February 15, 2015
West Memphis Three Judge Now Wants to End the Death Penalty
In a serious case of irony, former judge David Burnett is introducing a bill in Arkansas that would end the death penalty. This is ironic because Burnett was the judge that presided over the trial of Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin, two of the convicted West Memphis Three. Oh yes, he also sentenced Echols to death.
So clearly he had no issue with the death penalty back when Echols was taking the rap for satanic panic in West Memphis but now he wants to do away with it? Why? Guilt maybe, since Echols, Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were released in August of 2011, after being incarcerated since 1993, on an almost unheard of Alford plea.
But I digress. That is certainly a post for another time. Back to Burnett. He has not spoken publicly about the case other than to say that he did not agree with the State letting the West Memphis Three accept the plea deal. Interesting given that he is now standing to do away with the very penalty he bestowed upon one of them. So does that mean he believes in the death penalty for those cases he already ruled on or just against Damien Echols?
What do you think prompted the change in Burnett's stance on the death penalty? Guilty conscience? Or to garner favor?