West Memphis 3 court transcript and Assistant Attorney General

articles describe crimes

West Memphis 3 – MySaline.com 3/6/10

Reply by Brent Standridge – I have been following the WM3 cases for some time. As an Assistant Attorney General I represented the State’s interests in the cases on appeal, handling the Misskelley case by myself before the Arkansas Supreme Court, and represented the State’s interests in the Baldwin and Echols case by orally arguing that case before the Arkansas Supreme Court. I had the benefit of reading all of the transcripts of the proceedings and have read all of the appellate decisions regarding the cases. I never put much stock in the blogs or the Hollywood crowd who evidently have not read the materials regarding the cases, and have instead based their opinions on what others have said about them….

I saw no error in the trials of the cases and the Arkansas Supreme Court unanimously affirmed their convictions and sentences (Echols also sought review of his case by the Supreme Court of the United States-that review was denied). Had Echols not received the death penalty I have serious doubts as to whether theses cases would have seen the light of day in the press, much less have received the nationwide publicity that they have received, the anti-death penalty crowd being the driving force behind much of this….

I totally reject the notion that those who were involved in the cases are corrupt persons whose interests in the cases were for purposes of political gain. Two of the attorneys I worked with on the cases at the Attorney General’s Office are still there; I left there back in 1997 to work in the prosecutor’s office in Saline County. I do not see how one can say everyone who dealt with the cases is “on the take” or has been vaulted to some lofty and lucrative gig as a result of being involved in these cases. Some would lead us to believe that the State’s appellate attorneys, the trial judge, the prosecutor and his office, and the seven Justices of the Supreme Court of Arkansas who reviewed and unanimously affirmed the convictions and sentences are all crooked. That simply isn’t the case–have a different opinion of the cases if you wish, but these conspiracy theories are getting a little bit old.

http://www.mysaline.com/forum/topics/west-memphis-3?commentId=873760%3AComment%3A179986

West Memphis 3 – MySaline,com 3/7/10 – Reply by Brent Standridge

I think the reason the new DNA evidence is not generating a new trial is because the legal standard as is set forth under Arkansas law is if the DNA evidence “if proven and viewed in light of the evidence as a whole, would be sufficient to establish by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable fact-finder would find the petitioner guilty of the underlying offense.” Ark. Code Ann. 16-112-201(a)(2). That is the burden that the defendant shoulders. So the standard would not be if there is a hint of doubt about the guilt of one or more of them–that wouldn’t even be the standard at the jury trial where the legal standard is highest and provides a defendant with the most protection, that of beyond a reasonable doubt (and the State must prove that at trial–in the post-conviction DNA context the defendant shoulders the burden of proof), not beyond any and all doubt or beyond a shadow of a doubt.

And so the question remains: where is this DNA evidence that meets this standard? If there is no DNA evidence, if whatever DNA evidence there may be is inconclusive, or even if there is DNA evidence that potentially shows that someone else was involved, how does this absolve any of the WM3 of their own participation in the murders given the other proof of guilt which was unanimously found by the Arkansas Supreme Court to be legally sufficient to support each and every conviction? There are many people in prison for murder who: (1) had no DNA evidence involved in their cases; or (2) had cases where DNA testing occurred and it could not conclusively show that their DNA was on anything. And the inclusion of another actor by showing that their DNA was present would not exonerate the others involved. http://www.mysaline.com/forum/topics/west-memphis-3?commentId=873760%3AComment%3A179995

describes graphic crimes
Damien Wayne ECHOLS v. STATE of Arkansas CR 99-1060
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The gruesome, disturbing facts of these crimes were set out in great detail in this court’s opinion in Echols v. State, 326 Ark. 917, 936 S.W.2d 509 (1996) (Echols I), and we see no reason to repeat them here. Suffice it to say that Echols was charged, along with Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, with the murders of three eight-year-old boys, Michael Moore, Steve Branch, and Christopher Byers, which occurred on May 5, 1993, in West Memphis. The boys’ bodies were found submerged in water in a drainage ditch near their homes. The bodies were naked and they had their right hands tied to their right feet and their left hands tied to their left feet. The evidence showed that two of the boys, Moore and Branch, had multiple knife wounds, but ultimately died from drowning. The third boy, Byers, had been mutilated, such that the skin of his penis had been removed, and the scrotal sac and testes were missing. The evidence demonstrated that Byers had bled to death. The evidence further demonstrated that all three boys had been sexually abused. http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/2003b/20031030/cr991060.htm

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