By: C. Tierney, Last Updated 5/19/2023
(Scroll to the bottom for contact information on the officials who have access to this case and can choose to do the right thing at any time.)
The State of Arkansas finally filed their reply brief on May 15th and I hoped to update quickly but it has taken some time to get my eyes to roll back forward after reading the first paragraph of the brief.
The brief was written by Dylan Jacobs who is the Deputy Solicitor General for the Office of the Attorney General in Arkansas. Apparently Jacobs doesn’t know much about the case. In the first paragraph he says this:
“Yet over a decade after his release, Echols now seeks to further waste judicial resources to challenge the conviction he negotiated for. He should not be allowed to. The General Assembly made postconviction DNA testing available to set free innocent prisoners, not recenter the limelight on freed felons.”
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the case is that all of these grown adults are perfectly fine lying about the case and gaslighting the folks who were forced to pay with their lives AS CHILDREN. Stevie, Michael, and Christopher lost their lives. Damien, Jessie, and Jason lost their lives as well. They are convicted murderers and will never be allowed to live a normal life and work a normal job to support themselves and their families. NOT EVER.
Why lie about the fact that Damien’s team has pledged to pay for the testing and have raised money already? How much of the state’s resources are being wasted on legal fees through the AG’s office? How much time was wasted writing this brief? The prosecutor in West Memphis could simply choose to send the evidence for testing FOR FREE. Why does the AG’s office insist on lying and accusing Damien Echols of wasting resources?
Again, it certainly seems that the folks in power and the folks that have touched this appeal have no idea about the basic facts of the case or they simply do not care.
Jason, Damien, and Jessie took the Alford plea in order to save Damien from the death penalty. He was sitting on death row and the state used his vulnerability to push a deal through to ensure that they would NEVER be held accountable and would NEVER have to actually close out the case.
Countless folks since the murder of Stevie, Michael, and Christopher have chosen to remain quiet and allow this case to become a political pawn. Prosecutors became Judges. When you give the do-nothing folks the power the result will almost always be NOTHING.
The saddest part of this case to us are the people behind the scenes who want the evidence tested and are being ignored. It isn’t just the victims’ surviving family members and the Defendants who want this evidence tested. There are police officers, investigators, prosecutors, attorneys, and judges that believe this case is solvable and want to do the right thing. Unfortunately the few in charge have no intentions of ever doing the right thing. This is why we must vote them out and we must vote in folks who have the fortitude to stand up for murdered children.
The brief is below but don’t get your hopes up. Jacobs uses the same tired argument about lack of jurisdiction given the change of venue and complains that DNA testing should only apply for those currently incarcerated. This is wild given that none of these people support exonerating the wrongfully convicted and never have. Arkansas desperately needs a law about DNA testing but that seems like an impossible feat as it wouldn’t benefit any politician and would only benefit those that cannot vote.
Last updates below
The State’s Motion to Dismiss the appeal has been denied by the Court and an extension was issued for another 30 days in order for the State to file their brief. The State’s brief is now due by May 6th, 2023.
As of today it has been 10,933 days since the murder of Christopher, Stevie, and Michael in Robin Hood Hills in West Memphis. It has been 29 years, 11 months, and 6 days since the State of Arkansas decided that their murders deserved less than a thorough and just investigation. On May 5th it will have been 30 full years since these three innocent boys were murdered and their murders REMAIN UNSOLVED.
At any point in time the prosecutor in Crittenden County can CHOOSE to send the evidence in for testing AT NO COST to the taxpayers. Imagine if your child had been murdered and left in a muddy creek and all it would take to get answers is for one person to make a choice to have the courage to say, “Today we will pursue justice. TODAY I will send the evidence for testing.”
Arkansas has filed a Motion to Dismiss the appeal brought on by Damien Echols in order to perform DNA testing on available evidence from the crime scene of the murders of Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers.
The state of Arkansas has fought tooth and nail to suppress this evidence from day one. They have NEVER pursued the real killer and they have let us know time and time again that they never intend to. Whether you believe that the convicted men are guilty or not there should be NO issues with testing the evidence because it will not cost the taxpayers a dime.
What does cost the taxpayers money is the continued legal limbo game going on in Crittenden County over A TRIPLE MURDER OF CHILDREN.
The Motion to Dismiss filed the 21st of February regurgitates the same old tired argument that the state has been rolling with for decades.
First they complain that it’s filed in the wrong county. The trial was moved from Crittenden County to Craighead County for trial and the state has held onto this idea that all future filings must now go through Craighead County which makes no sense even for a layperson because the crime happened in Crittenden County.
Then the state goes on to complain that Echols waited a decade to file his appeal for testing which is frankly ridiculous given the wild goose chase his team was sent out on just to LOCATE THE EVIDENCE. They have done nothing but interfere with possible testing. They lied and said the evidence did not exist. They lied and said the evidence burned up in a fire. They lied, they lied, they lied.
They go on to call M-Vac DNA collection, calling it “new” which is something they have done from the beginning of this to discredit M-Vac in spite of the fact that the state is CURRENTLY USING THIS METHOD IN OTHER HOMICIDE CASES.
The state’s Reply Brief is due by March 1st after several motions to extend the deadlines and this is yet another attempt to subvert justice and waste more time. In their Motion to Dismiss they ask for yet another extension that would extend the time to submit their reply brief by yet another 21 days AFTER an order denying their Motion to Dismiss is entered.
If you are tired of this disgusting game being played by Arkansas and Crittenden County you can contact the following people:
Prosecutor Sonia Fonticiella of the 2nd Judicial District, 100 Court Street, Marion, Arkansas, 72364, 870-739-3200
Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, 323 Center Street, Suite 200, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201, 501-682-1315
Your Arkansas state Representatives can be found here.
Your Arkansas State Senators can be found here.
You can contact the Governor’s office here.
Please reach out to your representatives and let them know that you are demanding testing and that we are DONE with the lies, sand bagging, and taxpayer money wasted on this case. The families of the victims support testing, Bob Ruff‘s podcast army has pledged to pay for testing, and Arkansas citizens demand justice for Stevie, Michael, and Christopher.
We will not stop.
If you would like to help Damien, you can find his current work here. Damien also has a Patreon where you can support him monetarily and you can find that here.
If you would like to help Jason Baldwin you can find his current work here. If you are able to help Jason monetarily, you can find his Venmo at @Charles-Baldwin-01830 or you can make a donation to Proclaim Justice, his non profit that is doing the hard work to help other wrongfully convicted Americans.
If you would like to donate to the testing fund, check out Bob Ruff’s podcast here.