A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

LASIS Welcomes a Special Guest

By LASIS Staff

On March 21 Damien Echols surprised the LASIS crew with a visit.

It was a moving experience for us, as we’d watched the HBO “Paradise Lost” documentaries, and researched the case that landed Mr. Echols in death row.

Our subsequent pieces about the West Memphis 3 tragedy can be found here, here, and here.

Mr. Echols was convicted and locked up for a triple murder he didn’t commit.  He spent a total of 18 years in prison; he didn’t see sunlight for ten of them.  The lack of sunlight and prison conditions took a toll on his health and his eyes. That’s Mr. Echols in the dark glasses in the photo. (Click photo to enlarge).

We will never forget the afternoon we spent with Mr. Echols, whom we found to be remarkable in every way: intelligent, soulful, honest, gracious, and somehow, despite everything he’s experienced, suffused with a healthy dose of zen.

LASIS Editor Michelle Zierler received emails from many of the reporters marveling at how the day turned out.

Reporter Drew Carroll sent a note at 12:50 a.m. this morning that included this:

“Ironically, I caught ‘Shawshank Redemption‘ on AMC when I got home tonight. It’s always my stock response to “what’s your favorite movie?” I can’t help getting drawn in every time. I always find it moving and especially so today after meeting someone who experienced every atrocity in the film and more. I liked Morgan Freeman’s quote near the end, “some birds are too bright to be caged.” Damien is certainly one bright bird, and we’re all better people for having gotten to know him.”

Mr. Echols was released in August, 2011 on an Alford Plea. We plan on working to help him get a full exoneration.

His memoir “Damien Echols:  Life After Death”  is due out in September, and the film “West of Memphis“, produced by Mr. Echols, his wife Lorri Davis, and Peter Jackson will be released by Sony Picture Classics.

I know I speak for all of the LASIS reporters when I say that our lives are richer after yesterday’s meeting.

Comments

110 Comments »

110 Responses

  1. Martin Singer says:

    Wrong. Back in ’93 there was a media circus and distortions and lies entered as ‘evidence’.

    And in 2011 they maintained their innocence and took an Alford Plea to get out because Damien’s health was failing, and AK would have stalled and drawn out the trial process for years. They had nearly 18 years of their lives stolen from them as it is.

  2. Tera Skoog says:

    Ok they would have been found innoscent in a few months? It was only head to the evidentiary(sp) phase. The defense was asking to head straight to trial because at best it would be 6 months. What world do you live in the it would be in a few months. And what I meant as the shock factor was to get people to understand the local peoples reaction. And as I said it what and still does bring compassion to those people. And Damien was already having health issues. And they DID not just simply plead guilty. Do you understand no matter how many times you say that it does not make it true. They made an Alford Plea. Which MEANS they admit that they could have been found guilty again. But they maintain their innoscence. At no time did they say we murdered the three boys. I had not only been abused but had some very bad individuals around me. And I would not had at any time kill a child. And no I will never agree. But I also know no matter what you and any non supporter is shown or ever told. You will never ever admit they did are not guilty.

  3. The 3 were guilty says:

    The media circus was created by some of the supporters and their one sided movies. A lot of the evidence was legit and has never been discredited.

    In an Alford Plea, the criminal defendant does not admit the act, but admits that the prosecution could likely prove the charge. The court will pronounce the defendant guilty. The defendant is pleading guilty with this plea.

    They had previously stated they committed the crimes to others. All 3 of them told, bragged or confessed the crimes to others. Two of them did several times.

    The 3 murdered children had their entire lives stolen from them.

  4. Tera Skoog says:

    Ok, since you are going to just keep saying this. During the press conference Jason and Jessie said they did not want to take the deal at first. Because they did not want to say they did something they did not. And no one has EVER claimed Jason bragged to anyone about anything. And the media circus was started before even the first movie came out. It was a sensational story. And there were cameras and news stories about it all the time. The news footage in the movies are real not fictional. And people claimed to hear Damien bragging. He never told anyone directly he did anything. And as far as media hype or circus. Blood Of Innoscents was the almost like if The Enquirer wrote it. It is one of the worst rated books about the case for a reason. And for anyone quoting it shows exactly where they are getting their information. And there is so much more going into the Alford Plea. Are you at all interested in the whole thing? And you do know that all three are still working on exonerating themselves? They are not just sitting there. Why still put the time into it? Wouldn’t they just run and hide? And I think after 18 years in jail. They are not afraid to come and talk to people. Like they have been now since they were released. That does not sound like three guilty monsters.

  5. The 3 were guilty says:

    If the 3 didn’t do it, then why did they keep telling others before and even after they were arrested that they did do it.

    Here’s some of Echols “bragging.”

    According to notes by police officer Shane Griffin, DeQuita Dunham “stated that her son William Jones has heard Damien stating that he pulled a fast one on the police and that has been telling kids at Lakeshore that if they messed with him, he would do the same thing to them that he did to the 3 little boys.” William Winford Jones told WMPD detective Bryn Ridge that Damien Echols had confessed to him. William Winford Jones maintained his story in multiple conversations with police detectives and prosecutors over the next eight months.

    Watkins recalled Damien Echols confessing on Friday, May 7, to participation in the murders. On October 12, 1993, Ken Watkins took another polygraph at the West Memphis Police Department. To the question, “Did Damien tell you that he was there when those three young boys were killed?”, Watkins answered “yes”; the polygrapher considered this an honest answer.

    Donna Medford, mother of three girls, first told her story to police on Monday, June 7, 1993, three days after Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were arraigned.

    The week of May 24th when my two girls Jodee & Jackee Medford and Christi Vanvickle got in the car they started all talking at once telling me about what the wierd black haired boy had said that night. The all said they heard him say that he had killed those 3 little boys. Jodee said she heard him say “He had killed the boys and before he got caught or turned himself in he was gonna kill 2 more and already had one picked out.” I told them he was just nuts and to stay away from him. Katie Hendrix was also with me that night & repeated the same story. She also told me he had said he was going to bite her titties off. When he left she yelled ‘Did you really kill those 3 boys & he yelled ‘yes’.”

    Re your question: “And you do know that all three are still working on exonerating themselves? They are not just sitting there.”

    Yes, there is money and fame in exonerating themselves. They get to be in movies and help make them. They get to meet movie stars, famous directors and rock stars. Why would they hide when they get the opportunity to do this? It is known that criminals deny the crimes the commit, especially these types of crimes.

  6. dsketch says:

    I just recently watched the Paradise Lost films and pt.1 documentary didn’t feel to be “slanted” at all. To me it seemed to give equal time to both the families of the victims as well as the 3 defendants.

    As Tera stated, the filmakers originally felt that the 3 were probably guilty. As filming progressed they began to change their minds towards the end.

    The following sequels could be considered slanted because by then the filmakers were convinced of their innocence.

  7. The 3 were guilty says:

    from the Moore’s (parents of one of the murdered children) letter to AMPAS:

    While we were grieving for our children, the HBO film crew assured us that they only chronicled the events as they unfolded, and that they believed the defendants to be guilty. They earned our trust, and then they violated it. Director Joe Berlinger aptly referred to himself as a “storyteller first, a journalist second…” an accurate description given the fable he has conjured. Berlinger decided within “five minutes” of meeting Damien Echols that he was innocent and immediately set out upon a mission to prove it, truth and facts be damned. The fabricated innocence of the defendants made for a better “documentary” than the truth that these three teenagers killed our children for nothing more than a sick thrill.

    Five minutes is very fast. It is unlikely that they would be able to evaluate the case that quickly. To me, this means that they really believed they were innocent all along, or had an agenda to write the story differently than it really happened.

    More from the Moore’s letter:

    Directors Berlinger and Sinofsky lied to grieving parents. They have callously accused not one, but two, grieving parents of their own sons’ murders. They manipulated viewers into believing that these trials were a witchhunt, showing only very carefully selected snippets of trial testimony. The trials of our sons’ murderers lasted twenty-two days. Despite having over 140 hours of footage in their possession, Berlinger and Sinofsky ultimately showed viewers less than one hour of trial footage and led viewers to the false conclusion that there was no evidence produced that the three defendants were guilty.

    The above indicates an agenda by the movie producers to distort the story and the truth about the case.

  8. Sherry Levin says:

    @the 3 were guilty
    I’m sure You must know you’re quoting things that people said that they later swore they’d lied about. For example the boy William Jones admitted he lied and was showing off for his mother when he’d boasted he’d heard Damien say anything. He was very embarrassed and admitted he’d lied anyway.
    there is NO evidence of anybody saying that they heard or saw or knew anything about these three to connect them with the murders that have not admitted they lied about. If you want to say ‘well, i don’t believe they were lying, even though they later say they were’, say so. But don’t pretend that the statements you quote are the last word on things. They’re not.

    I really suggest you GET A LIFE. You care consumed with this case in a way that goes beyond obsessive.

  9. The 3 were guilty says:

    It is interesting that the supporters of the WM3 need to personally attack and insult those that believe the 3 were guilty (as the person above did).

    You misrepresent what happened to Jones. On the day before his scheduled testimony, Jones met with Ron Lax, a private investigator working for Damien Echols. Suddenly Jones recanted his story, claimed he had been lying to police and prosecutors for eight months, and refused to testify. Why all of a sudden did he recant? Was it fear or money possibly?

    What is interesting about this case is the number of people that recanted. I have heard there was a lot of intimidation and fear during the trial by supporters of the WM3. Later there was a lot of money coming from supporters.

    There are two sides to every story. The supporters’ side of the story is not the last word either. I plan to continue posting about this case. Regardless of the insults and attacks by supporters.

  10. dsketch says:

    @The 3 were guilty…You keep referring to how the “supporters” keep insulting and attacking. Are you seriously going to tell me the “nons” aren’t guilty of that as well? Scroll up and read Susans comment toward Tera. She called her “misinformed and uneducated” in the most condescending tone imagineable.

    Again you can call the documentaries slanted all you want. I didn’t see the first one that way at all and I don’t see where any facts were fabricated. After it was released people took it upon themselves to take what they wanted from it and formed their own opinion.. It seemed pretty fair to both sides to me. In fact part 1 ended with Damien calmly smoking a cigarette and stating he liked being the “boogeyman”. Hardly putting him in a favorable light wouldn’t you say?

    The filmakers didn’t start leaning towards accusing the 2 parents you spoke of until after the first documentary was made.

    I’m just giving an objective opinion. I’m neither a non or a supporter. I think its an unsolved case at this point. I really wish Mr. Bojangles had of been looked into more.

  11. The 3 were guilty says:

    The Bojangles man was probably not connected to the murders. Witnesses described him as disoriented and wobbly. He had a cast on one arm. How could he have lured and tied up three unknown kids? The best explanation is that there were multiple killers. Since all three of the victims had been hogtied with their own shoelaces, and the crime lab found three different kinds of knots used. This pointed toward multiple killers rather than one killer. Three different knots would indicate three murderers.

  12. dsketch says:

    Fair enough. However the fact that the police lost the blood evidence found in the Bojangles restroom is irksome to me. Considering how close in time and in vicinity to the murder scene this occured.

    The biggest thing that keeps me from jumping on the “non” bandwagon is the lack of a single speck of evidence left behind that ties the 3 to the crime scene. Not a hair, fiber, footprint or drop of blood…. And there HAD to be alot of blood. Pretty impressive for a trio of poor white trailer park youths. One of them nearly retarded. And the necklace thing isn’t doing it for me either. Sorry.

    At this point I can’t help but feel the crime scene was merely a drop off place for the bodies. But who knows? Prove the 3 were there and I’ll believe it.

    There are now 2 parents who at one time were the most vocal against the 3 are now “supporters”.They too were there at the trial and heard all of the evidence. I can’t believe that they just got sucked in by all the hype from people like Johnny Depp and the Dixie Chicks and a couple of slanted movies. And please don’t come at me with “they were paid off” or some nonsense like that.

    But carry on….many of you are much more informed and educated on this matter than I am….

    rant over

  13. The 3 were guilty says:

    The Luminol evidence (Luminol enhanced chemiluminesence (LCL)) showed there was blood found at the scene of the crime. The bodies were found under water, many hours after the crimes were committed, dispersing all of the blood that could be seen visually. This shows the crime was committed there. He was not nearly retarded. He lived very independently, going to jobs and hanging with friends with little adult oversight. He juggled multiple relationships with women. I can believe they could have been convinced by the hype of the movies. Many were. Are you sure you are neutral about the case. You sound like a supporter that knows a lot about the case.

  14. Lisa Rapp says:

    Ok everyone, I’ve been reading these comments every few days and it’s clear that the person who won’t give his real name, “The 3 were guilty” is going to have the last word. It doesn’t matter what the facts are, and doesn’t matter how long this goes. The 3 were guilty is obsessed. He’s like a kid in a playground that will not let an argument end, will keep going til he’s blue in the face.

    So Tera, Martin, all of you reasonable folks: Just let’s stop this. The 3 were guilty is obsessed and filled with hatred. It consumed him.

    we have better things to do than spend time in the muck with him.

    Peace.

  15. Tera Skoog says:

    Thank you Lisa. I have been rather sick the last few days. I just wanted to show that people are still on their side. I do not buy fame and fortune mostly because they are not seeking it. And I believe Jason and Jessie have jobs. And as for them having alot of money. I am not sure that the nonsupporters understand how much money all this takes. The cost of lawyers, experts, forensic lab tests, and trying to help them while in prison and now on the outside. And honestly I know more about Bruce and Joe and I am offended for them for what this person is saying. And they have personally attacked me. And they do so on nearly every story about the WM3. Who are not interested in listening to them. And I am done talking here. But I was so happy to see so many people responding. And as I said when they started talking about Mark. That was just too much. And exonerating themselves is not fame and fortune. And it is not easy it is tedious. Since no one on the other side seems to be interested. But I also know no matter what is discovered about this case or the WM3. That the nonsupporters will declare them guilty. They could have someone else confess have evidence and they would still say guilty. And I am done now. I learned last friday I might have cancer. But I have to tell all of you here. That I am so happy that the WM3 free. And it is the one bright spot in a very dark world.

  16. The 3 were guilty says:

    Some of the supporters above did not give their real names, yet I have heard no complaints about them. For safety, I do not give out my name. The post above by LR is just more name calling and insults by supporters of the WM3. It incorrectly attributes emotions to my posts that do not exist.

    Legal cases do take money. But it appears that the defense of the WM3 has a very large amount of money to work with. I do not believe I have not stated anything offensive about the movie producers themselves. I quoted the Moores (parents of one of the victims), who are understandably upset with the movies. I have not personally attacked anyone here in any way, though I have been attacked more than once.

    Nonsupporters declare the three guilty because of the evidence, testimony and confessions showing their guilt.

  17. Carol says:

    So good to see Damien in a happy setting!

  18. skates says:

    All of the anti-WM3 posts were posted by a rabid man named Fred J. Walsh, who is obsessed with his hatred of the 3 and, in particular, Damien Echols. His posts are nothing more than lies that he hopes will somehow cause damage to their lives. He’s a very sad, lonely man/

  19. Annette Innis says:

    I think you’re right, skates. Look at the facebook profile for Fred J Walsh. The only activity listed is WM3 Truth. And there are a lot of posts online under that name that seem exactly like what he wrote here.

    Here’s the facebook page.
    http://www.facebook.com/people/Fred-J-Walsh/1471389141

  20. The 3 were guilty says:

    Nope, I’m not Walsh. Every post I have seen by him, he signs with his full name.
    I went to the facebook page and his style looks nothing like mine. Those debating the supporters may use the same information at times. He doesn’t seem “hateful” or “rabid” to me. All the posts I have seen by him there and elsewhere are calm and factual. He sites sources and web links.

    The post above by SK is just more personal insults and attacks by supporters of the WM3.

  21. Charles O Landers says:

    First of all i wanna let everyone know that i’ve done research, watched all three of the Paradise Lost documentary, n read the book called the Devil’s Knot, n i’m very happy to say that i’m a proud supporter of the WM3 n that i’m very glad that they are out of prison. Here is a response to The 3 were guilty, that #1 bout people hearing RUMORS bout Damien killing the 3 boys n that “He had killed the boys and before he got caught or turned himself in he was gonna kill 2 more and already had one picked out…..in the 1st Paradise Lost movie why was the two girls that took the stand said what they had to say that when i done research that their testamony was thrown out of court? But tell you the truth one of my favorite colors is black, i like listening to heavy metal music, plus i got an i.d on yahoo called demon, i suffer from depression, possible bipolar, n when i was was younger i had stuff done to me that you can’t imagine does all that make me a murderer? cause the reason why i asked that question was that in one of your comments that “Echols had serious psychological problems and a history of violence, also that Jason Baldwin had a difficult, dysfunctional family life in the two years leading up to the murders. His mother, Gail Grinnell, suffered from mental illness. From Blood of Innocents, n that Jessie Misskelley liked to fight”

    A person w/ psychological problems that a person that has a dysfunctional family and a person that likes to fight doesn’t make them a murderer! Another thing i’ve been wondering bout is that when Jessie was being questioned hows come his parents nor a lawyer was ever present? cause tell you the truth of him being a minor at the time should have both his parents plus a lawyer present during questioning, also when Damien, Jason, n Jessie took a polygraph test the police officers said that they failed the polygraph test which in fact they passed the polygraph test w/ flying colors, there is another thing that i would like for you to answer if you don’t mind is that during Jessie’s questioning hows come the police officers didn’t record parts of Jessie’s statement that they only gotten parts of Jessie’s statement? Also bout the Bojangles restaurant when i black man that looked dirty was disoriented went into the females restroom when he leaned on the wall there was blood on it but when the police officers gotten there did they take blood samples that was on the wall if so how did it vanish from The Bojangles restaurant to the crime lab? if you think that this supporter of the WM3 are bashing you for like a better word i wanna let you know that i’m not……. i just asked these questions cause i would like to have your opinion that’s all n thank you very much……..but i will always defend the WM3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. The 3 were guilty says:

    It is more than rumors that Echols went around telling others he committed the murders. He bragged or told several people before he was arrested that he commmited the crimes.

    Echols didn’t just suffer from depression. Here are some notes from Charter Hospital 1992 about him.

    Charter Hospital, Little Rock, September 14 – 28, 1992

    Mr. Echols was completely incapable of caring for himself when he returned to Arkansas. He had no money and his mental illness and lack of skills and experience prevented him from working. He lived on the streets and even stayed at the home of his abusive step-father, Andy Echols, a few nights. Within days he was identified by his probation officer who believed that Mr. Echols should be treated in a long-term residential psychiatric facility. The probation officer had Mr. Echols detained in the juvenile facility for violating his parole by returning to Arkansas. Staff and residents at the facility describe Mr. Echols as losing touch with reality. His behavior deteriorated drastically. One resident reported he observed Mr. Echols “. . .sucking the blood off the scratch that. . .” another inmate “. . .had on his arm.” Mr. Echols was placed in isolation and on suicide watch. The juvenile facility quickly obtained a court order and sent Mr. Echols to Charter Hospital for the purpose of “determining the appropriate method of referral to a residential treatment facility.” Mr. Echols was readmitted to Charter Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, on September 14, 1992, where he remained until his discharge on September 22, 1992.

    The provisional diagnoses at Charter Hospital were psychotic disorder, not otherwise specified, and dysthymia. Staff members immediately noticed Mr. Echols’ bizarre behavior, including his “growling” and making other strange sounds. A social worker described Mr. Echols’ behavior as “odd” and reported that he “smiled at inappropriate times,” “cut his eyes back and forth,” and “seemed to be giggling at something that he was saying.”

    Echols was seriously mentally ill and very violent at times. He threatened to kill other people and was reported to have brutally killed a dog.

    The polygraph Misskelley took before he confessed showed he was lying about not committing the crimes. A copy of this is at Callahan.

    It is unlikely the “Bojangles Man” committed the crime. Witnesses described him as disoriented and wobbly. He had a cast on one arm. It is very unlikely he could have lured and tied up three kids he didn’t know. The three murdered children were tied up with threes different knots. This indicates that there were three murderers.

    You can defend who you want to, but make sure you read everything about this case before making a decision.

  23. Charles O Landers says:

    I didn’t say anything of the sort bout Mr Bojangles being the murderer of the 3 boys, I said n i quote ” I would like to know who was the black guy that went into the Bojangles restaurant that was disoriented that went into the females restroom, but when I myself said I meant a black man when I was doin the commenting I just gotten done takin my meds n was bout half asleep sorry bout the type o, but anyways you didn’t even answer half of my questions in your comment, n that tell you the truth Jessie did pass the polygraph test but the police department gotten him to believe that he failed which that is a lie, cause I don’t know if you know it or not there are police officers, judges, n lawyers out there that are nothin but crooks. For Pete’s sake if a person gets ACCUSED of something they didn’t do for in this case gets ACCUSED of murder they go directly to jail or in this case prison, they don’t get to pass go they don’t collect $200.00. But if you have pretty good bit of money you can bribe your way out of prison. Cause how i know is that my whole family is just barely makin it month to month, that i’ve got a nephew that was ACCUSED of somethin that he didn’t do but he was sent to prison for 15 yrs. but thank GOD that he’s out of prison! But in my comment bout go to jail don’t pass go don’t collect $200.00 yes i’m usin the phrase from monoply but it is just a sayin that i use from time to time so to clear that all up i’m not gettin a game real life mixed up. But also do me a favor just ignore the comment i put up before this one that was a mistake cause i didn’t complete it n that’s the reason why i’m redoin it.

  24. Charles O Landers says:

    @ The 3 were guilty, that last comment that i posted was toward you

  25. The 3 were guilty says:

    You brought up Bojangles story. He was presented by supporters as an alternative suspect to distract attention from the WM3 who plead guilty to the murder. Misskelley did NOT pass the lie detector test when he stated he did not commit the crimes. A copy of the lie detector test is at callahan under images2 at jm polygraph. When he was asked “Are you involved in the murder of those three boys? he answered no and this was found to be a deceptive answer. You wrote about money. It appears that a lot of money helped free the WM3.

  26. Charles O Landers says:

    @ The 3 were guilty, yes i did brougt up the Bojangles restaurant up i was referring to the BLACK MAN that was muddy n disoriented when he went into the women’s restroom,what part of the BLACK MAN you don’t understand? but still like i said before you haven’t answer hardly any of my orginal questions, n also yes Jessie did pass the polygraph test w/ flying colors. Jessie was coehorsed into agreeing w/ the police offercers cause they said that if you give us the answers we want we’ll let you go home but they didn’t. heres something that i just remembered just right above where the childeren were murdered there was an appartment complex, hows come none of the people that lived at the apartment complex didn’t go n check to see what was going on while the childeren was being murdered cause if i’m not mistaking is that while Michael Moore was trying to runaway i figured that he could be screaming i’m pretty sure that someone from the apartment complex would go n check to see what was going on. but anyways the WM3 are out of prison n i’m so glad bout that.

  27. The 3 were guilty says:

    Bojangles was the “black man.” He probably had nothing to do with the crime, so I do not know why you brought him up. I did answer your questions. If you read the polygraph, you will clearly see that Misskelly did NOT pass the polygraph. There is no evidence of coercion in the questioning of Misskelley. This is a myth. He confessed so many times it is obvious he was not coerced. The murder scene was too far away for anyone to hear anyone screaming. The boys were beaten badly quickly before they were murdered, so it is unlikely they would be screaming much. The 3 were found guilty the first time and plead guilty the second time. It is unfortunate that many people believe they are innocent, when there is so much evidence showing otherwise.

  28. Charles O Landers says:

    thank you very much for letting me know who the “black” man was. but what gets me is that “The bloody man had left sunglasses in the toilet, but detectives didn’t bother taking them”. another thing that gets me is that during Jessie’s questioning is that the police officerers repeatedly asked Jessie the same quesitons over n over again to “PROVOKE” a response now if that isn’t being coehorsed i don’t know what is. but Damien, Jason, n Jessie did pass the polygraph test. this is my opinion is that the reason why you won’t answer any of my questions from my original comment is that if you would answer “NO” is that answer will blow your arguements right out of the ocean. cause one of my fav. colors is black, i like listening to heavy metal music, i suffer from depression, got the i.d called demon, n has long hair but all of those” DOESN’T” make me into a murderer! that’s the reason why Damien, Jason, n Jessie were convicted of the murders is because they looked different, liked black, listened to heavy metal music, n suffered from depression. but maybe you didn’t watch the 3rd part of Paradise Lost they only plead guilty but they “MAINTAINED” their “INNOCENCE”.

  29. The 3 were guilty says:

    Jesse wasn’t asked “the same questions over and over again.” He confessed three times to the detectives, once to the police in a police car, once to his lawyer and also to other people. There was NO coercion. He wanted to tell people what happened. He cried for months after the murders. Their clothing and musical taste had nothing to do with their convictions. This is another myth. All 3 told others they committed the crimes. My arguments are solid and backed up with evidence. You have not backed up any of your statements.

    Alford Plea: The US Supreme Court ruled in the 1970s that a defendant can enter a plea in which he admits there is enough evidence to possibly convict him, but at the same time he doesn’t have to admit guilt.

    The 3 admitted there was enough evidence to convict them. Enough evidence to prove they were GUILTY. They were found GUILTY once and plead GUILTY a second time.

    Echols suffered from psychosis, not just depression. He was violent, was reported to commit several acts of violence, including brutally killing a dog and made several threats of violence.

    You need to read the actual polygraph. Misskelley was found to be lying when he stated he was not involved in the murders.

  30. Charles O Landers says:

    @ The 3 were guilty, dude give it up you lost big time, you say the info i found is false, how do we know that the info you have given is false? also bout where you said n i quote ” Jesse wasn’t asked “the same questions over and over again.” yes he was being asked the same questions over n over again, that the reason why they were considered suspects was by the way they dressed, how they looked,etc. bout “Damien Echols suffered from psychosis, not just depression. He was violent, was reported to commit several acts of violence, including brutally killing a dog and made several threats of violence”. that doesn’t make him into a murderer. according to YOUR EYES if a person a suffers from depression or whatever they should be considered a suspect for a crime they didn’t commit. so give it up your not gonna win this. the WM3 are free just get over it.

  31. The 3 were guilty says:

    You should “give it up.” All one needs to do is to verify the sources I have sent to know that everything I have written here is true. You can keep repeating the same myths about coercion and clothes, but all this is false. They were found guilty because they were guilty. Echols had many of the characteristics of a serial killer. This with all of the evidence explains why he was found guilty the first time and plead guilty the second time. You are “not gonna win this.” The evidence shows they were guilty, regardless of the spin. See wm3truth c o m for accurate information on this case.

  32. Charles O Landers says:

    blah, blah, blah that is all what your case is about if you wanna get the facts go to freethewm3.org. so what your saying bout “Echols had many of the characteristics of a serial killer”. is because he suffers from depression or whatever else he suffers from. hell for every single person that suffers from depression, bipolar, or whatever illness they have according to your eyes that they are considered serial killers then? right? here’s another question i gotta ask is that how come you still won’t answer any of my questions from my first comment?

  33. The 3 were guilty says:

    No, Echols was not just “depressed.” He was violent and psychotic. There is a difference. If you read the characteristics of a serial killer, Echols has many if not almost all of them. I have answered your questions. How come you ignore almost all of my points and keep repeating the same myths about the case?

    The case record includes several mentions of Jessie Misskelley crying intensely in the month after the murders. Acquaintances described seeing and hearing Misskelley cry; Misskelley himself told police that he went to the crime scene alone and cried; and police detectives reported that Misskelley broke down crying when he first confessed on 6/3/93….

    DETECTIVE RIDGE: You’ve been back to this place since that murder?
    *A187 MISSKELLEY: Mm-hmm.
    DETECTIVE RIDGE: Since it took (unintelligible) place. What did you do while you were there? And be truthful.
    *A188 MISSKELLEY: I went down there, I just sit there, and after what they did to the boys, I just sit there
    DETECTIVE RIDGE: And did what?
    *A189 MISSKELLEY: Just thought, what they, what happened to them real bad, I just thought.

  34. Charles O Landers says:

    for your info the exact words what you said n i quote “Echols had many of the characteristics of a serial killer”.” here is what i said n i quote ” is because he suffers from depression or (whatever) else he suffers from” so from what your saying not only if a person suffers from depression, bipolar, that is violent n psychotic their considered as a murderder then. am i right? if so then some of us will be in prison right now……also bout Jessie hows come he was interagated for if i’m not mistaken an hour w/o anything being on record?

  35. The 3 were guilty says:

    No, Echols was convicted of murder because:

    1) He bragged to several people he did it.

    2) His two accomplices admitted they did it, one many times.

    3) He was seen near the murder scene in muddy clothes.

    4) He was found with a necklace with DNA consistent with one of the murdered children.

    5) His journal contained morbid images and references to dead children.

    6) The three were involved in a teenage cult.

    7) And he was violent and psychotic with a reported history of murdering animals.

    The above would only put the guilty party in prison.

    Misskelley wasn’t interrogated very long before he confessed the first time. He confessed to the detectives two more times after this, and also to the police in a police car and his own lawyer. Perhaps you should ask the police there your question. He confessed so many times, you point really doesn’t prove much.

  36. Charles O Landers says:

    for your information bout Echols, you said n i quote ” Echols suffers from depression, that he was was violent and psychotic” here is what i said n i quote ” is because he suffers from depression or (whatever else he suffers from)” so from what your saying not only if a person suffers from depression, bipolar, that is violent n psychotic their considered as a murderder then. am i right? if your referring to the two girls that where they said that they “overheard” what Echols supposely said was thrown out of court cause it was nothing but “HEARSAY”.here is something that i found to be interesting is that during Jessie’s inntergation, “On 3 June police interrogated Jessie Misskelley Jr. Misskelley, whose IQ was reported to be 72 (making him borderline mentally retarded), was questioned alone; his parents were not present during the interrogation. Misskelley’s father gave permission for Misskelley to go with police, but did not explicitly give permission for his minor son to be questioned or interrogated. Misskelley was questioned for roughly twelve hours; only two segments, totaling 46 minutes, were recorded. Misskelley quickly recanted his confession, citing intimidation, coercion, fatigue, and veiled threats from police”,”Having had no previous experience with this type of murder, the West Memphis Police Department allowed potential evidence to be destroyed at the site where the bodies of Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore were located. Officers who were present made very little apparent effort to preserve or properly document the scene or to make accurate notes. Perhaps this was due to negligence or perhaps it was due to the fact that they were inadequately trained and inexperienced in handling such a crime and the events that naturally follow. Many unidentified people can be seen milling around the bodies in the brief crime scene video, and the Chief Investigator, Gary Gitchell can be seen smoking a cigarette well within the perimeter of the area”. Photographs taken of the room where Jessie was given a polygraph test (he “passed” the test, but was told that he had “failed” it) show a baseball bat leaning in the corner, and depending on how West Memphis Police officers normally use this unlikely tool in their questioning, it could have certainly provided serious motivation to a young man with an I.Q of 72. Since very little of this 12 hour ordeal was recorded, we can’t know what Jessie was subjected to. here is something that you told another supporter of the WM3 bout n i quote “The Luminol evidence (Luminol enhanced chemiluminesence (LCL)) showed there was blood found at the scene of the crime. The bodies were found under water, many hours after the crimes were committed, dispersing all of the blood that could be seen visually”. but here is something i found that was interesting that “No blood at all was found at the scene. Luminol testing done at the crime scene some (two weeks) after the discovery of the bodies revealed the presence of possible blood at the crime scene in, and on, the ditch bank where the bodies were laid by the police after they were removed from the water. Blood seeped from the bodies unto the soil where the bodies were laid. (Luminal testing is not admissible in Court) because it is not scientifically reliable; (The medical examiner testified at the Echols/Baldwin trial that it would be impossible for the injuries that were inflicted on those boys to be inflicted without leaving blood at the scene.) No follow up blood test was performed”. C. Police misconceptions regarding crime scene / bodies

    1. The Autopsy reports took some time to be produced, and because there were almost no real clues, the police were eager to get the report.

    2. MISCONCEPTION: The Autopsy reports revealed that the boys anuses were dilated which seemed to indicate that they had been sodomized, when in fact the dilation was a natural result of the bodies being in the water. Bruising and abrasions of the boys mouths and ears were interpreted by the police as forced oral sex when other explanations were just as plausible.

    FACT: The medical examiner testified that there was NO trauma to the boys anuses, something that would virtually have to be present during a sexual assault, especially on a young child. No semen was found in any body cavity of any of the boys at the time of the autopsies.

    3. MISCONCEPTION: The police assumed that the time of death had to be between 6:30 p.m. on May 5, 1993, the last time the boys were seen alive, and about 8:30 p.m. when a massive search of the crime scene began.

    FACT: Before the Misskelley Trial in Corning, the medical examiner told Misskelley’s attorneys that the time of death was impossible to determine because the coroner had done such a poor job in supplying the necessary data. At the Echols/Baldwin trial in Jonesboro, the medical examiner testified that he had done further research and now placed the time of death at between 1:00 and 5:00 a.m. on May 6th, 1993. here are some “facts” that you need to read, “Facts of Jessie’s confession do not match facts of crime scene

    1. Jessie says boys skipped school May 5, 1993.

    FACT: Boys were in school all day, so was Jason Baldwin.

    2. Jessie says boys were killed at noon on May 5, 1993.

    FACT: Boys were in school until 3:00 p.m., and were last seen alive at about 6:30 p.m. ME says time of death was 1:00 TO 5:00 a.m. on May 6th, 1993. Jessie worked with Ricky Deese until about 12:30 p.m.

    3. Jessie says boys were raped (sodomized).

    FACT: Medical examiner says no trauma to boys anuses, something that would have been there if they were raped.

    4. Jessie says Jason castrated Christopher Byers with a single swing of a knife.

    FACT: Medical examiner says that the penis of Byers was methodically skinned by someone with extensive knowledge of anatomy and the process would have taken some time to complete even under laboratory conditions.

    Update: The mutilation was not skillful or meticulous as Peretti said. It was crudely done. This is still quite inconsistent with Misskelley’s confession.

    5. Jessie says that the boys were tied up with a brown rope.

    FACT: The boys were bound with their own shoestrings.

    6. Jessie says the boys were beaten with a big ol’ stick and cut with a knife.

    FACT: No blood was found at the scene, and ME says those injuries could not be inflicted with out a great deal of blood loss. (This leads on to believe that the boys were killed elsewhere and their bodies dumped in the creek. This seems to be corroborated by the fact that search teams were combing the woods that night walked all over the spot where the bodies were recovered

    Update: Brent Turvey’s Profile of the case corroborates our belief that the boys were killed elsewhere.

    7. Jessie says Damien choked one of the boys with a big ol’ stick.

    FACT: Medical Examiner says none of the boys had choking or strangulation injuries.

    These are just a few of the most obvious inconsistencies.

    G. What the experts tell us

    1. The defense retained the services of two well known experts who are recognized as being the tops in their field, Dr. Richard Ofshe and Mr. Warren Holmes.

    2. Background on retention of experts:

    a. Richard Ofshe:

    1. Ron Lax told us about Dr. Richard Ofshe. An attorney friend of Ron’s in California recommended Ofshe to Ron for use in Damien’s trial as an expert on the occult. Ofshe won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the Synanon Cult in California. Ofshe has a second area of expertise, False Confessions, and Ron suggested we talk to Dr. Ofshe. I called Ofshe, at the University of California in Berkeley, and explained that I thought Jessie had falsely confessed to the homicides. I further explained that I was appointed by the Court and had no money with which to pay him. This did not deter Ofshe. He asked about evidence against Jessie, independent of the confession, and I informed him there was none. He agreed to look over the transcript of the confession, which I Fed-Exed him that day.

    About a week later, Ofshe phoned me and informed me that Jessie’s confession was the worst false confession that he had ever seen, and that he felt Jessie was innocent. Ofshe’s testimony is part of the trial transcript and is very, very compelling evidence of Jessie’s innocence. Ofshe, like myself is absolutely convinced of Jessie’s innocence.

    From almost the beginning, I wanted to have the polygraph test Jessie had on June 3, 1993, looked over by another expert. The lawyer in me was hesitant though because I was afraid I might not like the results of the independent analysis. When I discussed this with Dr. Ofshe, he told me, “Don’t be afraid, Dan, your client is innocent.” That’s when I called Warren Holmes in Miami”. here are some facts that the WM3 admidment was violated ” The prosecution overreached its duties in making improper contact with the defendant, Jessie Lloyd Misskelley, Jr., in violation of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. The Prosecution was informed in clear and unequivocal terms that Jessie Lloyd Misskelley, Jr. was not going to testify against his codefendants, Damien Wayne Echols and Charles Jason Baldwin, thereby invoking his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent”. so to end my comment is that this proves of their innocence.

  37. The 3 were guilty says:

    The above post is a good example of some of the unproven and unsubstantiated myths promoted by WM3 supporters.

    Point above:
    “that is violent n psychotic their considered as a murderder then. am i right? if your referring to the two girls that where they said that they “overheard” what Echols supposely said was thrown out of court cause it was nothing but “HEARSAY”.

    No I am referring to Exhibit 500, introduced in court by Echols’ own attorneys.
    Echols’ reported actions included brutally killing a dog (from police records), starting fires at his school, threatening to kill his teachers and parents and stating he liked to drink blood. He talked about getting his girlfriend pregnant, then using the baby as a human sacrifice. He claimed to be possessed by a spirit and to converse with demons. (from Exhibit 500)

    He was found guilty because of the evidence. His psychotic and violent nature did not help him any in the trial.

    Point above:
    “Misskelley’s father gave permission for Misskelley to go with police, but did not explicitly give permission for his minor son to be questioned or interrogated. Misskelley was questioned for roughly twelve hours”

    There was no 12-hour interrogation. Misskelley first confessed at 2:20 pm, roughly 4½ hours after Sgt. Allen picked him up at his father’s workplace. That 4½ hour period included maybe 3 hours of actual interrogation.

    Misskelley’s father knew he was at the police station. Jessie Sr. talked to Sgt. Mike Allen at 9:45 am and again at 11:15 am about the interview. Allen actually talked to Jessie Sr. first in the morning; Jessie Sr. then drove off and retrieved Jessie Jr.; then Allen and Jessie Jr. drove to the police station. At the 11:15 am meeting, Jessie Sr. signed a waiver allowing police to give Jessie Jr. a polygraph exam.

    point above:
    “Misskelley, whose IQ was reported to be 72 (making him borderline mentally retarded)”

    The cross-examination of Dr. Wilkins brought out some discrepancies. In Misskelley’s two earlier IQ tests, his performance score (a subscore covering five of the eleven subtests in the WAIS-R) had been 84 and 88; this time around his performance score was 75. The prosecutor also grilled Wilkins about the MMPI-2 test (a personality test, not an IQ test) given to Misskelley, which showed a very high level of “malingering” or “faking bad” or, in Wilkins’ own words, “trying to present yourself as being ill when you’re not for some particular gain”. Wilkins falsely reported a “mild elevation” on the malingering scale in his report; under cross-examination he admitted, “That may have been a mistake then. I may well have mispronounced what it was supposed to be.” All very technical, but the upshot is: Misskelley may have intentionally tried to score badly on his psychological tests.

    In other words, Misskelley may have been faking a low IQ and his real IQ may have been 84 or 88 points. So he wasn’t “borderline mentally retarded.”

    point above:
    “Misskelley quickly recanted his confession, citing intimidation, coercion, fatigue, and veiled threats from police”

    I have seen no evidence of this. There is no evidence of intimidation, coercion, fatigue or threats. Maybe he realized he made a mistake by telling the truth when confessing and didn’t want to go to jail. And why did he confess three times to the detectives, once in a police car, once to his lawyers and he also told others he committed the crime. There was no coercion, etc. these times.

    point above:
    “Photographs taken of the room where Jessie was given a polygraph test (he “passed” the test, but was told that he had “failed” it) ”

    This is a myth. As I have stated before, a copy of the polygraph is at callahan 8k. callahan.8k.com/images2/jm_polygraph.jpg This clearly shows he was lying when he stated he did not commit the crimes.

    point above:
    ““The Luminol evidence (Luminol enhanced chemiluminesence (LCL)) showed there was blood found at the scene of the crime. The bodies were found under water, many hours after the crimes were committed, dispersing all of the blood that could be seen visually”. but here is something i found that was interesting that “No blood at all was found at the scene.”

    In 1993 under Arkansas law, Luminol testing was considered new, novel, and not accepted as scientific evidence. This is why it was not admitted at trial. The jury would never hear about the results of luminol tests; it was suppressed by motion of the defense in both trials. Contrary to the misconception that there was no evidence of blood at the scene, the results of two consecutive days of luminol tests at the scene were enlightening. Luminol evidence showed there was blood at the scene of the crime. It detects blood where none can be seen by the naked eye.

    In reply to the inconsistencies in Misskelley’s confessions, Misskelley stated he made some of the errors to throw the police off, like the discrepancy about the rope. The discrepancy about the sexual abuse could have been that Baldwin and Echols never achieved actual penetration when they took their pants off.
    Luminol evidence shows that blood was found at the scene.

    WM3 supporters call Misskelley’s story fantastic, incoherent and incompatible with the known facts. This is not true. Aside from the easily explained discrepancies listed above, Misskelley’s 6/3/93 story was perfectly coherent and matched the evidence. He correctly described details of the crime that had not been made public. He told the same basic story in three February 1994 post-conviction confessions (2/4, 2/8, 2/17).

    The most telling detail: Misskelley correctly identified which boy had been cut on his face (Branch), which boy had been cut on his groin (Byers) and which boy had not been cut at all (Moore). There were widespread rumors that one victim was sexually mutilated, but the breakdown of each victim’s injuries had not been made public.

    Another explanation for the discrepancies is that Misskelley didn’t want to go to prison. That’s why he initially denied any involvement. Once he was caught, he wanted to limit his punishment. That’s why he fudged details and downplayed his role in the crime. This is quite common with criminal confessions.

    Ofshe (mentioned above) has been critiqued for using secondary sources instead of primary ones to promote the theory that more legal miscarriages of justice may exist than actually do. In one case, Ofshe’s testimony in court was found to lack credibility and he was accused by a court of attempting to blatantly coach a defendant and convince him that he was coerced psychologically. In the Ingram case, Ofshe was accused in the case of drawing pseudoscientific conclusions as well as his work having methodological flaws. Ofshe is known for being biased and working for groups that defend those that claim they are falsely accused.

    So to end my comment, this proves that they were correctly found guilty the first time and plead guilty the second time.

  38. Charles O Landers says:

    ok, what i don’t understand is that hows come their offering reward money to find the killer/ killers? but you know something in my last comment i’ve given you the true facts bout the WM3, the only thing you have given me was parts of bologona. so you lost,n as far as i’m concered these comments are over n done w/ have a nice life…………WM3 is free live w/ it

  39. The 3 were guilty says:

    Yes, an “anonymous donor” has offered reward money, according to groups supporting the WM3. This is just another way of distracting attention from those that were found guilty of the crime, the WM3. The money has been available for a couple of months, but no one has been charged or even discussed by the police in the media. One comment I read somewhere else stated that Misskelley should just go in again and confess a fourth time and get the money.

    Actually, you lost. Much of what you have written here is unsubstantiated and proven myths about the case. These myths have been repeated by supporters, but they are still myths. I have backed up what I have posted. The 3 are still on probation. I plan to keep posting about this. The 3 murdered children deserve justice and those guilty need to be held accountable.

  40. Charles O Landers says:

    no, i was the one who supported the facts, your the one that has presented myths, but i do agree w/ you on one thing that the 3 murdered children deserves justice, but the WM3 are innocent. end of discussion.

  41. The 3 were guilty says:

    You haven’t presented one reference. You repeat the same myths repeated by other WM3 supporters. They were found guilty and plead guilty, it appears that they are guilty. http://wm3truth.com/

  42. The 3 were guilty says:

    They plead guilty last year instead of waiting for a trial. Perhaps they were afraid they would be found guilty again.

  43. Charles O Landers says:

    i’m getting sick n tired of all of you non supporters claiming that you all are right n that us supporters are always wrong. another thing what would you say if they would have went to trial last year n were found “INNOCENT”. would you still say that their guilty? i just found something interesting that you should read n here is the link……members.tripod.com.

  44. The 3 were guilty says:

    When will you believe they are guilty? They were found guilty the first time by a unanimous jury and plead guilty this time.

    Jessie Misskelley maintains guilt to his lawyers – Summer 1993
    Contrary to the impression you might get from Paradise Lost, Jessie Misskelley did not recant his confession after 6/3/93. He continued telling his defense lawyers, Dan Stidham and Greg Crow, the same story he told police.
    http://wm3truth.com/jessie-misskelley-maintains-his-guilt-june-to-september-1993/

  45. Anonymous says:

    where does wm3truth.com or callahan.8k.com get their info from? is it wikipedia.org? also if Jessie told his defense lawyers, Dan Stidham n Greg Crow, why does Dan Stidham still defends Jessie then? like i said before i’m gettin sick n tired of you “NONS” acting that your right all the time n that us supporters is always wrong.

  46. Charles Landers says:

    where does wm3truth.com or callahan.8k.com get their info from? is it wikipedia.org? also if Jessie told his defense lawyers, Dan Stidham n Greg Crow, why does Dan Stidham still defends Jessie then? like i said before i’m gettin sick n tired of you “NONS” acting that your right all the time n that us supporters is always wrong.

  47. The 3 were guilty says:

    Neither get their information from wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a reliable source.
    Callahan is the best site on the WM3 case. WM3truth gets much of its information from callahan or news articles. Stidham defended Misskelley because that was his job, which lawyers do regardless of what they believe about a case.

    Jesse confessing again:
    STATEMENT OF JESSIE MISSKELLEY, JR. FEBRUARY 17, 1994
    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/jmfeb.html

  48. Charles Landers says:

    whatever, the WM3 are out of prison deal w/ it

  49. The 3 were guilty says:

    And if they brutally murdered the three small boys, is this okay?

    Here’s what four parents of the three murdered boys think.
    http://wm3truth.com/2012/01/letter-to-ampas-from-victims-parents/

    Despite the spin and controversy fabricated by defense attorneys, documentary filmmakers, and celebrities, certain aspects of the past 18 years are irrefutable. Three precious eight-year-old boys went for a bicycle ride on May 5, 1993, and never came home. They were murdered in a most vicious and horrifying manner.

    Jessie Misskelley has admitted to taking part in these terrible crimes three times on record and at least three additional times off the record. He described in detail how he and his two co-defendants, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin, beat, tortured, and mutilated the boys, hogtied them, and threw them into a muddy ditch to drown. This is irrefutable. Misskelley admitted to witnessing and partaking in these horrendous acts several times.

    Also indisputable is the fact that two juries found the three men, known as the West Memphis Three, guilty of these crimes and that the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld these verdicts as just. The West Memphis Three, 18 years later, remain guilty of these murders as a matter of law and a matter of fact. They have failed to gain exoneration, despite being given the opportunity to do so, an opportunity that few convicts in their position are granted.

    They were given an arguably undeserved second chance to prove their innocence, and they declined, choosing instead to plead guilty to the murders. Again, this is irrefutable. They now claim to be “searching for the real killers” of our sons, but it seems unlikely they will be able to do so while directing movies, traveling the globe, and partying with rock stars. Our sons, meanwhile, remain dead in their graves.

  50. Charles Landers says:

    i feel sorry for the murdered childrens n their parents, but i don’t believe that the WM3 commited the murders, i believe that it was somebody else that done it. also bout Jessie’s questioning i believe that he was questioned for bout 12 hrs. but when the questioning first took place “PARTS” of it wasn’t documented n that’s where you “NONS” get that he was only questioned for couple of hrs.