MEMPHIS, TN – West Memphis Police said they have no plans to reopen the West Memphis Three case. On Friday, August 19, 2011, the three were set free after serving almost two decades in prison for a crime they say they didn’t commit.
The three were convicted by a jury 18 years ago for the murders of three cub scouts in West Memphis. A judge released the trio after a legal maneuver that let them plead guilty while maintaining their innocence.
West Memphis Assistant Police Chief Donald Oakes said, despite the release of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin, the department considers the case closed.
There are no plans to look for any other people who may have committed the crime.
“This case is closed. It was closed when the jury convicted the men 18 years ago, and they plead guilty Friday,” said Oakes.
Oakes said if new evidence was presented to the department, they would follow up. Oakes also defended the original investigators who handled the case.
WM3 supporters have suggested there was a cover up, that the teens were arrested because they were different and poor.
“To say there was a cover up is just a way to sell a movie,” said Oakes about an HBO documentary that shed light on the situation. “I think the movie was biased. I think they knew what they wanted to do when they got here. They knew what movie they were making and how to sell a movie.”
Oakes said the documentary helped create a swell of WM3 supporters.
“The West Memphis Three supporters believe they are right. In their (supporters) hearts they are good people and think they (defendants) are innocent. I think they are mistaken,” said Oakes.