The West Memphis Three - Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley
On August 19, 2011, three men, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, who were convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the murders of three boys in Arkansas, are released from prison in a special legal deal allowing them to maintain their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors had sufficient evidence to convict them.
Artists rendering of the Montana Vigilante hanging of Cyrus Skinner
On August 18, 1853, Cyrus Skinner, who would later be hanged by the Montana vigilantes, ends his first stay in the California state prison at San Quentin. Skinner was typical of the thieves and killers who terrorized the gold fields of Montana in the early 1860s. Born in Ohio in 1829, Skinner began robbing people as a teenager. He immigrated to California in 1850 and was promptly arrested for burglary. He served two years in San Quentin prison before being released on this day in 1853.
William Bonney aka Billy the Kid
On August 17, 1877, Billy the Kid shoots an Arizona blacksmith who dies the next day. He would be the infamous outlaw's first victim. Just how many men Billy the Kid killed is uncertain. Billy himself reportedly once claimed he had killed 21 men-"one for every year of my life."
On August 16, 1984, John DeLorean, the founder of the DeLorean Motor Company, is found not guilty due to entrapment after being charged with smuggling drugs in an effort to raise money for his struggling company.
On August 15, 2006, Mary Winkler is released from jail on $750,000 bail. She had confessed to fatally shooting her pastor husband Matthew Winkler in his sleep at their church parsonage in Selmer, Tennessee. Winkler was later convicted in his killing, but served only a short time in prison.
Illich Ramirez Sanchez aka Carlos the Jackal
On August 14, 1994, terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez, infamously known as Carlos the Jackal, is captured in Khartoum, Sudan, by French intelligence agents. Since there was no extradition treaty with Sudan, the French agents sedated and kidnapped Carlos. The Sudanese government, claiming that it had assisted in the arrest, requested that the United States remove their country from its list of nations that sponsor terrorism.
On August 13, 1961, Cary Stayner, the serial killer convicted in the grisly murders of four women near Yosemite National Park was born. In 1972, Stayner's childhood took a tragic turn when his younger brother Steven, then seven, was kidnapped while walking home from school in the family's hometown of Merced, California. Steven's abductor, convicted child molester Kenneth Parnell, held him captive for seven years before he managed to escape and return home.