Damien Echols's defense team is going to be holding a press conference in about five minutes. You can tune in to a live webcast here.
Here's what Echols' lawyers said: No jury in the world would convict Damien Echols today given the DNA and forensic evidence made available this week to federal court.
Lawyers for Echols, on death row for the 1993 slayings of three 8-year-old boys, filed a motion Monday showing that DNA evidence collected at the scene of the crime in West Memphis shows no link to Echols or the other two defendants in the case, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin, but could possibly be matched to Terry Hobbs, the step-father of one of the murdered boys.
The motion also includes statements by expert witnesses that that wounds on the boys’ bodies ― including the removal of one child’s genitals ― were not inflicted by knives but post-mortem by animals. Prosecutors in the case alleged the wounds were consistent with Satanic ritual (and who better to accuse of Satanic ritual than an 18-year-old who wore black T-shirts and called himself Damien?).
Dr. Werner Spitz, a leading forensic pathologist, said scratches on the bodies were clearly made by animals, and noted there were no stab wounds. He said it was unconscionable that the prosecution would tell the jury that a serrated knife founded “hidden” (the prosecution’s words) in a lake was used in the crime.
(Read on after the jump)
The press ― the majority from Memphis ― peppered lawyer Dennis Riordan and the experts with questions about the DNA evidence and the involvement of Hobbs. Former FBI special agent John Douglas said he would have put Hobbs on the front burner based on the circumstances of the crime ― which he said was mostly likely committed by a single adult who knew the area. But Riordan and others stressed that their task is to show the evidence convicting Echols was insufficient, not to solve the case.
The press conference was at the UALR Law School. Associate Dean John DiPippa said it met the criteria for public use.