LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The man with the power to grant pardons in Arkansas said Tuesday he doesn't plan to issue them in the "West Memphis Three" case unless evidence shows someone else was to blame for the murders of three Cub Scouts nearly two decades ago.
Gov. Mike Beebe said he doesn't consider pardons until all sentences are completed. The three men who were convicted - Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley- have 10 years of what amounts to unsupervised probation after being released from custody Friday. Beebe's term will expire long before then.
"They still have, as I understand it, a sentence to be completed," Beebe told reporters before speaking at an economic development conference in Little Rock. Beebe later added he wouldn't consider pardons for the three "unless there was compelling evidence that somebody else was responsible."
Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley have long said they didn't kill the three boys in 1993.
After an HBO documentary detailed their case in 1996, the men known as the "West Memphis Three" garnered celebrity support and hefty donations to fund expensive DNA testing and private investigators. Now, following their release last week, supporters of the three say they hope to find evidence that will clear their names.