, 2022-06-23 05:56:31,
Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley Jr. were convicted in 1994 for the particularly brutal murder of three Cub Scouts in West Memphis, Arkansas, a year earlier.
In 1993, the bodies of Steve Branch, Chris Byers and Michael Moore — all 8 years old — had been left in a ditch, hogtied with their own shoelaces. Prosecutors argued the defendants, who were teenagers, were driven by satanic ritual and that Echols had been the ringleader.
This January, Echols’ attorneys filed the petition for new DNA testing, saying it “might serve to identify the killer(s)” and bring justice to the case. Echols’ petition asks the judge to approve testing done with an M-Vac wet vacuum system. Such testing was not available previous times the evidence was tested.
Keith Chrestman, the prosecuting attorney for the 2nd Judicial District of Arkansas, argued in a court document that finding someone else’s DNA on the evidence would not prove Echols innocent given other evidence shown in trial.
Chrestman also argued the new technology, “rather than preserving physical evidence — (it) is a one-shot deal that forever alters it.”
Baldwin and Misskelley are not party to the petition.
“If (Echols’) request is granted and the physical evidence is tested, the remaining defendants could be prejudiced,” the prosecutor argued. “If the testing…
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