“I’m just tired,” Jesse Misskelley Jr. said at a news conference after the hearing at which a a judge accepted a plea deal to set them free. “This has been going on for 18 years. “It’s been an absolute living hell.”
One of their lawyers said the men’s release is “evidence of the state’s recognition that they are innocent” and that “no jury would convict them at a new trial.”
The judge sentenced them to the 18 years they’ve already served so they can go home today. They will be on suspended sentences for 10 years — not probation — which could be revoked if they get into trouble.
The three men — Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Misskelley — were allowed to maintain their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them, according to the Associated Press.