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Pearl Jam Singer Benefit Funds Exculpatory DNA Tests

Posted Oct 30, 2007 7:39 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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DNA tests funded with help from the lead singer of Pearl Jam have revealed that none of the teens convicted of killing three 8-year-old Arkansas boys in 1993 left genetic material on the bodies.

The DNA report said genetic material from an unidentified person was left on one victim, the Los Angeles Times reports. DNA from hair at the crime scene matched that of the stepfather of one of the victims and one of the stepfather's friends, although that is not proof of their guilt, according to court papers seeking to overturn the conviction of one of the defendants.

The brief also says that an expert who testified the teens were part of a satanic cult had “a fraudulent Ph.D.” from a school shut down by state authorities. Two of the teens were described as “Goths” but denied any satanic ties.

The teens—Damien Wayne Echols, Charles "Jason" Baldwin and Jessie Lloyd Misskelley—were convicted in the 1993 killings of three Cub Scouts whose bodies were found in a drainage ditch in West Memphis. Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder held a benefit concert to help raise money for the appeal and the DNA tests.

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