On Friday August 19 the “West Memphis Three” were released after new DNA evidence was considered. The case was from a 1993 crime, where three eight year old boys were killed and their mutilated bodies found in a ditch. The three men had spent 18 years behind bars; Damien Echols had been sentenced to death row. The other two Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin were given life sentences. Misskelley had confessed during a police interrogation and named Echols and Baldwin in his confession. One article explains how his confession varied in details from the actual results of the investigation; it was also known that he was considered borderline mentally disabled. Echols was a person of interest because he practiced Wicca; the investigation at the time led people to believe that he may have been involved. Prosecutors could have tried them again but probably would not have gotten a conviction. As time as passed, witnesses have died, people had changed their stories and evidence has grown stale. A deal was reached where the three got time served and maintained their innocence.
Criminal Law Updates by the Law Offices of Orange County Defense Lawyer William W. Bruzzo (714) 547-4636
Here is a video from ABC News’ Crime and Punishment covering the “West Memphis Three”