Favorite

WM3 revelation 

WM3 revelation

In its final review of the trial of Damien Echols, one of the men known as the West Memphis Three, the Arkansas Supreme Court last week agreed to consider an affidavit filed under seal last year by a Little Rock attorney.

Echols was found guilty and sentenced to death for the murders of three eight-year-old children. Lawyers for the Arkansas attorney general's office had argued that the affidavit, which alleges juror misconduct, was irrelevant and should not be considered.

Lloyd Warford, an attorney with the Arkansas Public Defenders Commission, filed the affidavit in May 2008 in the circuit court in Jonesboro where Echols and co-defendant Jason Baldwin were tried in March 1994. Baldwin was sentenced to life in prison.

Sources familiar with the case say that, in it, Warford states that Kent Arnold, the foreman for the Echols-Baldwin jury, telephoned him repeatedly while the trial was in progress and talked about what was happening.

Judge David Burnett, who officiated at the trial, expressly forbade such discussions. Lawyers for Echols argue that Arnold's conversations with Warford compromised the integrity of the jury process and that Echols deserves a new trial.

Documents submitted to the Supreme Court by Echols' lawyers describe the content of the men's conversations, without identifying either of them by name. According to those filings, Arnold told Warford that he had prejudged Echols' guilt, based on news reports he'd seen from the trial of Jessie Misskelley Jr., a third defendant in the case whose trial was held a month earlier.

A jury found Misskelley guilty, largely due to a confession he made to police that implicated Echols and Baldwin. Those two were tried separately from Misskelley because they did not confess, and information about the Misskelley trial was not supposed to enter their trial.

Nevertheless, the affidavit reportedly states, Arnold told Warford that he was growing frustrated by the “weak, circumstantial” case prosecutors were presenting against Echols and Baldwin, and that if they did not present something powerful soon, it would be up to him to secure a conviction.

A large chart used by jurors during their deliberations and a smaller one kept by one juror support the claim that jurors for Echols and Baldwin discussed the Misskelley confession.

Until filing his affidavit, Warford, a former prosecuting attorney who was once an assistant director of the Arkansas Division of Youth Services, had no role in the case. Arnold knew Warford because he'd represented his brother on a charge of child rape, eventually resolved by a guilty plea to first-degree sexual abuse.

Warford did not come forward with the information about his contact with the jury foreman until May 2008, after a co-worker recalled hearing him mention the improper conversations and passed that information to Echols' lawyers.

Warford did not return a phone message seeking comment.

In 2004, two lawyers representing Echols interviewed Kent Arnold. According to affidavits they filed, Arnold said that Misskelley's confession had been “a primary deciding factor” in the jury's conviction of Echols.

 

Enviromulligan

It didn't take long for the state Department of Environmental Quality to run afoul of a new state law aimed at addressing regulatory shortcomings in dealing with environmental impact of the gas drilling in the Fayetteville shale zone.

March 11, Gov. Mike Beebe signed a law requiring financial assurances from companies operating facilities to handle drilling waste. March 17, the department issued a permit to Arkansas Petro 1 for such a facility at Griffithville (White County). The facility didn't provide the newly required financial assurances to cover the costs of closure or cleanup in the case of an accident.

Did the department revoke the permit for failure to meet the law? It did not. It asked — asked — the facility to comply by May 15. A department spokesman said the oversight was, well, an oversight.

Meanwhile, the city of Griffithville and about 50 residents have appealed the permit. As a result, the permit was stayed and a hearing was set April 27. Mayor Windle Porter says the city has passed an ordinance banning such facilities in city limits. The facility is partially in Griffithville. The city fears harm from runoff.

 

Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • Labor department director inappropriately expensed out-of-state trips, audit finds

    Jones was "Minority Outreach Coordinator" for Hutchinson's 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The governor first named him as policy director before placing him over the labor department instead in Jan. 2015, soon after taking office.
  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Forget identity politics

    Amid the climate of disbelief and fear among Democrats following Donald Trump's election, a fascinating debate has broken out about what's called "identity politics" on the left, "political correctness" by the right.
  • Lawsuit filed against ADC officials, prison chaplain convicted of sexual assault at McPherson

    A former inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted over 70 times by former McPherson Womens' Unit chaplain Kenneth Dewitt has filed a federal lawsuit against Dewitt, several staff members at the prison, and officials with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, including former director Ray Hobbs.
  • Lessons from Standing Rock

    A Fayetteville resident joins the 'water protectors' allied against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Latest in The Insider

  • All in the family

    Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • 'Circuit breaker' legal

    When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • Church goes to school in Conway

    An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
    • Jan 23, 2013
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Learning to love North Little Rock in Park Hill

    • My father in law built this house from WW2 materials he bought cheap. The walls…

    • on December 5, 2016
  • Re: A killing in Pocahontas

    • my name is kimberly some parts are true some are not travis was a victum…

    • on December 4, 2016
  • Re: Vive la resistance!

    • We are not asking you to place a stent in the Democrats Heart nor to…

    • on December 4, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation