Deal frees 3 men convicted in Cub Scout slayings

Sentenced to die for the terrifying slayings of three Cub Scouts, Damien Echols once came within three weeks of being executed.

The West Memphis 3: From left, Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley Jr.

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) -- Sentenced to die for the terrifying slayings of three Cub Scouts, Damien Echols once came within three weeks of being executed.

Released Friday under an unusual plea deal after more than two decades on death row, Echols has co-defendant Jason Baldwin to thank for his freedom -- and his life.

Echols, Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley were permitted to plead guilty to murder in exchange for time served, ending a long-running legal battle that had raised questions about DNA and key witnesses.

The so-called West Memphis Three entered the pleas under a legal provision that allowed them to maintain their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict them in the 1993 killings.

Echols was on death row, and in 1994 he came within three weeks of being executed.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 128120538 - local8now.com/a?a=128120538