by Max Brantley
Jackson told reporters he was working on a full pardon for Echols, released after a negotiated guilty plea. He also "clarified" that Echols would not have a role in "The Hobbit," news that had caused some unhappiness among those who believe Echols is guilty of the murder of three West Memphis children. Though he pleaded guilty, he did so under an unusual procedure that allowed him to assert his innocence in return for release for time served in the 1993 deaths. He had been condemned to die. His co-defendants Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. were serving life sentences when released.
Pardon for Damien Echols? It's unwise to ever say never in the WM3 case. But if Jackson thinks a pardon could be forthcoming from Gov. Mike Beebe or any likely Arkansas successor, I don't think much of his odds.