A key witness who helped put one of the West Memphis 3 behind bars in the murder of three boys, now claims police forced her to lie.
Vicki Hutcheson was in court Friday at a hearing to determine if Jesse Misskelley and Jason Baldwin will get a new trial, but did not take the stand because the statute of limitations has not run out on perjury for her previous testimony.
She originally testified in Jesse Misskelley’s trial in 1994 that she saw Damien Echols and Misskelley participating in satanic rituals. But the defense Friday submitted a 2004 transcript of her recanting it all under oath.
She says West Memphis Police threatened her if she didn’t testify against Misskelley and that they put her up in a hotel immediately after his trial, so she wouldn’t be available for the Echols and Baldwin trial.
Also Friday, an acquaintance of Misskelley, Echols, and Baldwin, took the stand. She testified that the night of the murders, she talked to Echols on the phone between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. and he was at his home.
The defense today, also introduced an affidavit from Jason Baldwin’s uncle stating that Jason was at his house mowing the lawn from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. the night of the murders.
None of that testimony was heard during the original trial.
The defense wrapped up Friday, but the prosecution didn’t have its witnesses ready, so the judge continued the hearing to October first and second. He says he wants it all wrapped up then.
Another medical expert has testified that injuries to three West Memphis boys who were killed in 1993 were due to animals – not humans.
Forensic odontologist Richard Souviron of Miami testified Wednesday in Jonesboro that it is “bunk” to contend a knife caused the wounds to Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore. A former New York medical examiner made similar comments in testimony Tuesday.
Also convicted was Damien Echols who was sentenced to death. His request for a new trial was denied in 2003.