AG's Office: Review in West Memphis 3 Appeal Case will Take Time

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The state attorney general's office says that a review of new DNA tests and other evidence in the case of one of the teens convicted in the 1993 slayings of three boys in West Memphis will take some time.

In a statement, a spokesman for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says state officials are seeing the evidence put forward by lawyers representing Damien Echols for the first time.  However, he says the legal process might take years.

Gabe Holstrom says the state stands behind the convictions of Echols and co-defendants Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelly, known by many as the "West Memphis Three."  Echols, now 32-years-old, was sentenced to death over the slayings of Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore.  Baldwin and Misskellly received life sentences.

In a filing Monday, San Francisco attorney Dennis P. Riordan said Bode Technology, a private lab in Virginia, tested evidence collected on swabs, under fingernails and clothing from the 8-year-old victims.  A report from the lab included in the filings shows much of the evidence failed to yield reportable results.  However, on evidence able to be tested, the lab found no traces of the three convicted for the slaying.

The legal filing of several hundred pages, which asks a federal judge to reconsider Echols' conviction, also included claims by forensic experts saying the mutilation of the bodies and castration of one of the boys came after their death.  In the filing, the experts say the cuts came from animals, rather than the blade of a knife.

The three victims disappeared while riding their bikes in their neighborhood on May 5, 1993.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)