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TV Review: West of Memphis
By Mark P. Stevens
Book and TV Reviews columns.
West of Memphis
Directed by Amy Berg
The documentary West of Memphis actually tells two stories, that of a criminal prosecution that resulted in unjust murder convictions of three Arkansas teenagers and that of the media, first in reporting the case and then as a driving force in challenging the convictions.
The underlying case arose from a triple homicide in 1993 in a small town in Arkansas, just across the Mississippi from Memphis. Three eight-year-old boys were murdered and their naked and hog-tied bodies were found in a drainage ditch in a wooded area outside of town, near the interstate highway.
Inexplicably, the police assumed from the beginning that the murders occurred at the place where the bodies were recovered and maintained that assumption even in the absence of any evidence suggesting that might be true. With neither witnesses nor physical evidence, the investigation soon stalled.
The investigation did not take on a new life until a probation officer suggested
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