How public relations helped free the West Memphis 3 | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 17, 2011

How public relations helped free the West Memphis 3

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 10:28 AM

POISONED: Prosecutor Ellington said PR work made untainted jury pool difficult.
  • POISONED: Prosecutor Ellington said PR work made untainted jury pool difficult.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports on the role a public relations pro, Lonnie Soury, played in building public support for release of the West Memphis 3, a factor, Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington admits, in his decision to strike a bargain with the convicts that set them free.

While appellate lawyers advanced legal strategies, including ordering more DNA testing, Soury lobbied TV and newspaper reporters with his mantra — the DNA at the scene belongs to someone other than the West Memphis Three.

Last year, the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a new hearing for the defendants, and the three seemed on track for a new trial in 2012.

Ellington said he didn't like his odds.

"Lonnie Soury poisoned the jury pool," he said.

The article notes that Dorcy Corbin, a Little Rock lawyer (and wife of Supreme Court Justice Donald Corbin) invited Soury to come to Arkansas Saturday to talk to defense lawyers.

His message: "We cannot rely on just the legal issues to free an innocent man."

PS — New York Observer reports that Damien Echols' memoir will be published in September by Blue Rider Press.

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