All rights reserved. Examiners reported that both men's charts indicated deception when they denied involvement in the murders. [54] The justices also instructed the lower court to examine claims of misconduct by the jurors who sentenced Damien Echols to death and Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin to life in prison.

I had been shocked that the police did not find it with Stevie when they found his body. He is an actor and producer, known for Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000), Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) and Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996). [3], Misskelley was tried separately, and Echols and Baldwin were tried together in 1994. In turn, the new two-part Oxygen special, The Forgotten West Memphis Three, spawned by Ruff's Truth and Justice investigation, re-focuses the attention back on Steve, Michael and Chris—the ones who lost their lives. [55], After weeks of negotiations, on August 19, 2011, Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were released from prison as part of a plea deal, making the hearings ordered by the Arkansas Supreme Court unnecessary. [76], West of Memphis, directed and written by Amy J. Berg, and produced by Peter Jackson, as well as by Echols himself, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He testified that his own failure to put this incident on the court record and his failure to meet the minimum requirements in state law to represent a defendant in a capital murder case was evidence of ineffective assistance of counsel and that Misskelley's conviction should therefore be vacated.

Upon further examination, it was concluded that if the marks were bite marks, they did not match the teeth of any of the three convicted. That existence was Damien Echols' reality on death row for 18 years. He was an honor student. Other Works There was a small amount of blood found at the scene that was never tested. Henry Rollins went on a tour just to raise the money to do the first round of DNA testing...If the media doesn't care, if the world doesn't care, if people don't look at it, they'll still kill you and sweep it under the rug no matter how much evidence there is. The polygraph examiner claimed that Echols' chart indicated deception. On May 6, the boys' battered bodies were found in a drainage ditch in Robin Hood Hills.

The simple explanation: Echols stood out. A report jointly issued by the state and the defense team stated, "Although most of the genetic material recovered from the scene was attributable to the victims of the offenses, some of it cannot be attributed to either the victims or the defendants.

He has been married to Lorri Davis since December 3, 1999. "[87], The appellate legal team argued that Echols did not waive his assertion that he was not mentally competent before his 1994 trial because he was not competent to waive it. [9] The initial autopsy report describes the drug as Carbamazepine and the dosage at a sub-therapeutic level. He had a book with a pentagram on it after all. By then, the man had left, and police did not enter the restroom on that date.

And somehow, he survived the experience and came out stronger and more fulfilled than ever — and he credits it all to what he calls "high magick." [6] Baldwin pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree murder while still asserting his actual innocence. Judge Laser then sentenced them to time served, a total of 18 years and 78 days, and they were each given a suspended imposition of sentence for 10 years.

He and Baldwin, 16, were best friends.

[17], At the time of their arrests, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was 17 years old, Jason Baldwin was 16 years old, and Damien Echols was 18 years old. [77], Atom Egoyan directed a dramatized feature film of the case, titled Devil's Knot, released in U.S. theaters on May 9, 2014. The memorial is located in the playground of Weaver Elementary School in West Memphis, where all three victims were second graders at the time of the crime.

But the town was ready to see these three go straight to hell. Organized by Eddie Spaghetti of the band Supersuckers, the album featured a number of original songs about the case and other recordings by artists such as Steve Earle, Tom Waits, L7, and Joe Strummer. On May 5, 1993, best friends Steven Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers—all 8 years old and in the second grade—went missing in West Memphis, Ark. And as well-thumbed as this story is, there was still more to be uncovered—which, without playing coy, Ruff can't wait for people to see unfold in The Forgotten West Memphis Three, after which Truth and Justice will sift through everything they learned and keep the work going. The film stars Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth. News. Stidham said the judge closed the door without answering. During subsequent questioning, Morgan claimed a long history of drug and alcohol use, along with blackouts and memory lapses.

His psychosis dominated his perceptions of everything going on in court, Woods wrote. The judge said Hobbs had chosen to involve himself in public discussion over whether the convictions were just. Whatever became of Damien Echols’ child, the little boy with Domini’s ears we saw him cradling in court during his trial? The prosecution claimed that Echols' knowledge was nonetheless too close to the facts, since there was no public reporting of drowning or that one victim had been mutilated more than the others. [9] Byers later stated that he may have cut his thumb. During their conversation, Hutcheson reported that Echols made no incriminating statements.

When the bodies proved to have been discovered near where Aaron indicated, Bray asked Aaron for further details, and Aaron claimed that he had witnessed the murders committed by Satanists who spoke Spanish. That put him on the police's map, but when combined with his penchant for wearing black, his musical tastes (his beloved Metallica tunes provide an eerie soundtrack in Paradise Lost), and his interest in the pagan religion of Wicca (though his sister said he had considered the priesthood at one point), all served to make him an especially appealing person of interest for the local authorities. He lived with his mother, Sharon Melissa Byers, his adoptive father, John Mark Byers, and his stepbrother, Shawn Ryan Clark, aged 13. "[66] Byers has spoken to the media on behalf of the convicted, and has expressed his desire for justice for the families of both the victims and the three accused. Then came stories of Echols' interest in the occult, that maybe he was some sort of devil worshiper. Misskelley, 17, knew them, but they weren't as close with him.

In 2007, the defense teams presented new forensic evidence and, when DNA tests couldn't place the convicted young men at the scene, prosecutors were open to negotiating.

"The state of Arkansas was hoping to do like they do in so many other cases with poor people, with people who are powerless to defend themselves. That a knife found by divers in a lake behind Jason Baldwin's house couldn't be definitively linked to them. 1.

[46] She also claims that an audiotape the police said was "unintelligible" (and that they eventually lost) was perfectly clear and contained no incriminating statements. He was eight years old, 4 ft. 2 tall, weighed 55 lbs, and had brown hair. Lawyers representing the West Memphis Three reached the plea deal that allowed the men to be released from prison. His stated reasons for the removal are apparently contradictory. [29] Police had initially suspected that the victims had been raped because their anuses were dilated. Despite his reported IQ of 72 (categorizing him as borderline intellectual functioning) and his status as a minor, Miskelley was questioned alone; his parents were not present during the interrogation. Byers was the only victim with drugs in his system; he was prescribed Ritalin (methylphenidate) in January 1993 as part of treatment of an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Asked by the judge if there was a reason the sentence shouldn't be handed down, Baldwin replied, "Because I'm innocent.". The knife was not received at the West Memphis Police Department until January 8, 1994. He had never told me that he had it. Police believed the boys were assaulted and killed at the location where they were found; critics argued that the assault, at least, was unlikely to have occurred at the creek. [46] She further asserted that the police had implied that if she did not cooperate with them they would take away her child.

During interrogation, West Memphis police suggested to Byers that he might have left the knife out accidentally, and Byers agreed with this. "[56] Since his release, Baldwin has moved to Seattle to live with friends. [63] In 2007, Pamela Hobbs, the mother of victim Stevie Branch, joined those who have publicly questioned the verdicts, calling for a reopening of the verdicts and further investigation of the evidence. [10] During a polygraph examination, he denied any involvement. "He still believed in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus". [20] Morgan was presumed to be at least casually familiar with all three murdered boys, having previously driven an ice cream truck route in their neighborhood.

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