West Memphis Three Hearings Draw Closer - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR - Will Carter Reports

West Memphis Three Hearings Draw Closer

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- You could say something was missing inside the Craighead County Courthouse Annex Wednesday as lawyers for the state and the West Memphis Three went before Judge David Burnett, again without the defendants.

In the end, Judge Burnett said he wouldn't go any further until the defendants were present.

"If Judge Burnett or the state doesn't want to hear this evidence, then we'll be happy to move on to federal court. So, we just keep moving," said Echols' wife, Lori Davis.

But those words couldn't come easy after the judge said he could rule with the state in denying Echols' request for a hearing all together.

"I'm just certain that the evidence is sound and good, and when September 8th does come around, I'm hoping that the judge will hear it, and hear it all," said Davis.

However, supporters of the West Memphis Three like Capi Peck say she feels the judge's attitude towards the whole case is one of arrogance and a lack of concern.

"It's disturbing to me as a citizen of Arkansas that he's not taking this more seriously, and he's not up on it," said Peck.

She says it's time the legal system takes the West Memphis Three seriously, and gives them a chance they deserve.

"This is 15 years. The evidence is overwhelming. Take the time. Look at this. Give us a fair trial. We will win if you give us a fair trial," said Peck.

But for the West Memphis Three, that all depends on what happens in the next few weeks.

Judge Burnett also denied the defense's request to have himself recused from the cases.

Another issue brought up Wednesday was a document that could bring about good things for the West Memphis Three.

During Wednesday's hearing it was brought up that a sealed document filed to the court on May 30th could contain a confession of a Little Rock attorney that allegedly was talking to the jury foreman during the original trials.

"It pretty much said, that they didn't have enough to convict these three men or teenagers at the time, and it was up to him to convince the jury to convict. That's substantial information, and something that the court should take very seriously," said Davis.

Peck says she's upset that Judge Burnett didn't know more about this filing.

"That's disturbing. That's very disturbing. This is important. Three young men have been wrongfully incarcerated for 15 years, and that's disturbing that the information was there, and he wasn't aware of it," said Peck.

Peck says the confession, that still hasn't been opened, contains clear evidence of juror misconduct during the 1994 trials that convicted the three teens, and claims jurors used evidence that was supposed to be inadmissible.

"He was asking this Little Rock attorney, when is somebody going to bring up the confession? When can I bring up the confession. I need this to convince my fellow jurors to convict," said Peck.

And while the pleadings of the West Memphis Three slowly draw a little closer to a resolution of some sort, Lori Davis says she and her husband are keeping their heads held high.

"Damien is hopeful, and he is strong. We are both just gearing up for the next few months. He's doing better than he probably has in a long time," said Davis.

At this point it's unclear on whether or not the judge will allow Echols' case to continue, but it is expected that both Misskelley and Balwin will appear in Jonesboro next month as the hearings progress.

Region 8 News will bring you the latest on this story at it develops.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.


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