Thursday, December 13, 2007

Attorney General McDaniel Regarding WM3 case!

Attorney General McDaniel regarding WM3 case

Also Thursday, McDaniel said he was stung by criticism his office and the state have not acted quickly enough to address new DNA evidence in the 1993 case in which three teenagers were convicted of slaying three West Memphis second-graders.

DNA tests not available in 1993 are a matter for the courts, and a federal judge has said so by ordering a new hearing, the attorney general said.

"We have three dead children and three older children convicted as adults," McDaniel said. "Anybody who doesn't give weight to the destruction of six boys' lives shouldn't be in public office."

The attorney general also brought up the case of the so-called "West Memphis Three" during his remarks. All three teens were convicted of capital murder in the deaths of Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore. Two of the teens were sentenced to life in prison and a third, Damien Echols, was sentenced to death.

The case is headed for a new hearing in state courts after a federal judge in Little Rock ruled in November attorneys for Echols have not exhausted all state appeals. Echols' lawyers say new DNA test results would exonerate their client.

Supporters asking for the release of the three defendants have planned a Dec. 19 rally at the state Capitol, during which Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines is scheduled to appear for the unveiling of a banner of postcards from around the world calling for the release of Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley.

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