Entries by Mara Leveritt

This week’s exoneration in Colorado: Note how it resembles—and differs from—the case of the WM3

After 25 years, a Colorado grand jury decided on Tuesday that Timothy Masters is no longer a suspect in the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick. Masters was 15 years old when police in Fort Collins, Colorado brought him in for questioning about the murder of Hettrick, whose sexually mutilated body was found in a field […]

Poverty and neglect still plague ‘Lakeshore’

University of Memphis journalism student Chelsea Boozer wrote a fine story for yesterdays Memphis Commercial Appeal. Titled “Arkansas trailer park residents find themselves in a dangerous no-man’s land in Lakeshore,” it describes the unincorporated part of Crittenden County where, at various times, Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley and Damien Echols lived, before their arrests. Boozer, who […]

The big disconnect: official versus public perceptions of the West Memphis case

  The case of the West Memphis Three is a landmine for Arkansas’s judiciary. When people anywhere learn what has happened to the three Arkansas men, their confidence in the courts—at least in Arkansas—tends to explode. The damage already has been vast, and it’s likely to spread. Not that any member of the judiciary has […]

The crime lab under a microscope

It’s safe to say that the work of Arkansas’s crime lab, and especially that of Dr. Frank Peretti, one of its medical examiners, will be scrutinized at December’s evidentiary hearing for the West Memphis Three. Defense attorneys have already challenged the scientific accuracy of Peretti’s conclusion that a knife caused the injuries to two of […]

Eddie Vedder sings ‘Satellite’ for West Memphis prisoner’s wife

Eddie Vedder recently released a new album called Ukulele Songs, and that’s just what it is. Most fans will probably not realize that one of the songs, “Satellite,” was written for and from the perspective of Lorri Davis, wife of Damien Echols. One reviewer who did catch the reference wrote that among several love songs: “Satellite stands clear as the […]

A new rule that might have saved the West Memphis Three—and a plea to strengthen it

On May 26, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued an opinion stating that, “Whenever practical, a custodial interrogation at a jail, police station, or other similar place, should be electronically recorded.” The opinion proposes changes to the court’s Rules of Criminal Procedure and gives the public until June 30 to comment on what it has proposed. […]