Ed. Note – It’s quite a shame that even in the 21st Century people cannot realize when a modern day witch-hunt has occurred. This isn’t Salem, these kids are innocent and they need to be given a chance to scrape together the lives that they have left to live. Technology has proven the innocence, how can a judge make a decision without taking the science into account. This guy should step down!
From The Associated Press
A judge on Wednesday rejected claims that DNA evidence clears three men convicted of killing three 8-year-old boys in 1993 and denied their requests for a new trial.
Lawyers for Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley — known to supporters as the “West Memphis Three” — had argued that new DNA tests would prove their clients’ innocence.
Both Baldwin and Misskelley claimed their lawyers failed to adequately represent them during trial. Their lawyers said DNA evidence provided by Echols’ defense team showed that the men did not kill Steven Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore.
“The court finds that (Echols’s) DNA-testing results are inconclusive because they do not raise a reasonable probability that he did not commit the offenses; that is, they are inconclusive as to his claim of actual innocence,” Circuit Court Judge David wrote in a 10-page order denying the men’s requests for a new trial.
In his appeal, Echols argued that newly analyzed DNA found no trace of the defendants at the crime scene. But Burnett said he agreed with prosecutors that the absence of DNA didn’t equal innocence.
“Proof of actual innocence requires more than his exclusion as the source of a handful of biological material that is not dispositive of the identity of a killer,” the judge wrote.
Burnett also said that even if he agreed that the new DNA evidence should be heard in court, he would still deny Echols’ request for a new trial because there was “not compelling evidence that he would be acquitted.”
Police found the three boys’ bodies in a drainage ditch a day after their May 5, 1993, disappearance from West Memphis. A month passed before police arrested the three defendants, who were teens at the time. Misskelley told investigators he watched Baldwin and Echols sexually assault and beat two of the boys as he ran down another trying to escape.
A jury sentenced Misskelley to life in prison plus 40 years. Baldwin got life without parole and Echols was sentenced to die. The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld their convictions.