Skip to comments.DNA could clear 'Satanic' triple murder teenagers
Posted on 11/04/2007 12:37:28 PM PST by 49th
The horrific crime shocked a nation. Three young boys, cub scouts, were tied up, murdered and their naked bodies dumped in a drainage ditch.
As a Deep South community bayed for justice, attention focused on a group of misfit teenagers, heavy metal fans accused of killing the children in a Satanic ritual. The case became a sensation at a time when a 'Satanic panic' over cults was gripping 1990s America. All three were found guilty. Jason Baldwin, then 16, and Jessie Misskelley, 17, got life sentences. Damien Echols, 18, was put on death row, where he remains.
Now evidence, including DNA samples, has emerged to suggest the real killers are still at large and that three innocent men have been behind bars for almost 15 years. 'No reasonable juror would convict... knowing what we know today,' said defence lawyer Dennis Riordan.
The facts were simple enough. The victims - Christopher Byers, Steve Branch and James Moore - were last seen riding their bikes on 5 May, 1993. Their bodies, tied with shoelaces, were discovered a day later near the Arkansas town of West Memphis, close to the Mississippi river. They were only a few miles from home. Police were shocked by the terrible knife wounds and signs of torture and concluded that some sort of cult ritual had occurred. Attention quickly focused on the town misfits. Under pressure, Misskelley confessed to the killings and all three were found guilty.
Now lawyers for Echols have lodged new evidence seeking to prove his innocence. The case against the West Memphis Three appears to have been more about rushed police work and hyped-up paranoia over non-existent Satanism than evidence. The suspects were just unfortunate to be social outcasts and to like rock music.
(Excerpt) Read more at observer.guardian.co.uk ...
Sounds like a rehash of the evidence presented at the trial and the so-called DNA links sound bogus. The teens liked rock n’ roll, so that’s good enough for me.
Wow... If I tell you I like rap music, are you going to come after me? ;^)
Historically, convicting people on false criminal charges because they’re different or have unusual tastes was a staple of Southern justice.
I saw the documentary film about the murders and watched Damien Echols admiring himself in a handmirror while waiting for the verdict. While hardly admissible as evidence, that was enough to put me in the “guilty” camp.
I think you’re in the wrong country.
There indeed was a frenzy of “satanic” prosecutions around that time - led by a bunch of unqualified “satanism” experts (usually fundivangelist types) that were able to really control/influence local prosecutors.
There was one murder case in Texas, I believe, where they ended up arresting half the prominent citizens in town on fantastical satanic cult charges before things were finally controlled.
Justice is blind, not perfect. If fatal errors of judgment were made, they should be corrected and the right parties brought to justice.
I certainly would.
I came away thinking they probably did it. That father of one of the victims is also a bizarre character and if you watch the second documentary it makes it seem like he was involved.
Arkansas, May of 93.........alot going on during that time of Clintons first term in March, April and May of that year.
That evidence is good enough for me. Hang'm. If Hollyweird is on somebody's side, then they must be guilty.
Onion Fields; Tookie; Mumia; Sadam; Osama; MadMo... the list keeps growing.
I seam to recall reading somewhere that the step father was a cop for West Memphis although this article does not mention that fact. Have you read much on this case and if so am I mistaken?
I guess that's better than sitting up and begging for justice. Did they bark for joy and wag their tails when the sentences were announced? Apparently southerners are hound dogs to this author.
Typical liberal limey hit piece. The folks in the “deep south” were “braying for justice”, and the “Memphis Three” were being railroaded because they liked rock music.
Any reasonable person looking at the evidence should know there innocent.
A couple of things have always bugged me about this case. Jesse Miskelly came from a rough family and has a IQ that borders on mental retardation. The only one of the three involved with the Wiccan relgion was Damien Echols.
One step Father was a police informer. He is the one who was portrayed as suspicious in the documentary. But the DNA which was found belongs to a different step Father.
Overall, there is a complete lack of physical evidence to convict anyone (IMHO) and it is probably too late now to believe that this case will ever really be solved.
“A couple of things have always bugged me about this case. Jesse Miskelly came from a rough family and has a IQ that borders on mental retardation.”
Hardly a surprise aggresive interogation could get such a person to confess.