December 28th, 2009
10:14 AM ET

Victims' parents remain divided over West Memphis 3 case DNA developments

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/12/28/west.memphis.three/story.west.memphis.three.victims.jpg caption="Authorities discovered the three 8-year-old victims in a West Memphis, Arkansas, ditch."]

Stephanie Chen

There was a time that Pamela Hobbs believed justice had been served for her young son's murder.

But 16 years after the mutilations and killings of three 8-year-old Cub Scouts, including her son, she has more doubts than ever.

Tear-stricken and angry, Pamela Hobbs sat though the original trial of the three accused teens - Damien Echols, 18; Jessie Misskelley Jr., 17, and Jason Baldwin; 16.

They were convicted of murdering her son, Stevie Branch, and two other neighborhood boys, Michael Moore and Christopher Byers. The second-graders' bodies were found bruised and mutilated in a West Memphis, Arkansas ditch; their arms and legs were bound by shoe laces.

The killers became dubbed the West Memphis 3.

When interviewed by media and documentary crews after the trial, Hobbs believed justice had been served. Misskelley and Baldwin had life sentences. Echols was on death row.

But recent developments - including new eyewitness statements and DNA evidence from the defense - have uprooted her faith in those prosecutions. Once a staunch believer that the teens were guilty, now she says the teens accused of killing her son in the West Memphis 3 deserve a new trial.

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Filed under: Crime
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Tim Gibson

    Would it not be logical to assume DNA of a step parent may be found on a shoe lace used to tie the boys if he shoe laces came from the victims.

    December 28, 2009 at 11:21 am |