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— A group working to exonerate three men it believes were wrongfully convicted of the grisly murders of three boys in West Memphis has offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to another suspect.

Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie MIsskelley served 18 years in prison after being convicted of the 1993 murders. Last year, during a push for a new trial, the three reached a deal with prosecutors that had them plead guilty to the crime while maintaining their innocence. In exchange, all three were sentenced to time served and freed.

Arkansas Take Action, a group that had worked to free Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley, and attorneys for the men vowed then to continue seeking information that would prove someone else killed 8-year-old victims Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore.

On Monday, the group said in a news release that an anonymous donor has provided the reward for "new information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murders."

Attorneys for Echols will review the information and forward relevant tips to Craighead County Prosecutor Scott Ellington.

”There are people in Arkansas who have information about who killed these three little boys and we encourage them to come forward now," Echols' attorney, Patrick Benca, said in a statement. "We want to bring those responsible to justice. We are not looking for theories, but for real information that can put the true criminal(s) behind bars.”

The group says it has created a confidential tip line at (501) 256-1775.

Branch, Byers and Moore were found dead and hog-tied in a ditch off Interstate 40 in West Memphis on May 5, 1993. Misskelley and Baldwin were sentenced to life in prison and Echols was sentenced to death before the plea deal, which was reached in August.


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Archived Comments

  • littlerockerark
    February 29, 2012 at 12:22 a.m.

    Many believe the 3 committed the crime. The one sided movies and websites about this case leave out the evidence showing why they were found guilty. Yet they were found guilty once and plead guilty a second time.

    Misskelley confessed three separate times, once with his lawyer present. Misskelley also told two other people about the crime before he was arrested. Baldwin told someone else he committed the crimes. Echols was seen in muddy clothes near the crime scene. Echols is reported to have either told or bragged about the crime to four people before he was arrested. Echols had a history of psychiatric treatment and psychotic behavior. His reported actions included brutally killing a dog, starting fires at his school, threatening to kill his teachers and parents and stating he liked to drink blood.