West Memphis 3 panel answers questions about case

    12:56 AM, Aug 26, 2011   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Last week's release of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin surprised many in the legal community and people throughout the country.

    There are still a flood of unanswered questions about the this case, so the Clinton School and Arkansas Times hosted the panel discussion with key legal players.

    Because of demand for seating, the event was moved to the Statehouse Convention Center.

    The lawyers for both sides of the case were together for the first time since Friday's verdict. The event gave those in the community a chance to ask prosecutors and defense attorneys about the ruling.

    The Statehouse Convention Center was packed with those who wanted to know more about the the case. The room had a little more than 890 chairs -- and it didn't take long for those to fill up. 

    Terry Hobbs, the step-father of Stevie Branch, released the following statement Wednesday about the release of the West Memphis 3:

    I will never be able to find words to come close to expressing the constant and deep pain of the last 18 years. So many people's lives were drug into a living nightmare with the death of those three little boys, May 5, 1993. The cost of suffering that unbelievable loss which has been paid by the families of all those involved, victims and accused, can never be counted, and the rumors and accusations that have flown ever since that day have torn lives and families apart. I am one of those who continue to pay that cost, but there are many, many others and my heart goes out to them. From the very beginning until this moment state and local officials have reassured me at every turn of the case there has never been one speck of interest in me as a suspect.

    What I will also never be able to find words for is the thanks I feel for the support of my Lord, my family, my friends, my church and the state of Arkansas. They will have to read it in my eyes and feel it in my return of support for them all.

    I'm glad this part of the nightmare is over. I hope and pray for all of the families to move on with their lives from this point with a sense of hope and peace, trusting that the Lord knows all, loves all, and when sincerely asked forgives all. I'm moving on with my life leaving this part of the nightmare as part of the past.

    I've prayed for Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley more than once, and as recently as last night. I've asked the Lord to work a miracle of forgiveness in me toward them, and believe he is already answering that prayer. My hope for them is that they live good and productive lives for the rest of their time on this earth.

    One thing I believe all who have been touched by this tragedy can agree on is that the truest victims in all of this continue to be Michael Moore, Christopher Byers and my stepson Stevie Branch. From this point on I will have nothing at all to say about the case.

    According to the state of Arkansas and in my own heart and mind it is closed, and I am leaving it that way. From this point on I will talk about my love for Stevie, what he has always meant and will continue to mean to me, and look forward to seeing him again in Heaven, where there will only be peace and joy and love forever.

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