Monday, July 18, 2011

New DNA tests exclude West Memphis 3

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 4:56 PM

A court filing today provides information on new DNA testing on evidence in the West Memphis Three murder cases. The information goes to Craighead Circuit Court, which will be holding an evidentiary hearing on new evidence and juror misconduct in the original convictions.

The report is here.

The summary, from Lonnie Soury, who's working with the group seeking new trials for the Three men convicted in the 1993 slayings of three children:

A DNA report filed today with Craighead County Court Judge David Laser in the West Memphis 3 case reveals that new DNA material found on the shoes of murder victim Chris Byers conclusively excludes Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. The human DNA came from two separate individuals who remain unidentified.

"Bode's testing revealed that the DNA samples from Nos. 1 and 2 are from the same male source, while the DNA sample from No. 3 is from a different male source. Bode's further comparative analysis then also conclusively excluded Echols, Baldwin or Misskelley as the source of any of these new DNA samples."

Bode Technology's Laboratory in Lorton, Virginia, one of the country's leading DNA testing facilities, is still testing hairs found at the crime scene and will soon report its findings. A fiber analysis of shoelaces is still in progress, but green vegetable-like material found in the stomach of Stevie Branch was not preserved. Paper sheets used to dry the victims' clothes which was requested by the defense was not found in the West Memphis Police Department files.

Lorri Davis, wife of Echols and co-founder of Arkansas Take Action, said, "This is further proof that Damien, Jason and Jessie are innocent. They were not at the crime scene and have no connection to these terrible murders. We have now tested a large amount of material and there is no evidence that points to them and much evidence that points to their innocence"

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