years for the 1993 triple murder of eight year old Scouts Steven Branch, Christopher Byers and James Moore.
The boys’ bodies were found naked and hogtied with shoelaces and tossed into a drainage ditch.
Misskelley and Baldwin were sentenced to live in prison. Echols was sentenced to death and sent to death row.
DNA tests in 2007, which failed to link the West Memphis Three to the gruesome crime scene, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled there was clearly grounds to get a hearing into whether a retrial should go ahead.
Instead, the men walked free after after accepting an “Alford plea” to get Echols out of solitary confinement and off of death row. The rarely used plea allowed them to publicly proclaim their innocence in exchange for pleading guilty in court and most importantly giving up their right to seek compensation for a miscarriage of justice.
According to spokesperson for the couple Matt Dravitzki, to The Dominion Post the director and his partner, producer Fran Walsh, funded the extensive private investigation that led to the Arkansas Supreme Court ruling.
“Peter and Fran have funded seven years of investigation into trying to get these guys freed,” he said. They saw [documentary] Paradise Lost eight years ago and that put them into action. It simply comes from them being in a position that they’re able to [fund] that. It’s humanitarian entirely – it’s philanthropic.”