WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — A case that rocked the Mid-South nearly 30 years ago continues to unfold decades later.
The men dubbed the West Memphis Three continue to work to exonerate themselves.
But, they keep facing roadblocks at nearly every turn.
Damien Echols, one of the three men convicted of killing three children, and his attorney want to retest evidence for DNA, but they recently learned it has either been destroyed or is missing.
“The most important thing is these three young men were innocent, and they spent the better part of their lives in prison, " said Lonnie Soury, Arkansas Take Action.
Soury led the charge to get Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley released from prison in 2011. The trio known as the West Memphis Three were convicted of killing three boys back in 1993.
“We were in some ways forced to take what’s called an Alford Plea, where they maintain their innocence, but they are still convicted of murder, so we have never stopped trying to exonerate them,” said Soury.
To clear their names, Echols’s attorney submitted a public records request for all records relating to the evidence in the case, so they could retest it using M-VAC, a relatively new DNA recovery technique.
But after more than a year, Soury said they learned evidence kept at the West Memphis Police Department had either been destroyed by a fire, lost or was missing.
“We’ve researched it, and there have been no fires reported, so the question is was it destroyed by mistake or on purpose, " said Soury.
To get to the bottom of this, Echols’s attorney submitted a new request to obtain whatever evidence is available and learn what exactly happened to the missing evidence.
We also reached out to the Crittenden County Sheriffs Office and the West Memphis Police Department.
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