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.
These three murdeous pricks of three (3!) eight year old boys in Arkansas, are going to be freed today in Jonesboro, AR after they plead guilty to first degree murder and the judge throws out the capital murder convictions.
Melanie Raines and the Follywood propaganda machine have won. What a disaster......! ! ! Casey Anthony and Damien Echols will probably hook up and produce the AntiChrist.
Background: Wiki on the murders, trial, conviction
Current news live: Fox News article on legal proceedings
Pictures of the three murderers, whom will probably be free tonight:
Pictures of the raped, bludgeoned, and murdered victims:
FWIW...one of the father's of the murdered boys has stated since 1994 that if they should get out, he will kill them.
I remember that case. Echols is one evil son of a b*tch.
isn’t one of the fathers also a prime suspect?
Ok. what's "rump organizing"? is that something these little b*tches learned in prison?
Wasn’t there a DNA issue in this case, or am I thinking of something else.
Where do we send donations?
You are completely wrong. One, there is no eividence connecting them to the crime. There is DNA evidence tying one of the boys’ stepfather to the crime scene. His own exwife, and mother of one of the victims, is convinced her ex did it.
The father you state wants them out so he can kill them has since apologized and said he was ashamed of how he acted in the past. He now says he is convinced these three had nothing to do with it.
This was the case of a inept small town police department getting a conviction based on an underage retarded kid’s forced confession.
I was thinking that this was hard to believe, but really it isn’t.
This is todays Justice system.
Aint it grand?
If the father is waiting outside for this killer and gets him. I would like to volunteer for that trial.
There are some things on this earth to terrible to contemplate, this is one of them, evil beyond evil, it’s frightening, not in a scary movie kind of way, but in an unsettleing kind of way to think man can and will do things that make the human soul turn away in shame of his own existance. I know these three boys are with our Father in heaven.
I still believe the stepfather is responsible.
I always thought they were innocent. I believe bite marks were found on one of the children and then the stepfather of one of them had all his teeth pulled out. He was really one strange dude.
Hey genius, they are going to plead guilty to 1st degree murder of the three boys sometime today.
Yes, IIRC the primary “evidence” against them was their infatuation with the occult and they listened to the wrong sort of music.
Are there any freepers here with closer knowledge of this..I was out of country mostly when all this went down or living in Miami..
I recall reading about it
anyone with hard evidence knowledge?...it sounds bad but what was the evidence...I’m purely ignorant on it
I occasionally see some folks with the T-shirts here in Nashville area “ Free the West Memphis...”
one is a bouncer at the Wheel on lower Broadway ..honky tonk...on the smoking side of Broadway across from Tootsies and Roberts
I was tempted to ask the guy but it’s so loud...the infrequent times my wife and I go to bars downtown
But wow, when I read the wiki page, that investigation really is a mess and that step-father looks kind of shady. I wouldn’t want to be in charge of making this decision.
There is just too much evidence that provides reasonable doubt.
They may well be innocent. We can hope that modern DNA techniques will help decide.
What it sounds like their contention is that there is more evidence that one of the fathers did the deed than these three. They claim to have been railroaded in a rush to judgment and now that the DNA evidence is able to be examined, it cannot place any of the three at the crime scene, but that father’s hair was on the rope.
apparently, the step father of one of the boys has his dna at the scene....
I read the background material that you provided via wikipedia. What a cluster the whole affair is. It appears that the police mishandled many, if not all, aspects of this case. What a shame.
You are right! This was a miscarriage of justice as I’ve ever seen. These boys are innocent!
Actually, they are making an Alford plea. They are not pleading guilty.
I only posted for background information.
As you know, trust nothing on wikipedia. Good for general reference, not for source/primary/secondary information.
From the reports I've read, it looks like they're going to either plead no contest an "Alford plea" (effectively, a guilty plea in which the defendant does not actually admit guilt).
I don't know if these guys are actually guilty - the evidence seems inconclusive, at best - but if I were locked up for 20 years of a life sentence and the prosecutor offered to release me with time served if I plead guilty (with or without admitting guilt), that would be a tough deal to turn down, regardless of guilt.
Apparently a few of us on here do care about facts. One of the three is sitting on death row. If he turns down this deal, he gives up his right to ever appeal and he gets executed. Does’t sound like they have much of a choice.
Is this the same judge that’s been denying these three their rights all along? This is really a rotten deal. They should be given a new trial or drop all charges.
And “so called” conservatives who are ready to execute anyone and everyone who they think are guilty don’t realize they’re letting the real murderer go free. In this case, the step father, whose DNA was found at the crime scene and whose exwife believes is guilty, will walk free because this plea will effectively close the case.
I believe most recently, that the DNA actually was not tied to the stepfather either.
It’s most likely the dude covered in blood in the restroom bathroom.
Echols was a 15 year old punk, but not a murderer.
It always makes me so mad how they let out evil creeps like this. They will just do the same stuff again. Vile animals like this should be killed.
“they are going to plead guilty to 1st degree murder of the three boys sometime today.”
I don’t know about this case; but a lot of times people will confess to something they didn’t do, because that is a requirement for them to get a parole or get out of prison.
The “authorities” therefore are “vindicated” in their prosecution.
Innocent people who continue to maintain their innocence, often only end up spending more time in prison than guilty people, for that very reason.
In this day and age if there is DNA the person is guilty no matter what. (Even though it is very easy for a cop to plant DNA.) So my thinking is if there is no DNA and nothing other direct evidence, innocent is the only correct verdict.
I would rather 10 guilty people go free than one innocent person be convicted.
I, too, have followed this case from the beginning. The evidence certainly does not point at the boys that have been in prison all these years. With everything I've seen and read, I would never have voted guilty as a juror.
Yeah, the guy covered in blood at the fast food restaurant, that the cops didn’t feel had anything to do with anything, sure looks suspicious to me.
There was a hair at the scene that came from the stepfather. He also was caught lying about the last time he saw the kids. He and the boy didn’t get along. He was a violent person who whipped the kid a lot. His exwife says she believes he did it.
The boy’s father was so different in the second documentary. He said he had bought into the cops story and was embarrassed by the way he had acted in the first documentary.
Misskelly, a teenager with the intelligence capabilities of a 5 year old, was told he could go home if he confessed. And Echols only knew who he was. They weren’t friends and did not hang out together in a “satanic cult”.
But like I said, I guess we shouldn’t let facts get in the way when there’s a hangin’ to attend to.
Allow me to say that no one so far on this thread seems to know anything about this case, which I’ve been following from nearly the beginning. You make no references to the real facts laid out in the HBO movie, or even anything in the article linked to this posting.
While I wasn’t directly involved with anything in this case, I was involved twenty years ago in the Randall Adams case.
Adams was wrongly convicted of a shooting death of a Texas Cop that he had NOTHING to do with, was not EVER a criminal of any kind, yet sat for twelve years on Death Row, until an enterprising filmmaker stumbled up on his story, and made a film called The Thin Blue Line. See it, and watch the HBO movie about the WM3. Just because some Hollywood people got behind their innocence doesn’t mean they’re guilty. I have no interest in debating this issue, but you owe it to yourself to get educated before you make such outrageous statements.
“The boys father was so different in the second documentary. He said he had bought into the cops story and was embarrassed by the way he had acted in the first documentary.
Misskelly, a teenager with the intelligence capabilities of a 5 year old, was told he could go home if he confessed. And Echols only knew who he was. They werent friends and did not hang out together in a satanic cult.
But like I said, I guess we shouldnt let facts get in the way when theres a hangin to attend to.”
You are absolutely right and it bears repeating. This whole thing was a modern day witch hunt and nothing more.
Its like there is no f’n justice in America. ( Casey Anthony, OJ, others........ )
They should be re-tried so that their names could be cleared. I understand why they will take the guilty plea and get out of prison but it is a shame they will have to go thru the rest of their lives with this shadow following them around.
I hate bad cops, bad cops and bad prosecutors did this mess and there is no excuse. This idea of conviction at any cost is insane.
You must not be that familiar with the case. I have no doubt that these men are innocent. Also the father who you most likely refer to is know convinced of their innocence.
Mara Leveritt has done excellent research on the case which resulted in the book “Devils Knot.” It is well worth reading.
There was never any evidence that directly tied any of those convicted to the murders. The so called confession was a joke and a prime example of the abuse of police procedures. Miskelly got a lot of the details wrong until badgered by the police into correcting his errors. Two example come to mind. The way the boys’ were tied and the time of death.
DNA evidence linking Terri Hobbs to the scene was discovered not too long ago. DNA from those convicted has not been linked to the scene.
Underage borderline mentally disabled kid. You are 100% right. I am a conservative orthodox Catholic who fully believes in their innocence. I believe this because the evidence does not add up to the supported facts of the case.
Good for you. That seems to be about the actual proportion of guilty people who walk free, so it's all good. It's working wonders for our society, too. I really like all the exercise and discipline I get from locking everything up and carrying this pistol. Back when I used to leave the doors unlocked at night I was so flabby and unfocused.
You should really retire your law shingle./sarc
Do you know what an Alford Plea is?
Nope that judge is now a State senator.
Just remember this, one of those innocent people locked up under the system you miss so much could be you or a loved one.
So, I’ll tell you what. You carry your weapon to protect me and I’ll carry mine to protect you. And we’ll both be free to do it because the government won’t be unlawfully locking either one of us up.
Who is Terri Hobbs?
I’m glad to see someone else has been keeping up with this case and realizes this is one time when celebrities got it right.
Not only was the step-fathers DNA found his best friends DNA was also found - his hairs were found inside the ligatures that were used to tie two of the boys up.
Now, the parents of all three of the boys now believe the WM3 are innocent and are on their side, they are now asking the state to release them and reopen the investigation.
Plus, there is now even more damning evidence against the Step-father. His step-son always carried with him a pocket knife that had belonged to his grandfather. The knife was not recovered at the scene, was not in his room or in the home. The step-father maintained for years that he had no idea where the knife was. It was assume to have been lost during the murders or was taken by the murderer as a souvenir. Years later, the knife was found with the step-fathers possessions. His story now is that he was concerned his step-son would get hurt and took the knife from him.
He also claims that he did not see his step-son on the day of the murders. That is contradicted by two neighbors who saw him not only with his step-son but also with two of the boys who were killed. He was also seen by another person with his step-son. No wonder his ex-wife believes he is the one who actually killed her son.
There is so much more with this case, like the expert who testified about Satanic Ritual Abuse literally had a mail order degree from a non-credentialed university to the juror foreman admitting he told other jurors information that had been provided to him (and not testified to in court) by the prosecutor. He also admits he already believed in the boys guilt even before being called for the jury and admits he did everything to sway other jurors to convict.
This case stinks from one end to the other but there sure is no evidence that the three sitting in prison, one on death row, had anything to do with the murders of those three boys. Sadly, as bad as the state screwed up the guilty will never pay for three horrific murders, at least in this life.
He is the stepfather of Stevie Branch. It should be Terry.
The real purpose of this plea deal is so these three can’t sue the state and the city of West Memphis for being wrongly convicted. This is the part of “justice” that sucks as far as I’m concerned.
Never had any real evidence against these “satanists”. WHAT A JOKE THIS WAS!! I can’t believe any sane person ever voted to convict these idiot kids.
Some interesting reading about Hobbs.
“Who is Terri Hobbs?”
The stepfather of Steven Branch, one of the victims. His DNA was found at the scene along with DNA belonging to one of Hobb’s friends.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.