Who killed the West Memphis children? | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who killed the West Memphis children?

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 9:58 PM

FULL HOUSE: More than 1,200 at Statehouse Convention Center for WM3 panel.
  • Brian Chilson
  • FULL HOUSE: More than 1,200 at Statehouse Convention Center for WM3 panel.

MENSCH: Scott Ellingtonb
  • MENSCH: Scott Ellington
Wow. The Clinton School of Public Service set up more than 1,100 chairs for our program tonight on the West Memphis Three case and every single one was filled and people stood around the perimeter of the room.

Impressionistic takeaways after a post-discussion cool-down at Zin, with a warning that it's hard to report while you're moderating:

* MENSCH: Scott Ellington. The Jonesboro prosecutor who signed off on the release deal walked into a lion's den of WM3 supporters. He defended the deal. He continued to assert his belief in their guilt. BUT .... he said he hoped for a crime lab analysis of so-far unidentified DNA evidence to see if it points to a suspect in the case. He encouraged those with evidence to see the defense team and said he'd consider "compelling" evidence. He made a persuasive case (to me, anyway) that the deal was the best way to serve interests of those who believed in either guilt or innocence of the WM3. He acknowledged this was not the smartest decision if politics was your only objective. In other words, I fear this good man may not run for Congress after all.

* PROFITS: Capi Peck of Arkansas Take Action said, Son of Sam Law or not, Damien Echols hopes to write about his life story.

* BAD DEAL: Blake Hendrix, attorney for Jason Baldwin, spoke critically in public and after about the deal that forced his client to plead guilty to a crime he insists he didn't commit, with the alternative being leaving open the possibility of death for Damien Echols. Might Baldwin, who told Mara Leveritt he'd like to get a law degree, ever try to extract himself from this deal under the argument of coercion? Not a crazy thought, I'm led to believe.

* MOVIE MOMENTS: Two suggested to me in discussions at Zin with various actors in the drama: 1) That meeting in Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office, with 15 or so legal eagles, when the decision was made to move forward on a plea deal; 2) that prison van ride last Thursday, when Misskelley, Baldwin and Echols were together for the first time in 17 years. Misskelley told his lawyer they talked a little about sports. Misskelley's attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, also relayed a bittersweet moment about informing Misskelley's father that his son would be coming home: "For the weekend?" his father asked.

The crowd was heavily populated by devotees of the WM3 cause. Cheers erupted for author Mara Leveritt and Arkansas Take Action leader Capi Peck. A relative of Jason Baldwin asked a question about the ability of the defendants to sue after the plea deal.

The interest of the victims was mentioned at beginning and end by me. I think people confuse justice for those wrongly convicted with injustice for victims. Ellington did a good job of explaining how, in a retrial, his first obstacle would be two parents of the dead children as defense witnesses who believed the wrong people had been accused.

Capi Peck vowed that the probe for the real killers would continue. It's hard to credit, absent a miraculous DNA find or surprise confession supported by other evidence, that a resolution is forthcoming. But I'm still a Pollyanna on this one. In Texas, the WM3 would be dead by now. In Arkansas, imperfect as the deal may have been, they're free men and living.

This video will be on the Clinton School website by tomorrow or the next day. AP is already up with news of the event and video.

Tags: , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (42)

Showing 1-42 of 42

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-42 of 42

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Arming teachers: An insurance complication

    Gun lovers in the Arkansas legislature are spoiling to put more guns in classrooms at the earliest opportunity. Today, the Washington Post reports a complication — from insurance companies.
    • May 27, 2018
  • Razorbacks plan a return to real grass in 2019

    I don't know why the news of a return to real grass at Razorback stadium seemed like such good news to me. Old fogey, I guess.
    • May 27, 2018
  • Crowds increase at RiverFest day 2

    Crowds grew on day two of RiverFest, the privately re-imagined version of the old Memorial Day weekend Little Rock music festival.
    • May 27, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas: Land of .......

    Welcome to Arkansas: Land of cowardly politicians, discriminatory laws, inhumane turkey drops and lots and lots of Trump voters.
    • Oct 8, 2016
  • Latest Obamacare repeal bill would hit Arkansas treasury hard

    The latest effort to undo Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy legislation, would shift federal support for health coverage to a block grant system to the states. Bad news for Arkansas.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation