Skip to comments.West Memphis 3 return to court and, perhaps, freedom (murdered three 8yo boys in 1993, now free)
Posted on 08/19/2011 8:15:35 AM PDT by DCBryan1
Much more to come later this morning from Jonesboro, where Circuit Judge David Laser will consider a plea bargain between the state and the West Memphis 3 that could bring their immediate release from prison after more than 17 years.
If the judge approves and this is an all-important if the defendants will leave still convicted of first-degree murder for slaying three eight-year-old West Memphis boys in 1993. This will leave their staunchest defenders unhappy and offend even many less interested who will take offense at convictions for crimes that Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin will still say they did not commit.
The alternative to freedom for time served is to risk losing their appeal for a new trial and to remain in prison for life, or, in Echols' case, execution.
I mentioned yesterday that a no-contest plea is one way to produce a conviction without an admission of guilt by defendants. Another is an obscure legal maneuver, a functional equivalent of a nolo contendere plea known as an "Alford plea," which is to be made in court today, our sources say. Here's a full discussion. It is, in short, a guilty plea where the defendant does not admit the crime. Check the link for further details. It requires a case in which likelihood of conviction is high (it certainly was here, having already occurred), though this would be a novel, perhaps unique use of it after the fact.
Meanwhile: Lindsey Millar has compiled an exhaustive summary of the Arkansas Times' coverage of this case over the years. It consists primarily of Mara Leveritt's dogged and important reporting. Her reporting and her book, "Devil's Knot," were key elements in the chain of events that could lead to freedom today. Celebrity interest, HBO movies and the recent rump organizing by dozens of Arkansas lawyers in behalf of freedom were also factors that helped move events.
Mara Leveritt is Twittering this morning and also writing for her blog. She'll be filing reports to the Arkansas Blog as well, so you can get her coverage right here.
No, I can’t believe they were convicted either but I do remind myself, this was right in the middle of Satanic hysteria in the US. The McMartin Preschool garbage was going on, Geraldo was doing shows about 1 million satanists in the US. Ritual abuse was being “found” in “recovered memories that we now know are planted.
There was no and still is no evidence these three had anything to do with these murders. Sadly, having to take an Alfred plea means they can never truly get their innocence back but after 17 years and Damian Echols on death row, what else can they do?
They’ve been released! Thank God!
Great info. I grew up not far from there so I’ve kept up with it over the years.
There’s also a jury foreman who should go to jail over his conduct. He told the jurors about the Misskelly “confession” when it was not supposed to be introduced. He also admitted that he lied to get on the jury so he could vote to convict. On top of all this, a cop knew about his shannigans and has now come clean.
It’s all a dog and pony show to save face for the prosecutor. Everybody knows they botched this case, and the prosecution is basically admitting it without having to admit it by coercing the plea with the promise of freedom.
Wikipedia has good days and bad days, is there anything besides whats on there that I should know about? The police sound like the really screwed up
A Memphis TV station is reporting two will be released. Maybe Echols is going to call their bluff and make them give him a new trial or drop the charges.
I hope those on this thread who are saying their release is some miscariage of justice look at the links and the information being provided.
Yes, our criminal justice system can make mistakes. It can be corrupt. Prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys can break the law when their job is to uphold it. Juries can make terrible decision or, as in this case, have a foreman who is being fed information illegally and on the jury to sway the case.
Thankfully these types of actions do not happen often, but we can not be so law-and-order stubborn that when it does happen we accept it as a part of life.
Local station in Jonesboro not reporting release yet.
We see the story all the time here--the most likely person to kill a kid is the adult male who isn't the father but who is now living with the mother. And the amount of evidence that the police "lost," the witness statements that weren't recorded and which the witnesses later said police utterly mischaracterized is just amazing.
And the real killer will never be arrested because this will close the case. This is just as much a travesty of justice and the original investigation. But the guys really don’t have much of a choice.
Plea bargain, hell, let the bastards rot in jail,
Why don’t you go here and get some facts on this case.
Hell no, made up crap by the ignorant attorney, that married one of the perverts.
Being locked up entails being suspected of a crime in the first place, and being arrested, and beng tried, and being convicted. So far me and mine have avoided all such entanglements as far back as anyone can recall. It's actually fairly easy to do, although fewer and fewer bother with it since the courthouses installed revolving doors. I'm far more concerned about the damnable guilty roaming free, of which there are thousands upon thousands, than I am about my miniscule chance of being accidentally caught in the gears of the "system".
14 years ago DNA evidence exxonerated them. But the courts didn’t not won’t to admit they were wrong. I guess it’s a good thing the judge got elected to the state senate.
There is no DNA evidence trying him to the crime, one of his hairs was found in the tired shoe of his kid. However, one of the perverts, told the cops where the knife was they used and they found it. Now that is evidence.
I know the facts of the case, the bastards are guilty.
So, you don’t believe cops and courts lie? I’ve seen cops and judges and prosecuting attorneys who won’t admit they were wrong when the real killer confesses.
If you think this can never happen to you or your family, man, all I can say is people like you are the reason it happens.
I am a lawyer in Memphis and I have been following this carefully since the day the murders were committed. I am a law and order conservative and pro-law enforcement, but I really believe they got it wrong in this case. I believe new trials were inevitable. I also believe the prosecution would lose and they knew it. This agreement saves a bit of face for the D.A.
BS! You don’t know crap. The stepfather has the one of the knives. It’s scary to think people like you can serve on juries.
Tell these law and order rednecks on here. Facts don’t seem to phase them. They’re from the “We’re going to give you a fair trial then hang you” group.
To you blind “hang ‘em all” people, don’t post me anymore. I don’t want to argue with you or with crooked cops and DAs.
Wrong. One of his hairs was found in the knot of the rope tying up one of the kids. Another of his hairs was found on a nearby stump.
However, one of the perverts, told the cops where the knife was they used and they found it. Now that is evidence.
No, that is pure fantasy on your part. It never happened.
The happiest man in Arkansas today is Terry Hobbs. This plea means the case is closed and the search for the real killer will never happen.
I hope the guys can still file a civil suit against the jury foreman. Who was like a lot of people on here, by the way.
It’s sad and a shame. I hope true justice will be done here!
You can show these people where they can find the facts and their response will be “I don’t need no stinkin’ facts. Hang the bastards and let God sort it out.”
Surprisingly, he can be quite intelligent on some threads. Now, he's just trolling. Don't let it bother you.
And thank YOU for the informative posts!
Wow, for someone so convinced of their guilt you have a lot of facts completely wrong.
Damien Echol’s wife, Lorri Davis, is not a lawyer, she is an engineer.
The knife you are talking about was a knife Jessie Misskelley had and that he told the police about. The knife could not be connected to any cuts on the boys and it was stipulated in court during the original hearing that the knife the prosecution was presenting was NOT the knife used in the murders but was possibly like the one that had been used. (not sure how that was even allowed).
Btw there is a live press conference on now talking about their release on CNN.
There will be a program on CNN tonight entitled “Presumed Guilty”. Then again, I know CNN always tells lies.
A press conference is about to start. All three are sitting at a table waiting. The youngest still looks like a kid.
So, no, I'm not too concerned. And neither is anybody else, which is why I have to lock my doors at night.
Don’t put me in the same category as whodat.
By the way, experts now say most of the cuts were caused by animals such as turtles and not a serated knife “like the one” that was probably used.
I have a feeling this is not the end of this case for the WM3. It does not sound to me as if these lawyers are going to let this go until there is a court ruling that these three are innocent beyond any shadow of a doubt.
For those who are not sure, would a prosecutor and a judge agree to release three people they were assured of had brutally murdered three small young boys unless they knew the state didn’t stand much of a chance of winning on appeal?
I hope he also has plans for "their staunchest defenders." Hard to believe such a creature even exists. As far as I'm concerned, they are as low as the people who actually committed the crime, for what they are doing in effect is aiding and abetting these three guys so they can go out and do it again to somebody else's children.
Oh no, not putting you into the same category. I pinged you to the reply since you are also taking him on for his false statements and so you would see (and I see you already knew) about the CNN interview.
Yes, the so called bites were not bites, not human bites but a combination of animals and decomp. So much of the “evidence” presented in this original case has turned out to be false or so ridiculous that nobody could believe it.
tks...I know almost nothing...just one question...was the rope from the dad’s premises by any chance...a capt obvious question I know...but like I said...I know nothing
i grew up in Jackson MS...smaller but similar to WMA but more trees and hills..same culture basically
some older boys would bully us and tear our clubhouses up and push us around...even do vile crap like burn us with cigs, throw piss or dog poo at us and so forth
but nothing sexual and nothing remotely that could lead to a killing
a lot of them were off to Indochina and we had a mix or pity and pride for them...and a few came back damaged
neighborhhod elders woulda never stood for older kids crossing the line with grade schoolers
but we were allowed to roam...at 8-9..about a one mile radius
yudan and me are homies..about half mile apart on different sides of the main drag...we were just close enough to farmland to have a blast
And going through all these appeals while sitting in prison for 17 years because of some lying cops and an expert with a mail order degree. Plus a jury foreman who lied to get on the jury so he could vote to convict and give the other jurors “some facts” about the case that weren’t true.
The truth is that most verdicts are correct. But there’s also truth that every cop and every DA believe you are guilty until proven innocent. Otherwise there would be no arrests and no trials. And they’ll do everything they can to win.
The other truth his there are cops who will lie like hell and never change their oppinion even if shown a video of another perp committing the actual murder.
The father is now on the side of these three and believe wholeheartedly in their innocence. He along with the rest of the parents of these three asked the state to release them and reopen the investigation.
That “father” has since changed his mind and was there today in support of the WM3.
“I believe this case is closed,” Ellington said.
The prosecutor in this case said the above. That means the real killer/killers got away with it because of inept and corrupt cops. Like I said, this prosecutor and the cops will never change their mind even if a video of someone else committing the murder appears.
I wish there was a law that whenever anyone is wrongfully convicted because of police corruption the cops and the prosecutors should serve the time.
I’ve had two family members murdered in my lifetime. When it comes to law and order I am as gung ho for putting people to death as anyone you could ever find. If you think these three are quilty in any way you are out of your ever loving mind and need to get checked out.
The prosecutor may believe the case is closed but it doesn’t sound as if the lawyers feel the same way. Echols looked as if he was a deer caught in the headlights. This is got to be harder on him than the others; like he said, he’s spent the last two decades in solitary confinement.
If nothing else, I hope those who worked so hard to get these three out of prison continue to work on this case and trying to prove who the evidence shows actually committed the murders.
In this case (rape and murder) the DNA is likely to be haploid DNA from sperm cells.
Did the cop give a hand job to the person they wanted to frame for the crime prior to planting the evidence?
How does a cop go about collecting patsy DNA and planting said DNA at a crime scene?
Did he also get a skin scraping to plant under a woman murder victims fingernails?
How does this planting of DNA go down? I really want to know.
They'd better, or I want my tax money back.
We have a basic philosophical difference. You aren't going to convince me, and I'm not going to convince you. I see the kids got off. I hope you are right about them. But if any one of them repeats every single lawyer, judge and activist involved making today's "feel good" story come true should be arrested and tried as accessory to the fact.
Like I said, we have a basic philosophical difference.
“I wish there was a law that whenever anyone is wrongfully convicted because of police corruption the cops and the prosecutors should serve the time.
The Danes had a law, anybody making an accusation of a crime, pit himself on the block also. At the end of the trial, if the accused was found guilty, he was hung - if innocent, the accuser was hung.
Dunno what happened to that law - perhaps they ran out of prosecutors.
I’m afraid I don’t know more. This is what I gathered from a radio discussion on the case.
Did I say EVERY cop plants evidence? In this case, there was none.
How easy would it be? A cop can take a cigarette butt from the interogation room then go back and plant it at the crime scene. Or he could take a blood sample and some of it go missing. And have you never heard of a “throw down weapon”? Just a few examples.
In this case, cops flat out lied and failed to follow up on other leads.
How do you know it was made up?
If either of them “repeats”? First of all, they didn’t do anything the first time.
And “if any one of them repeats every single lawyer, judge and activist involved making today’s “feel good” story come true should be arrested and tried as accessory to the fact?”
So, that means you agree that if these guys lead a crime free life that everyone living at the time of their deaths who helped convict them get the same treatment?
You said it was easy to plant DNA at a crime scene and I wanted to know know how - especially DNA from sperm or skin scrapings - would be planted.
A cigarette butt from an interrogation room, or blood sample misappropriation are good ones - but they assume that the cop will take such evidence during interrogation - then go back to the scene of the crime and plant that evidence - then have a crew come through to collect the evidence they planted sometime AFTER they have interrogated their suspects.
The timeline doesn't quite work out on that.
A throwdown weapon isn't DNA evidence.
I want to know how a cop can “easily” plant DNA evidence and I still don't see it - especially with skin under fingernails and/or semen in various orifices - which is the usual way DNA is used to convict rapists and/or murderers.
Furthermore, if there is such good evidence that the DA and cops perjured themselves and falsified evidence, and that this other fellow actually committed the crime, when are the trials? Until then it is all just innuendo and speculation.
At this point, it looks like all slates are wiped clean, nobody is in custody and the boys are still dead. Are the guilty walking free? Check. Are the innocent not being punished? Check. The system worked! Drinks all around!!