by Max Brantley
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel still expects Damien Echols to die. His statement on yesterday's court filing:
Yesterday, Damien Echols, through his attorneys, filed a motion seeking to amend, for the second time, his habeas corpus petition in federal court. With the motion, he provided a copy of the amended petition, brief and exhibits that he will file if allowed by the court, all of which exceed 500 pages. The Attorney General’s office is seeing many of these allegations and supporting exhibits for the very first time and, it will take some time to sort through them, consult with appropriate experts, evaluate their validity and respond. After the State responds, it is possible that discovery will be conducted and a hearing held so that the federal district judge can determine whether these allegations merit relief. As litigation goes, this process will likely take months and possibly years. Indeed, counsel for Echols has taken years to develop these claims so it will take the State a fair amount of time to properly respond.
Finally, while the State will look at the new allegations and evidence objectively, it stands behind the conviction of Mr. Echols and that of his codefendants and does not anticipate a reversal of the jurys’ verdicts.