Circuit Court Judge David Laser was selected to preside over the hearings for Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, who are known by supporters as the West Memphis Three. The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled last month that a new judge must consider the case after the previous judge, David Burnett, was elected to the state Senate.
The high court ordered new hearings for the convicted inmates, saying that a judge must consider newly analyzed DNA evidence and other claims of innocence in determining whether the men deserve a new trial. Echols was sentenced to death for the murders, and Baldwin and Misskelley received life sentences.
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