On May 5, 1993, the bodies of three 8-year-old boys were found murdered by a creek in West Memphis, Arkansas. One month later, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were arrested and later convicted of brutally raping, mutilating and killing the boys. After spending 18 years in prison, they were released after entering Alford pleas, a controversial plea in which defendants plead guilty while maintaining their innocence. The "Paradise Lost" trilogy has traced all of the case's developments.
Directors Joseph Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky have been following the case since 1993, and the first film in their series, "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills," released in 1996, was largely responsible for attracting national attention to the West Memphis Three. The third film in the trilogy, "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory," has been nominated for an academy award in the feature documentary category.