The makers and the legal team behind the documentary West of Memphis, produced by Damien Nichols, one of the West Memphis Three, have alleged that Terry Hobbs, stepfather of one of the victims Stevie Branch, is responsible for the murders of three eight-year-old boys in 1993. The highly publicized trial of the crime sent three teenagers, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelly, also known as the West Memphis Three, to prison for almost 20 years.
The documentary makers said they would be delighted to be sued by Terry Hobbs, who had earlier sued Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines for implying that he was responsible for his stepson's death, but lost the lawsuit. Hobbs was also ordered to pay Maines' $18,000 legal bills.
Let him have at it, things worked out very well for us when he sued Natalie Maines, said Dennis Riordan, an attorney who led the legal battle of the West Memphis Three to regain their freedom, according to a report by The Wrap.
The West Memphis Three's legal team has also released an additional information report implicating Hobbs as the murderer, stating that the murders were kept a Hobbs family secret, known only to Hobbs, his brother and his nephew. The report, based on overheard conversations and everything the nephew told his friends, is not admissible in court.
The West Memphis Three -- Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. -- spent almost two decades in prison for the killing of three young boys and were freed by the court in August last year. The three men were tried and convicted for the murders of the three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, on May 5, 1993.
Three eight-year-old boys, Stevie Branch - stepson of Terry Hobbs - Michael Moore and Christopher Byers were reported missing on May 5, 1993.
The following day, investigators found the bodies of the missing boys in a major drainage canal in Robin Hood Hills in West Memphis. They had been stripped naked and hogtied with their own shoelaces; their right ankles were tied to their right wrists behind their backs and the same was done with their left arms and legs.
During the trial, the prosecution put forth the idea that the only purported motive in the case was that the slayings were part of a satanic ritual.
At the time of their arrests, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols were 17,16 and 18 years old, respectively.
The trio admitted to the crime after a 12-hour police interrogation, when Misskelley confessed and also named Echols and Baldwin. Echols was sentenced to death, Misskelley Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, while Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment, which was appealed against in the court.
The case, which was met with accusations of negligence from authorities and investigative criticism, culminated in convicting the West Memphis Three, even though the police had initially nabbed more suspects. However, a DNA test at the crime scene, held in 2007, couldn't find any genetic material belonging to any of the convicts. However, a hair, not inconsistent with Hobbs, was found tied into the knots used to bind the victims.