Entries by Mara Leveritt

The cozy courts of Arkansas

David Perry Davis, a New Jersey lawyer and active supporter of the WM3, wrote today saying he was “trying to understand why a state with elected officials is acting so blindly to justice.” He cited the West Memphis case, and that of Tim Howard and asked my view on why such travesties happen. How is […]

Tim Howard sidebar

What happens when key police files are found in the trunk of an officer’s car as the case is heading to trial? Before Tim Howard’s case went to trial, his lawyers complained to the judge that the prosecutor had not turned over important information he had about other possible assailants. The surrender of such information […]

The case for killing Tim Howard, part 3

*The purse, boots, gun, etc. * As for statements that Howard had been seen with Shannon’s purse and later disposed of it, Hannah wrote: “His disposal could mean he wanted to dispose of evidence that he had murdered her–or that he did not want to be caught with the purse, given that someone else had […]

The case for killing Tim Howard, part 2

‘Horrible, horrible’ Normally, prosecutors in murder cases do not seek the death penalty. That most severe punishment is reserved for crimes of an especially heinous nature, such as those that appear to have been committed with exceptional cruelty. When Howard’s case went to trial in December 1999, two years after the crime, prosecuting attorney Tom […]

The case for killing Tim Howard

_Note: A few readers have recently learned about Timothy Howard, another person awaiting execution on Arkansas’s Death Row. I wrote about Howard’s case for the Arkansas Times in 2002 and remain in touch with him. I believe that, like Damien Echols, he is innocent. I also see disturbing similarities between his case and that of […]

‘No reasonable jury…’

The honest-to-God, simple question that looms in the case of the WM3 is whether anyone truly believes at this point that if Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. were placed on trial today, a reasonable jury would find them guilty. It is a moral question that now confronts the Arkansas Supreme Court, similar, […]


“I don’t trust a man who uses the word evil eighteen times in ten minutes. If you’re half evil, nothing soothes you more than to think the person you are opposed to is totally evil.” —Norman Mailer, author (1923-2007)

Texas court did what Burnett’s court would not

Last May, a Collin County court in Texas dismissed capital murder charges against Michael Blair who had been on death row for the 1993 murder of Ashley Estell. After more than a decade of legal appeals and requests for DNA testing, the hair evidence that had been used to convict Blair was shown to be […]

‘Negative evidence’ should cut both ways

In the case of Damien Echols, at least, the Arkansas judiciary is facing its last opportunity to do something right. If history is any guide, we should expect that it will fail. Judge David Burnett above stayed true to form, and now the Arkansas Supreme Court will be asked to consider whether, when considered with […]