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West Memphis Three denied the right to test DNA evidence

The evidence, previously thought to have been destroyed was intact, but court officials have ruled a new testing with the latest technology will not be allowed.

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — Damien Echols and his legal team's request of a new type of DNA testing for evidence has been denied. 

The court hearing was held on Thursday morning at the Crittenden County District Court in West Memphis.

Echols' lawyer, Patrick Benca filed a Habeas Corpus petition, which says the petitioner must be in custody of the state. Judge Tonya Alexander ruled that she is denying the petition based on the fact that Echols is not behind bars.

"Her concern seems to be with the fact that the legislature is not passing laws that are just that would allow Damien and others to be able to actually find themselves in this situation to be completely exonerated even though they've been released from custody," said Benca.

Echols himself voiced his disappointment online following the denial.

"The state of Arkansas has ruled that they will not allow DNA testing to be done that could identify the murderer of Michael Moore, Christopher Byers, and Stevie Branch." Echols said in a tweet. "This is a great disappointment to us, and traumatic as well - but we will continue to press forward."

The West Memphis Three were hoping to get some answers after the long battle to try and get newly discovered evidence DNA tested.

"I think the state missed an opportunity to solve this case," said Jason Baldwin, one of the West Memphis Three.

But the fight isn't over for them.

Echols' team plans to appeal the decision and Baldwin said he plans to discuss alternatives with his lawyers.

In 2020, Damien Echols' legal team worked to get evidence from the murders of three West Memphis boys. That evidence, which was previously thought to have been destroyed was intact.

So they pushed to have DNA analyzed while using a new technology that wasn't around during the time of the trial.

The legal team thought that doing the DNA testing wouldn't be an issue, since it could potentially prove the innocence of the accused, but earlier this year, Crittenden County Prosecutor Keith Chrestman, refused to cooperate with the DNA testing.

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