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  1. #1
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    Let's talk about motive.

    Was this a Satanic ritual killing?

    Nope.

    But then it wasn't presented as one either - nor were the defendants said to be Satanists.

    Fogleman was very clear in his closing argument why Echols "satanic" evidence was presented:

    This satanic stuff--satanic picture in and of itself does that mean they're Satanists or anything like that? No. This mean in and of itself, Satanist? No. But, why present it? Why present this stuff? And by the way this doesn't have anything to do with Wicca, doesn't have anything to do with it. The reason to present it, is that to try to inflame you all and make you all so angry because it's something different--because it's something different and something we don't understand? Is that why we would present it? No, not at all.
    When you looked at those pictures of what was done to those three little boys, could you understand it? Could you have any reason to understand why someone would do that to three eight-year-old boys? Well, you've got three eight-year-old boys done that way, and then you got the defendants looking like choirboys during the trial--during jury selection. In fact, think back to jury selection when the defense trying to say, well, as they sit here right now what do you think about them? And either you or your fellow juror--you heard a fellow juror say, I think they look like typical kids. Well, think how hard it would be for you to conceive of typical teens doing what was done to these three eight-year-old boys. And I think you'll understand why the need to put on this evidence.


    It was character evidence, and nothing more.

    Griffis was presented simply to show Echols was a "Self styled dabbler" in Satanism, and that's what he testified to.

    In a report from the FBI done prior to these crimes during the "satanic panic" of the 80's, Kennith Lanning set out to find cases of "satanic ritual killings".

    http://www.skepticfiles.org/mys3/lanning.htm

    He scoured the largest criminal database on the planet and he never found one.

    What he did find were several distinct catagories of "Satanists" - some of which committed "satanic" crimes, or crimes with trappings of occultism.

    1. Youth Subculture - Most teenagers involved in fantasy
    role-playing games, heavy metal music, or satanism are going
    through a stage of adolescent development and commit no
    significant crimes. The teenagers who have more serious
    problems are usually those from dysfunctional families or
    those who have poor communication within their families. These
    troubled teenagers turn to satanism and the occult to overcome
    a sense of alienation, to obtain power, or to justify their
    antisocial behavior. for these teenagers, it is the symbolism,
    not the spirituality, that is important. It is either the
    psychopathic or the oddball, loner teenager who is most likely
    to get into serious trouble. Extreme involvement in the occult
    is a symptom of a problem, not the cause. This is not to deny,
    however, that satanism and the occult are negative influences
    for a troubled teenager. But to hysterically warn teenagers to
    avoid this "mysterious, powerful and dangerous" thing called
    satanism will drive many teenagers right to it. Some
    rebellious teenagers will do whatever will most shock and
    outrage society in order to flaunt their rejection of adult
    norms.

    2. Dabblers (Self-styled) - for these practitioners, there is
    little or no spiritual motivation. They mix satanism,
    witchcraft and paganism. Symbols mean whatever they want them
    to mean. Molesters, rapists, drug dealers and murderers may
    dabble in the occult and may commit their crimes in a
    ceremonial or ritualistic way. This category has the potential
    to be the most dangerous, and most of the "satanic" killers
    fall into this category. Their involvement in satanism and the
    occult is a symptom of a problem and a rationalization and
    justification of antisocial behavior. Satanic/occult practices
    (as well as those of other spiritual belief systems) can be
    used as a mechanism to facilitate criminal objectives.

    3. Traditional (Orthodox, Multigenerational) - These are the
    true believers. They are usually wary of outsiders. Because of
    this and constitutional issues, such groups are difficult for
    law enforcement to penetrate. Although there is much we don't
    know about these groups, as of now there is little or no hard
    evidence that they are involved in serious, organized criminal
    activity. In addition, instead of being self-perpetuating
    master crime conspirators, true believers probably have a
    similar problem with their teenagers rebelling against their
    belief system.


    Now, Lanning claims "The teenagers who have more serious problems are usually those from dysfunctional families or those who have poor communication within their families. These troubled teenagers turn to satanism and the occult to overcome a sense of alienation, to obtain power, or to justify their antisocial behavior."

    Over and over again Echol's mental health history speaks of his dysfunctional family, his issues of control, obtaining power over others, and his total lack of compassion for anyone but himself - from his first comittal in 92, to his out-patient therapy just weeks before the crime. He wasn't just a misunderstood "Wiccan" with "teen angst", he was a violent psychotic drug abusing sociopath who dabbled in the occult.

    Lanning goes on to say "It is either the psychopathic or the oddball, loner teenager who is most likely to get into serious trouble."

    Echol's mental health history leaves nothing to the imagination there.

    But further, Lanning noted "Dabblers (Self-styled) - for these practitioners, there is little or no spiritual motivation. They mix satanism, witchcraft and paganism. Symbols mean whatever they want them to mean.
    This category has the potential to be the most dangerous, and most of the "satanic" killers fall into this category."


    This catagory was discussed at trial as well.

    Q: Now, do you have something called a self-styled satanist?
    A: Yes, those are -- that boils down, counselor, with the different types of groups.
    Q: Okay.
    A: Which would start out with an experimenter, usually one who practices alone in an unorganized manner, a self-styled occultist and we are talking here only in the field of satanism. And this person has some kind of problems in life and they use the trappings of occultism to get along. Then we have an occult cult group, and this has a little charismatic leader and some followers. Sometimes they got a name for their group, sometimes they don't have a name for their group. But they use -- all three of those use the trappings of occultism.


    See, the Prosecution couldn't present Echol's psych history unless the Defense entered it, so they couldn't show the jury his history of violence and drug abuse, his psychotic disorder, his dysfunctional family, or his issues of controling and demeaning others, but they COULD show the jury that Echols was a "self styled" dabbler in Satanism - and they did, through Griffis with Echol's own writings.

    Q: I wanna show you State's Exhibit 110 and ask if you – if you'll look at that and also -- have you seen that before?
    A: Yes sir, I have.
    Q: If you'll look through that again.
    A: Yes sir.
    Q: Alright, and what does that appear to you to be?
    A: What I would refer to as a partial book of shadows.
    Q: Book of shadows --
    A: A partial.
    Q: -- partial.
    A: Partial.
    Q: Alright. Now, the items drawn on the front, what is that?
    A: That is a pentagram, that happens to be a Wiccan, or white witchcraft pentagram.
    Q: Alright. Now if you would open the book to the front page.
    A: Yes sir.
    Q: Alright. Now, explain what that is.
    A: That's confusion to me.
    Q: Alright.
    A: And the reason why we've got a white witchcraft pentagram, then we have upside down crosses which comes from another type of occultism.
    Q: What type of occultism do the upside down cross come from?
    A: That's black witchcraft.
    Q: Black witchcraft?
    A: Yeah, and that is at the stations.
    Q: That's what?
    A: That's at what we call the points, the five points.
    Q: Alright, what significance does that -- that it's at the five points?
    A: Usually in traditional occultism -- excuse me -- satanism they'll have various activities take place or --
    Q: Okay. Now --
    A: -- figures --
    Q: In white witchcraft or wiccan do you have upside down crosses?
    A: No sir.


    Just as the category Lanning had described years earlier, To Echols, symbols meant whatever he wanted them to mean, and he mixed Satanism Witchcraft, and Paganism into what he called "Demonology".

    Like it or not, that's relevant.

    And the fact is, the only "satanist" catagory Echols DIDN'T fall into was the traditional or "true believer" Satanist.

    The real ones.

    The ones for which no evidence of serious criminal activity exists.

    He was the very definition of the type "satanist" who has traditionally committed violent crime - the psychotic, drug addled self-styled teen dabbler from a dysfunctional family who had issues of obtaining power over others.

    Lanning isn't simply speculating on a "psychological mindset" like some sort of profiler, he developed these distinct catagories through researching documented historical examples.

    This wasn't real "satanic panic" - the people of West Memphis weren't afraid of cloak wearing, latin speaking figures lurking in the shadows snatching babies, they were afraid of a group of stoner anti-social teens who sat around campfires tripping, killing animals, and playing "devil worshiper".

    And they had a right to be afraid, because that silly crap was going on at the time.

    Witness after witness reported going to these little get togethers, and police found the remnants.

    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/jdreport.html

    Now, whether you are willing to accept it or not, those are the type folks who are most likely to commit just such a sick and sensless crime, and the fact that Echols was one of them is relevant.

    Like Rod Ferrell, Richard Ramirez, Ricky Kasso, and a host of others.

    Echols and his gas-huffing, anti-social, heavy metal "devil worshiper" pals did this crime - make no mistake about it.

    They were out there in those woods stoned and drunk when the kids came by, they started bullying and humiliating them and in a frenzy, the brutality escalated into savage murder - just as Misskelley described, and just as the evidence clearly shows.

    The simple fact is, There was no motive.

    They did it just to see what it was like, and they bragged about it to anyone who would listen.
    Last edited by Dirty larry; 09-03-2010 at 12:29 AM.

  2. #2
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    Echols was a 'self styled dabbler' in Satanism (slightly overblown, really Wiccan) because it enhanced the image he was cultivating for himself. He wants to be seen as an exotic creature, a rare being, special, unusual, dark, mysterious, etherial. He's narcissistic, and he's self obsessed, he thinks he is of a higher intelligence, he thinks he's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Übermensch, he's not of course, but he must create an image to admire, and his audience for this creation? Himself.

    I agree, no motive, Echols was just writing a new exciting dark chapter in his 'life book on self' IMO.

    He's still doing it actually.

    Re-embodiment of amoral aristocratic values

    For Rüdiger Safranski, the Übermensch represents a higher biological type reached through artificial selection and at the same time is also an ideal for anyone who is creative and strong enough to master the whole spectrum of human potential, good and "evil", to become an "artist-tyrant". In Ecce Homo, Nietzsche vehemently denied any idealistic, democratic or humanitarian interpretation of the Übermensch: "The word Übermensch [designates] a type of supreme achievement, as opposed to 'modern' men, 'good' men, Christians, and other nihilists ... When I whispered into the ears of some people that they were better off looking for a Cesare Borgia than a Parsifal, they did not believe their ears."[7] Safranski argues that the combination of ruthless warrior pride and artistic brilliance that defined the Italian Renaissance embodied the sense of the Übermensch for Nietzsche. According to Safranski, Nietzsche intended the ultra-aristocratic figure of the Übermensch to serve as a Machiavellian bogeyman of the modern Western middle class and its pseudo-Christian egalitarian value system.[8]

  3. #3
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    Echol's does bring Leopold and Loeb to mind, doesn't he?

  4. #4
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    ^slight insult to Leopold and Loeb http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_and_Loeb, who apart from their diabolical scheme did actually have some academic prowess....

    Damien is a wannabe, I can see his motivation here.

    What about the other two boys do you think? Just following the lead? How involved do we think Jessie was, I noticed significant gaps in his police interviews where he claimed to have 'run off' etc, I'm not convinced that he wasn't a full participant, but would like to hear other people's ideas on that, and their ideas on both boys motivation.
    Last edited by OkieGranny; 02-24-2016 at 03:10 PM. Reason: broken link

  5. #5
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    slight insult to Leopold and Loeb
    True, but it's clear that Echol's believed he was far more intelligent than the police.
    What about the other two boys do you think? Just following the lead?
    I believe Baldwin definately wanted to impress Echols.

    From what Echols has said, they were kindered spirits.
    How involved do we think Jessie was.
    I think he was every bit as involved as he ultimately admitted, and then some.

    After his conviction, he acknowledged that he continued to beat Moore even after he was unconcious, and that he watched one of the victims "wiggle like a worm" when they put the bodies in the water - I suspect he put Moore in the water himself.

    However I also believe what he told his attorney in private - that he didn't realize they were actually going to kill the boys until the knife came out.

  6. #6
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    On Damien, after reading this; http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/gwoods.html I am of two minds, I see some signs of psychopathy with the narcissism and manipulation (even he says so http://callahan.8k.com/images/500/1/111.jpg), but after reading the former it sounds like all the psyche evals point to psychosis.

    If Baldwin was 'under his spell' would that not point to psychopathy in Damien, can someone who is psychotic be charming enough influence another to murder. Or is it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folie_à_deux?

    Look there's no denying that Damien has charisma which was likely appealing to Jason and Jessie, especially at such a young age.

    But then again, there was a case here where a charismatic leader brought in 4 young men in on the murder of an innocent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Cobby), so it's not exactly an isolated event. And after reading Jessie's statement from Feb 94 http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/jmfeb.html I'm thinking it was just a random act, no great motive, an act of bullying that got out of control with both Jason and Damien trying to out-do the other.

    I really wish all the Satanic Panic nonsense had been left out of the trials, I think that's the reason people think the boys didn't get a fair go and may be innocent....because the trials were clouded with superstition, prejudice and rampant stupidity. JMO.
    Last edited by OkieGranny; 02-24-2016 at 03:11 PM. Reason: broken link

  7. #7
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    On Damien, after reading this; http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/gwoods.html I am of two minds
    As a Defense witness hired to retroactively prove Echols wasn't fit to defend himself, I don't put a lot of stock in Wood's evaluation.

    Certainly some of his findings are supported in previous records, but overall, I think the evaluations prior to the crime are the most objective.
    I'm thinking it was just a random act, no great motive, an act of bullying that got out of control with both Jason and Damien trying to out-do the other.
    My feelings exactly.

    This is also supported in the private taped statement Misskelley gave his own attorneys.
    I really wish all the Satanic Panic nonsense had been left out of the trials, I think that's the reason people think the boys didn't get a fair go and may be innocent....because the trials were clouded with superstition, prejudice and rampant stupidity. JMO.
    I think supporters simply use it as a strawman argument.

    I find it somewhat amusing that supporters of the three constantly question Griffis' competence, yet totally ignore the fact that two of the Defense "experts" have been caught red handed deliberately manipulating witnesses and evidence.
    Last edited by Dirty larry; 09-06-2010 at 12:49 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty larry View Post
    As a Defense witness hired to retroactively prove Echols wasn't fit to defend himself, I don't put a lot of stock in Wood's evaluation.
    Well I certainly don't think from watching the trial footage that Echols was suffering from an acute bout of depression or psychosis.



    I think he was actually suffering from an acute bout of self admiration.

  9. #9
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    I'm honestly not trying to imply that it means anything, but there's always been something funny about that scene to me because there's a scene in Helter Skelter where Manson is also grooming his hair in the courtroom - only to an imaginary mirror.

  10. #10
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    Well, I'm back on psychopath for Damien. Remembered something about a diagnosis of psychopathy not available for people under 18 years of age this morning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisoc...ality_disorder

    'To be diagnosed, an individual must be age 18 or older, as well as have a documented history of a conduct disorder before the age of 15.[1] People having antisocial personality disorder are sometimes labeled "sociopaths" or "psychopaths."'

    I wonder if his formal diagnosis would have changed as he got older. I certainly think that since he hasn't deteriorated into deeper psychosis since in prison, but in fact appears to be doing quite well, that he is, and has always been a psychopath.

    And on his motivation, from the police interview, 05-10-93.

    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/dwe.html

    'DAMIEN HAD AN OPINION FOR WHO COULD HAVE DONE THE MURDERS AS BEING SOMEONE SICK AND THAT IT WAS SOME TYPE OF THRILL KILL.'

    'DAMIEN FELT THAT THE HOMICIDE MAY HAVE BEEN FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRYING TO SCARE SOMEONE.'

    'DAMIEN STATED THAT HE FELT THAT IT WS PROBABLY ONE PERSON BECAUSE IF IT WERE MORE THAN ONE PERSON SOMEBODY WOULD PROBABLY TELL ABOUT IT SOONER OR LATER. HE SAID THAT THERE WOULD BE A FEAR OF SQUEALING BY ONE OF THE PERSON IN THE ACT IF IT WERE MORE THAN ONE PERSON.'

    'WHEN ASKED ABOUT HOW HE THOUGHT THE PERSON FELT THAT HAD DONE THE HOMICIDES, HE STATED THAT THE PERSON PROBABLY FELT GOOD ABOUT WHAT HE HAD DONE AND THAT HE FELT GOOD THAT HE HAD THE POWER TO DO WHAT HE HAD DONE.'

    'HE ALSO FELT THE KILLER WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN WORRIED ABOUT THE BOYS SCREAMING DUE TO IT BEING IN THE WOODS AND CLOSE TO THE EXPRESSWAY. HE FURTHER STATED THAT THE KILLER PROBABLY WANTED TO HEAR THE SCREAMING.'

    'DAMIEN MENTIONED THAT HE THOUGHT THAT IT WAS SCARY THAT WE WERE DOING PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILES AND THAT HE WAS ON AN ANTIDEPRESSANT THAT HE SAID WAS AMIPROMIN.

    WHEN ASKED WHAT HE THOUGHT THE PERSON WHO KILLED THE BOYS WAS FEELING NOW, DAMIEN STATED THAT THE PERSON PROBABLY THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY AND THAT HE DIDN’T CARE WHETHER OR NOT HE GOT CAUGHT'

    I think I will believe what he has to say on his own motivation here. I'm sure he thought it was exciting to think of himself as the 'West Memphis Bogeymen', and enjoyed scaring his peers with his diabolical actions.
    Last edited by OkieGranny; 02-24-2016 at 03:11 PM. Reason: broken link


  11. #11
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    That's the thing. isn't it?

    Supporters constantly ask why Griffis felt this crime had "trappings of occultism".

    The only other person consulted about this crime who had a reasonable amount of experience with occultism agreed with Griffis.

    And that was Echols.

  12. #12
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    Just finished reading the 500 http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/img/exh500.html

    Frightening.



    'Unusual behaviours centered around his occult involvement, using his experiences to arouse interest in peers, could be a danger to others.'



    ...'Damien has contracted that he will not attempt to harm anyone after the time of discharge.'

    More references to the occult and satanism than I expected, and bear in mind this is his history before the murders.

    ...and this from the investigator hired by the defense ~



    Very damaging indeed. After reading these reports, I no longer feel that the courts / investigation could have ignored the occult influences and that they weren't significant. Although I still think the 'occult expert' went too far and discredited his testimony in doing so.

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    How is this line of reasoning any different than the stereotypical defense argument that the defendant couldn't have committed the crime because he was a choir boy? Yet we convict such choir boys all the time when the circumstantial evidence proves their guilt.

    Now reversing the process and assuming arguendo that Echols is either (a) an antisocial "dabbler", or (b) a full-blown psychotic, don't we still need some sort of evidence that he committed this particular crime?

    And by evidence, I mean something other than the testimony of a nearly retarded misfit who was obviously coached and still couldn't get his story right.

    ***

    As for Baldwin, even assuming Echols had some influence on him, it's quite a leap to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Baldwin suddenly agreed to help molest and mutilate 8-year-olds.

  14. #14
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    ^ Yes, absolutely, don't forget there is witness testimony from a number of people who heard Echols himself bragging about committing this crime in public. He also had an alibi that couldn't be corroborated, and there were witnesses who say him walking back from the scene of the crime during the critical time-frame. In the police statements taken at the time there is even more witness testimony that never even made it into trial. The Misskelley confession was not relied on in court remember....

    The 500 falls into 'past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour' category IMO, but is not evidence of this particular crime.

  15. #15
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    How is this line of reasoning any different than the stereotypical defense argument that the defendant couldn't have committed the crime because he was a choir boy?
    There is no "stereotypical defense argument that the defendant couldn't have committed the crime because he was a choir boy".

    However, there is often a defense argument on the likelyhood of a "choir boy" having committed a violent crime, because those who commit violent crime typically have violent histories.

    And that reasoning is consistent with either example.

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