Defense to Appeal in West Memphis 3 Case

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (AP) - A defense lawyer for one of three men convicted in the 1993 slayings of three West Memphis boys says a notice of appeal would be filed within days of a judge's ruling denying a new trial in the case.

Dennis Riordan of San Francisco, who represents death-row inmate Damien Echols, says the appeal would be filed with the Arkansas Supreme Court. The high court previously upheld the convictions.

Crittenden County Circuit Judge David Burnett yesterday rejected claims that new DNA evidence proves the innocence of Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. Burnett also said that even if he agreed that the new DNA evidence should be heard in court, he would deny Echols' request for a trial because there was "not compelling evidence that he would be acquitted."

The men, known as the "West Memphis Three" by supporters who include music celebrities, were teenagers when the bodies of 8-year-olds Steve Branch, Michael, Moore, and Christopher Byers were found in a drainage ditch May Sixth, 1993, near their neighborhood.

Baldwin was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Misskelley was convicted of first-degree murder in Moore's death and second-degree murder in the deaths of the other two boys. He was sentenced to life plus 40 years.

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