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  1. #1

    I've Changed My Opinion

    Back in 1995 I set off to attend a university in Arkansas. I was from New Jersey, but I had a strong, fundamentalist Christian belief and wanted to become a pastor of a church. As a result, I set off to get my education in Arkansas and attain my goal. To make a long story short, I learned that many folks in Arkansas would speak of their belief in Christianity, but would behave in ways that would be considered immoral from the perspective of even an atheist. In other words actions differed greatly from words. An example in this case would be the highly religious Mark Byers who more then likely did some serious meth. I lost my faith in Christianity and became an agnostic, and left Arkansas with a huge chip on my shoulder. To this day I still dislike the South, and am very inclined to see hypocrisy in statements made by fundamentalist Christians.

    So when I first viewed the Lost in Paradise documentaries in 1996 it was obvious to me the Memphis Three were the victims of an ineffective, superstitious police force. Besides, logic would dictate an average lower IQ, lower educational requirements, and a mixed gene pool which would statistically make it more likely there would be an ineffective police investigation and subsequent trial. I took Lost in Paradise as a fundamental confirmation of my belief: that the South is mainly corrupt, crime ridden, superstitious, and ineffectual.

    When I recently heard there were two more Lost in Paradise documentaries, I decided to watch them, not only to enjoy further evidence of my feelings towards the South, but also in hopes they'd provide light into who could possibly be the killer(s) of these innocent boys. The fact is, while the documentaries were a confirmation of my beliefs in the South, they were also a doorway to a loss of innocence for me. Seeing the initial footage of the murders boys, nude, helpless, and motionless, brought chills to my skin. I was breathless, and somehow could not get over the vulnerability and innocence of these children. In short, the footage and the entire documentary were seared in my brain, and confirmation that evil did exist, whether there was a devil or even a God.

    After watching the second of the documentaries, I was left with the possibility that Mark Byers might be the killer. I thought it was a possibility but wasn't convinced. The third documentary had me pretty convinced Terry Hobbs was the murderer. Mind you the fact that the previous documentary where Byers was confused had me thinking that perhaps the folks doing the documentary weren't exactly brain surgeons, but I figured new evidence came to light so they were mistaken in the second film, perhaps. But finding a hair from Terry Hobbs in a lace that was used to tie one of the boy's, that certainly got my attention.

    Over the next couple of weeks, I just couldn't get the thought of this case out of my mind. I started reading up on the case and when I saw the explanation by Terry Hobb's ex-wife about the kids witnessing Terry taking jobs along with his friend and two teens, I thought the case was closer then ever to being solved. I thought this was the best explanation yet! But I proved to be naive because I assumed I was provided all of the key information about the case in the documentaries.

    When I read about multiple confessions by Misskelly I immediately thought, "Now wait a minute, that can't be right. The documentary only mentioned the one confession. They wouldn't leave such important information out." I was led to the actual case files and sure enough, Misskelley had confessed multiple times to the killing, one time against the advice of his own lawyer. As a read the documents, I began to realize there was a growing mountain of evidence against the Memphis Three that made them the probable killers.

    So let me be clear about some things to start with. I believe the initial trials, especially the ones provided to Echols and Baldwin, were poorly handled, and ultimately should have resulted in a retrial. It's clear in the Echols/Baldwin case the foreman knew of the police confession of Miskelley, brought it up to the rest of the jurors, and it was considered as evidence to convict Baldwin and Echols. It's also clear Echols and Baldwin should have been tried separately as most of the evidence was against Echols, and the evidence against Baldwin would have been more difficult to prove. By keeping the try linked with the two, Baldwin was able to be convicted due to his association against Echols.

    Also, the police investigation, when it came to how the forensic evidence was handled, was inept to put it kindly. It was obvious from the beginning they should have at least had assistance from the state, and more preferably from the FBI. The WMPD was out of their element, and it was very obvious. I'm sure the WMPD could have stopped speeders on the road and wrote out speeding tickets as well as any redneck police force, but that's the level of competency I'd garner them.

    I'm not here to discuss the legal aspects of the case, or how the police could have done things differently. What has happened has happened. However, based on what I'd read, and based on the past and current actions of Damien Echols, I believe three murders have been freed, and the crime they committed was beyond redemption. I'm here because I can't believe those who'd read the documents provided could come to any other conclusion.

    Just off the top of my head, when interviewed by the police on May 10th, 1993, how did Echols know the boys had likely drowned? How did he know that one of the boys was more cut up then the rest? Why would he make statements about the killing likely being a thrill kill? How would he even know what a thrill kill was, given this wasn't widely known about in 1993? Why would he state the killer was likely pleased with himself, and feel empowered? And if somebody where to take this one single interview and explain it away point by point, please realize there is so much more! I can understand explaining away a *reasonable* amount of evidence since it's all mostly circumstantial, but all of the eye witness accounts of cat skulls and violence against animals and actual eyewitness accounts of Damien admitting to the crime, it all mounts up and indicates his involvement. Why did he also fail the lie detector test? And frankly, I don't care if he wore rainbow colored shirts with peace signs and listened to the Beatles, his psych evaluations pointed to somebody who was extremely disturbed, even in the context of a mental hospital.

    Also, it's been said that these folks were arrested due to fear of Satanism/Witchcraft, but I find it ironic that Damien would agree with the townsfolk that the police should look for evidence of witchcraft such as crystals, burned candle wax, etc. Look, I understand that the police were asking him direct questions about possible evidence of witchcraft to look for at the crime scene. They were basically patronizing him, allowing him to assist in a police investigation as so many serial killers enjoy doing. Even in that context, Damien could have said, "Man, I don't know who did these murders, but they must be crazy freaks, and I'd never do anything like that! I hope you get them, and I hope they burn in Hell!" Instead this guy smiled and blew kisses at the victims' parents, lied about his alibi, make statements that fell barely short of incriminating himself, and appeared to enjoy the spotlight.

    Why would somebody exhibit all of the signs of being a psychopath and yet not be one?

  2. #2
    I won't attempt to answer your numerous questions because you would merely attempt to debunk anything that I might say. I will address this one:

    "Why would somebody exhibit all of the signs of being a psychopath and yet not be one?"

    Not all psychopaths are killers. I'm not totally sure that Damien is a psychopath. He certainly has had mental problems in the past, and basically "growing up" in prison certainly left him immature. (The plethora of immature actions he has exhibited since his release proves this.) However, the justice system should not convict a person, and certainly should not sentence a person to death, on such a lack of real evidence as there was in this case. (Jessie could "confess" every day and twice on Sunday and I would not believe it because of his mental disability.) IMO, the reason for the lack of evidence is that Damien, Jason and Jessie are factually innocent of these crimes. I hope that the State of Arkansas reopens this case, that a proper investigation is conducted and that the real killer is punished for his crimes.

  3. #3
    Well, I wouldn't want you to try to respond to any of my questions, people might be under the impression this is a forum designed for discussion and to exchange opinions.

    I agree not all psychopaths are killers. The problem is, Damien Echols shows signs of being a psychopath and he and two of his friends were near the area those three kids were murdered. Since the kids didn't murder themselves, it makes Damien and his friends the likely killers when evidence is factored in.

    I wasn't aware Jessie Misskelley had a mental disability. What mental disability was he diagnosed with? Wow, honestly, if you can link me to a diagnosed disability, that might change my opinion. Obviously it'd have to be something very serious to cause somebody to confess to a murder they didn't commit to every day. You know it's funny, there are people who cite his original IQ test of 88 and subsequent IQ test of 72 as a disability, but that is merely a measurement of intelligence, not a diagnosed disability. Wait, it occurs to me you might be citing his IQ as his disability. I hope not, that would not be factual.

    I agree a new investigation should be opened, and Arkansas should prepare for a trial when enough evidence has been gained. The evidence would likely be circumstantial but since there is so much evidence including the actual admission from two of the likely perpetrators, it would likely be enough for another conviction.

  4. #4
    Jessie Misskelley was in Special Education classes. You must have a diagnosed learning disability (not just a low IQ) in order to be admitted to such classes. He was in full-fledged Sp. Ed. classes, not mainstreamed with accommodations or modifications, but classes populated by students with severe learning disabilities. Also, if you read up on false confessions, you will see that two of the most common causes of false confessions are a low IQ and being a juvenile. Here is one such article. There are many others.

    I have 25 years' teaching experience and many of my students had mild learning disabilities - not as serious as Jessie's for they were in mainstream classes with modifications made by the teacher to help them cope with these mild learning disabilities (dyslexia and the like). Jessie was in segregated classes, which means that his learning disability was more severe. I don't know what particular disability Jessie had as those records are sealed to this day, but the fact that he was in segregated special education classes is proof of the existence of such a disability.

    As to the 88 IQ score, what most people don't note when citing that score is that it was for one-half of the IQ test, and it was not the half that most people would consider the "intelligence" portion. It was the portion that tested, basically, street smarts - the ability to cope with the surrounding environment. One such coping method that students like Jessie often use is to listen when being questioned for clues as to what answer the interrogator wants. Jessie did this during his interrogation by the wmpd. It is especially evident in the "clarification" statement and both statements made shortly after his conviction.

    As to Damien's situation, being near the area with his two friends (which isn't true, btw, as the Hollingsworths' claim was that Damien and Domini - their niece - were in the area), I'm sure a lot of people were "near the area" of the murders. However, when Jerry Driver gave his list to the police, the train left the station, so to speak, and the railroad job began. From that point on, the police only gave cursory attention to other suspects and concentrated their investigation on Damien and Jason. The police didn't even interrogate all family members, which is the first group of people that should be cleared. For example, Hobbs was not questioned until 2004! Even that interrogation was not nearly as intense as what Damien, Jason and Jessie endured.

    You are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine. I would be glad to discuss anything about this case with anyone who possesses an open mind. Yours appears to be closed, however, as evidenced by the tone of your response above. At least we can agree that the original investigation was inadequate and that another one should occur.



    ETA: If you're interested in more information about false confessions, there's a thread in this very forum that provides links to many articles, as well as discussion from both sides: Here it is.
    Last edited by Compassionate Reader; 02-28-2015 at 02:20 AM. Reason: providing additional information

  5. #5
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    After reading your initial post, I can only wonder. I am from New England, and attended university and seminary in the South (Virginia). Why did I not choose one closer to me (PA, NY, MA)? I do not know, I felt led to go to Virginia instead. It sounds as though you wanted to become a pastor, it was not a calling. If it had truly been a calling, you would have continued despite the obvious animosity in which you have inured yourself. Hypocrites are everywhere, not just in the church, but I will agree there are many. No true Christian has ever claimed to be perfect; far from it, we are all sinners, including myself. In fact, I sometimes argue with the Apostle Paul as to who is truly chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15b). I wonder, with all of the hypocrisy that goes on within the political world, are you against politics? With all of the hypocrisy within the financial world, are you against finances? I am just wondering, since you seem to be dead set against Christianity, or is it all religion you are against?

    In your second paragraph you reveal an obvious animosity against any and, I would venture to guess, all things Southern. Words and phrases such as, “average lower IQ, lower educational requirements… mixed gene pool” reveal that bias rather plainly. It might interest you to know that none of these “logical” statistics are strictly relegated to the Southern states. Northern, Eastern, and Western states have their share of ineffectiveness on the part of the police as well (e.g., the problems several jurisdictions had with the Zodiac Killer, cf. http://www.websleuths.com/forums/for...Zodiac-Killer; the problems that Massachusetts police had with the Molly Bish case, cf. http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...n-27-June-2000). I know I have seen botched investigations elsewhere on this website. I invite you to take a look at some of the other threads and see for yourself. This seems to me to show that IQ and education don’t really enter into whether or not a police force is effective or corrupt. Your final statement, however, is totally unwarranted, and reveals your animosity; I wonder what happened to you that made you so angry that you would collectively include an entire section of the country into your tunnel vision of hatred against the South. Were you unable to continue in what you wanted to do, be a pastor? It is not for everyone, and indeed, I am more of a teacher than a pastor; it is not an easy position, and requires extreme commitment. I wonder if you discovered this, and it soured you in this way. I really do want to understand from where this bitterness is springing.

    I have seen all of the documentaries, numerous times, as well as the movie Devil’s Knot and the West of Memphis documentary. Every time I see them, I weep at the images of three little boys debased in such a way. I seethe with indignation that someone would perform such acts of savagery, and if it were within my power, Christian or not, I would want to see the perpetrator(s) hung up, flayed alive, and iodine poured on them throughout the process so they would not die of infection before the process was finished. I would then put them through activities that would make the Jigsaw Killer of the SAW movies fame shudder. Again, one cannot judge an entire section of the country by the actions of a few. This synecdoche in my opinion is unwarranted and unfounded. It would be similar to saying New Jersey is the mafia’s playground; because there are instances of mafia-related occurrences in NJ does not mean the entire state is overrun. However, they are your beliefs, so far be it from me to try to dissuade you. I do not force my beliefs or convictions on anyone else. I will discuss them with rational and open-minded persons who are truly interested.

    Regarding the other two documentaries in the PL series, I can only say that they were indeed biased in favor of the WM3, but all documentaries are biased in one way or another. Their purpose is to inform and possibly persuade, as they document events that have taken place (see http://pov.imv.au.dk/Issue_22/section_1/artc1A.html and http://www.pbs.org/pov/behindthelens...ocumentary.php for examples). JMB was a flamboyant individual, quite the “showman” and as far as hypocritical, yes, he indeed was. To stand in the pulpit of a church and sing about how wonderful God is and how he would do what it takes to follow and please God in one scene, and then to return to the drainage ditch, pretend to dig graves, and burn grasses and “stomp on your grave” is very hypocritical (Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, ca. 27 minutes and Revelations, ca 1:17). I also wondered if perhaps he had something to do with the horrible atrocity visited upon his son and the other two victims. Then there was the revelation of the hair which could possibly have come from TWH and the other which could possibly have come from his friend, DJ. Wow, DNA evidence… strong stuff, if you are CSI-conscious. However, the defense’s own experts concluded that such evidence was exculpatory for the WM3 (Purgatory, ca. 1:14) but not strong enough to indict TWH (Purgatory, ca. 1:34), as well as possibly coming from a number of other individuals (Purgatory, ca. 1:15). Not being an expert, I defer to the judgment of those who do have the knowledge to decode that information and base decisions upon it.

    Now you state you were na´ve because you assumed the key information was all in the documentaries. Sorry to say, it was not; but not as much as those who are convinced of the guilt of the three who were convicted on the basis of “Southern superstition, corruption and ineffectiveness.” If one truly wants an unbiased look at this case, I believe the documents to be found at Callahan’s (http://callahan.8k.com) are the best available. This site is run by two supporters of the WM3 and one non-supporter. However, as with all material, one must keep an open mind and read objectively. Subjective presuppositions and preconceptions color one’s thoughts and reasoning processes. In order to truly be objective and logical, one must put aside all feelings, opinions, and beliefs and take in the information in a straightforward manner.

    Your mention of the multiple confessions by Jessie Misskelley is a case in point for this argument. It is indeed documented that he made multiple confessions (http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/jlm_june1.html; http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/jm_2_8_94_statement.html; http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/jm_feb17.html and there are others). Yes, he did so against the advice of his counsel. However, it must be pointed out that Jessie Misskelley was a minor, was scared, and in his state of mind (I am leaving his IQ out of this discussion) he was anxious to get home. Now read the circumstances of the first “confession.” He was picked up by the police, brought to the West Memphis police station, and initially asked questions. He denied knowledge of the crime at first; he was given a polygraph after his initial interview. Told that he had failed, he became more nervous and agitated. Please bear with me for a moment. Do you honestly believe the police did not sense this agitation? If so, then these men had no business being in law enforcement. It is an underlying principle of law enforcement that one is able to read body language, sense vocal and emotional stress (heavy breathing, rapid eye blinking, fingers and hands unable to remain still, cf. http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/detecting.aspx). Knowing this, pressure was brought to bear on Jessie Misskelley because he was linked to Damien Echols, who had been “fingered” for the crime by an ambitious and somewhat arrogant and prejudiced Jerry Driver, as well as others (West of Memphis, ca. 8:30). This is where another injustice occurred. Blinded by their desire to bring a swift resolution to this triple homicide, and under the scrutiny of a populace blinded by panic and demanding said resolution, Jessie Misskelley was led through an interrogation that eventually resulted in a false confession. I invite you to read some excellent material on false confessions at these websites:
    http://www.innocenceproject.org/caus...-or-admissions
    http://courses2.cit.cornell.edu/soci...nfessions.html

    I do not present these websites to attempt to convince you, but to help you familiarize yourself with this phenomenon. I especially like the Cornell University website, as I believe they present a fair and balanced approach to this subject. The Innocence Project also deals with this subject, but they are a bit biased in their outlook, although it is a minor bias.

    Now, on to more of your statements, if I may; and please remember, you did invite this discussion, and I am attempting to be open minded. I do not seek to persuade, but to inform you as to why I believe as I do. And as anyone who has read my posts may tell you, I am a firm fence-sitter, not having made up my mind one way or the other just yet, although I do lean more toward the innocence of the WM3.

    Were the initial trials mishandled and were the appointed attorneys inadequate counsel? I believe so; Attorney Stidham (now Judge) admitted his inexperience and therefore ineffectiveness (http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/bm_rule37..._stidham1.html). Should the trial of Echols and Baldwin have been split? Again, I believe so; by not allowing the severance, Judge Barnett allowed Baldwin to be forever connected with Echols in a “guilt by association” trial. Was there jury tampering? Once again, I believe so. The affidavit of Lloyd Warford concerning the jury foreman is strong evidence of this (http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/l_warford_affidavit.html).

    Now to just briefly answer some of the questions you raised:

    Just off the top of my head, when interviewed by the police on May 10th, 1993, how did Echols know the boys had likely drowned? The Commercial Appeal ran articles on May 7 and 8, 1993 about the mutilated bodies found submerged in a drainage ditch. Seems pretty straightforward.
    Source: http://westmemphisthreediscussion.yu...6#.VPJ5kOF9XQI and http://westmemphisthreediscussion.yu...1#.VPJ6cOF9XQI

    How did he know that one of the boys was more cut up then the rest?
    In his court testimony, Damien testified that most of the questions Ridge asked were of the “yes” or “no” answering types. If he answered “no” then the question would be couched as a “do you suppose” type of inquiry. I offer this piece of testimony:
    A. Most of the questions he asked me were like yes or no questions. When I would say no, he would start, do you suppose, something like that. Yeah, I guess so.
    Q. Did he ask you a lot of leading questions?
    A. He asked me "Do you think one of the kids was hurt worse than the rest of them?" "Yeah, I guess."
    Q. Did you ever have any independent knowledge of any of the details of what happened to the boys?
    A. Just what was public knowledge on TV.
    Q. Was there also by this time -- the newspaper articles -- were there articles in the West Memphis paper and the Commercial Appeal every day about the murders?
    A. Yes.
    Q. Was this a topic that everybody was talking about?
    A. Um-hum.
    Source: http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/damien1.html

    Why would he make statements about the killing likely being a thrill kill? How would he even know what a thrill kill was, given this wasn't widely known about in 1993?
    It is possible that Damien could have read either one or both of a set of books written about thrill killers, both of which include the phrase in their title:
    Linedecker, Clifford L. Thrill Killers. Edited by Colleen Dimson. Markham: Paperjacks, 1988.
    ISBN 0-7701-0650-1.
    Linedecker, Clifford L. Serial Thrill Killers. New York: Knightsbridge Pub. Co., 1990.
    ISBN 1-877961-56-6.

    Why would he state the killer was likely pleased with himself, and feel empowered?
    Again, I refer to the testimony given in court for the answer to this:
    22 Q. Question number 11, "How do you think the person
    23 feels that did this?" The answer was, "Probably makes
    24 them feel good, gives them power." Now, I guess
    25 Officer Ridge said that, too?
    2817
    1 A. No, I used common sense on that. If someone was
    2 doing it, then they must have wanted to. And if they
    3 were doing something they wanted to, it must have made
    4 them happy. I don't think they were doing it because
    5 someone forced them to or because they didn't want to.
    Source: http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/damien2.html

    As you stated, there is so much more. But you must also realize that while Callahan’s is nothing more than the official documents, interpretation of those documents can make a person either support their innocence or consider them guilty. It is ALL a matter of interpretation. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence, to be sure; but almost all of it is taken out of context, away from the subtext of the event, on the various pages, both for and against. To say that someone stomps a dog to death is a far cry from saying that same individual will knife, savage, tie, and drown three eight year old boys. Even the most inexperienced serial killer started with killing animals; but they also had in common an abusive domineering parent, a submissive enabling parent, and bed-wetting. I would not truly expect a teenager (or three) to be somewhat organized in what appeared to be a spontaneous murder. Nor do I recall any instances of testimony as to Damien being a bed-wetter for any length of time.

    Concerning the lie detector, I showed a friend of mine in the police department and who administers these tests the charts for Damien’s test. After careful review, he said he saw deception on only two questions, and the rest were inconclusive at best. This is from a man who has performed close to 2,000 of these tests, and is considered by many in our area (police departments especially) to be somewhat of an expert in these tests. By the way, the two questions he felt were indicative of deception were:

    7. Did you kill any of those three boys? A. No.
    9. Do you know who killed those three boys? A. No.
    Source: http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/depoly.html

    This indicates that he had knowledge of the murders, was a witness to the murders, or perhaps by failure to act in the prevention of the murders, allowed them to happen. Or it could be that he was a murderer. My friend could not indicate which of these the answer was, nor would he say that the test was failed, merely that more investigation was indicated.

    Concerning the psychiatric evaluations, I assume you are referring to Exhibit 500? If so, it should be remembered that to take these out of context (events preceding the hospitalization) is not the best course of action. It helps to make a determination to know all the factors involved, and unfortunately, those records do not reflect the entire situation, merely that to which the person recording the diagnosis was privy. In other words, he or she was not party to what went on beforehand; there could be a great number of mitigating factors. We do not know, it is not recorded, and therefore I would not wish to judge someone’s mental state on that basis.

    As far as Satanism/witchcraft being a factor in the arrests, it is a matter of debate even now. Jerry Driver (who as of 2008 was serving parole for grand theft in Florida) was the instigator with that whole mess. When asked for a list of who he might think of that could have done this, at the top of his list was Damien. Driver was more than happy to pass along any and all allegations against Damien, no matter how bizarre, and with nothing more than hearsay or innuendo to support them (http://www.jivepuppi.com/damien_echols.html). As the result of such “Satanic Panic,” Damien came into sharp focus. Questioned by the police, he confessed to being Wiccan, which is not the same as witchcraft, and the polar opposite of Satanism. (I am an ordained minister, pursuing a doctorate in theology, so I do understand the difference.) So, yes, Satanism did play a role, albeit a wrong one, in this instance. Damien answered their questions truthfully when asked about what would likely be found at the site of a ritual, satanic or witchcraft in orientation. That served to confirm their opinion of him as the likely murderer.

    I will agree that Damien was his own worst enemy during the trial and after. His courtroom antics, defiance, arrogance, vanity and narcissistic behavior were definitely not endearing to anyone. I admit I found him then, and to some extent today, still find him somewhat repulsive in that regard. Everything seemed to be “me, me, me” in his life, and I have found that to be true today, although not as much as it was then. However, this is not enough to convict someone on, nor is it enough to sentence someone to death row for doing.

    Having said all that, and having read Compassionate Reader’s responses to you in regard to your last question, I will take my leave of the subject. I apologize for the length of this response, and remember, I am not asking that you convert. You have stated your opinion, and I respect it. I do not agree with it, but I do respect it and your right to proclaim it. I would ask that you also respect mine, and my right to proclaim it. Meaningful discussion occurs when two opposing viewpoints come together for a frank, open and honest exchange of ideas. Facts being what they are, their interpretation is what makes us all human and unique. I have enjoyed this opportunity to share my opinion and some of the facts with you. Please enjoy the rest of the weekend, and have a great week coming up!

  6. #6
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    GoblinKeeper , thank you so much for your post. I am proudly from the South, and the only phrase I hear about, is we bless people's hearts too much. SpeakForTheDead, welcome to WS from a proud Southerner.
    Media thread for Abby and Libby.


    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...5#post13163455




    Unless I provide a link, every one of my posts are to be considered rumor, Speculation, or simply MY OWN OPINION.

  7. #7
    Yes, GK, thank you for your passionate and well-informed response. Being a Southerner (and proud of it), I especially thank you for your defense of the South. I didn't attempt it, as it might be seen as self-serving, although it pains me greatly whenever such statements are made. Does no one remember the infamous Salem Witch Trials, which were in Salem, Massachusetts? I don't believe that Salem, Massachusetts can be considered to be in the South by any stretch of the imagination! Your answers to the other questions were spot on, BTW. Maybe some don't realize that Jessie's "confession" was published in the primary Memphis, TN newspaper, The Commercial Appeal, before the trials began. How this fact can be ignored as to a biased jury defies logic!

  8. #8
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    You are more than welcome, CR and Tulessa! In reading the original post, I had an inkling of what may be described as indignation that someone would denigrate an entire section of the country because of a relatively small number of miscreants. (Besides, my mother was from Tifton, GA, and I have cousins that live all over GA, AR, and MO. I am rather proud of them, and enjoy visiting as often as possible.) After my flare-up subsided, I gathered my wits and my research materials on this case and began my response. I am afraid, however, that I may have let a bit of my upset creep into several of my statements. For that I apologize; it was not my intent. But I am glad to number such proud Southerners as you two among my acquaintances/friends! Bless your hearts....

  9. #9
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    I guess it's time for me to change my opinion. I consider myself open-minded however I admit I haven't been as I truly felt that TH did this and on his own based on his violent behaviours and witnesses placing him at the right place and time. However I must have some belief system that police could not be guilty in this horrendous crime. Looking at the suspicious death of Officer White along with evidence of corrupt police together with Compassion Reader and Goblin Keeper's posts concerning the possibility of corrupt police being involved I now have even more questions. All I know to be true is that Misskelly, Baldwin and Echols were persecuted and prosecuted on the basis of a "satanic element" to the crime. If I knew who pointed the police towards this initially I feel I would more fully understand who may have been behind this crime. The person who put this notion in the minds of the police so quickly and away from any other possibilities, i.e. corrupt police officers, drug dealers/informants might be the key to someone whose intent was to cover up the crime and as quickly as possible in order to divert attention from the real killers. Possibly someone who was threatened with exposure or someone who was in the muck of this whole thing.Could someone point me in the right direction of any of this information and thank you in advance! I am now sitting on a fence and I promise to keep a totally open mind.

  10. #10
    Jerry Driver gave a list of suspects to the wmpd. That's where it all began. I'm not sure why the police asked for the list, but Driver (who, as GK pointed out, later did time in FL) was the one who first put the police onto Damien. If the police suspected one of their own, then they would try to find a scapegoat. Given the prevalence of "Satanic panic" at the time, they could have well thought along those lines themselves - and consulted Driver for a list of suspects. I don't know, though, only supposing.


  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by zencompass View Post
    I guess it's time for me to change my opinion. I consider myself open-minded however I admit I haven't been as I truly felt that TH did this and on his own based on his violent behaviours and witnesses placing him at the right place and time. However I must have some belief system that police could not be guilty in this horrendous crime. Looking at the suspicious death of Officer White along with evidence of corrupt police together with Compassion Reader and Goblin Keeper's posts concerning the possibility of corrupt police being involved I now have even more questions. All I know to be true is that Misskelly, Baldwin and Echols were persecuted and prosecuted on the basis of a "satanic element" to the crime. If I knew who pointed the police towards this initially I feel I would more fully understand who may have been behind this crime. The person who put this notion in the minds of the police so quickly and away from any other possibilities, i.e. corrupt police officers, drug dealers/informants might be the key to someone whose intent was to cover up the crime and as quickly as possible in order to divert attention from the real killers. Possibly someone who was threatened with exposure or someone who was in the muck of this whole thing.Could someone point me in the right direction of any of this information and thank you in advance! I am now sitting on a fence and I promise to keep a totally open mind.
    zencompass, it is admirable that you wish to remain open-minded about this subject. Too many on both sides - supporters and non-supporters - have formed opinions and refuse to consider any other. Reading your post, I see how you have been able to set aside your presupposition of the police above suspicion in light of evidence to the contrary. Compassionate Reader is our case guru, as I’m sure you’ve realized. She knows more about the case than most others here combined, myself included.

    There is no question that the WMPD and the CC-DTF were indeed harboring corrupted officers. The murder of Officer White is one example; was he “silenced” or was he greedy and just very good at covering it up? What about Regina Meek, the officer who took the missing boys report, appeared at the drive-through window of Bojangles in response to the complaint of an injured man in the women’s room but didn’t go in, and is the subject of possible report and log falsification?

    To answer your questions, Jerry Driver pointed the WMPD to Damien Echols. From the very beginning of his association with Damien, Driver had an instant and active dislike. He was known to harass Damien and his friends. He injected himself into the mental health hospitals where Damien sought help or was placed after incidents that had no bearing or association with Driver. He sought to persuade the authorities in Oregon, where Damien had moved, to shadow him and harass him. They refused, which incensed Driver to the point that when Damien returned to the area, he constantly and consistently interfered with him many times.

    At the scene of the discovery, Steve Jones stated, “Damien finally did it.” (Or words to that effect. I have been at the hospital for quite a few hours today before being allowed to return home, so I am a little fuzzy, and don’t have time to look up references, but if you would like them, I will provide an edited form of this post to insert them for you.) Jones was the assistant to Driver. Mike Allen picked up on the comment, and reporting to Gary Gitchell, I’m sure the remark was reported. Gitchell then asked Driver for information about who he thought might have done this. Driver’s first name on a short list? Damien Echols.

    This could hardly have come at a better time for Gitchell; already having men under his command being investigated by the state police for corruption, theft, and a number of other incidents, having a triple murder dropped on top of him may have seemed like bad timing. However, notice that he refused the help of the state police, the ABI, and the FBI. Why? Well, now he could focus attention away from his problems and work on getting this case solved and be a hero again. Plus, it kept the investigation away from his office; not to say that he was involved in the corruption and profiteering, but it was really convenient for him.

    So there you have the situation in a nutshell: corrupt cops about to go under, a triple murder that takes place at the right time, attention is focused away from the corruption and toward the murders. Solution? Find a scapegoat; history is replete with examples of this. The easiest way to do this? Turn to the one person who would be able to provide someone on parole and/or probation that looked probably for such a crime. And, just so conveniently, he had his pet case to offer them right off the bat.

    Please keep in mind that all of this is merely my opinion, not meant to persuade, but to inform you how I think this situation evolved. And coming at the tail end of the Satanic Panic of the prior decade this was almost a slam dunk. For confirmation, merely watch the beginning of the PL lost movies and watch the townspeople’s reactions, including the parents. That is enough to keep me on the fence!

    I hope this has been of some use to you, zencompass. As I stated before, however, I am far from the expert here. That honor goes to our very own Compassionate Reader. I bow to her expertise in the ins and outs of this case.

  12. #12
    GK, you are spot on! Sometimes I tend to be rather wordy and so I gave a "bare bones" answer to zencompass. However, everything you wrote above is exactly what I would have said. The information about Steve Jones was documented in one of the documentaries, IIRC. I still get angry about the refusal of the wmpd to seek help. Peretti also neglected to get a "second opinion" about this case, something that is very common in forensic circles, so I've been told. Is he part of the cover-up? Maybe. Like I've said before, I believe that this cover-up goes much farther than Arkansas. I have no proof for this belief, just a gut feeling that "someone" who is a former Arkansan doesn't want certain facts known right now, for political reasons. I firmly believe that this is why "Teflon Terry" is immune to prosecution - or so it seems. I believe that he knows something about this politician that would be very damaging in the upcoming political cycle. Again, this is only my opinion based on the shady acts of the politician in the past. I dare not name names or I might be placed on the "hit list" of the politician!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Thanks so much to you both! I've been researching and am puzzled as to why Steve Jones was searching in the first place and then how he discovered the place the bodies were! The conversation about a satanic cult between Jones and Sudbury seems rehearsed. The interrogations of the police especially with Aaron and Vicki and the source of the information they gave is suspicious to say the least! In reading the interrogations by the police it is astounding how leading the questions are and how all of the interrogations seem to be set up to point towards the guilt of Damien, Jason and Jessie. All of this crazy-making by the police makes me curious as to who was "running the show". It seems that all of the interviews were orchestrated to produce the same result. It saddens me to see how they manipulated Aaron along with the WM3. It seems like everyone they interviewed were like puppets to them which leads me to my question of who the puppet-master was. The more I read, the more questions I have but that is good. That's the way it should be. JMO
    Last edited by zencompass; 03-03-2015 at 11:36 AM.

  14. #14
    IMO, the local puppet-master was Gitchell, in all probability. However, he had to be acting for "someone" else, as I've stated before. The number of "patsys" in this case is astounding. FAIK, Fogleman may have been one as well. Ellington certainly is!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeakForTheDead View Post
    Well, I wouldn't want you to try to respond to any of my questions, people might be under the impression this is a forum designed for discussion and to exchange opinions.

    I agree not all psychopaths are killers. The problem is, Damien Echols shows signs of being a psychopath and he and two of his friends were near the area those three kids were murdered. Since the kids didn't murder themselves, it makes Damien and his friends the likely killers when evidence is factored in.

    I wasn't aware Jessie Misskelley had a mental disability. What mental disability was he diagnosed with? Wow, honestly, if you can link me to a diagnosed disability, that might change my opinion. Obviously it'd have to be something very serious to cause somebody to confess to a murder they didn't commit to every day. You know it's funny, there are people who cite his original IQ test of 88 and subsequent IQ test of 72 as a disability, but that is merely a measurement of intelligence, not a diagnosed disability. Wait, it occurs to me you might be citing his IQ as his disability. I hope not, that would not be factual.

    I agree a new investigation should be opened, and Arkansas should prepare for a trial when enough evidence has been gained. The evidence would likely be circumstantial but since there is so much evidence including the actual admission from two of the likely perpetrators, it would likely be enough for another conviction.
    Actually there is more evidence that they were no where close to that area.

    As for the snarkiness about JM and his mental issues, give me 2 hours questioning you and I bet I can twist your words around to get you to confess to things you never did. And I'm going to bet your IQ and your intelligence and your maturity level and your ability to handle stress are light years above JM's. If you don't believe that JM was susceptible to coercion, so be it. Your opinion. I don't care what his IQ is or what his diagnosis is. There is no doubt, in fact, that he was susceptible to coercion.

    Hate to inform you. New trials against the WM3 are not and can not ever happen at this point.

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