Murder victims’ parents slam documentary’s Oscar nod

Director Joe Berlinger’s Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, about the notorious ‘West Memphis Three’ case, has been nominated in the Documentary Feature category at the upcoming 2012 ceremony.

The film tells the story of three men – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley – who were convicted of murdering three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas in 1993 but were freed last year (11) over significant doubts about their guilt.

The case has become a cause celebre in the U.S., with many campaigners convinced the accused were victims of a miscarriage of justice.

But the parents of one of the murdered boys – Michael Moore – and the father and stepfather of a second, Stevie Branch, have penned a letter to officials at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to express their “sadness and outrage” at the decision to nominate the documentary for an Oscar.

The letter adds, “This film should be exposed as a fraud, not rewarded with an Academy Award nomination.”

Branch’s mother and the parents of the third murdered boy – Christopher Byers – believe the West Memphis Three are innocent of the slayings.