Damien Echols is on death row, Jason Baldwin is serving a life sentence without parole, and Jessie Misskelley is serving a life plus forty years sentence for crimes that they were wrongfully convicted of committing in 1993.
Efforts to Free Damien Echols & the WM3:
- July 2009, the Arkansas Supreme Court received a completed file from the lower court in consideration of appeal of lower court’s decision denying Damien Echols a new trial.
- The brief contains new forensic evidence and sworn affidavits that support the innocence of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, including evidence that there the original jury foreman, Kent Arnold illegally introduced Jessie’s false confession into the Echols/Baldwin trial.
- Echols’s lead defense counsel, Dennis Riordan and Don Horgan, believe that the new evidence would raise substantial doubt of Echols’ guilt with any new jury. In fact, they believe any juror “could be confident of his innocence.”
- No foreign DNA taken from the crime scene matches the defendant, Damien Echols, or his co-defendants, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley.
- A hair found in on of the ligatures used to restrain Michael Moore is consistent with hair from Terry Hobbs.
- Another hair found at the crime scene is consistent with hair from David Jacoby, a friend of Terry Hobbs. Hobbs spent time with Jacoby on the day of the murders and could have easily picked up one of his hairs.
- Several of the country’s leading forensic experts determined that injuries that were believed to be knife wounds were actually caused by post mortem animal predation.
- Forensic experts who have presented evidence include pediatric pathologist, Dr. Janice Ophoven; one of the country’s leading forensic pathologist, Dr. Werner Spitz; former chief medical examiner of NYC, Dr. Michael Baden; former medical examiner of San Antonio Texas, Dr. Vincent Di Maio; forensic odontologists Dr. Richard Souciron and Dr. Robert Wood. All of the forensic specialists arrived at the same conclusion independently from one another – that the wounds were post mortem animal bites
- The experts also noted that there were no signs of sexual assault on any of the victims.
- During closing arguments, prosecutor John Fogleman took a grapefruit and made cuts with a knife to show that the wounds on the victims were similar to the cuts on the grapefruit. This experiment had no scientific accuracy. Grapefruits have never been used as a substitute for human skin.
- Experts on confessions confirm that the Misskelley statement was completely false and coerced by the police. Anything that may have seemed similar to the crimes from Misskelley’s statement was due to the officers leading Misskelley through the crime. As a young mentally-handicapped man, he repeated back what he thought the officers wanted him to say
- John Douglas, former FBI profiler, perhaps the best in his field gave a profile for the murders. His profile is inconsistent with the three defendants and says that the crime was completely unrelated to Satanism or the occult.
- A sworn affidavit from a prominent Arkansas attorney, states that during the original trial he had inappropriate conversations with the jury foreman, Kent Arnold. Arnold exhibited bias against Echols in confiding to the attorney that the prosecution’s case was weak and it would be up to him to secure a conviction. He conveyed that he would introduce Jessie Misskelley’s false confession into deliberations
- Jay Salpeter, a former NYPD homicide detective, who found new evidence that led to the overturning of Marty Tankleff’s wrongful conviction, has begun working on the WM3 case. He has opened a confidential tip line (501-256-1775) seeking information from those who might have knowledge of what really happened to the three eight-year old boys tragically murdered in West Memphis in 1993.