Results of the DNA tests
The DNA results have been officially released. In a recent DNA Status Report, the DNA did not match any of those in prison for the crime. Almost all of the DNA from the crime scene matched the victims. Hairs that previously had been found "microscopically similar" to those of Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin did not come from them. The Status Report went on to say, "Although most of the genetic material recovered from the scene was attributable to the victims of the offenses, some of it cannot be attributed to either the victims or the defendants." [DNA Status Report, July 17, 2007] More tests are going to be performed to compare the unknown DNA to additional suspects.
One hair, described as being beneath the binding of victim Michael Moore, had a single nucleotide change from the mitochondrial DNA of a sample gatehred from the home of Terry Hobbs - the stepfather of the victim, Stevie Branch. Stevie Branch's mother, Pamela Hobbs, has come out in favor of a retrial and says she believes her ex-husband may have committed the crime. The Hobbs have had a rocky marital history capped by Terry Hobbs shooting Pamela's brother in November, 1994.
Terry Hobbs accused the defense attorneys of planting the evidence - and said it was normal transfer.
Hobbs said he believes the DNA results are the work of "crooked defense attorneys ... trying to get their killer SOBs out of jail.''
"It ain't gonna work,'' said Hobbs, now a salesman at a North Memphis building supply company. He said a private detective working for defense lawyers told him one of his hairs was found on a shoelace used to tie up one of the murdered boys.
"That's understandable,'' said Hobbs. "All three of them boys used to come play at my house.'' [Commercial Appeal, July 20, 2007]
Mike Allen, in 1993 a West Memphis police officer and the discoverer of victim Michael Moore, and now assistant chief of police, said the DNA news is "nothing earth-shattering." [ibid] In another interview, he went on to say, "If you test my clothes, you're going to find trace DNA evidence from my wife, my son, my black Lab and my brown Lab. . . In 1993, Terry Hobbs wasn't a suspect, and he's not a suspect in 2007." [West Memphis Evening Times, July 23, 2007]
The specifics of the recent DNA results are summarized in DNA results, part four.
More background on Terry Hobbs can be found here.
More background on the matching of the mitochondrial DNA and the problems with the match is here.
Copyright © 2008 Martin David Hill