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Release of 3 topic of forum

Panel to discuss W. Memphis case at Statehouse center by The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | August 24, 2011 at 4:28 a.m.

— A panel discussion will be held Thursday about the legal battle over Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley Jr., who served more than 17 years in prison after being convicted of murdering three young boys in West Memphis in 1993.


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Baldwin, Echols and Misskelley were convicted of killing 8-year-olds Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore. A legal maneuver known as an “Alford plea,” worked out between prosecutors and defense attorneys over several weeks, allowed the three men Friday to enter guilty pleas to reduced murder charges while still proclaiming their innocence. They were then released from prison.

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Panelists are Pat Benca, an attorney representing Echols; Scott Ellington, the prosecuting attorney who negotiated the plea; Blake Hendrix, an attorney for Baldwin; Mara Leveritt, a contributing editor at the Arkansas Times and author of Devil’s Knot, a book about the case; Capi Peck, leader of Arkansas Take Action, an organization that fought for exoneration of Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley; and Jeff Rosenzweig, an attorney for Misskelley.

The panel discussion beginning at 6 p.m. will be at the Statehouse Convention Center’s Wally Allen Ballroom in Little Rock.

The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and the Arkansas Times, a weekly newspaper, will co-host the panel discussion.

Admission is free and the public can attend.

Reservations are available by e-mailing public programs or calling (501) 683-5239.

Arkansas, Pages 8 on 08/24/2011

Print Headline: Release of 3 topic of forum


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