West Memphis 3 case: lawyer claims crucial evidence found


MEMPHIS, Tennessee (WREG) – The legal team of one of the defendants in the infamous West Memphis 3 case said on Wednesday that evidence allegedly lost in the case was found at the West Memphis Police Department, Arkansas.

Lawyers for the defendant Damien Echols said in a press release that they had worked for 18 months to gain access to evidence in the 1993 murder case which they said could exonerate three men, but did not receive no cooperation from municipal authorities and were told it was missing. , lost or damaged.

Attorney Patrick Benca said after a state court order he was allowed to visit the West Memphis Police Department and found the evidence intact and organized.

The next step is to have that DNA evidence tested with a new technology called M-VAC to eventually clear the names of Jason Baldwin, Jesse Misskelley, and Damien Echols, who had all been behind bars for almost 18 years, with Echols once in. the death row.

“We are happy that the evidence is intact. We plan to go ahead and test this evidence using the latest DNA technology available to hopefully identify the real killer (s) of the three children in 1993 and exonerate Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley. “Benca said in a statement.

Lonnie Soury of Arkansas Take Action said they started to worry once they were told there was no evidence of the case.

“What worried us even more was that we started to hear from these officials that the evidence had been destroyed, lost or mismanaged,” Soury said. “Rumors that he had been lost in a fire. It was very confusing and a very sad state of development.

Soury also said that although the DNA tests are expensive, it will not stop their process of erasing the names of “West Memphis Three’s”.

“Of course, DNA testing is expensive and for law enforcement authorities in Crittenden County are not getting in our way,” he said.

In 2012, the three men involved in the case – Echols, Misskelley Jr. and Baldwin – were freed when they reached a deal with prosecutors called Alford’s plea, which means they pleaded guilty but have maintained their innocence.

Defendants in West Memphis 3: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley (WREG)
Victims in West Memphis 3: Chris Byers, Michael Moore and Steve Branch (WREG)

Michael Pope, the chief of the West Memphis Police Department, unexpectedly resigned on Tuesday, with effect from the end of this week. His resignation letter indicated that he was pursuing other opportunities.

Echols made a statement on Twitter saying the chief was “not truthful.”

“He has now resigned and we know that none of the evidence has been destroyed. It can now be tested, to see who left DNA at the scene of the crime. My lawyer was in the evidence room this morning and saw it with his own eyes. Every piece is still there, ”Echols said.

West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon said the evidence found had nothing to do with Pope’s sudden resignation as chief of police and that the city was committed to doing its part in the case .

“We will comply with any legal requests made in this matter,” McClendon said.

As for the timeline for when testing could take place, Soury says they’re ready and they want it to happen as soon as possible.

The bodies of the 8-year-old victims – Chris Byers, Michael Moore and Steve Branch – were found in a ditch in the Robin Hood Hills area of ​​West Memphis in 1993 after they were reported missing. The bodies had been tied with laces.

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