Natalie Maines to Receive $17,590 in Legal Fees From Slain Child’s Stepfather

The stepfather of one of three 8-year-old boys murdered in 1993 in West Memphis, Ark., has been ordered to pay $17,590 in legal fees to Dixie Chicks lead vocalist Natalie Maines after a federal court ruling that the singer did not defame him, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Saturday (April 17). Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, known as the West Memphis Three, were convicted in 1994 of murdering the children, including Terry Hobbs’ stepson, Steve Branch. Maines and several other celebrities, including Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, actor Johnny Depp and actress Winona Ryder, claim the West Memphis Three are innocent and should be released from prison. In 2008, Terry Hobbs, Branch’s stepfather, filed a lawsuit against Maines, claiming she defamed him on the Dixie Chicks’ Web site by implying he was involved in his stepson’s murder. In December, District Judge Brian S. Miller dismissed Hobbs’ lawsuit. As a result, the judge ruled Hobbs is responsible for paying Maines’ attorney and court fees.