Attorneys file movement for data on lacking West Memphis Three proof

Attorneys for one of the three men convicted in the 1993 Arkansas murder case that gripped the nation filed a motion Friday seeking answers to why pieces of evidence are missing.

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 as part of an agreement known as an Alford Plea. The men are allowed to maintain their innocence, but pleaded guilty in court, acknowledging that the state had enough evidence against them to secure a conviction. In exchange, the three men’s sentences were changed to 18 years plus time served. Baldwin and Misskelley had been serving life sentences, while Echols was a death-row inmate.

In hopes of clearing their name, the men have turned to a new DNA testing method called M-Vac. But evidence from the case they hoped to get tested is missing or was destroyed, according to attorneys Stephen Braga and Patrick Benca, who represent Echols.

The attorneys said an Arkansas Freedom of Information Act request was filed for records that could explain why evidence from the case is missing, but that the request has gone unanswered. That prompted Echols’ attorneys to file a motion Friday in Crittenden County Circuit Court.

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