The West Memphis Three HBO Paradise Lost Purgatory: Victims Parents Plea For No Oscar, Call Film Cruel Hoax

Beverly Hills, CA- Following an announcement that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences  is considering the HBO documentary Paradise Lost III : Purgatory, as one of 15 submissions being considered for an Oscar in the documentary category branch of AMPAS, chaired by Rob Epstein-  Todd and Diana Moore took action.

The Moores are the parents of James Michael Moore, one of three eight your old victims murdered on May 3, 1993 along with Chris Byers and Stevie Branch.  Within days of an exclusive series on the murders appearing on which included the discovery of potential new evidence;  the nearly 18 year old case that resulted in 9 previous convictions of three suspects took a radical turn.

On August 19th  Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols and Charles Jason Baldwin pled guilty to the murders of all 3 children via an Alford plea and were immediately released from jail as convicted murders on parole.

Paradise Lost III produced by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky follows it’s predecessors I and II,  released in 1996 after the initial convictions of the West Memphis 3.

Berlinger is a member of AMPAS,  and has produced several unreleased documentaries of Hollywood A- listers including Charlize Theron, Hugh Jackman, Oprah Winfrey and Cameron Diaz.

Click below to read impassioned and unedited letter sent to Chairman Epstein.

The following is the unedited letter sent to Chairman Epstein by Todd and Diana Moore:



PO Box 721

2004 Main St.

Hughes, AR  72348

November 22, 2011

Chairman Robert P. Epstein


Awards Office

8949 Wilshire Blvd

Beverly Hills CA 90211

Re:       Paradise Lost III:  Purgatory

Dear Chairman Epstein and members of the Documentary Branch of the Academy:

We are Todd Moore and Dana Moore.

Our cherished eight-year-old son, Michael, was brutally murdered on May 5, 1993 by Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin.  Misskelley was tried and convicted in 1994.  Baldwin and Echols were convicted by a separate jury later that year.  All three entered Alford pleas to our son’s murder August 19, 2011.  They are now, as they have been for the past 17 years, guilty as a matter of law.  They have been guilty as a matter of fact since the moment water flooded Michael’s lungs after he was beaten, stripped, hogtied, and then discarded into a stream to drown.

Michael was the joy of our lives.  In addition to our son, his murderers also tortured and slaughtered two other children, Christopher Byers and Stevie Branch.  These three precious victims were classmates and friends, and their loss was a tragedy felt throughout the entire community.

We are horrified to learn that a documentary that glorifies Michael’s killers, Paradise Lost III: Purgatory, is among 15 documentaries being considered for an Academy Award.  Because of public pressure that exploded due to gross misrepresentations of fact in two previous documentaries, Michael’s killers were unjustly able to enter into a plea agreement, were released from prison, and now pose additional threats to society.  This third documentary further insulted the families of these three boys and may lead to further injustice.  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.”

We realize that documentaries have a point of view and advocate a position to some degree or another.  As with the two before it, this film crossed the line into a cruel hoax that had real-life consequences larger than even those of us who still mourn our horrific losses.  It is not art.  This film is cynical and exploitative deception that compounds our pain needlessly and rewards those who inflicted it.  It and the two films that preceded it are simply tasteless tabloid entertainment presented as social commentary.

We are private individuals.  The directors, Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger, are aware of this because we refused to participate in their last two films.  We appeared solely in the first film because the directors lied and told us their purpose would be to “protect children.”  You can imagine our shock and disgust when the first film opened with gruesome and gratuitous images of the crime scene and remained exploitative and salacious until the credits rolled.  It did nothing to promote child welfare.  It did everything to support child killers and to benefit monetarily from a ghastly crime.

We were hardly the only people Sinofsky and Berlinger misled or manipulated.

Consider what happened to John Mark Byers. He was Christopher Byers’ adoptive father. Confrontations between Mr. Byers and Echols’ supporters at hearings were staged.  Of course, Berlinger and Sinofsky were there to film these episodes.  Berlinger and Sinofsky would transport Mr. Byers to the hearings and wire him for sound beforehand.  Furthermore, Berlinger and Sinofsky maneuvered Mr. Byers and Echols’ supporters in order to film the anticipated confrontations.  Later, after the cameras were packed away, Mr. Byers acted like a different person.  Instead of being belligerent, he was affable. When asked about his change in demeanor, Mr. Byers stated that he was supposed to act that way when the cameras were present.  Mr. Byers was quoted as saying he received $500 per hour for “exclusive interviews.”

These contrived “confrontations” and other distortions caused many viewers to believe Mark was the “real killer.”  It had a terrible impact on his life.  We brought this to the attention of HBO. Our complaint was ignored because these falsehoods proved lucrative.

The complete list of distortions would be a long one. The above example is illustrative of the manipulation and distortions that are prevalent throughout the entire Paradise Lost franchise. The films are bereft of ethics, principles, or factual accuracy and basis.

Publicity from the first two films did generate millions of dollars in donations.  Much of that money went toward the defense’s investigation of the case.  Not a single piece of exculpatory evidence was produced.  In other words, between $10,000,000 and $20,000,000 has been collected, although no one knows the exact amount collected or how it was spent.  In eighteen years, nothing was found to clear the names of the actual killers.  Late last year, the windfall that went toward the legal defense resulted in the granting of an evidentiary hearing which was set to be held a few weeks from now.  Instead, the murderers opted to initiate a plea negotiation with the State.  As a result, they remain convicted of the deaths of three children.

We have to note that this situation is similar to the one that confronted the Academy when Capturing the Friedmans was nominated for Best Documentary Film of 2003.  Two of the Friedmans’ sexual abuse victims presented another Open Letter to the Academy.  Capturing the Friedmans had much more artistic merit and integrity than Paradise Lost III: Purgatory, yet it did not receive the award. The Academy made the right decision then, and we pray it does so this time as well.


Todd Moore                                                                            Diana Moore

cc:        (via eMail)

Commercial Appeal

Jonesboro Sun

LA Times


Hollywood Reporter

People Magazine

Associated Press

United Press International


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  2. Ragdoll says:

    Did not know this…

  3. 1. Echols, Miskelley and Baldwin were guilty of the crimes for which they remain convicted. They are by no means innocent.
    2. I agree that right now, due to the inability of certain Manu drugs for lethal injections, that carrying out the death penalty is unconstitutional.

    This is not a larger negative view on the death penalty on my part, I am a proponent of it in “worthy” criminal cases. That said, we have an alarming false conviction rate and unfortunately a less than stellar solution for it.

  4. rose says:

    Imo something is & always was up in this guy’s temporal lobe(s).
    Plus he’s found a way ro live off the land.

  5. Ragdoll says:

    happy belated thanksgiving my american friends. i apologize for my informal text. im typing from a laptop…after using a droid for a few years. i embrace peace over a raging fit with technology.

    i found this to be a great read. facts once again being jilted by the innoncence social justice warriors…and too many, there are. the defending lawyers 500 exhibit/dossier covering echols years of violent and psychological plights isn’t enough for the truth to breathe. the power of media came to WM3′s rescue.

    just the same, i’d like to post this piece for our wee cubs.

    additionally, as brought up in the comments, i’d like to add that echols lives in salem, ma. he practices wiccan, tarot cards and black magic among other occult fetishes. its a simple google search. just my teeny weeny opinion.

    big love to you my dear friendly. xo

    love to you FriendLY :)
    These boys and what was done to them will never leave me. At times I have learned to give such things to God and my guides. There is no doubt for me whatsoever that these men were guilty as charged- but unfortunately I also do not believe they received fair trials- thus the situation we see now.

    He actually moved to Brooklyn after selling the Salem house. I do not believe one can escape the ultimate judgement of our God with any earthly “practices” if they are used to avoid truth, and atonement. That said, that is up to him.
    As Alice Cramden once said- “Im just the lowly private”.

  6. Ragdoll says:

    You’re a wise owl, friendLY. I appreciate your servitude and faith. God bless Al8ce Cramdem eh

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