In a detour from his round of promotional duties on Alice in Wonderland, Johnny Depp will appear tomorrow night on CBS’ investigative news show 48 Hours Mystery, speaking out in defense of the West Memphis Three, who as teenagers were found guilty of the 1993 murder of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Since their case was chronicled in the acclaimed 1996 documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Damien Echols, who is on death row, and Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, who received life sentences, have drawn support from a variety of pop culture figures, including Eddie Vedder, the Dixie Chicks, Henry Rollins, Tom Waits, and Winona Ryder, who argue that they were wrongly convicted of the brutal killings largely because, in their conservative community, their goth looks and taste for heavy-metal music stoked irrational fears of satan-worshipping teens and made them easy fall guys. In the preview clip below, Depp speaks about what he sees as a terrible miscarriage of justice: “There’s not a shred of evidence. I think the most courageous action that the state could now take would be to admit that they were wrong, admit they made mistakes, and correct these errors.”
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What do you think? Have you followed the case of the West Memphis Three? Do you think Depp’s appearance on 48 Hours will help their cause, or will it be dismissed as just the latest of instance of a celebrity on a crusade?
For more on Johnny Depp, pick up the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now.