Families react to bittersweet ending of WM3 trial

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Family members along with supporters made their way to the Craighead County Courthouse Friday morning, all unsure of what was in store for the West Memphis Three. And while the men are now able to walk free, family members say it's a bittersweet ending to a long eighteen years.

Supporters comforted Jessie Misskelley Senior as he arrived at the courthouse Friday morning, unsure of what might transpire.

"I've been hoping and praying I'd get him out of here. I just want to get him home," said Misskelley.

And Friday afternoon, that wish was granted. But even though he's getting his son back, Misskelley is unsure if the entire story will ever fully unfold. "It isn't all out yet. They are turning him loose, but they still don't have the killer. The truth isn't all out yet," said Misskelley.

He waited in his car anxious to see his son Jessie Misskelley Jr. finally walk free. And as Misskelley walked out of the courthouse a free man Region 8 News asked him what it felt like to finally be released. " I feel great," said Jessie Misskelly Jr, who was in the car and off, finally closing this chapter in his life, and ready to start a new one.

Mark Byers, who's son was a victim of the West Memphis three killings, has supported the release of Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin. "I want justice and I wanted the three of them to be free, and I have no hard feelings against the three. I have love and empathy and sympathy for the family, who I've made amends to. I'm looking for them today just to hug them. To let them know they have their child back. Maybe I can't have my child back, but they're going to get theirs," said Byers. "I think it's a terrible crime to be put in prison for a crime you didn't do, and you have to admit to a crime you didn't do on a plea bargain to get out of prison."

Byers stood by Damien Echols mother Pamela Echols for support as the eighteen year battle finally came to a close. Echols still whipping away both tears of joys and sorrow. "We know that he didn't do it, and God knows he didn't. That's the injustice part of the deal, because whoever took the life of those eight year old little boys is still walking free, and apparently they will," said Echols.

The case has been tough on all the families involved, and are glad to be able to finally put it behind them.

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