Arkansas Take Action held a press conference this afternoon to talk about tonight's much-anticipated event, but also, and more importantly, to talk about the West Memphis Three, new developments in the case and supporters' efforts to raise awareness. Dennis Riordan, an attorney for Damien Echols, talked about new DNA evidence that proves Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were wrongly convicted. According to a press release from ATA, DNA testing links Terry Hobbs, stepfather of one of the victims to the crime scene.
Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder were on hand. Both have supported the WM3 for years. Vedder said he and Pearl Jam had tried to stay in the background and help out when and where they could.
"We weren't interested in doing anything publicly before. I think Natalie and I are both in pretty well-respected bands, but I didn't think they needed a rock band on their side. That wasn't going to help their case at all. So we've been kind of silent partners in this. We knew there was going to be a time that was the right time to reawaken this case in people's consciousness. The oral argument is September 30, but the state's supreme court is looking at this case now," Vedder said.
Capi Peck, a founding member of ATA, said it's very important for people who are concerned about this case to read about it, talk to their friends and neighbors and send letters to state officials. "It's easy to educate yourself through the website. You can read about the DNA evidence, the juror misconduct. Speaking out does make a difference. It matters. We're not going away."