Latest Evidence in West Memphis Three Case - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Little Rock, AR - Will Carter Reports

Latest Evidence in West Memphis Three Case

November 1, 2007 - Posted at 7:32 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK-New details released Thursday claim to exonerate the three men convicted in the 1993 killings of three West Memphis 8 year olds.

This case captivated much of the nation's attention 14 years ago.

The trials were held in Region Eight  where juries convicted the three teens.

It started May 6, 1993 when the bodies of Steve Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore were found in a patch of woods just south of Interstate 40 in West Memphis.

Within a month, Damien Echols, Jessie Miskelley, and Jason Baldwin were arrested and charged with murder.

The trials were moved out of Crittenden County for fear of not receiving a fair trial.

In Corning - Misskelley was found guilty in February 1994 and sentenced to life in prison.

In March - Echols and Baldwin were tried together and found guilty in Jonesboro.

Echols was given the death sentence.

Baldwin was given life in prison.

People from all over the country claim the three were wrongly convicted and started raising money for their defense.

They were allowed to test some of the evidence for D.N.A.

Thursday they laid out their case to the public.

Will Carter was in Little Rock and has more...


WILL CARTER FROM LITTLE ROCK:

Inside the University of Arkansas of Little Rock's Law School a sea of cameras took position as Damien Echols' defense team laid out evidence of his innoncence years after he was convicted by a Jonesboro jury.

"It's a classic instance of prosecutory misconduct by attempting to inform a jury of facts that are unbased on the evidence," said Dennis Riordan, Echols' Lead Attorney.

To demonstrate, Echols' attorney brought a panel of forensic scientists to show how evidence presented was not accurate.

Their focus was a serated knife, which prosecutors told jurors cut the flesh of the three boys.

"That is the most rediculous statement that I have ever heard anybody make.  To sell that to a jury is unconsiounable, in my opinion.  These are scratch marks from claws from some type of an animal," said Dr. Richard Rafael, a Forensic Odontologist.

But it's new D.N.A. evidence that Echols' defense team says could clear him of his conviction for first degree murder.

"There's not a single piece of credible evidence that connects them to the scene.  Anything they say is credible is far outweighed by other things that could point in other directions," said Riordan.

The other direction, however, could point to Terry Hobbs, stepfather of Steve Branch, but is the evidence strong enough to ever convict him?

"I don't think that hair evidence would be enough to convice Mr. Hobbs or Mr. Jacoby or anybody in a similar situation," said Thomas Fedor, a Forensic Serologist.

So with little to go on in the way of a new suspect, the process will likely continue to move at a slow pace.

"The greatest obstacle to our winning this case is people saying, if we don't stick with these three guys, who do we have?  That would mean someone else is out there.  We don't want to lose them without replacing them with somebody," said Riordan.

It could take months before the State Attorney Generals office responds to Monday's filing.


Stay with Region Eight News.  Friday, Region Eight's Will Carter talks with Jessie Miskelly's attorney about the case and the future of the West Memphis Three convicted of murder.


Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.

 

 

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