The "third boy" who has a name, Michael Moore, was NOT tied with shoelaces from one of the boys' sneakers. He was tied with a foreign lace, about 60" long originally, that was cut in half. Although it isn't generally known yet, a fiber from the hinge of a knife found among Terry Hobbs' possessions has recently been tested against the lace used to tie Michael Moore, under which the Hobbs' hair was found. It was an EXACT MATCH, not "microscopically similar" like the fibers from the clothing found in the defendants' homes but an exact match. I'm sure that this information will be coming out soon, along with the information that has recently been made public about the "Hobbs' family secret," which is that Terry Hobbs confessed to his brother (a confession that was overheard by his nephew) that he killed Chris, Michael and Stevie.
Damien Echols was a weird teenager. There is no doubt about that. However, collecting dogs' skulls, although extremely weird, I will agree, does not a murderer make.
Mark Byers, not Terry Hobbs, is the father with a brain tumor. Mark Byers himself admits that his behavior at the time was one of the reasons that he was under suspicion, just like Damien's behavior at the time placed him under suspicion and in fact contributed to his conviction. However, Mary Byers is NOT the parent whose mtDNA was found under the ligature. That was Terry Hobbs, who left his wife and quit his job shortly after the murders and who wasn't interviewed by the police until 2007.
There are lots of people who make false confessions. A false confession can be made by perfectly capable people. Look at the Norfolk Four case as an example. Then there's another case from Illinois where a father confessed to the murder of his child only to later be awarded a multimillion dollar settlement by the State of Illinois for false imprisonment when the REAL killer was found. False confessions happen much more often than we ever believed before, and two of the contributing factors to them are youth and mental incapacity. A third factor, and the one that is most responsible in most cases of false confessions, is leading questions and other coercive tactics by the interrogators. In Misskelley's case, all three of these factors were present.
I have never said that Jessie was retarded. The proper term for someone of Jessie's mental capacity is "borderline mentally retarded." Dan Stidham, in the latest installment of the "Paradise Lost" films, said "mildly retarded" which is acceptable. As to your aunt, has she ever been intensely questioned by police detectives about a murder? Unless she has, you really don't know what she'd do, and she's an adult, not a scared teenager like Jessie was.
IIRC, the only one who heckled the parents was Damien, blowing kisses at them. Of course, it's never mentioned that he did that after the parents had been yelling insults and obscenities at him as he entered the courtroom. He was singled out by the parents for their insults. He admits, and has for years, that he was wrong. As to your upbringing, I, too, grew up in Kentucky. I am very familiar with the Iroquois Projects in Louisville. Yes, it is a bad area. However, just because you've never heard someone confess to a murder that he/she didn't commit doesn't mean that false confessions never happen. I WAS a teacher; I'm not just claiming to have been one. I taught in inner city schools in a city much larger than Louisville, and in schools much rougher than those schools in Kentucky to which you refer. Also, I am a female, so please don't address me as "sir."
If you think that, back in the early nineties, talk about devil worship was uncommon, then you're either too young to remember or you weren't paying attention. Heavy metal groups like Judas Priest (who was sued by the parents of a teen who committed suicide after listening to one of their albums - the suit was thrown out of court) were under constant criticism by people like Tipper Gore and the PMRC for, among other things, lyrics that evoked devil worship. Teenagers, as is their custom, often gravitate to music that would irritate their parents. Since heavy metal, which started in the late seventies, DID progress into such groups as Slayer (who had many songs glorifying Satan and promoting devil worship), it is little wonder that some of the teens who listened to these groups would talk of what they heard in the lyrics. Talk is talk. It doesn't mean that they were members of a devil-worshiping cult. Also, Damien often said things for shock value, again something common among teenagers.
First, West Memphis is in Arkansas, not Mississippi. Second, my husband, when we were in college, bought "The Satanic Bible." That doesn't mean that he worshiped the devil. As I said before, Damien often said things for shock value. I think that might also apply to his reading material. Or are we now subject to the "Thought Police" of Orwell's "1984" where what we read and what we THINK can become a crime?
Damien, Jason and Jessie weren't witches. Damien had expressed an interest in Wicca, which some people refer to as white witchcraft but which in actuality is a religion in which the Goddess is supreme and they more or less worship Mother Earth. Damien had never joined a coven; he had just studied Wiccan beliefs. So, your statement is in FACT not true.
I'm glad that justice, at least partial justice, had finally been done in this case. Although I support the death penalty in iron clad cases, I would NEVER want to see an INNOCENT MAN executed. So, if celebrity involvement is what it took to see the three freed, so be it.
Yes, this was a small town. I don't know if they had never had a murder before, but I'm sure that they'd never had a triple homicide of three eight year old boys. Many much larger cities have never had that happen. Yes, the town was shocked. That was part of the problem. The police were pressured to solve the case. So, when Jerry Driver and his partner, Steve Jones (who had had Damien on their "radar" for over a year prior to the murders), gave the police Damien's name, the police, instead of doing what a competent police force would have done (see where the evidence leads), latched onto Damien as their prime suspect, with no real evidence, and created a case to make him look guilty. Just like a small town police force will do. I know, because I grew up in a small town, and I saw it happen repeatedly.
I don't see that any of the three recently freed men are hiding anything. I think that people need to examine Terry Hobbs' 2007 WMPD interview and 2009 Pasdar deposition and tell me that HE'S not hiding something (like the Hobbs' family secret). At the time of their original trials, those teenagers were naive enough to believe that you couldn't be convicted of murder if you were innocent. They learned, unfortunately, that, when you are being tried in a kangaroo court with a corrupt judge who only wanted to advance his political career, you CAN be convicted of a crime of which you are innocent - even murder. And if you can't understand that, then I have some swampland in Arizona that I'd like to sell you! There is no hard evidence against the three recently freed men. If there had been, the State of Arkansas would not have agreed to an Alford Plea. They would have demanded instead to proceed with the evidentiary hearing, and they would have gone to trial. The fact that the State of Arkansas so readily agreed to an Alford Plea WHEN THEY ALREADY HAD THE MEN IN PRISON speaks volumes. Plea deals are usually negotiated BEFORE a trial, not after the State has won its case and has the perpetrators behind bars.
I want justice in this case. Believe me, I HAVE researched this case. I have read all of the trial transcripts, the pretrial hearing transcripts, the Rule 37 hearing transcripts and abstracts and a lot of other legal documents, like the Pasdar materials, about this case. Yes, I'm convinced that the three recently freed men are innocent. Also, especially given the latest revelations to which I referred in my opening paragraph, I'm convinced that the REAL murderer is Terry Wayne Hobbs. So, as you can see, this is not a knee-jerk emotional reaction. I've studied ALL the facts. I encourage you to do the same. Make yourself an expert on the case and I'm sure that you, too, will see the truth. The three freed men are INNOCENT.
You, a convicted felon on a bogus charge, don't believe it can happen to others? And you base this "feeling" on the way the guys look? I'm sorry but that's not a very scientific way to judge. You say you've examined the evidence. Have you read the trial transcripts, the pretrial hearing transcripts, the Rule 37 transcripts and abstracts (all available at http://www.callahan.8k.com/
)? When you have familiarized yourself with the legal documents, then make a decision. Having had experience yourself with a false conviction, I believe that, if you look at the legal documents, you will recognize that these three teenagers were railroaded into convictions by a prosecution desperate to find SOMEONE, ANYONE guilty of these horrific murders. It was a rush to judgement, a railroad job, and, yes, a witch hunt in a small town. Also, keep your ears and eyes open and you will soon see all the new evidence. It was turned over to the State Prosecutor, Scott Ellington, last Friday, January 19, 2012.
I believe that none of the three will ever be involved in a violent crime again. I believe that, once the convictions are overturned and the SIS rescinded, all they will want to do is live quiet lives out of the spotlight into which they were unwillingly thrust by their false convictions. And, given the new evidence, I believe it will happen sooner rather than later.
Damien's infamous boogey man speech was said in sarcasm. He was a teenager, and one that tended to use sarcasm as a defense mechanism. Only time will tell, but I will sleep much better at night when the REAL killer of those three precious eight year old boys, Terry Wayne Hobbs, is behind bars where he belongs.
Please, read all of the documents. It appears to me that you are basing your beliefs on your reaction to some teenagers who were scared and who were on trial for their lives. I'm forever haunted by those little nude bodies, but I don't want to see innocent men pay the price for one cold hearted sociopath's actions in anger. Like I said, investigate this case and you'll see that I am right.