Mixed feeling in West Memphis after release of West Memphis 3 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mixed feeling in West Memphis after release of West Memphis 3

(WMC-TV) - On the first Sunday since the West Memphis Three's release from prison, there are mixed feelings in the city where three young boys were killed 18 years ago.

As some West Memphians showed up for Sunday morning worship services, several residents spoke out about the release of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley.

"It's nothing but a blessing from God that they are not incarcerated right now," said West Memphian James Young.

"We're not go judge," said West Memphian Doris Pierce.  "That's for somebody higher than us to judge, not us."

A number of people said they remembered the day in 1993 when three 8-year-old boys were murdered.  They now have mixed feelings about the men convicted of the murders being set free.

"If they didn't do it, that's good they're out," said West Memphian Toney Roland.  "If they did do it, they got to live with it, not us.  It's between them and God."

"I feel sorry for the little boys that were slain, I feel for the kids that said they didn't do it," said Pierce.  "Spent 18 years in prison.  It's just, I don't know."

"We should just move forward," said Roland.  "Just let the past be the past.  Like I say, if they didn't do it, I mean that's good they're out."

While some spoke out in favor of the West Memphis Three's release, others who did not want to be named did not.  One woman said she thinks Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley are being treated like heroes, and that concerns her.

Some said they were moved by the courtroom plea from Steve Branch, the father of one of the victims, as he tried to persuade the judge to stop the release.

Others said they feel justice was served, while others said what happened will always be a mystery.

"It was a mystery, still be a mystery and forever will be a mystery," said West Memphian Joe Pierce.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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