by Max Brantley
A new court filing in Jonesboro details findings from more DNA testing of evidence in the West Memphis Three murder case that is favorable to those convicted.
A news release follows from a group working for new trials for the three men convicted of killing three West Memphis children in 1993. It says testing of 12 new hairs found none that could be linked to the three defedants. Eight came from the victims; three couldn't be identified, and one belongs to an unidentified person. This is the second round of DNA testing of evidence that has failed to find any link to the defendants in the case. A hearing is scheduled later this year on new evidence and juror misconduct in the cases.
In a final report on DNA testing filed in the court of Second Judicial District Judge David N. Laser, mitochondrial DNA testing of new hair found with crime scene evidence conclusively excludes Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley.
Twelve new hairs were tested. Eight of those were found to be from the victims and three were incapable of being tested. However, one hair found with one of the victim’s blue jeans and wallet has a DNA profile that remains unidentified. In a DNA report filed last week, it was revealed that human DNA found on the shoes of murder victim Chris Byers also conclusively excluded the three men, but was linked to two unidentified male individuals.
According to the report, “Bode’s (Bode Technology) further comparative testing analysis also (once again) excludes Echols, Baldwin or Misskelley as the source of this new, non-victim hair.” A scientific analysis of the shoelaces used to bind the three children is expected shortly.
Capi Peck, co-founder of Arkansas Take Action, said, “This newly discovered DNA evidence that excludes Damien, Jason and Jessie, combined with all other evidence of their innocence, will hopefully lead to a new trial for the three young men who have now served close to 18 years in prison for a crime many Arkansans believe they did not commit.”
— Lonnie Soury