Dear Friends & Supporters:
As most of you know, the State of Arkansas has finally granted a hearing that will hopefully give a fair examination of all new DNA and forensic evidence in the cases of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley.
Filings must be complete by May 30th, 2008, and the State will then have time to review the information. Judge David Burnett has set aside Sept. 8-Oct 3, 2008 to hear the new evidence and all three cases and Rule 37 petitions for Jason and Jessie.
Damien's attorneys Dennis Riordan and Don Horgan filed a motion in State court on April 14, 2008. The filing provides strong scientific evidence that all three men are innocent of the murders for which they were wrongfully convicted in 1993. It includes DNA testing on dozens of pieces of evidence, analysis from the nation's leading forensic science experts, other solid scientific evidence and compelling witness affidavits. There was no credible evidence presented when these three men were on trial; they were convicted based on fear, hysteria and innuendo. With our recent court filing, reliable scientific evidence finally came into this case, nearly 14 years after Damien, Jessie and Jason were wrongfully convicted.
We urgently need your help to make sure this evidence is fully considered in the most important hearing since the convictions in 1994. The harsh reality is that uncovering clear evidence that the West Memphis Three are innocent isn't enough. It must go through the court system, and all three cases have new evidence that needs additional testing and documentation. Funds are required for mounting the best defense possible in Jonesboro come September.
We're encouraged by the commitment and loyalty from supporters we've received over the years. Our day in court is finally upon us, and we need your help more than ever. Please make a donation to the Defense Fund today.
Please make checks payable to:
Damien Echols Defense Fund
PO Box 1216
Little Rock, AR 72203
You can also donate online, through PayPal. It's easy, free and allows you to use your credit or debit card. We also suggest that International Supporters use this option. Please use LDavis11@hotmail.com as the recipient address and kindly include your name and address in the notes box. The button you can click to include your address does not always work.
Over the last several years – and particularly the last several months – we have been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of longtime friends and people just learning about the case. Shortly after we made the new evidence public, a group of supporters in Arkansas began organizing to put political pressure on the Governor, Attorney General and District Attorney. Thousands of people, many of them in Arkansas and Tennessee, came forward to demand that the new evidence be fully considered.
The message is clear: The public wants elected officials to respect the scientific evidence, and most people – even those who once believed that the West Memphis Three were guilty – believe that the case is an intolerable miscarriage of justice. In the months ahead, we will be expanding these organizing and public education efforts, just as we redouble our litigation strategy to exonerate Damien, Jessie and Jason.
Check back for regular updates, much will be happening in the coming weeks/months.
and the Damien Echols Legal Team
Alice Whitman Leeds
Public Relations in the Public Interest