Attorneys for one of the three men convicted of the 1993 Arkansas murder that rocked the nation filed a motion Friday to seek answers as to why evidence was lacking.
The West Memphis Three – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley – were convicted in 1994 for the brutal murder of three 8-year-old boys whose bodies were discovered in a drainage ditch near West Memphis.
In 2011, the three men were released from prison under an arrangement called the Alford Plea. The men were allowed to plead their innocence but pleaded guilty in court and admitted that the state had sufficient evidence against them to obtain a conviction. In return, the three men’s sentences were changed to 18 years plus serving. Baldwin and Misskelley had served life sentences while Echols was a death row inmate.
Hoping to clear their name, the men turned to a new DNA testing method called M-Vac. But evidence from the case they hoped to be tested is missing or has been destroyed, according to lawyers Stephen Braga and Patrick Benca, who represent Echols.
The attorneys said that a request was filed under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act for records that might explain the lack of evidence from the case, but the request went unanswered. That prompted Echols attorneys to file a motion with the Crittenden County Circuit Court on Friday.