by Max Brantley
Gov. Mike Beebe told reporters today what his office had earlier told us in reporting for our cover story this week on the West Memphis 3 case — don't look for him to pardon the three. (Well, unless proof emerges of other killers and the state isn't looking for any.) Arkansas Take Action is beginning a pardon campaign for the three, who admitted guilt to win release but continued to assert innocence under an unusual procedure known as an Alford plea.
Beebe's office told us it would be all but impossible for him to pardon them under normal office policy with their sentences not completed. The governor has also never granted a pardon on a homicide case. They were freed for time served, but Judge David Laser suspended imposition of 10 years of the sentence. They are not on parole or required to report to a probation officer, but they could be made to serve that time if they commit future offenses.