Just posted to the WM3 Twitter page: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley have left the prison with all their belongings and are not expected to return to prison.
I read earlier this evening that they would be attending a hastily called meeting tomorrow with the judge assigned to their upcoming evidentiary hearing.
The evidentiary hearing was scheduled for December. The surprise hearing tomorrow alone suggests a major development is at hand. The buzz in the defense bar community is that the news is beyond major. Until now, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office has fought vigorously against new proceedings for the defendants and in support of their convictions. A development tomorrow in which he joined in a defense suggestion would be momentous, indeed. Freedom for the WM3? The speculation today includes that possibility, though questions are numerous about how you'd reach such an outcome and, if it were to happen, whether it would include pronouncements on guilt or innocence or state liability.
The judge's office released this statement about Friday's hearing:
The court will take up certain matters pertaining to the cases of defendants Baldwin, Echols and Misskelley on Friday, August 19. One session will be conducted out of public presence with all defendants present and another session will be conducted in open court. The session conducted in chambers will likely begin at 10 a.m. followed by a public session which will begin about 11 a.m. Space will be limited for the public session — first to the parties, counsel and court personnel, then to family members of the victims and family members of defendants with remaining seating to be occupied by media representatives and the public. There will be approximately 15 minutes between the chamber session and open session for media and public to be seated. Miss Stephanie Harris, Arkansas Supreme Court communication counsel, will be present on Friday to assist with implementation and will be the court's intermediary with public and press.
A local station reported a few hours ago that a deal has been reached to release two of two of the three.
If you want to see what can happen when charges of witchery and "Satanic Panic" really take hold, look no further than the West Memphis Three. It makes the Christine O'Donnell saga look a lot less funny. These three young men have spent half their lives in prison for wearing black and listening to Metallica.
Dare we hope that this will be the end of that very long nightmare?