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Good week for the West Memphis Three


It was a good week for...

THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE After nearly 18 years in prison, Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley earned freedom thanks to a strange legal maneuver known as an Alford plea, which allowed them to maintain their innocence even while they pled guilty to murder.

ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS FOOTBALL The University of Arkansas announced that more than $28 million had been raised, including $10 million from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, for a $35 million drive to build new football facilities at Fayetteville.

It was a bad week for...

BRYANT MAYOR JILL DABBS The state Ethics Commission ruled that the mayor had violated state ethics rules by giving herself a pay raise, from $65,000 to $71,000, without the approval of the city council. She'll receive a letter of caution for using her office for special personal privilege.

ATTORNEY GENERAL DUSTIN MCDANIEL In a statement on the plea agreement that freed the West Memphis Three, McDaniel said the deal was all Prosecutor Scott Ellington's doing. As Mara Leveritt's cover story (page 10) indicates, McDaniel was involved in the deal from the beginning. No matter your opinion on the three's innocence, the plea arrangement stinks of political expediency for McDaniel, who's eyeing a gubernatorial run in 2014 and wouldn't want a high-profile trial (or three) hanging over the race.

ALICE STEWART The former Arkansas newswoman who's handled press for Mike Huckabee and Secretary of State Mark Martin, is drawing plenty of attention for her role as spokeswoman for Michele Bachmann. Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker reported that he saw her force another reporter to erase a video clip by threatening to kick her off the trip. And Zeina Awad, a correspondent for Al Jazeera's English-language programming, said Stewart asked her, "Comprende?" Awad suggested that her "funny name" and her Al Jazeera nametag must've led Stewart to believe she didn't speak English.

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