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.
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.
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.
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