Posts Tagged ‘jason baldwin

07
Jan
09

Margaret Cho – SHE SAY ‘YES’

WHOOP – I’ll be selling my photos of Margaret Cho to raise funds for the West Memphis Three starting later today.  I’m SO happy.

25
Sep
08

WM3 – Rule 37

So, it continues.  You can see the Jonesboro news report of Jason Baldwin entering court to try and prove that his attorney’s didn’t try to the best of their abilities to defend their client.  Apparently it’s a very tricky one to prove, but we have to keep hoping that SOMETHING works for the boys.

You can see the video of Jason arriving at the courtroom here: http://www.kait8.com/global/story.asp?s=9061681

You can also read Will Carter’s daily blog from the courtroom here: http://www.kait8.com/Global/link.asp?L=343251&nav=menu67_1

Keep up to date with proceedings here: http://wm3.vox.com/

And everyone: pray, meditate, send good vibes, hope, or whatever you can do … just to get these guys some real justice.  Because at the end of the day, that’s what we’re talking about here.  Regardless of whether you believe they are innocent or not, they did NOT receive fair trials.

12
Sep
08

West Memphis Three, Into the Wild and Insomnia

Every once in a while I’m reminded of how fucking lucky I am.  After the recent developments in the WM3 case, I’ve been re-reading up about the case.  I always need to do this as I tend to do a blitz on everyone and then people quiz me about the case and I get all befuddled and confused.

I always knew that Margaret Cho was a supporter as she’d submitted some writing to a book in support of the boys – The Last Pentacle of the Sun, along with Stephen King and Clive Barker.  She also worked tirelessly to get Damien Echol’s book, Almost Home – My Life Story published.  I have both books and I highly recommend them.  I’ve even used chapters from Almost Home with my students to spark discussion and writing.

I then read up on her blog about when she met the boys – you can read it here.  It is really heartbreaking that it was written in 2004 – and we’re still no further ahead it feels. The blog is one of the most personal accounts you could read.  It brought tears to my eyes.  Again, remembering that Damien is the same age as me, and is locked up, with only a faint hope of freedom.

What saddens me most is that there are 6 victims in this crime.  Those poor 3 boys who were brutally murdered, and the 3 boys whose lives were taken by the ‘justice’ system.

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There are times when you take a stock of how you’ve been living your life. Obviously the WM3 case makes you realise how precious your freedom actually is.

We watched Into The Wild this weekend.  Although I didn’t finish watching it [to tell you the truth, it was too wanky and long for me! – I don’t suffer pompous shite well] I enjoyed most of what I saw [although I found the character quite unpalatable – I wonder if he really was like that in real life?].  And again, it makes you think about the life you live.  Why do I have all this shit?  I look around my study and it’s just FULL of stuff.  STUFF, stuff I don’t need, stuff I don’t really want, and stuff I don’t even remember acquiring.  But when I go to throw it out, I feel torn.  I’m a hoarder – I always have been. I come from a family of hoarders.  Maybe it’s growing up with very little money, it makes everything precious to you.  Nothing is ‘throw-away’, everything is important and precious.  However, the clear-out must begin at some point – when I don’t know.  But soon.

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Can’t sleep!

Going to try now though!

x

11
Sep
08

No New Trial For The West Memphis Three

I’ve been following this case for quite a few years now, ever since NME first mentioned it.  Then when Paradise Lost Parts 1 and 2 were released, my interest in the case was invigorated again.

There’s no point in me trying to outline the case when you can find all of the information here , the website is full of interesting and thought provoking notes from the cases – although it obviously supports the case for the release of Damien, Jesse and Jason – it allows you to make up your own mind.

But for a quick resume of the situation – here’s the brief outline from the website:

Shortly after three eight-year-old boys were found mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas, local newspapers stated the killers had been caught. The police assured the public that the three teenagers in custody were definitely responsible for these horrible crimes. Evidence?

The same police officers coerced an error-filled “confession” from Jessie Misskelley Jr., who is mentally handicapped. They subjected him to 12 hours of questioning without counsel or parental consent, audio-taping only two fragments totaling 46 minutes. Jessie recanted it that evening, but it was too late— Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols were all arrested on June 3, 1993, and convicted of murder in early 1994.

Although there was no physical evidence, murder weapon, motive, or connection to the victims, the prosecution pathetically resorted to presenting black hair and clothing, heavy metal t-shirts, and Stephen King novels as proof that the boys were sacrificed in a satanic cult ritual. Unfathomably, Echols was sentenced to death, Baldwin received life without parole, and Misskelley got life plus 40.

For over 14 years, The West Memphis Three have been imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit. Echols waits in solitary confinement for the lethal injection our tax dollars will pay for. They were all condemned by their poverty, incompetent defense, satanic panic and a rush to judgment.

Today, I was saddened, but not surprised to hear that Judge Burnett has denied a request for a retrial.

Damien is about the same age as me.  He’s been in jail, on death row since I left sixth form.  When I think about my life, what I’ve done, what I’ve experienced, and then I think of him, and Jason and Jesse, and I wonder how they’ve managed to stay sane.  Knowing that they are innocent of these awful crimes, yet having to live the majority of their lives in prison.

Here’s the message that was posted on the WM3 email list:

By Jill Zeman
Associated Press Writer

LITTLE ROCK (WHBQ FOX13 myfoxmemphis.com) –A circuit court judge Wednesday rejected claims that new DNA evidence proves the innocence of three men convicted of killing three boys 15 years ago, and denied their requests for a new trial.

Circuit Court Judge David Burnett issued a 10-page order Wednesday denying requests for a new trial. Lawyers for Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley — known by supporters as the “West Memphis Three” — had requested a new trial, arguing that new DNA evidence clears their clients.

Both Baldwin and Misskelley claim their lawyers failed to adequately represent them during their separate trials. Their lawyers also say DNA evidence provided by Echols’ defense team shows the men did not kill Steven Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore.

“The court finds that (Echols’s) DNA-testing results are inconclusive because they do not raise a reasonable probability that he did not commit the offenses; that is, they are inconclusive as to his claim of actual innocence,” Burnett wrote in the order.

In his appeal, Echols argued that newly analyzed DNA found no trace of him, Misskelley or Baldwin at the crime scene. But Burnett said he agreed with prosecutors’ arguments that the absence of DNA didn’t equal innocence.

“Proof of actual innocence requires more than his exclusion as the source of a handful of biological material that is not dispositive of the identity of a killer,” Burnett wrote.

Burnett also said that even if he agreed that the new DNA evidence should be heard in court, he would deny Echols’ request for a trial because there was “not compelling evidence that he would be acquitted.”

Police found the three boys’ bodies in a drainage ditch a day after their May 5, 1993, disappearance. A month passed before police arrested the three teens. Misskelley told investigators how he watched Baldwin and Echols sexually assault and beat two of the boys as he ran down another trying to escape.

A separate jury gave Misskelley a life-plus-40-year sentence for the killings. Baldwin received a life sentence without parole, and Echols was sentenced to death.

U.S. District Court Judge William R. Wilson Jr. ruled in November that claims about the DNA evidence first needed to be heard in state courts. The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld their convictions.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.



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