WM3 Day One: Jason Baldwin Is Met With Support

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The focus of the Rule 37 hearings is to try and break down the credibility and effectiveness of the defense attorneys from back in 1994.

On the hot seat Wednesday was attorney Paul Ford who represented Jason Baldwin, and said several times throughout the day that he did the best he could, and still believes to this day that there was reasonable doubt within the jury box.

But just how this will play out is still unclear, as Wednesday was only the beginning in this attempt.

As the morning began, a lone car rolled in from the Craighead County Sheriff's Department.  Out would step an aged Jason Baldwin with only a few words to say.

What do you hope happens today? "That justice is finally served," said Baldwin.   Jason, what has the last 15 years been like, waiting for this moment? "Hard," he replied.

For Baldwin's mother Gail Grinnell, the chance to go back to court is all about hope.

"Today has been uplifting. It's got my hopes up, and I'm really truly hoping and praying that things are going to come out right," said Grinnell.

Inside the courtroom, it was up to Baldwin's attroneys to prove, that in the 1994 hearings, his defense team rendered ineffective assistance.

Throughout the proceedings Baldwin sat attentatively, listening and watching his attorneys.

And among the crowded courtroom was another face-- one who's had a change of heart since the 1994 convictions.

"It took quite a while to digest all of it, and to wrap my mind around all of it. However, today there is no doubt in my mind that the West Memphis Three are innocent," said Mark Byers.

Those were words he never thought he'd say 15 years ago when his step-son Christopher was murdered, but he says now he's only got one thing to say to Baldwin and the other two convicted.

"If it takes my last breath, I will not stop until there's justice for six families and the truth comes out," stated Byers.

And for the mother of a son who could have been wrongly convicted, that's justice that's been long awaited.

"It's been horrible. It's been very horrible, knowing that he was innocent, and that he was so young. He had just turned 16. He was still a child," said Grinnell.

And in 15 years it seems a lot of the folks involved with this case have matured. You now have parents who are forgiving, and asking that the West Memphis Three be cleared, but whether the court will change its mind is something that now lies on Baldwin and Misskelley's attorneys.

And Jessie Misskelly is expected to appear Thursday morning as they put the two rule 37 cases together.

I will be at the hearings and have live reports througout the day, and up to the minute information on our Courtroom Blog which you can access from our homepage.

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