Father of West Memphis 3 changes his opinion - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Reported by Jason Miles

Father of West Memphis 3 changes his opinion

John Mark Byers has never minced words.

"Do you think Terry Hobbs killed your son and the two other boys?" asks Reporter Jason Miles. "In my opinion, I do," says Byers.

The adoptive father of eight-year Christopher Byars has done "a 180." He once praised the convictions of the West Memphis Three. Now, he prays that another man is brought to justice.

"If it takes the last breath in my body, that's my goal," says Byers.

Lawyers for Damien Echols recently announced the discovery of new DNA. It's evidence that puts Terry Hobbs, the step-father of victim Stevie Branch, at the scene of the crime.

"I personally believe that it was a punishment crime that got out of hand," says Byers.

Byers says Hobbs was never properly interrogated. Instead, many suspected he was the killer. Byers admits, his bizarre behavior in a series of documentaries did not help.

"The Mark Byers people saw on TV and in those documentaries, that was not me, this is me," says Byers.

A more enlightened man, he says. A man who has met with attorneys, seen the evidence, and no longer willing to believe everything police tell him.

"I needed to hate somebody at that time in my life and I was blinded by rage, and anger, and grief," says Byers.

To the three men he once condemned, he has this to say:

"That I'm very sorry for the injustice you've endured," says Byers. "For the hardships your families have been through," he adds.

Terry Hobbs has denied any involvement in the killings. Our calls to his attorney tonight were not returned. Meantime, new evidence in the case is under review.

Click here to email Jason Miles.

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