Day Two Wraps With Baldwin Testimony - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR - Will Carter Reports

Day Two Wraps With Baldwin Testimony

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - It was the first time Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin had appeared in a courtroom together since the 1994 trials.

While there wasn't a lot of interaction between one another, their joined effort for freedom was one that could be felt throughout the courtroom.

"Hey Jessie. Do you have anything you want to say now that you've been watching what's going on inside," I asked.  "Do you feel a little bit better about things?"  Misskelley replied, "I feel a whole lot better now. The case is still open, and we've got a good chance."

Those words from Jessie Misskelley come 15 years after he was convicted of capital murder. While he had nothing to say when entering the courthouse earlier in the morning, by afternoon even he was holding his head up higher.

His dad, Jessie Misskelley Senior says that's for good reason too, because he says his son is innocent and wasn't even in the area at the time of the murders.

"I've got a list of names of people that were with my son, or saw him from 8:00 that morning until midnight that night," said Misskelley Sr.

And when we asked him about the confession that Jessie Junior made, he said, it was merely a trick by the West Memphis Police.

"They beat him into a confession. They told him if he told them what they wanted to know he could go home," said Misskelley Sr.

Instead Misskelley and Baldwin joined their friend Damien Echols behind federal prison bars.

"I've lost my brother, and I've lost a lot of time with my brother. I've suffered a lot seeing my brother behind bars for a crime he could not have committed. It was impossible for my brother, or Damien, or Jessie to have committed those crimes," said Baldwin's younger brother Larry.

He says while the whole family is frustrated with the legal system, both they and Jason have faith.

"No matter what, if Burnett doesn't do his duty and free him, he's going to be freed by a federal court," said Baldwin.

But before the day was even over, Jason Baldwin would finally get the chance to testify on his own behalf, and while he didn't get to in his 1994 trial, Thursday was a different story.

"I felt I had to do it. It was necessary," said Jason Baldwin.

He went on to say that it was tough talking about the past.

And while not all victims families have moved on and forgiven the West Memphis Three, murdered Christopher Byers father Mark says it's about admitting that you made a mistake.

"One of the hardest things I've ever done in my life is accept the fact of being wrong. No one likes to admit you're wrong. No one wants to choke on crow, and all of the things you've said and done, and realize that you're wrong. I've always learned it took a lot bigger man to stand up and admit his mistakes, than to hide behind a lie," said Mark Byers.

As the proceedings continue next week, only time will tell if a wrong was actually committed within the justice system.

It is unclear at this point if Misskelley will take to the stand or not, but the hearings will pick back up Monday morning, and I will be live with the latest updates throughout the day both on the air and through our live coutroom blog here on kait8.com.


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

 

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