Johnny Depp jams with Eddie Vedder and Patti Smith to raise money for West Memphis 3

Johnny Depp took part in a benefit concert and poetry reading in Little Rock, Arkansas over the weekend to help pay the legal fees of the “West Memphis Three,” a group of then-teenagers who were convicted in 1993 of the murder of three eight year-old boys. There is recently uncovered DNA evidence at the crime scene that points to another suspect, the stepfather of one of the murdered boys, and many believe that the teenagers were wrongfully convicted. I don’t know much about this case, but it’s been the subject of two different documentaries and several books. There’s a huge movement to free these men. (You can learn more about it on Wikipedia, this Salon article and on some of the many websites for their defense.) Retrials have been denied and the case is scheduled to go before the Arkansas Supreme Court on September 30th. During the performance Depp read from the diary of one of the convicted men now on death row, Damien Echols, and performed guitar while Eddie Vedder and Patti Smith sang. Some videos are below.

Johnny Depp, along with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines, held a music and poetry session Saturday to help raise money to pay legal fees for the West Memphis Three, has learned.

The West Memphis Three are Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley, Jr., three men convicted in the 1993 murders of three West Memphis 8-year-old boys. Depp has gone on record saying he believes the three men wrongfully accused of the crimes and vowed to help raise legal fees to help with their defense.

More than 2,000 people packed Little Rock’s Robinson Center Music Hall to support the West Memphis Three. Many in Arkansas say the West Memphis Three were wrongfully tried and convicted.

Depp and other celebrities are not the only ones asking for the release of the three men. Some of the parents of the three children killed now back the convicted getting new trials and hope celebrities like Depp and others will bring national attention.

Depp grew up Owensboro, Kentucky, about 200 miles outside Arkansas.

[From Radar Online]

I didn’t know Depp grew up in Kentucky! This isn’t the first time he’s been involved with this cause, as Depp spoke out on behalf of these men earlier this year on a 48 Hours special on the case. It was good of him to lend his celebrity, and I hope that these three men are finally granted fair and complete trials after 17 years behind bars, especially in light of all the evidence that points to another murderer.

Johnny Depp reads from Damien Echols’ journal. Echols is currently on death row, and you can read an interview with him here.

Depp performs with Eddie Vedder

Patti Smith sings “Dancing Barefoot” while Eddie Vetter and Johnny Depp perform



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27 Responses to “Johnny Depp jams with Eddie Vedder and Patti Smith to raise money for West Memphis 3”

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  1. carrie says:

    does Johnny Depp know the shower?
    where was Sean Penn?

    i know this story ,it is so strange:the guys were suspected because they were fan of Metal/Black music

  2. pookie says:

    As if I needed more of a reason to completely love Johnny Depp! Glad to hear about the court date on Sept. 30 – I’ve followed this story for a number of years and it’s a real miscarriage of justice that these three boys remain jailed for a crime they did not commit. I pray they are released and I hope they are able to get the finances they need from the state that railroaded them to start rebuilding their lives.

  3. Kerri says:

    I have watched the documentaries about this, and just from that I (and a lot of other people) are convinced that it was John Mark Byers, the stepfather of one of the kids that did it. I know it’s all armchair jury duty, but he was so sketchy. And when the police started talking about dental impressions to figure out where the bite marks came from on one of the kids, he “knocked” his teeth out with a hammer. WTF. He also pushed the hardest for those kids to be convicted and spoke out the most about how those kids were satanists, witches, etc.

  4. oh-bb says:

    I’m close to someone who helped organize this, and Depp and some (all?) of the others came entirely on their own funds, paying for their own travel and everything. Pretty awesome.

  5. beebs says:

    it’s blatantly obvious the stepfather (hobbs) did it. DNA does not lie, not to mention he’s sketchy as hell. he’s lied about where he was and who he was searching with for a good chunk of time (time that would have allowed him to commit such horrible acts), and throws around a lot of “i don’t know”‘s and “i don’t remember” when questioned about that night. you’d think if your child went missing and was later found gruesomely murdered, that day and everything you did would be etched into your brain. it would haunt you like a bad nightmare. funny how none of the other parents have a hard time getting their stories straight as to who they were searching with and around what time, what area.

    fuckking mind boggling that piece of
    sh!t has not paid for what he’s done yet, while three innocent men, victims of an ass backwards investigation/witch hunt, have been rotting away half their lives behind bars. and let’s not forget those poor little boys, who would now be men, that have been waiting 17 years for justice to be served.

  6. Leticia says:

    My heart goes out to the three eight year old boys who died a painful, torturous death.

  7. beebs says:

    my first comment is in moderation, but here’s a link to an interesting site if it hasn’t been mentioned before

    there’s a very compelling “manhole theory” that has some photos so it might not be for everyone, as well as the hobbs deposition from when he sued that dixie chick

  8. beebs says:

    one more thing, and i don’t usually post multiple comments but… how much money do they actually need for these legal fees, like 8 billion dollars or something? it seems like a lot of celebrities are getting involved lately and they’ve had a few fundraisers and take donations and stuff. i would think if it was just around like 5 million or so johnny depp would have just paid for it already. makes me think they need a crap ton of money to get as many reliable experts and tests as they can so it’s an open and shut case when they go to court. i heard dr. baden was involved and he’s a frickin genius so at least they have that.

  9. e says:

    I grew up in Marion with Damien Echols and long before these murders and I can tell you that he had more than a passing fascination with death…he wrote in our 7th grade journal about animal sacrifice. I am not saying that is enough to convict someone, however, there is more evidence than just Damien listening to Metallica…give me a break..these 8 yr old boys were brutally tortured, maybe raise money for the familys of the boys murdered to find the true killer.

  10. Fluffy Kitten Tail says:

    This is one case where I do believe the people have been wrongly accused.

  11. Trillion says:

    Where was Rollins? Love these people even more for doing this. The stubborn pride of the judges prob. can’t be budged though. Everyone knows this was wrong.

  12. mln says:

    Oh I totally love Johnny even more, and I do believe those kids deserve a fair trial.
    @e being a weird kid doesn’t mean you are necessarily a killer and DNA evidence trumps disturbing artwork.

  13. Hautie says:

    The documentaries that aired on HBO for this case were startling as hell.

    I remember thinking when I watched that first one, that the step-father Hobbs was all over the filmmakers, talking way too much. That his wife was zoned out on downers and not making alot of sense herself. And then she ended up dead of a overdose…

    Then the whole DA office and local police were determined it was those “Devil worshipers” kids that did this… without any proof.

    It is just tragic.

    If anything, the young men who got convicted for these murders… got convicted for being poor and white trashy to the jury. Oh and listening to that devil music. (Metallica)

    And for the record anytime any DA or Police dept. blame the crime on devil worshipers… I know they are full of crap.

  14. jc126 says:

    This case – it’s mind-boggling how these guys are still in prison.

  15. Tess says:

    Recall Bill Clinton signed off on the execution of a mentally retarded black man while he was running for president.

    Arkansas’s approach to criminal justice is murky and opportunistic, to say the least.

  16. Jaisymaisy says:

    I live in Little Rock, and this was a huge deal. I didn’t attend, but I know the tickets sold out. The Arkansas Times reported that the concert may have been operating at a loss to make ticket prices more affordable, so I don’t know how much money it made, but I can tell you it’s not every day Eddie Vedder and Johnny Depp are in Little Rock.

    As for the case…I remember when the little boys were murdered, because it was all over the news. I was a little girl then, and I haven’t kept up with the case, but it sounds like I need to do a little research before forming an opinion.

  17. Kiska says:

    Wow… Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder and Johnny Depp. Awesome.

  18. e says:

    @Hautie are you serious? So you don’t believe people have ever really been harmed by people sacrificing? You wouldn’t even be fit to sit on the jury then.

    It seems like a slippery slope to say that no one kills in the name of “devil-worshiping” you might want to do some research to see how often the occult is involved in murder.

  19. xxodettexx says:

    @e: are YOU serious??? hautie didnt say no one kills in the name of “devil-woshipping” just that she remains skeptical when the accused are charged bc of their “ties” to so-called “devil-worshipping” as do i, as do MANY people… jumping to a conclusion such as: “they did it bc they listen to metallica and therefore are obviously devil-worshippers” is just lazy and sloppy detective work and i have no respect for DA’s or police departments that fall on this accusation

    and, fyi, it isnt only the devil-woshippers that have killed or done harm to people or been involved in murders, plenty of christian, muslim, jews, atheists, etc are and have been implicated in atrocities throughout history!

  20. Fluffy Kitten Tail says:

    @e- you may want to re-read what Hautie actually said.

    Also, because someone writes about something dark, or wears black clothes or listens to Metallica in no way means they worship the devil or are murderers. If that were the case, then most kids in high school would be guilty.

  21. kim says:

    Ive followed this case for years and it haunts me the way those poor boys were molested & murdered however I can not say if the boys imprisoned are or are not guilty. I understand they may have been coerced to confess but maybe they werent? I also understand the step father was/is a sexual deviant and supposedly found his DNA at crime scene but how could 1 man alone do this to 3 boys? I think he would have have to been assisted or someone else with him? There are so many unanswered questions about this case. If they really felt the step father was guilty why wouldnt they go after him? Why would they prosecute 3 innocent boys over 1 man even after the fact of locking up the kids? I dont believe to save face they would keep 3 innocent kids in jail. It makes no sense. I feel horribly for them if they are innocent but I honestly dont know 1 way or the toher and i dont know how these celebs do either unless they have proof that the general public doesnt? Doubtful. To say with 100% proof that these boys are not innocent after they confessed is a huge statement & I would really like to see all the facts because I honeslty cant say 1 way or the other.

  22. GatsbyGal says:

    LOL WTF, Metallica as devil music?

    Listen to, like…old Cannibal Corpse. Or that shitty black metal that comes out of Finland or Norway. Dudes burning down churches and murdering each other over THAT music. Metallica is Lady Gaga compared to that.

    That said, I believe the stepfather probably killed those boys. But I don’t know the case very well. Hopefully justice will be served, whatever that may mean.

  23. e says:

    Here is the quote exactly: “And for the record anytime any DA or Police dept. blame the crime on devil worshipers… I know they are full of crap.”

    I never questioned whether anyone killed in the name of other religions. To deny that would be insane. I don’t know if they were involved or not, but I also know that I do not have the same information as the TRIAL COURT, APPEALS COURT, and now the Supreme Court of Arkansas has looked at. Instead of making grand assumptions, perhaps we should give the jurors and Judges their due and say they must have information that we don’t. Otherwise, it’s like saying you are smarter than all of those people because you watched a couple of documentaries.

  24. Jeri says:

    Bless Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder and Johnny Depp for caring & trying to make a difference.

    They could sit back & tell themselves they don’t have time to help, but they don’t – they’re out there.

    Always been a Depp fan – guy is hot, smart & caring!

  25. Mistral says:

    Oh my Lord, how stupid and backwards do you have to be to let some fat cop with a cereal box PhD in “The Occult” convince you the kids were killed by a bunch of teenagers (one of which was mentally retarded) who listen to Metallica? (like, seriously, his so-called degree was one of those ones you get by sending money to an address you find at the back of a pulp magazine!—What kind of a moronic judge accepts such “credentials”????) I’d bet the farm that those kids are totally innocent. The stepdad is a weirdo… Who knocks their teeth out with a hammer???

  26. sanddcastles says:

    if i remember correctly, only one boy(the mentally challenged one) confessed and immediately recanted after saying he was coerced. what i believe is neither here nor there, but wouldn’t it make sense for these boys-men now, to have a new and fair trial with all the evidence? why weren’t the step-father, and the other father really investigated? just to show either way that the boys were(are) not being railroaded? does that make any sense? so many unanswered questions

  27. Liana says:

    It seems like a slippery slope to say that no one kills in the name of “devil-worshiping” you might want to do some research to see how often the occult is involved in murder.

    It’s actually not as often as one might think. And I HAVE done my research. It’s right up there with the “bushy haired stranger” syndrome as far as inaccurate pathology is concerned.