West Memphis 3: Hearings Scheduled for September

JONESBORO (KAIT) - At 9:30 Tuesday morning the courtroom filled with attorneys and supporters of the West Memphis Three.

However, by 10:00, just 30 minutes later, the hearing was over and rules were laid out.

Judge David Burnett started the morning by telling attorneys for both the state and the defense that any further contact with the media would result in contempt of court.

He also noted that he is ready for the case to be closed once and for all.

Prosecuting Attorney Brent Davis told the judge that he had just received an amended filing of Damien Echols Act 1780 petition and would need time to review and respond to it.

Judge Burnett gave Davis 60 days to respond to this motion.

However, any further motions were given 45 days to be filed and 30 days to be responded to.  Those motion include Rule 37 motions being filed by Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin's attorneys.

Judge Burnett told the lawyers that he wanted all motions filed by May 30th and the State to respond by July 15th.

While both sides argued that this may not be enough time, the judge stayed firm and told them that this was all of the time they were getting.

Finally after looking at schedules, hearings for the West Memphis Three motions were scheduled for September 8th through October 3rd.

Outside the courtroom attorneys held to the judge's orders and refused comment to the media, but we did get response from those in support.

Lori Davis, Echols' Wife, told Region 8 News, "I'm happy that it's going.  I'm happy that it is finally getting its day in court.  Really that's the news from our side, we are just happy to see it moving along."

Meanwhile, Brent Peterson with Arkansas Take Action told us, "It's been frustrating time wise for so long, waiting on things to happen.  We are ready to go.  The sooner, the better."

And supporters like Nancy Morris-Cook from Helena said, "I read on the Internet that there was a court date today, and I was already in Jonesboro today, so I wanted to come show my support."

As to the question of whether or not the West Memphis Three will be in court for the hearings in September, that is still up for speculation.

However, Region 8 News is following this story closely and will bring you any details as they develop.

Ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.