West Memphis Three (Friday Noon Blog Update) - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

West Memphis Three (Friday Noon Blog Update)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - West Memphis Three trial blog from Region 8 Court Reporter Brandi Hodges.

At around 11:30am Misskelley's attorney resumes questioning of Dr. Derning regarding what his professional opinion is of Dr. Wilkins' testimony back in 1993-1994. Derning Discussed what the functioning level is of those who are classified as "metally retarded". He said Jessie Misskelley is in the bottom 2% of the population. Jessie's I.Q. has been measured in the 70's.

After lunch Burt Finished questioning the witness and Prosecutor Brent Davis started his cross examination of Dr. Derning. After going over some of Dening's experience, focusing on the tyupe of testing he used that was available in 1993-1994. Derning said there were about four or so tests available and some could accurately determine competancy. Davis asked Derning if any parts of the trial or testimony or items given would change his mind, but he said no. Davis asked Derning about descriptons that Misskelley had given ofer the years about the crimes. Derning says people with a disability like Misskelley's can still make up stories however, both Judge Burnett and Davis questioned the witness about the extent of Misskelley's disability since he could make up stories.


     Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley are now entering the third day of the second session f a join Rule 37 hearing being held at the Craighead County Courthouse Annex. The day started with Dr. Timothy Derning on the stand. Derning is a licensed psychologist testifying on the behalf of the defense for Jessie Misskelley.

     Derning was contacted post-conviction by Misskelley's former attorney Dan Stidham. It wasn't until 2004 that Derning was contacted again, this time by Misskelley's current attorney Michael Burt. In June of 2004 Derning conducted a series of at least 10 test on Misskelley, in the end determining that he was not competent to stand trial back in 1994-1994.

     Burk says the purpose of this line of questioning goes to the part of Rule 37 of failing to provide the proper assistance to council. At the time of the trial, Stidham worked with Dr. Wilkins. In his testimony, Derning questioned the competency of Dr. Wilkins as an expert in the Misskelley case. Derning said that Wilkins conducted the wrong type of cognitive tests on Misskelley in 1993-1994. 

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