West Memphis Three

Controversy People - West Memphis Three West Memphis Three, three men were tried and convicted of the murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas on May 5, 1993, subsequently referred to as the West Memphis Three. During the trial, the prosecution put forth the idea that the only purported motive in the case was that the slayings were part of a Satanic ritual. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In July 2007, new forensic evidence was presented in the case, including evidence that none of the DNA collected at the crime scene matched the defendants, but did match Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the victims, as well as a friend of Hobbs' whom he had been with on the day of the murders. The status report jointly issued by the State and the Defense team on July 17, 2007 states, "Although most of the genetic material recovered from the scene was attributable to the victims of the offenses, some of it cannot be attributed to either the victims or the defendants." On October 29, 2007, the defense filed a Second Amended Writ of Habeas Corpus, outlining the new evidence.

In September 2008, Judge David Burnett of the Circuit Court denied Echols' application for a hearing on the new DNA evidence. The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral argument on Burnett's decision on September 30, 2010. On November 4, 2010, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that Burnett's interpretation of the DNA statute was too narrow and reversed and remanded all three cases for hearings as to whether new trials should be ordered.

The Arkansas Attorney General said in June 2011 he won’t fight evidence of Juror Misconduct in the West Memphis 3 case. A new hearing regarding this and DNA evidence was set for December 5th. In July 2011, newly tested DNA evidence, including material from the crime scene, was found not to be a match to the defendants. On August 19, 2011, Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley entered Alford pleas and were sentenced to time served.

Need more? Read this for more click here