The murder led to the arrest and conviction of three West Memphis teens, who were released from prison earlier this year (Aug11) after maintaining they did not carry out the slayings of eight-year-old Michael Moore and two of his friends.
Director Joe Berlinger’s film Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, which recounts the gruesome murders and the incarceration and release of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley – who became known as the West Memphis Three – picked up the Best Documentary prize at the National Board of Review Awards on Thursday (01Dec11).
But Todd and Dana Moore have requested Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences officials exclude the film from Oscars contention, claiming the documentary glorifies the men they are still convinced killed their son.
In a letter sent to the Academy, the Moores write, “Michael’s killers were unjustly able to enter into a plea agreement, were released from prison and now pose additional threats to society.
“We implore the Academy not to reward our child’s killers and the directors who have profited from one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated under the guise of a documentary film.”
Berlinger has responded to the letter in the Jonesboro Sun newspaper, stating, “We feel tremendous sorrow for them (parents) and we understand why a film that comes to a different conclusion than they do would make them feel this way… We fervently believe the West Memphis Three are innocent.”
The Moores briefly appeared in Berlinger’s first film about the killings, 1996’s Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, but maintain they were “misled” and “manipulated”.