LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - One of the mothers of the three boys murdered in West Memphis in 1993 is suing to see evidence.
Pam Hicks, formerly Hobbs, is the mother of Stevie Branch, one of the three boys murdered. She says on June 9 she asked to see all evidence collected in her son's death investigation. She was denied.
"Those are belongings that belong to my son that I hold personally dear to my heart," says Hicks.
Now, she is suing the West Memphis Police Department, the city of West Memphis, Police Chief Donald Oakes, West Memphis Mayor William H. Johnson and citing the Rights of Victims of Crime Act allows her to see it.
"I don't want to touch it. But I do want to know that it has not been contaminated. If they need it for further, you know if something is going to come out of this," says Hicks.
Hicks sent a letter asking to see the evidence in her son's case, and in the response letter back, the City of West Memphis stated that the Rights of Victims of Crime Act "is not applicable to the physical evidence retained by a law enforcement agency following a conviction for a violent offense. In accordance with A.C.A. §12-12-104(b), following any conviction for a violent offense, the physical evidence is required to be permanently impounded and securely retained by the law enforcement agency."
"That evidence has to be protected. You know, to just pull it out to arbitrarily look at it, of course it's the last thing we would want to do to cause Mrs. Hicks any pain or additional suffering but I also can't compromise evidence that the defense team is going to be upset with," says West Memphis Police Chief, Donald Oakes.
Hicks and her attorney Ken Swindle say they are wrong. They say the Rights of Victims of Crime Act states that: "The responsible official shall promptly return the property to the victim when it is no longer needed for evidentiary purposes, unless it is contraband or subject to forfeiture." Ark. Code Ann. §16-90-1106(b).
Hicks said in a news conference on Friday she wants to see Stevie's clothes, his bicycle, and whatever was in his pockets the day he died.
Hicks and her attorney agree that evidence will be kept permanently in the investigation of a violent offense, and the death of Stevie was a violent offense. They would agree that there will never be a time when the evidence in said crime "is no longer needed for evidentiary purposes". She says she doesn't want the evidence; she just wants to see it.
Hicks says a great amount of evidence surfaced online and she worries some could be missing.
"It worries me, it brings me pain and suffering because I don't know if tomorrow I'll click on and see that my son's bicycle is for sale," says Hicks.
Hicks and her attorney say they have the right to see it through Freedom of Information Act. They say the evidence should be kept, but not hidden.
Attorney Ken Swindle says the West Memphis Police Department will have to respond to the lawsuit within 30 days.