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West Memphis Three Ask Court For New DNA Testing


West Memphis Three Ask Court For New DNA Testing

In 1994, three teenagers were convicted of the murder of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Because of the mutilation discovered on their bodies, it was believed that their deaths were connected to satanic rituals. Prosecuters believed that Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin were allegedly involved in the murders because of their music tastes and personal styles.

“The evidence against us was our personal preferences in music,” Baldwin explained, “I remember at one point during the trial, they lifted up a record, a Blue Oyster Cult record, and I think (prosecutor) John Fogleman said this was found in Damien’s girlfriend’s mother’s house.”

The teenagers spent a total of 18 years behind bars and were only released in 2011 after signing Alford pleas which allowed them to claim their innocence while acknowledging that the prosecution had convictable evidence against them. Even so, DNA evidence at the time failed to connect them to the crime and in 2010, the state supreme court ruled that the defendants were allowed to bring new evidence in order to clear their names. The new evidence was presented in the form of hair which was allegedly consistent with one of the children’s stepfathers and his friend. However, the persons were never considered suspects according to police and they continue to maintain their innocence.

The story behind the infamous West Memphis Three was explored in depth in the Paradise Lost documentary trilogy which gained support from Eddie Vedder, Tom Waits and Henry Rollins who called for the case to be reviewed. According to CNN, the case was reignited in court this week when Echols’ attorney filed a motion for new DNA testing, claiming that it may “serve to identify the killer(s)” and serve justice. However, according to his defense team, a judge dismissed the motion, denying him access to evidence he wanted DNA tested.


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