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Exculpatory DNA evidence and information about juror misconduct had already surfaced by the time Stephen Braga joined Arkansas death row inmate Damien Echols’ legal team. But it was Braga’s outside-the-box legal strategy that ultimately freed Echols from prison.

Echols was one of three teenagers convicted in 1994 following the discovery of the bodies of three boys on May 5, 1993, in the so-called “West Memphis Three” case. Prosecutors argued that the killings were part of a satanic ritual because the children’s bodies were naked, bound and mutilated. Echols attracted their attention because he listened to heavy metal music, wore black and followed Wicca.

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