Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols (left to right)
JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) -- A Craighead County Circuit Court judge has ordered an evidentiary hearing for three men who were convicted of the 1993 killings of three West Memphis boys.
Judge David Laser told prosecutors and attorneys for Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin to schedule a three-week block for some time between Oct. 1 and Dec. 15.
The three were convicted in 1994 of killing Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore and leaving their bound bodies in a water-filled ditch near Interstate 40 in West Memphis. Echols was sentenced to death, and Misskelley and Baldwin received life sentences.
All are seeking new trials on grounds that new DNA evidence exonerates them.
Laser will decide whether new DNA evidence creates a compelling reason to question the men's convictions.
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