June 19, 2003
Posted at: 2:44 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The state Supreme Court today granted convicted killer Damien Wayne Echols more time to complete DNA testing in the case of the slaying of three West Memphis boys a decade ago.
The high court agreed to delay Echols' appeals for 70 days, but said it was the last extension it would allow the death-row inmate.
Echols' appeals have been delayed for nine months while he pursued DNA testing of items related to the case. The high court first granted a 60-day stay last September 12th. It granted 90-day extensions in November and February.
Echols was convicted with Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley in the May 5, 1993, murders of eight-year-olds Steven Branch, Michael Moore and Christopher Byers. The boys' bodies were found in a ditch near their homes in West Memphis.
Misskelley was convicted of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment and a total of 40 years' imprisonment.
Echols and Baldwin were tried together and were each convicted of three counts of capital murder. Baldwin received life imprisonment without parole, while Echols was sentenced to death. The Supreme Court upheld the convictions.