Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols (left to right)
JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) -- A Craighead County Circuit Court judge has scheduled an evidentiary hearing for three men convicted of the 1993 killings of three West Memphis 8-year-olds.
Judge David Laser set the hearings for Dec. 5-21 in Jonesboro for Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin. The Jonesboro Sun reports that a potential scheduling conflict with Misskelley's attorneys might cause the hearings to be split.
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. Echols was sentenced to death while Misskelley and Baldwin received life sentences.
Each is asking for a new trial on grounds that new DNA evidence exonerates them.
Laser will decide whether that evidence creates a compelling reason to question the men's convictions.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)