Johnny Depp Supports 'West Memphis Three' in Rare TV Interview

The international screen star takes time for a '48 Hours Mystery' appearance this weekend, in the name of justice

Johnny Depp may be hitting multiplexes soon in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (opening March 5), but his appearance on CBS' 48 Hours Mystery this Saturday will not be about promoting the film. Depp joins a growing list of celebrities rallying support for the re-examination of guilty verdicts that put three men in West Memphis, Ark., behind bars for homicide.

The "West Memphis Three" were convicted in 1994 of murdering three 8-year-old boys. According to the NY Post, Depp said, "I firmly believe Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley are totally innocent." Regarding their verdicts, he added, "It was a need for swift justice to placate the community."

The controversial case of the convictions for the horrific 1993 beating deaths of three children has divided many. The Post reports that the 48 Hours episode "will highlight DNA and forensic evidence that many hope will finally clear Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley of the crimes. The show also suggests that juror misconduct contributed to the guilty verdict."

While Baldwin and Misskelley are serving life sentences, Echols sits on death row. The case has already inspired two HBO documentaries, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, which explored evidence suggesting that the three convicted men (who were allegedly profiled by police for wearing dark clothing and listening to heavy-metal music) were innocent.

MTV reports, "Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were teenagers at the time of their convictions. The verdicts have continuously been challenged through legal channels, but they all remain in prison....Some members of the victims' families have publicly expressed their desire to see all of the facts in the case re-examined." 

Depp is not alone in his plea for justice in the case. Winona Ryder, the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, heavy metal band Metallica and tween star Demi Lovato (who once tweeted, "FREE THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE!!!") have all spoken out to draw attention to the men they feel were wrongly convicted and deserve to be released from prison. 

Johnny Depp will appear on the 48 Hours Mystery episode airing at 10 p.m. ET, on CBS this Saturday. At the moment, the mystery is how much impact Hollywood stars will have on this highly controversial criminal case.

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