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  1. #1

    The Supposed "Evidence" Against Damien

    I was asked to start a separate thread about this topic. Here is what I had previously posted in another thread:

    Several of us have mentioned all of the "evidence" used against Damien. Here is a list:

    1. His appearance and beliefs and taste in books and music

    2. His notebook in which he quoted many song lyrics and made some very "angsty" comments

    3. Fibers, which have been debunked or at least called into question by newer science

    4. Hairs, which have since been proven to not be his

    5. The softball girls who, at best, mistook sarcasm for truth and, at worst, made up a story for their slice of fame

    6. The Hollingsworth clan's siting of Damien and Domini on the Service Road, which Fogleman morphed into Damien and Jason and which, IMO, could easily have been an attempt on the witnesses' part to deflect the minor attention being paid to LG

    7. Jessie's confused and coerced ("coached" if you prefer) statements implicating Damien, Jason and himself, which shouldn't have been used, legally, against Damien but was

    8. Exhibit 500, which was not used as evidence at his trial - which means he was convicted without it - but is constantly trumpeted by some people as important but which, IMO, proves nothing

    Although there were other statements (Jones, for instance) that were not introduced at trial (because the prosecution didn't introduce them, not because Burnett disallowed them), I believe that's the lot of the "evidence" used to convict. Have I missed anything?

  2. #2
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    First off, the prosecution couldn't present the confession they had from Misskelley because he refused to testify, and the jury was instructed to exclude all knowledge it when considering their verdict. Evidence was eventually discovered which prove they failed at that to at least some extent, but to what extent is a disputed issue, and rather outside the scope of this thread. I contended that in this thread we should simply exclude all discussion of Misskelley's statements as the jury should've done.

    Also, regarding the Hollingsworths identifying Echols as having been with their cousin and his girlfriend, Domini Teer: the prosecution contended in the closing arguments that given other evidence connecting Baldwin to the murders and his effeminate appearance along with similar color and length of hair as Teer, Echols' undeniably unique appearance and relationship with Teer caused them to mistake Baldwin for Teer. I'm not sold on that notion, and am still open to the possibility that the Hollingsworths actually saw Teer rather than Baldwin with Echols, but seeing as how this thread is about the evidence presented against Echols at trial, I suggest we leave that discussion out of this too.

    I'm also crossing the hairs off the list, as while there are some hairs which were found microscopically consistent with Echols but which more recent DNA analysis has excluded him as the source of, I'm pretty sure there was no mention of the hairs at the trial. And I tossing out Exhibit 500 too, as while the prosecution surely would have gone heavily into that were it available to them, it wasn't. So, sticking only to the evidence presented against Echols at trial and following CR's formatting but with the exclusions mentioned above, combining 1 and 2, and an addition to the end, here's an updated list:

    1. Echols' "appearance and beliefs and taste in books and music" along with his notebook was to address the issue of motive, much like such would be done in a circumstantial evidence based case against a skinhead or anyone else with strong beliefs which apparently motivated their crimes.

    2. The fiber evidence wasn't notably disputed at trial, but has become more so since then. Settling that dispute would require presenting actual microscopic images of the fibers to demonstrate them inconsistent or otherwise, and best I've been able to tell that has yet to be done. Absent such it just comes down to either taking the words of some people over others as many do, or reserving judgement on the matter until one can see the actual evidence as I choose to.

    3. Jodee Medford and Christi VanVickle testified to having been at a softball game where they witnessed Echols' brag about having committed the murders. When Echols took the stand he acknowledged he'd attended the game, but insisted he'd "never discussed the murders" there, and defense attempted to argue the witness reports were recent fabrications, which lead to Donna Medford testifying on the stand that the girls had told her what they witnessed just shortly after it happened.

    4. Anthony and Narlene Hollingsworth testified to seeing Echols a few hundred yards from where the bodies were found, and covered in mud as someone who'd just hidden the bodies in the creek would be.

    5. the survival knife which Joel Mullins recovered from the Lake behind Baldwin's house, which Deanna Holcomb testified to being consistent with a knife she'd seen Echols in possession of, and which and Frank Peretti identified as being consistent with a few of the wounds on the victims. Those autopsy photos of those wounds were available to jurors, and the prosecution urged the jurors to analyze them carefully. Pretti's identification of consistency was contested at trial with various arguments, and new arguments have surfaced to contest it more recently, but most of the autopsy photos in question aren't publicly available for us to examine the evidence for ourselves. However, a while back I snagged one such photo from a stream of West of Memphis, and along with photos of the survival knife and trial audio to put together this short presentation:

      [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnLXRJnVA9c"]Scrape Marks and the Survival Knife[/ame]


    I'm not certain that's everything, and I'm going to go back and dig through the transcripts to see I missed anything, but I'm sure the above list does provide at least a reasonably comprehensive overview of the evidence presented against Echols at trial. If anyone notices anything missing, please share.
    Last edited by kyleb; 06-20-2013 at 06:52 PM.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    First off, the prosecution couldn't present the confession they had from Misskelley because he refused to testify, and the jury was instructed to exclude all knowledge it when considering their verdict. Evidence was eventually discovered which prove they failed at that to at least some extent, but to what extent is a disputed issue, and rather outside the scope of this thread. I contended that in this thread we should simply exclude all discussion of Misskelley's statements as the jury should've done.

    Also, regarding the Hollingsworths identifying Echols as having been with their cousin and his girlfriend, Domini Teer: the prosecution contended in the closing arguments that given other evidence connecting Baldwin to the murders and his effeminate appearance along with similar color and length of hair as Teer, Echols' undeniably unique appearance and relationship with Teer caused them to mistake Baldwin for Teer. I'm not sold on that notion, and am still open to the possibility that the Hollingsworths actually saw Teer rather than Baldwin with Echols, but seeing as how this thread is about the evidence presented against Echols at trial, I suggest we leave that discussion out of this too.

    I'm also crossing the hairs off the list, as while there are some hairs which were found microscopically consistent with Echols but which more recent DNA analysis has excluded him as the source of, I'm pretty sure there was no mention of the hairs at the trial. And I tossing out Exhibit 500 too, as while the prosecution surely would have gone heavily into that were it available to them, it wasn't. So, sticking only to the evidence presented against Echols at trial and following CR's formatting but with the exclusions mentioned above, combining 1 and 2, and an addition to the end, here's an updated list:

    1. Echols' "appearance and beliefs and taste in books and music" along with his notebook was to address the issue of motive, much like such would be done in a circumstance evidence based case against a skinhead or anyone else with strong beliefs which apparently motivated their crimes.

    2. The fiber evidence wasn't notably disputed at trial, but has become more so since then. Settling that dispute would require presenting actual microscopic images of the fibers to demonstrate them inconsistent or otherwise, and best I've been able to tell that has yet to be done. Absent such it just comes down to either taking the words of some people over others as many do, or reserving judgement on the matter until one can see the actual evidence as I choose to.

    3. Jodee Medford and Christi VanVickle testified to having been at a softball game where they witnessed Echols' brag about having committed the murders. When Echols took the stand he acknowledged he'd attended the game, but insisted he'd "never discussed the murders" there, and defense attempted to argue the witness reports were recent fabrications, which lead to Donna Medford testifying on the stand that the girls had told her what they witnessed just shortly after it happened.

    4. Anthony and Narlene Hollingsworth testified to seeing Echols a few hundred yards from where the bodies were found, and covered in mud as someone who'd just hidden the bodies in the creek would be.

    5. the survival knife which Joel Mullins recovered from the Lake behind Baldwin's house, which Deanna Holcomb testified to being consistent with a knife she'd seen Echols in possession of, and which and Frank Peretti identified as being consistent with a few of the wounds on the victims. Those autopsy photos of those wounds were available to jurors, and the prosecution urged the jurors to analyze them carefully. Pretti's identification of consistency was contested at trial with various arguments, and new arguments have surfaced to contest it more recently, but most of the autopsy photos in question aren't publicly available for us to examine the evidence for ourselves. However, a while back I snagged one such photo from a stream of West of Memphis, and along with photos of the survival knife and trial audio I put together this short presentation:

      Scrape Marks and the Survival Knife


    I'm not certain that's everything, and I'm going to go back and dig through the transcripts to see I missed anything, but I'm sure the above list does provide at least a reasonably comprehensive overview of the evidence presented against Echols at trial. If anyone notices anything missing, please share.
    kyle, you and I may disagree on things often and I may disagree with the import of some of the above, but I have to say, I appreciated that post. I don't have the time right now (heading off to a game) but will take the time to see what, if anything, I can add.

  4. #4
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    I thank you for stating your appreciation, and hope you might understand that the only reason I don't make such a list for all the evidence against all three, that which was presented at trial and otherwise, is because that is a considerably more involved task and one which has already been reasonably well accomplished by others before I ever even started looking into the case. That said, and getting back towards the topic at hand, here's a clip from the first PL with Jason Baldwin and and his Lawyer Paul Ford are awaiting the verdicts and both suggest they'd have trouble finding reason to doubt the case made against Echols at trial:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5cL14i1bHs"]If you were on that jury, would you have a hard time letting him go? Jason Baldwin---yeah. - YouTube[/ame]

    Note that they both got to experience the trial from a perspective comparable to that of the jurors, while all of us here have gotten a much less direct view.
    Last edited by kyleb; 06-20-2013 at 08:25 PM.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

  5. #5
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    If I had participated in such murders during some alcohol indued state of insanity or whatever, I'd have turned myself in the moment I came to, plead guilty, testified against the others involved, and quite possibility have gotten out sooner than Baldwin did. That said, if I wasn't one to take responsibility for my actions, I'd have answered the question much as Baldwin did. Given the evidence presented against Echols at trial, which Baldwin got a front row seat for: "there's no way he could have done it" is an obvious lie, while "they made it seem like he did" is as close as Baldwin could get to the truth while still maintaining his illusion of innocence.
    Last edited by kyleb; 06-20-2013 at 11:11 PM.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

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    Your "there's no way he could do it / done it" is obvious lie to anyone who has a thorough understanding of the evidence presented against Echols at trial, people like Baldwin's lawyer Paul Ford for example. Of course that's not to suggest anyone who insist Echols insist committed the murders is lying by any stretch, as people come to such false convictions through superficial understandings of all sorts of things, but anyone who got a front row seat for the while trail and had reason to pay attention trial as Baldwin and Ford did couldn't honestly insist there's no possibility that Echols could've done it, which again is why both agreed they'd have trouble finding reason to doubt the case made against Echols at trial.

    By the way Gheckso, do you realize you've yet to actually address the topic of this thread?
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

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    For those that didn't see and might be confused, my previous two posts were replies to questions from Gheckso which have since been deleted.

    Anyway, back to the topic of evidence, I recalled two other tidbits of evidence which I left off the list. One is the candle wax found on a shirt of one of the victims and which matches candles found in the home of Echols' girlfriend where he regularly stayed, as testified to by Lisa Sakevicius. As for the other bit of evidence I recalled, can anyone else think of it? Does nobody else care about the evidence presented against Echols at trial?
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

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    The link you've posted doesn't support the assertion that the wax on Steven Branch's shirt matched candles found in Domini Teer's home. All Lisa Sakevicius testified to there is that the wax on Steven's shirt was "consistent with" candle wax.

    If you have another link to support the assertion that the wax was ever matched to anything, I'd be interested to see it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    For those that didn't see and might be confused, my previous two posts were replies to questions from Gheckso which have since been deleted.

    Anyway, back to the topic of evidence, I recalled two other tidbits of evidence which I left off the list. One is the candle wax found on a shirt of one of the victims and which matches candles found in the home of Echols' girlfriend where he regularly stayed, as testified to by Lisa Sakevicius. As for the other bit of evidence I recalled, can anyone else think of it? Does nobody else care about the evidence presented against Echols at trial?
    I can't read your mind, but didn't the prosecution also introduce sticks that they suggested were used in the commission of the crime.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cappuccino View Post
    The link you've posted doesn't support the assertion that the wax on Steven Branch's shirt matched candles found in Domini Teer's home. All Lisa Sakevicius testified to there is that the wax on Steven's shirt was "consistent with" candle wax.

    If you have another link to support the assertion that the wax was ever matched to anything, I'd be interested to see it.
    Personally, for now I'll accept the fact that it was used by the prosecution as part of their case. I'll reserve the efficacy of the evidence until later when I take a closer look at it.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cappuccino View Post
    The link you've posted doesn't support the assertion that the wax on Steven Branch's shirt matched candles found in Domini Teer's home.
    Good catch, I had the details confused. The blue candle found in Teer's home wasn't mentioned at trial, but rather Davis mentioned this in his closing arguments:

    Also, remember Damien saying--and I think this is a real, real coincidence, and y'all can play a little detective on your own when you go back here. Remember this book that just comes from the library? See all this stain on the back of it? You all go back there and look a that and kindly tilt it in the light and look and it, and see if that isn't blue wax to you. See if that doesn't look like some blue wax to you. Now you run your fingers on it and it reflects, it got kind of a shiny surface to it. You remember ol Damien telling us that one of those--I mean, whoever was doing this would--probably if it was satanic involved, would probably have some candles out there. Well, we got one of the boys' shirts that had that blue wax on his shirt and--oh, Damien will tell you, well those red marks in his book, you know--they must have been in the library before I got it.

    But is this just gonna be another one of those coincidences? You know, Damien's out there at nine-thirty, Damien tells two people who don't know him from Adam--they overhear him say he committed the murder, their mother comes into court and testifies under oath that's what her daughter said. Narlene and Anthony tell you that. And is this just another coincidence that we've got blue candle wax on the shirt of one of the victims. And we've got blue candle wax on this book involving, dealing with the occult.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

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    Quote Originally Posted by reedus23 View Post
    I can't read your mind, but didn't the prosecution also introduce sticks that they suggested were used in the commission of the crime.
    I'm pretty sure that was just in the trial that should not be named in this discussion, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. Regardless, that isn't the bit of evidence which was used against Echols at trial that I'm thinking of.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

  13. #13
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    Davis did indeed slip the wax into his closing argument, when it was too late for the defense to challenge it. However, let's not let insinuations obscure the facts....

    DAVIDSON: Your Honor, we'd also request a copy of the report of Lisa Sakevicius -- if there is one -- regarding any candle wax.

    FOGLEMAN: I don't know if there is one. She said that what she puts in her report is when there are matches. She claimed that didn't match anything.
    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/ebtrial/fbibench.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    I'm pretty sure that was just in the trial that should not be named in this discussion, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. Regardless, that isn't the bit of evidence which was used against Echols at trial that I'm thinking of.
    No, the sticks were produced at the E/B trial. I think they were also produced at the Misskelley trial, but they were definitely produced at this trial too. It was during that piece of evidence that Bryn Ridge made sure to mention Jessie's confession in front of the E/B jury.

    Jessie's confession is probably the missing piece of evidence used against Damien that is slipping your memory.

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    Would you please quote what you're alluding to Ridge having said on the stand? I tried digging back through Ridge's testimony and the only mention of Misskelley I found in it was when Val Price did so here.

    As for the wax on the shirt, I wonder if Sakevicius ever bothered to check the wax on Echols' book or from the candle for comparison, or if anyone else has. Regardless, it's a trivial detail which I'd let slip my mind until reading back through the closing arguments, and there's no reason to let it obscure the more notable facts presented in my initial summery of the evidence presented against Echols at trial, nor the bit of evidence I'm still hopping someone else here might recall. I'll give a couple hints regarding the latter: it's elsewhere in Ridge's testimony, and was contested by Echols on the stand.
    Last edited by kyleb; 06-22-2013 at 03:01 PM.
    The Master said, "In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself." Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, James Legge translation

    Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes. She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation

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