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Fri August 19, 2011
'West Memphis Three' Could Go Free
Three men who were convicted as teenagers in 1993 for the brutal murders of three young boys in West Memphis, Ark., may soon be released from prison.
According to The Commercial Appeal:
"The 'West Memphis Three' could be released as early as today under a pending deal between state prosecutors and defense attorneys, legal sources and relatives of victims said Thursday."
The newspaper adds that:
"If the deal is consummated in a closed-door hearing at 10 a.m. in Jonesboro, Ark., the three — death-row inmate Damien Echols, 36, and co-defendants Jason Baldwin, 34, and Jessie Misskelley, 36, who are serving life terms — would be free after 18 years behind bars."
As the Commercial Appeal previously reported, DNA that has was found at the murder scene has since been tested and "doesn't match [the] West Memphis Three." What's more, according to the newspaper:
"Police never found blood, saliva, skin cells, fingerprints, shoe prints, hairs or any type of DNA at the crime scene from Echols or his co-defendants. Prosecutors secured a conviction a year after the crime based on a confession by Misskelley. The defense claims Misskelley, who is borderline mentally retarded, broke down after four hours of questioning and lied to placate police."
There's a court hearing later this morning in Jonesboro, Ark. We'll update this post afterward.