New Hearing For West Memphis 3: Damien Echols' Family Reacts

New Hearing For West Memphis 3: Damien Echols' Family Reacts

The family of "West Memphis 3" death row inmate Damien Echols is reacting to news he could get a new trial.
Jason Baldwin was convicted, as a teenager, for the 1993 murders of three eight year-old boys in West Memphis.
Jason Baldwin was convicted, as a teenager, for the 1993 murders of three eight year-old boys in West Memphis.
Jessie Misskelley was convicted, as a teenager, for the 1993 murders of three eight year-old boys in West Memphis.
Jessie Misskelley was convicted, as a teenager, for the 1993 murders of three eight year-old boys in West Memphis.
MEMPHIS, TN - The family of "West Memphis 3" death row inmate Damien Echols is reacting to news he could get a new trial. The Arkansas Supreme Court agreed to give the three men accused of killing three boys in 1993 a new hearing.

ABC24 News spoke with Echols' mother and sister in West Memphis where the victim's bodies were found.

Damien Echols mother tells us she's always known her son was innocent, but it's taken a lot more than the resources she has to let the world know.

“Next to the birth of my children and my grandchildren, I guess it was the most exciting day of my life,” said Echols’ mother Pam Metcalf.

Metcalf says she has waited 17 years for this news.

“When the news was on, I was jumping and dancing like I haven’t done in years,” said Metcalf.

Appeal after appeal after appeal and finally a ruling in favor of Echols and his co-defendants Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley.

“I was always raised to believe if the police arrested somebody, they were automatically guilty,” said Metcalf. “And then when it starts happening to you and you see what's going on, you realize that that's not true.”

Echols’ sister Michelle Hogue was 16 when her brother was locked up.

“The very last words Damien said to me before he left for prison were, ‘Don't worry. I'm coming home.’ And never did we think it would take 17, 18 years,” said Hogue.

They still have a long way to go before that homecoming could be possible, but they say it's a first step. A step they couldn't have made without support from a lot of high profile people.

“Without Johnny Depp, Natalie Maines, Eddie Vedder, everyone getting involved and with the publicity they drew and the money that they had to offer that we obviously couldn’t, I don't think it would’ve gotten to where it got to yesterday without them,” said Hogue.

The family is critical of police and prosecutors who still maintain the jury got it right when it convicted the three.

“I hope they can't sleep at night,” said Hogue. “Because they knew at the time they arrested these boys that they didn't have anything on them, that they were not guilty, and I hope now that their conscience actually bothers them.”

The Arkansas Supreme Court will allow new DNA evidence to be tested and new witnesses to testify. There will also be a new judge. Echols family is confident.

“I can’t wait, I think everything's going to move forward,” said Metcalf. “I don't have any doubts in my mind, and I can't begin to imagine the way he must feel, but it's going to move forward because this is it.”

A date for the hearing has not been set.

Ironically, even several of the victim's family members believe the West Memphis 3 are innocent.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says his office plans to defend the jury's original verdicts in the case.

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