Johnny Depp defends men convicted of satanic ritual murders

Johnny Depp, the Hollywood star, has added his voice to a campaign to free three men convicted of murdering three children in a satanic ritual.

By Nick Allen in Los Angeles
The „West Memphis Three” were convicted of killing three eight-year-old children in woodlands in Arkansas in 1993.

The men convicted, Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley, and Damien Echols were themselves teenagers at the time.

 Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison while Echols received a death sentence.

Depp is the latest in a string of celebrities to have voiced support for the men’s case and he will appear on CBS’s „48 Hours Mystery” programme to defend them.

In a promotional clip for the programme, he says: „I firmly believe Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley are totally innocent. It was a need for swift justice to placate the community.”

Supporters of the three men claim they were targeted by police because of their interest in heavy metal music and the occult, and that Misskelly made a false confession because he thought it meant he could leave prison.

Last month a judge in Arkansas refused to grant new trials for Baldwin and Misskelley who claimed that they weren’t adequately represented originally.

Depp’s appearance on 48 hours comes as he is in the midst of promoting the new 3D Disney film „Alice”, in which he plays the Mad Hatter.