Thursday, May 6, 1993
The bodies of Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore, all 8 years old, are found in a ditch in the woods behind Blue Beacon Truck Wash in West Memphis, Arkansas.
Thursday, June 3, 1993
Jessie Lloyd Misskelley, Jr., 17, is brought in for questioning by the West Memphis Police Department. During questioning, he makes two statements which implicates himself, Damien Wayne Echols, 18, and Charles Jason Baldwin, 16. All three are arrested.
Friday, June 4, 1993
Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin are arraigned in West Memphis Municipal Court by Judge William P. Rainey. Judge Rainey appoints temporary attorneys for the three murder defendants and schedules a hearing for Monday, June 7.
Monday, June 7, 1993
Hearing in Crittenden County Circuit Court in Marion. Judge David Goodson appoints two attorneys each to represent the three defendants.
Representing Echols - Craighead County chief public defender Val P. Price and Jonesboro attorney Scott Davidson.
Representing Misskelley - Paragould attorneys Daniel T. Stidham and Gregory L. Crow.
Representing Baldwin - Jonesboro attorneys Paul N. Ford and George Robin Wadley Jr.
Thursday, June 17, 1993
Prosecutors file a motion requesting samples of blood, hair, saliva, footprints and fingerprints from Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley.
Friday, June 25, 1993
Attorneys for Jessie Misskelley file a motion stating that compliance with the state's request to obtain blood, saliva and hair samples from their client, would be "an unreasonable intrusion" and would violate his constitutional rights.
Monday, June 28, 1993
Attorneys for Jason Baldwin file a motion file a motion to suppress any evidence seized from Baldwin or his residence on the night of June 3, arguing that the nighttime search did not comply with state law.
Monday, July 26, 1993
Attorneys for Jessie Misskelley file a motion for a change of venue claiming their client cannot get a fair trial because of the publicity the case has generated. With a change of venue, a jury would be selected from a county other than Crittenden County.
Wednesday, August 4, 1993
Pretrial hearing in Marion. All three defendants plead not guilty to capital murder charges. Circuit Judge Charles David Burnett severs Misskelley's trial from that of Echols and Baldwin. Prosecution's motions seeking blood, hair and saliva samples are granted.
Friday, September 24, 1993
Defense attorneys file 39 motions, bringing the total pending to over 50.
Monday, September 27, 1993
Pretrial hearing in Marion. Judge Burnett grants defense attorneys' request for a change of venue over the prosecution's objection. Burnett also rules that Echols and Baldwin will be tried together, and he denies defense requests to suppress evidence seized from the defendants' homes on the night of their arrests.
Monday, October 11, 1993
Attorneys for Jessie Misskelley file a motion that seeks to suppress his June 3 statement.
Friday, October 15, 1993
Attorneys for Jason Baldwin file a number of motions, including: an order to prohibit any mention of sodomy when the case goes to trial because of lack of medical evidence to support; another request for a severance from Echols' trial; and suppression of Baldwin's juvenile record and school records.
Tuesday, October 19, 1993
Pretrial hearing in Jonesboro. Judge David Burnett rules that Jason Baldwin will be tried as an adult. Trial dates and locations are announced. Misskelley's trial is scheduled for January 18 in Clay County, and the Echols/Baldwin trial for February 22 in Jonesboro.
Monday, November 15, 1993
Attorneys for Jessie Misskelley file a motion asking that Misskelley be ruled mentally retarded, thus not eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
Tuesday, November 16, 1993
Pretrial hearing in Osceola. Judge Burnett rules Misskelley will be tried as an adult.
Wednesday, November 17, 1993
Police find a knife in the lake behind the trailer home where Jason Baldwin was living at the time of the murders in May.
Tuesday, December 21, 1993
Pretrial hearing. Judge Burnett rules that Jessie Misskelley is not mentally retarded and could face the death penalty if he's convicted.
Thursday, January 13, 1994
Pretrial hearing in Marion, dealing with suppression of Misskelley's statement.
Saturday, January 15, 1994
Judge Burnett rules Misskelley's taped confession will be admissible at trial.
Wednesday, January 19, 1994
Jury selection begins in the trial of Jessie Misskelley. By day's end, four has been picked - two women and two men.
Thursday, January 20, 1994
Jury selection continues. By days' end a jury of seven women and five men has been selected. Two male alternates are also selected.
Wednesday, January 26, 1994
Misskelley's trial begins.
Thursday, February 3, 1994
11:12am: The State and Defense rest their cases, on the seventh day of the trial.
4:17pm: The jury begins deliberations after hearing closing arguments from both sides.
Friday, February 4, 1994
12:10am: The jury asks to be excused for the night.
9:30am: The jury returns and continues deliberations.
11:54am: The jury reaches a verdict. They find Jessie guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Michael Moore and second-degree murder in the deaths of Chris Byers and Steve Branch.
After brief penalty phase arguments from both sides, the jury deliberates Misskelley's punishment. After twenty-six minutes, they return with life in prison plus two twenty-year sentences.
Wednesday, February 9, 1994
Pretrial hearing in Osceola. Judge Burnett rules on a series of motions filed by attorneys for Jason Baldwin. They again ask for a severance from Echols.
Friday, February 11, 1994
Judge Burnett rules that Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols will be tried together.
Wednesday, February 16, 1994
Pretrial hearing. Val Price alleges that Aaron Hutcheson has made statements implicating Mark Byers in the murders. Co-counsel Scott Davidson asks to see the HBO documentary crew's film of John Mark Byers where he describes being tied up, sodomized and thrown in a ditch at the age of 18 or 19. Judge Burnett denies the request. Burnett also denies the prosecution's request to hear a taped statement that Baldwin gave to the HBO film crew.
Tuesday, February 22, 1994
Jury selection for the Echols/Baldwin trial begins, but is put on hold when attorneys file a motion alleging prosecutorial misconduct regarding the State's attempts to get Misskelley to testify against Baldwin and Echols. After a hearing, Judge Burnett rules there has been no misconduct.
Wednesday, February 23, 1994
Jury selection continues; one juror is selected.
Thursday, February 24, 1994
Eight more jurors are selected bringing the total to 9.
Friday, February 25, 1994
A jury of eight women and four men has been selected to hear the case against Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin. Two alternate jurors, both men, are also selected.
Monday, February 28, 1994
Echols/Baldwin trial begins.
Tuesday, March 15, 1994
1:07pm: The State and Defense rest their cases, on the eleventh day in court. Judge Burnett agrees to grant the prosecution a continuance until Thursday.
Thursday, March 17, 1994
4:59pm: The jury begins deliberations after hearing closing arguments from both sides.
10:35pm: Jury deliberations end for the evening.
Friday, March 18, 1994
9:30am: Jury deliberations continue.
3:33pm: The jury reaches a verdict. They find both Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin guilty of three counts of capital murder.
Saturday, March 19, 1994
Penalty phase testimony from Dr. Moneypenny, Jack Echols and Joe Hutchison, followed by brief arguments from both sides.
2:00: The jury begins to deliberate their sentences.
4:22: They return with death by lethal injection for Damien Echols and life in prison without possibility of parole for Jason Baldwin.
Tuesday, March 29, 1994
Attorneys for Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin file a Motion for New Trial alleging misconduct by prosecutors and threats made to jurors.
Wednesday, April 6, 1994
Attorneys for Jason Baldwin file a Motion for Recusal requesting that Judge Burnett "recuse in this matter so an impartial Court could determine whether or not the prosecution was guilty of misconduct."
Tuesday, April 12, 1994
The State files their Response to Motion for New Trial.
Friday, April 22, 1994
Judge Burnett issues an order denying the motion for recusal and the motion for mistrial. Burnett also awards more than 140,000 dollars in defense attorney's fees.
Monday, May 1, 1995
The Arkansas Supreme Court rules that the state, not Crittenden County, is responsible for paying the defense attorneys for Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. In a 6-1 decision, the high court said a statute requiring counties to pay for indigent defenders became law after attorneys were appointed to defend the three defendants.
Tuesday, June 27, 1995
Damien Echols files a pro se motion in which he states that he waives all points for appeal which concern the sentence of death and desires to limit the appeal to those issues which concern the judgment of conviction.
Monday, July 17, 1995
The Arkansas Supreme Court remand the matter for findings by Judge Burnett on the questions of whether Damien Echols fully appreciates his position and can make a rational choice with respect to pursuing or abandoning issues on appeal concerning his death sentence.
Wednesday, December 6, 1995
Damien Echols files a motion to withdraw his earlier request that the Arkansas Supreme Court not consider the death penalty issues on appeal.
Monday, January 8, 1996
The Arkansas Supreme Court rules that it will review every aspect of Damien Echols' case rather than only points of guilt or innocence.
They also rule that a competency hearing shall be conducted by Judge Burnett for the reason that the "development of such a record will best protect the interests of the appellant (Echols) and the State in future proceedings."
Monday, February 19, 1996
In a 32-page unanimous decision, the Arkansas Supreme Court upholds the conviction of Jessie Misskelley.
Monday, March 11, 1996
Damien Echols' competency hearing. After statements by Echols' attorneys and brief testimony from Echols, Judge Burnett finds that "Damien Echols is competent and was competent during the course of his trial and that he’s voluntarily and knowingly and intelligently withdrawn his request to waive the punishment aspect of the previous trial."
Wednesday, March 6, 1996
Attorneys for Jessie Misskelley file Petition for Rehearing in the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Monday, April 1, 1996
The Arkansas Supreme Court denies Jessies Misskelley's petition for rehearing.
Monday, October 7, 1996
The U.S. Supreme Court denies Jessie Misskelley's petition for writ of certiorari.
Monday, December 2, 1996
Oral arguments before the Arkansas Supreme Court. Attorneys for Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin ask the Arkansas Supreme Court to overturn the convictions.
Monday, December 23, 1996
The Arkansas Supreme Court upholds the convictions of Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin in a unanimous vote rejecting all 44 points of appeal.
Tuesday, May 27, 1997
The U.S. Supreme Court denies Damien Echols' petition for writ of certiorari.
Damien Wayne Echols v. Arkansas
Tuesday, May 5, 1998
Damien Echols' Rule 37 hearing begins in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Friday, March 19, 1999
After 8 days of hearings between May 5 and this date, Damien Echols' Rule 37 hearing comes to an end. Under the law, Judge Burnett has 90 days to rule.
Thursday, June 17, 1999
Judge Burnett issues an Order denying Damien Echols' Rule 37 petition.
Wednesday, February 27, 2001
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a petition in the Arkansas Supreme Court seeking to have that court reinvest jurisdiction in the Circuit Court for purposes of considering a petition for writ of error coram nobis. The coram nobis petition raises three issues: (1) whether Damien Echols was competent at the time of trial; (2) whether he was improperly administered psycho-active medication during trial; and (3) whether the State concealed exculpatory evidence.
Friday, March 9 , 2001
Attorneys for Jason Baldwin file a Motion to Preserve Evidence and For Access to Evidence For Testing.
Thursday, March 15, 2001
Oral argument before the justices of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Thursday, April 26, 2001
The Arkansas Supreme Court rules on Judge Burnett's Order in which he denied Echols' Rule 37 petition. They affirm part of the Order and remand in part with orders to Judge Burnett to make specific written findings on each issue raised by Echols.
Friday, May 11, 2001
The State files a petition for rehearing of the Arkansas Supreme Court's April 26 ruling.
Thursday, June 7, 2001
The Arkansas Supreme Court denies the State's request for a rehearing of the court's April 26 ruling.
Thursday, July 30, 2001
Judge David Burnett issues an Order in which he enters further findings, denying Damien Echols' Rule 37 petition.
Saturday, February 2, 2002
The State files a response to Jason Baldwin's Response to Motion to Preserve Evidence.
Thursday, July 25, 2002
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a Motion for Forensic DNA Testing.
Thursday, September 5, 2002
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a Motion for Stay of Proceedings (pending outcome of DNA Petition.)
Thursday, September 12, 2002
The Arkansas Supreme Court grants Echols a 60-day stay of proceedings.
Thursday, November 7, 2002
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a motion for 90-day extension of stay of proceedings.
Thursday, November 14, 2002
The Arkansas Supreme Court grants Echols' motion for 90-day extension of stay of proceedings.
Thursday, February 20, 2003
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a motion for 90-day extension of stay of proceedings.
Friday, February 28, 2003
The Arkansas Supreme Court grants Echols' motion for 90-day extension of stay of proceedings.
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a motion to extend stay of proceedings until completion of agreed forensic DNA testing.
Thursday, June 19, 2003
The Arkansas Supreme Court grants Echols' motion to extend the stay, but "...decline, however, to issue an open-ended stay, as Appellant (Echols) requests. Instead, we will grant further stay for a period of seventy days from the date of this opinion."
Thursday, October 2, 2003
Oral argument before the justices of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Commercial Appeal: High court hears another argument in 1993 child murders
Thursday, October 16, 2003
The Arkansas Supreme Court denies Damien Echols' petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the circuit court to allow him to seek a writ of error coram nobis.
Thursday, October 30, 2003
The Arkansas Supreme Court affirms Judge Burnett's previous denial of Damien Echols' Rule 37 petition.
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a petition for rehearing of the Arkansas Supreme Court's October 16 ruling.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
The Arkansas Supreme Court denies Damien Echols' petition for rehearing of the court's October 16 ruling.
Friday, November 14, 2003
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a petition for rehearing of the Arkansas Supreme Court's October 30 ruling.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
The Arkansas Supreme Court denies Damien Echols' petition for rehearing of the court's October 30 ruling.
Wednesday, June 2, 2004
Judge Burnett issues an Order for DNA Testing.
Attorneys for all three defendants file a Joint Status Memorandum in order "to report to the Court on recent developments..."
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Additionally, they also file a Motion to Recall the Mandate and to Reinvest Jurisdiction in the Trial Court to Consider Petition for Writ of Error, as well as a Memorandum in Support of Motion to Recall the Mandate and to Reinvest Jurisdiction in the Trial Court .
Monday, December 13, 2004
The State files their Response to Motion to Recall the Mandate
Monday, December 20, 2004
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a Reply in Support of Motion to Recall the Mandate.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
The Arkansas Supreme Court denies Damien Echols' motion to recall the mandate.
Monday, February 7, 2005
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a Petition for Rehearing regarding the Arkansas Supreme Court's denial of his Motion to Recall the Mandate.
Monday, February 14, 2005
The State files a response to Echols' petition for rehearing.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
The Arkansas Supreme Court denies Damien Echols' petition for rehearing.
Friday, February 25, 2005
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a First Amended Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Wednesday, March 2, 2005
The State files a Motion to Dismiss Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus for Non-Exhaustion.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Attorneys for Damien Echols file Response to Motion to Dismiss Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Friday, May 13, 2005
The State files a Reply to Echols' Response to Motion to Dismiss Petition for Habeas Corpus.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
William R. Wilson, Jr., U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas, issues an Order denying the State's Motion to Dismiss Echols' Petition for Habeas Corpus.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Attorneys for Damien Echols file a Second Amended Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Friday, November 21, 2007
District Judge William Wilson issues an order in which he states he plans "to hold [Echols'] second amended petition in abeyance pending exhaustion of state court remedies." He further requests that Echols' attorneys "file monthly status reports to inform the Court of the status of state court proceedings."
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Judge David Burnett writes a letter to all counsel of record stating that he has "set aside the last three weeks in April, 2008, to hear the pending motions" in all three cases.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
All parties submit a Joint Status and Case Management Memorandum to "inform the Court that for a variety of reason....they cannot begin a multi week evidentiary hearing on April 14, 2008."
Friday, March 28, 2008
Judge David Burnett writes a letter to all counsel of record stating that he has set aside April 15 for a hearing on all matters in all three cases.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Attorneys for Echols file a Motion for a new trial.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Hearing in Jonesboro. Judge Burnett tells the attorneys that he wants all motions filed by May 30th and the State to respond by July 15th. He sets an August 20th hearing for attorneys to give him a status report. After looking at schedules, Burnett schedules hearings beginning September 8th through October 3rd to hear the appeals. Each defendant will have one week. Burnett also issues a gag order, telling attorneys on both sides that any contact with the media is forbidden.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Attorneys for Baldwin file Amended Rule 37 petition. They also file a Writ of error coram nobis with the Arkansas Supreme Court claiming prosecutors withheld evidence from Baldwin's trial attorneys.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Attorneys for Baldwin file a Petition for writ of habeas corpus and motion for new trial.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Attorneys for Misskelley file file a Petition for writ of habeas corpus and motion for new trial, as well as an Amended Rule 37 petition. Additionally, they also file a Writ of error coram nobis with the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Without comment, the Arkansas Supreme Court denies Baldwin's and Misskelley's petitions to reinvest the circuit court with jurisdiction to consider their petitions for writ of error coram nobis. The petitions are "denied without prejudice," which allows the defense to renew the requests later.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Status hearing in Jonesboro. Judge Burnett tentatively schedules a September 8 hearing to conduct an Act 1780 hearing for Echols first, then a hearing for Baldwin and Misskelley, if needed. However, he says he could follow the prosecutor's suggestion that the DNA evidence offered by defense attorneys isn't sufficient to order a new trial or overturn the convictions of either defendant and that he could rule in chambers before September 8 and forgo a hearing.
Burnett also says he could begin hearings for Misskelley and Baldwin on September 8 to determine if they received ineffective legal counsel at their trials.
He also denies the defense's request to recuse from the cases.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Judge Burnett issues orders denying, without an evidentiary hearing, Echols' April 11 Motion for a new trial; Baldwin's May 30 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Motion for New Trial; Misskelley's June 5 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Motion for New Trial.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Judge Burnett issues a letter stating that hearings for motions for post-conviction relief pursued by Baldwin and Misskelley on grounds not available to Echols is scheduled to be conducted from September 24 through September 30.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Jason Baldwin's Rule 37 hearing begins in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
District Judge William Wilson issues an order stating that he recuses himself from Echols' case due to the fact that "Some of the principals in this case are long-time acquaintances and friends of mine."
Friday, October 2, 2009
Testimony concludes in Baldwin's and Misskelley's Rule 37 hearings.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Judge Burnett denies Baldwin's and Misskelley's Rule 37 petitions.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
The Arkansas Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Echols' appeal.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The Arkansas Supreme Court reverses Judge Burnett's September 10, 2008 orders and remands the defendants' cases back to circuit court for evidentiary hearings to consider new DNA evidence and a charge of juror misconduct.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Circuit Court Judge David Laser is appointed to preside over the evidentiary hearings ordered by the Arkansas Supreme Court. He replaces retired Judge David Burnett, who presided over the original trials and all subsequent hearings, because Burnett has been elected to the state Senate.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Scheduling conference in circuit court in Jonesboro. Judge David Laser orders all parties to file briefs with him by February 18 regarding issues to be addressed at the evidentiary hearings. Laser also decides that a single hearing will be held for all three defendants, which will save time and money for defense attorneys. He also orders a gag order in the case, prohibiting attorneys from talking about the case with the media.
Friday, February 18, 2011
All parties file pre-hearing briefs as ordered by Judge Laser. Additionally, attorneys for Baldwin and Misskelley file their respective Rule 37 briefs with the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Judge Laser issues an order stating that the evidentiary hearing is "scheduled for December 5, 2001 through December 21, 2011."
Monday, April 18, 2011
Judge Laser issues an order authorizing and directing additional DNA and other scientific testing as requested by defendants.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
The State files briefs in the Baldwin/Misskelley Rule 37 appeal.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Attorneys for Baldwin file their Rule 37 reply brief with the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Attorneys for Misskelley file their Rule 37 reply brief with the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Judge Laser issues a Notice which states that, “The court will take up certain matters pertaining to the cases of defendants Baldwin, Echols and Misskelley on Friday, August 19, 2011. 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."
Friday, August 19, 2011
Hearing before Judge Laser. It is announced that as the result of negotiations between prosecutors and defense counsel to resolve the cases Judge Laser vacated the convictions on the condition that the defendants enter guilty pleas pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court case known as North Carolina v. Alford. Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley enter "Alford pleas" which means that they plead guilty but do not admit to the act, and are allowed to maintain their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them. In accordance with the plea negotiations, Judge Laser sentences all three to time served, followed by a ten-year term of suspended imposition of sentence. If they re-offend they can be sent back to prison for 21 years.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Attorneys for Misskelley file a motion to dismiss the Rule 37 appeal that was pending before the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
The Arkansas Supreme Court grants Misskelley's motion to dismiss the Rule 37 appeal.
Attorneys for Echols file a motion to dismiss his federal habeas corpus petition.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
District Judge Brian Miller issues an order granting Echols' motion to dismiss his habeas corpus petition.