Stepdad of Slain West Memphis Boy Says He's "Done Nothing Wrong"

WEST MEMPHIS, AR - The stepfather of one of the three boys killed in West Memphis 15 years ago says his reputation is in ruins now that lawyers for the three men convicted in the slayings have rejuvinated the case.

Terry Hobbs told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he's done nothing wrong, and that he wants people to know it.

Hobbs' stepson, Stevie Branch, was one of three boys killed in West Memphis in 1993.  Stevie, Michael Moore and Chris Byers disappeared while riding bicycles in their quiet, tree-lined neighborhood.  The bodies of the three Cub Scouts were found the next day in a watery ditch near their homes.

Damien Echols was sentenced to death for the slayings, Jason Baldwin received a life sentence without parole, while Jessie Misskelley received a life-plus 40-year sentence for the killings.

Known by sympathizers as the "West Memphis Three," the men have received support from celebrities and strangers convinced of their innocence.  The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld their convictions, but a later documentary sparked interest across the Internet.

Last October, attorneys for Echols filed a lengthy appeal that claimed there was no DNA evidence linking him to the boys' killings.  But Hobbs' name has repeatedly surfaced in the case, with some saying he should have been questioned by police at the time of the slayings.  The appeal is pending in state court.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)