|Updated: 8/22/2011 2:41 pm
||Published: 8/19/2011 4:04 pm
JONESBORO, AR - It all ended in this packed Craighead County courtroom with Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols entering guilty pleas.
Echols says: "Your honor, I am innocent of these charges but I've been told by my counsel [who] said it’s in my best interest to do this, so I will plead guilty."
Its called an Alford Plea, allows them to maintain their innocence and gives the state guilty pleas for the murder of 3 West Memphis 8-year-olds in 1993, and ends the case.
"It’s some justice, it’s not perfect by any means, but at least it brings closure to some areas and aspects," Echols says.
High profile singers Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines were in the courtroom supporting the West Memphis 3.
But Steve Branch, father of one of the three boys killed, stood up in court after the plea and shouted to the judge "You're making a mistake" before he was removed from the court room.
"It’s not on offer the family had to accept, I did not give them veto power in this case," Prosecutor Scott Ellington says.
Ellington says he still believes the right people were convicted, but with a deal in place, all three are free.
"I'm still very much in shock, still overwhelmed. You'll have to take into consideration I've been in solitary confinement for much of the past decade, so I'm not used to anybody much less everyone here," Echols says.
"I didn't want to take the deal from the get go," Baldwin says. "However they were trying to kill Damien, sometimes you have to do that to save somebody."