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  1. #1
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    The West Memphis Less-Than-Three?

    I have thought it a possible error to always take for granted that because the three were accused, then the three must have committed the crime together.

    What, exactly, puts the three firmly in each in other's company (might we please leave out third hand hearsay and flawed confessions here, for the sake of exploring this idea) in the time frame during which the boys went missing, and later into that night? Is it actually possible for only ONE of the three to actually be guilty?

    Is it possible Jessie wasn't there at all, but knew -something- bad happened?

    Or did Jessie kill the boys in a fit of rage and then use Echols and Baldwin to deflect the bulk of blame from himself?

    Were Jessie and Jason at home, while Echols and some other pals killed the boys for a 'laugh'?

    I can think of some pretty decent points of argument for all of the above. The only one of the three I have a hard time seeing as acting alone (or at all, tbh) is Baldwin.
    _____________
    Everything I have posted at this website, past or present, represents my opinion or my understanding of events based on facts that are publicly available.

  2. #2
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    Do you think he could have been coerced into pleading guilty instead of waiting for a couple of months for the 'new trial'?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by UdbCrzy2 View Post
    Do you think he could have been coerced into pleading guilty instead of waiting for a couple of months for the 'new trial'?
    Non sequitur

    OT: What evidence is there to support that a new trial was a couple of months away?

    2nd post in...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ausgirl
    The only one of the three I have a hard time seeing as acting alone (or at all, tbh) is Baldwin.
    I do agree with this but I'd also add that I don't think Jessie would be capable of acting alone based (and not solely) on the lack of evidence found at the scene.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausgirl View Post
    What, exactly, puts the three firmly in each in other's company
    It's the bodies of evidence that implicate each of the three in the murders individually which puts them firmly in each others' company at around sunset on 5/5/93, and deputy prosecutor Melanie Alsworth provided a good overview of that evidence at the Alford plea hearing:

    14 Your Honor, as far as the circumstantial
    15 evidence is concerned, the autopsy reports on
    16 the victims showed that there were many injuries
    17 that were consistent with multiple weapons being
    18 used. One was a sharp object, such as a knife.
    19 One weapon was consistent with the size of a
    20 broom handle. One weapon was large and blunt.
    21 Additional observations were the knots that
    22 were used to bind the victims. The knots were
    23 of three different types, indicating that more
    24 than one person was involved.
    25 Your Honor, I believe that there was

    26
    1 evidence collected in the form of fibers from
    2 some of the victims' clothing at the scene that
    3 was subsequently compared to fibers taken from
    4 two of the defendants' homes that were
    5 microscopically similar to the fibers collected
    6 from the victims' clothing.
    7 Also, Your Honor, there was a knife that
    8 was found in the lake behind Mr. Baldwin's
    9 residence. This knife was a survival-type
    10 knife. Believe that the testimony could
    11 possibly establish that the pattern of the knife
    12 was consistent with some of the injuries on the
    13 victims. Testimony from the State would
    14 establish that Mr. Echols was known to carry a
    15 knife very similar to this, with the only
    16 exception on the end of his knife was a compass
    17 that was not present on the knife that was
    18 recovered from the lake.
    19 Your Honor, as far as the direct evidence
    20 is concerned, would point the Court to the
    21 statements that the State would introduce that
    22 were allegedly made by Mr. Echols, admitting his
    23 involvement in this case, which was overheard by
    24 girls at a softball game.
    25 Regarding Mr. Baldwin, he allegedly made a

    27
    1 statement while he was in juvenile detention to
    2 another detainee in Craighead County.
    3 And with Mr. Misskelley, he made statements
    4 to law enforcement officers after he was
    5 Mirandized, implicating himself in these crimes.
    6 The facts from Mr. Misskelley's statement and
    7 what we allege Mr. Baldwin's statement to be are
    8 consistent with the actual evidence in the case
    9 and we'd ask you to consider those as well.
    Of course anyone can dream up a litany of excuses to exclude any and all of that evidence, Misskelley's many confessions and otherwise, much has been done in the case of the other confessed and convicted child predators which HBO among many others have made themselves, unwittingly for the most part I suspect, apologists for. However, as explained in the judicial review of the Friedman case "artists and advocates use different methods, make different judgments, and apply different standards than those that public prosecutors must employ", and one can't ever rightly expect to understand what proves most criminals guilty beyond any reasonable doubt while deviating from the analytical standards by which our legal system operates.
    Last edited by kyleb; 11-28-2013 at 01:53 AM.
    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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    Kyle, your linked document states that the alford plea was presented to the state by the defense. Many times it's been told that the state is the one who came to them, but this document proves that's not true.


    22 MR. COPELIN: One -- one thing, Judge, is
    23 the Court commonly, when you take a plea,
    24 advised that the defendants have accepted the
    25 plea offer, but in this case, actually the

    32
    1 defendants proposed the Alford plea offer and
    2 the State accepted it.

    3 If that's -- that's the facts and that's
    4 the -- the position that we take, so I don't
    5 know if that --
    6 THE COURT: I'll simply state the plea
    7 agreement has been reached.

  6. #6
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    The real proof of that is in the pleading for Baldwin and Echols which reads "On this the 19th day of August 2011, came the defendants and their counsel requesting this Court for the opportunity to enter a negotiated plea in these matters", and the one for Misskelley which reads the same in the singular sense, with signatures from the convicted, their council, the prosecution, and the judge together establishing that fact beyond any reasonable doubt.
    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

  7. #7
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    If the evidence for guilt - let alone that all three were in each others' company - was not so flimsy and easily refuted, I highly doubt they'd be out of prison now, or that so many people would be behind the idea of their innocence. No-one wants a child killer free.. And that many perfectly nice and reasonable folks DID see cause for doubt speaks volumes in itself. Cause for doubt is -visible- and therefore people doubt.

    IMO, and in MY case, it's not a matter of wishing to skew facts to prove a point, but of looking at the facts -as presented- and seeing some distinct problems with the conclusions reached via those - mainly by the prosecution.

    I do see the evidence linking the three on that day as not very solid at all.

    And I do think there's room for wondering whether one or another MIGHT have actually had a hand in the murders.

    My question was - which one/s?

    Thank you for making your opinion on this topic clear. I am hoping for some others, too.
    _____________
    Everything I have posted at this website, past or present, represents my opinion or my understanding of events based on facts that are publicly available.

  8. #8
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    That does not necessarily confirm what went down one way or another. The wording is so neutral and was obviously agreed upon before things formally started.

    As far as I have been able to ascertain, the Alford Plea had never been used in Arkansas before. Also, it would seem that it had never been used in any sort of 'post conviction' maneuvering' any where before.

    There is no way of knowing for sure, as far as I know, who it was who came up with the idea of using this method to close all the bad press and exposure about the convictions! The state seemed to have reached a point where they were stuck between a rock and a hard place as it was extremely unlikely, after the Supreme Court handed down the ruling that an Evidentiary Hearing was to happen for all three. It was scheduled for December, 2011.

    It is, of course, possible that no no trial would have been granted, but the probability is very slight. It is highly likely that the State would have dragged the starting of a new trial for as long as they could before folding their hand.

    Had Baldwin had had a choice without any outside pressure, he would surely have wanted to stay until after the hearing and then either new trial or the charges being dropped. He has said as much since the release.

    He finally gave in and accepted the deal because of the concern he had for DE's health, which he was told was not good.

    Ellington defended his position by claiming to have saved the State a lot of money in compensation. Arkansas does not recognise 'wrongful convictions' and has no provision for compensation! Hence the current interest in the Tim Howard case!

    However anyone looks at it, it is very strange that the State were so willing to let 3 young men (and it had to be all or none) out into the world if they truly believed they were child killers. Which ever side of that old fence one is one, this whole sorry mess leaves a distinctly foul stench emanating from the AG's office and the Governor's, come to that!

  9. #9
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    Statement agreed to by all parties
    Yes, Your Honor. The State
    24 would offer evidence in its case-in-chief that
    25 would substantially prove the guilt of all three

    56
    1 defendants as follows:
    2 That on the evening of May 5, 1993, three
    3 children were reported missing, Steven Branch,
    4 Chris Bowers, and Michael Moore. The next day
    5 they -- their bodies were found in an area known
    6 as Robin Hood Hills. The State would provide
    7 evidence as to the cause of death for each of
    8 these children, the manner of death for each
    9 child, being that of the homicide. That in the
    10 course of the investigation by the West Memphis
    11 Police Department that the defendant, Jessie
    12 Misskelley, was interviewed and confessed to his
    13 participation. That the State would also
    14 provide testimony that defendant Baldwin made
    15 incriminating statements while he was in
    16 juvenile detention. And that defendant Echols
    17 also made incriminating statements to a group of
    18 individuals.
    19 Additional direct and circumstantial
    20 evidence would be offered by the State to prove
    21 the guilt of the defendants and would
    22 corroborate the statements made by each.
    The Plea

    1 MR. ECHOLS: Your Honor, I am innocent of
    2 these charges, but I'm entering an Alford guilty
    3 plea today based on the advice of my counsel and
    4 my understanding that it's in my best interest
    5 to do so, given the entire record.
    6 THE COURT: Have you been threatened or
    7 coerced or intimidated in any way to give rise
    8 to this plea?
    9 MR. ECHOLS: No, sir, I have not.
    10 THE COURT: And you are entering this plea
    11 because you believe that it is in your best
    12 interest to do so, and want to go this route as
    13 opposed to taking the risk of -- of higher
    14 penalties and more -- and more penalties at
    15 trial?
    16 MR. ECHOLS: That's correct.
    17 THE COURT: Mr. Baldwin, having heard the
    18 statement made by the State as to a portion of
    19 the proof that's expected in this case, how do
    20 you choose to plea in this case?
    21 MR. BALDWIN: Your Honor, first of all I am
    22 innocent of murdering Chris Bowers, Michael
    23 Moore and Stephen Branch; however, I've been
    24 serving 18 years in the penitentiary for such.
    25 I agree that it is in the State's best interest,

    58
    1 as well as my own, that based upon North
    2 Carolina versus Alford, that I plead guilty to
    3 first-degree murder for those crimes.
    4 THE COURT: All right, and the same as it
    5 relates to you, Mr. Misskelley. How do you wish
    6 to plea in response to the provable charges in
    7 this case?
    8 MR. MISSKELLEY: I am pleading guilty under
    9 North Carolina versus Alford and the Arkansas
    10 Rules although I am innocent. This is -- and --
    11 and this plea is in my best interest.

    Snippet of the Court's statement.

    the Court's very
    11 much aware of the nature of this proceeding and
    12 -- and the extreme emotions that are there on
    13 both sides of this particular matter.
    14 And the Court takes no position as to -- as
    15 to what occurred when this tragedy occurred and
    16 these innocent lives were taken. That's not
    17 part of what I do in connection with this.
    18 But I am aware of the divergence of opinion
    19 about that. I'm aware of the controversy that's
    20 existed. I'm aware of the involvement of the
    21 people in this case, and I commend people in the
    22 case that have assisted the defense, that have
    23 assisted anyone in connection with this case
    24 towards the end of seeing that justice is served
    25 to the best that we could do
    And in Arkansas there's not
    9 really any precedent to amount to anything as to
    10 the exact nuts and bolts of the implementation
    11 of the Alford plea
    So this won't answer all your questions. I
    21 don't expect it to. It will give rise to
    22 discussions for a long time to come.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausgirl View Post
    If the evidence for guilt - let alone that all three were in each others' company - was not so flimsy and easily refuted
    Rather, if the evidence for guilt were easily refuted, the evidentiary hearing would've been a cake walk and would've won the three the presumption of innocence and right to a speedy trial, resulting in an acquittal and not only their freedom but in turn also around $20 million each in restitution for wrongful imprisonment.
    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


  11. #11
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    I think I'll stick to the simplest hypothesis as to why the state accepted the defenses offer to the Alford.

  12. #12
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    The notion that the convicted, their council, the prosecution, and the judge were all lying when they agreed there is sufficient evidence for a jurry to find the three guilty is far from the simplest explanation.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by UdbCrzy2 View Post
    Kyle, your linked document states that the alford plea was presented to the state by the defense. Many times it's been told that the state is the one who came to them, but this document proves that's not true.


    22 MR. COPELIN: One -- one thing, Judge, is
    23 the Court commonly, when you take a plea,
    24 advised that the defendants have accepted the
    25 plea offer, but in this case, actually the

    32
    1 defendants proposed the Alford plea offer and
    2 the State accepted it.

    3 If that's -- that's the facts and that's
    4 the -- the position that we take, so I don't
    5 know if that --
    6 THE COURT: I'll simply state the plea
    7 agreement has been reached.
    Serious question as I've seen this discussed before as some indication of guilt but I just don't follow the logic, so bear with me. What difference exactly does it make who proposed what? I've never looked into to determine one way or the other because I don't see what difference it makes. Ultimately, both sides and the Court agreed to it. If either side opposed it they would not have proposed it or would not have accepted it. Just not following. TIA.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    The notion that the convicted, their council, the prosecution, and the judge were all lying when they agreed there is sufficient evidence for a jurry to find the three guilty is far from the simplest explanation.
    A much too simplistic approach bordering on misrepresentation on how things work.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyleb View Post
    Rather, if the evidence for guilt were easily refuted, the evidentiary hearing would've been a cake walk and would've won the three the presumption of innocence and right to a speedy trial, resulting in an acquittal and not only their freedom but in turn also around $20 million each in restitution for wrongful imprisonment.
    So easy for people to armchair quarterback that decision. How much time have you spent in prison? How many of those days in prison were you facing being executed?

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