Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols (left to right)
Paul Ford, who represented Jason Baldwin at his 1994 trial, said that while Baldwin's mother and an uncle could have provided an alibi for Baldwin, they would not have made good witnesses.
Ford spoke at a hearing in Craighead County Circuit Court before Judge David Burnett on whether Baldwin received adequate legal representation during his 1994 trial in Jonesboro.
Baldwin, now 31, was convicted of capital murder in the deaths of 8-year-olds Steve Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. New lawyers for Baldwin are asking Burnett to void their client's conviction and penalty.
The judge has set aside four days for the hearing and plans to take up similar arguments tomorrow from lawyers for co-defendant Jessie Misskelley.
In a written response, the state has noted that Baldwin's conviction and life sentence were affirmed in 1996 and that Baldwin has waited too long -- 14 years -- to seek this kind of relief.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)