by Max Brantley
As you might expect, Sen. David Burnett of Osceola, the judge in the West Memphis Three case, isn't happy with their release and believes, at most, they should have gotten a new trial rather than freedom.
In an exclusive interview with KAIT-8 in Jonesboro, he also said this:
"Frankly, everything I did was affirmed by the Arkansas Supreme Court."
Frankly, that's a load of bull.
Though it's true that jury verdicts were upheld, when the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered evidentiary hearings in 2010 for the three men convicted in the 1993 slayings of three West Memphis children, it said Burnett had erred in refusing to consider DNA evidence and other exculpatory evidence without a hearing, among other mistakes. It took pains, too, to make clear that Burnett could no longer hear the case on account of his election to the Senate. He'd hung onto the case while running for the office, one of many ill appearances he lent to the proceeding.
Burnett is none too happy about the positive attention accorded the WM3 — one of whom who otherwise was scheduled for execution despite the manifest problems with the case. Many of them were introduced by Burnett, such as the bogus Satanism expert who was critical to Damien Echols' conviction.
"The way it's ended, it's now a Hollywood comedy in my opinion and I don't like that," said Burnett.
Better than a Hollywood tragedy.