Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, known as The West Memphis Three, are
thought by many to be wrongly accused of murder. Apparently, the Arkansas Supreme Court
thinks there is indeed room for doubt. This is excellent news for the three men who have spent
half of their lives behind bars.
The West Memphis Three were convicted as teenagers of murdering three 8-year-olds Steve
Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore without much (if any) convincing evidence.
A great deal of the so-called evidence was centered around a false murder confession by a
confused and badgered teenager. The confession implicated all three teens in the murder and
mutilation of the three boys.
Jessie Misskelley Jr., without his parents present or representation, was questioned for twelve hours. A great many adults would say anything to shut up a person that won’t stop asking stupid questions let alone an 17-year old kid who isn’t even allowed to buy alcohol. Only 46 minutes of the interrogation was ever recorded. Even that small part when listen to seems completely coerced.
This part alone makes you really wonder what was going on with that sheriffs department. Jessie Misskelley
Jr. later recanted his confession.
A great deal of the trial footage is centered around another teenage boy, Damien Echols,18.
Wearing black clothing, his books, poetry and his music tastes were all submitted as
evidence to murder. If wearing black and writing poetry proved you could murder someone,
half of Seattle should be locked up including me. His surly attitude made some people feel
he was guilty, while by his own admission, was due to not really believing he could go to
death row. He believed, like many, the evidence and sloppy handling of the entire trial
would rob him of his youth. His Perry Mason ‘aha!’ moment never came during the trial.
The thing that made me feel outraged was the clumping of various different alternative
ideas and lifestyles into one satanic sounding prejudged generalization. The people
spouting this nonsense were not well-read though they claimed to be well versed in all the
books they were referencing. Here in Seattle you will find, a slew of Wiccan’s, artists,
poets, and even spooky goth kids. None of these groups would be classified as murderers
without real hard evidence. So why have these traits been used to persecute three human beings?
It really is the witch trials all over again, except instead of torturing them you rob them
of their childhoods.
The last defendant, 16-year old Jason Baldwin had minor scrapes with the law. Vandalism,
while destructive and expensive, is not really any indication of who you are going to grow
up to be. Baldwin was a decent student considering a possible future in art.
The trial seems to be thought a joke by many people including celebrities Johnny Depp, Tom
Waits, Margaret Cho, and others. Many people thought The West Memphis Three to be railroaded by
close minded people that mistook teenage angst for murderous intentions.
The whole media circus surrounding The West Memphis Three was documented in Paradise Lost: The
Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations. From the coerced
confession to the sloppy handling of the crime scene and the clownish behavior of all the
adults sworn into positions of power, well you decide.
The new hearing for The West Memphis Three will determine if new DNA analysis might lead to
a possible acquittal for the accused men.
Celebrities are rallying for the Three including Robert Englund who signed a picture of his trademark character Freddy Krueger for the Skeleton Key auctions. Proceed from the auctions go directly to the defense fund for The West Memphis Three. Their auction site is filled with memorabilia and artwork. The selection varies so it is always good to check back. With the battle for justice just gearing up expect to see more amazing pieces being sold to free The Memphis Three.
I fully believe in the innocence of The West Memphis Three.
The question is, when they are finally released, as I believe they will be, who will stand up and apologize?