New to this case - what should I read/watch?

Discussion in 'West Memphis III' started by WestCoastLady, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. WestCoastLady

    WestCoastLady Member

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    I just found out about this case due to the 48 Hours / Hard Evidence show (Johnny Depp caught my attention!)

    I'd like to find the basics on this - sure, I'll google, but I know you guys have been on top of this for YEARS so I ask ~ any recommendations to read? Books? Movies?

    I'll try to catch up on the WS posts but would like some basic info :)

    Thanks!
     
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  3. Compassionate Reader

    Compassionate Reader New Member

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    The trial transcripts, etc. are available at http://callahan.8k.com/

    There are two HBO documentaries on the case: Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations which I think are available on youtube in multiple parts or which can be purchased on Amazon.

    At least two books have been written on the case. Devil's Knot is a well-documented although slightly dated book. The author, Mara Leveritt (sp?), is currently working on a sequel. The Blood of Innocents (sorry, I don't remember the authors) is a little more sensationalistic, but still contains some good information. I believe both books can be purchased through Amazon.

    Apparently, you saw the 48 Hours episode. CNN recently did a show on the case, Presumed Guilty. I don't believe the video for that is available online, but the transcript is. It is on CNN's website. There have been other shows over the years, but many of them are old and dated. Some of the others are discussed (some links are even posted) on the blackboard site.

    There are many discussion boards about the case also. IMO the most informative of these is at www.wm3blackboard.com. This board believes in the innocence of the convicted young men and makes no bones about it. Another board, which believes that the convicted are guilty and makes no bones about it is www.wm3hoax.downonthefarm.com or something like that. I'm sure one of the posters here will correct that url if I got it wrong. I must warn you that they are rude and crude on that board, as you will readily see for yourself if you post there for any length of time.

    This case ignites passion in all who follow it, and many times, as you will see on this site, that passion leads to heated debate. At least on this site, the debate is courteous. I can't say the same about other sites, except the blackboard site.

    Where the case stands now is awaiting the recently-ordered evidentiary hearing. In September, 2010, oral arguments were made in front of the Arkansas Supreme Court on behalf of Damien Echols requesting an evidentiary hearing based on new testing of biological evidence that excludes Echols and the other convicted men. In November, 2010, in a unanimous decision, the ASSC ruled that not only Echols but the other two defendants as well were entitled to an evidentiary hearing to present the new testing results as well as other facts and statements that have come to light over the years since the original trial. I believe the oral argument video is still available at the blackboard site I cited earlier. The evidentiary hearing has not yet been scheduled but is expected to be in October of this year.

    Damien Echols has also published a book since being incarcerated called Almost Home. Off the top of my head, that's the best I can do to direct you to information on the case. Please ask questions as you read, and I will attempt to answer them. I have followed this case since 1996 when the first HBO documentary was aired, and I firmly believe in the innocence of the men in prison. There are other posters here who believe that the men in prison are guilty, and I'm sure that they will give you their perspective as well.
     
  4. WestCoastLady

    WestCoastLady Member

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    Compassionate Reader - thank you for a very thorough response to my request. I definitely will be looking for the books you mentioned and will check out the blackboard site.

    I hope to read through all the threads here (my main hangout). I can't risk getting sucked into another true-crime/missing persons website - I already spend most of my free time (and a bit of work time, too!) here :)

    From what little I've seen/read today, I think I'm on the innocent side. But I do like to read all views :)

    Thank you again for all your help!
     
  5. Compassionate Reader

    Compassionate Reader New Member

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    No problem, WCL! The blackboard site is devoted exclusively to the WM3. I'm retired, and I spend about 90% of my free time reading sites on this case. I'm just a little obsessed with it!
     
  6. WestCoastLady

    WestCoastLady Member

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    CR - I'm *not* retired and it seems like I spend all my free time following cases on WS....

    I have so much to catch up on with this case ~ I have my work cut out for me :)
     
  7. Compassionate Reader

    Compassionate Reader New Member

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    WCL,

    I do understand that! My hubby watches true crime TV obsessively (when he's not watching the news, that is). It really does suck you in.

    What intrigued me the most about this case is that my son is about a month younger than Damien and, when the first documentary aired, he watched it and got me hooked because he could have easily been in Damien's shoes. He listened to heavy metal music and wore black heavy metal T-shirts almost exclusively.

    As a teacher, I also understood Damien's arrogant behavior where others only saw it as indicative of his guilt. Teens are really misunderstood on so many levels that I am appalled at some of the statements by adults, who were once teens themselves but seem to have forgotten how difficult that period of life truly is.

    In Damien's case, you have an intelligent young man who is handicapped by poverty and possibly by untreated psychological problems. Add that to the small-town mentality in West Memphis and the "Satanic panic" in the country back in 1993 and you have a recipe for the injustice that is the WM3 case.

    These fires were fueled by some unscrupulous men who simply wanted to advance their own careers, one of whom (Jerry Driver) is now serving time on unrelated charges (in Florida IIRC). The more you investigate this case and peel back the layers of the onion, so to speak, the more unbelievable screw-ups and outright lies on the part of those who are sworn to "serve and protect" you will uncover.

    Again, if you have questions, I will be glad to answer either publicly or by PM, your choice. I believe you will discover much about this case that just makes you :banghead: Good luck in your quest.

    One last thing, be sure to read the pre-trial hearings on the callahan site as well as the trial transcripts as you will see from those hearings the State leanings of the judge (who remained as the only judge to hear this case until these upcoming hearings). Judge Burnett climbed into a State Senate seat as a result of the notoriety that he and this case received.

    When asked to recuse himself from Jessie and Jason's Rule 37 hearing because he had announced his intention to run for the State Senate, he refused to acknowledge the fact that he was running and refused to recuse himself from the case. There's a lot under the cabbage leaf here.

    ETA: Sorry, but I wanted to add a word about Jessie Misskelley. His "confession" is really the only shred of evidence that the State still has. Everything else has been discounted by experts. The problem with his statements (I don't like to even refer to them as "confessions") is that he is mentally-challenged and, because of this, is highly susceptible. His attorneys got him to "confess" to a burglary that didn't happen, but the judge (Burnett) disallowed that statement at the trial. Having taught people with similar mental handicaps, I know that they will literally say anything they think the questioner (interrogator) wants to hear in order to get out of a stressful situation. This is what happened to Jessie. IMO, it's a classic case of a coerced, false confession that would have been thrown out of court if his attorneys had not been inexperienced and underfunded.

    Also, (sorry, can you say obsession?) the recently-released abstracts from Jessie and Jason's Rule 37 hearings (all 900+ pages of them) provide interesting information from people whose testimony was disallowed at trial by Burnett. And, the Pasdar depositions and declarations are equally enlightening. As a word of explanation, in 2007, when the DNA evidence was revealed, Terry Hobbs, the step father of Stevie Branch, brought a character defamation suit against Natalie Maines Pasdar and the Dixie Chicks. It failed (was thrown out of court), but it allowed Pasdar's attorneys to do what the WMPD had failed to do back in 1993 - investigate Terry Hobbs. The results were very interesting to say the least.
     
  8. WestCoastLady

    WestCoastLady Member

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    CR - all this info that you readily put out there for me (thank you!!) has me a bit intimidated that I will *ever* be able to learn all the little nuggets of truth that are out there on this case....

    Funny how I can go from channel-surfing on a lazy Saturday to being totally engrossed in a television show because of a glimpse of Johnny Depp to spending the night searching the web and reading about these 3 men and the injustice of our world.....
     
  9. Compassionate Reader

    Compassionate Reader New Member

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    WCL,

    Sorry. I didn't want to overwhelm you. Just take your time. You've got until October to get up to speed. :peace:
     
  10. WestCoastLady

    WestCoastLady Member

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    CR - I should have put a :) there - I love a good challenge! And all the info you've provided has given me several different scenarios that I want to explore once I get the basics down.

    I'm downloading books to my Nook today so I have some reading for this week when I don't have access to the internet....

    Thank you again for all your help and direction!!!!
     
  11. Compassionate Reader

    Compassionate Reader New Member

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    No problem! I'm here for you if you need me.
     
  12. iluvmua

    iluvmua Active Member

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    Hi, Callahan's is the BEST site about the WM3 case. It has Everything about the trial.

    Here is the West Memphis Three Hoax site: http://wm3hoax.downonthefarm.org/board/index.php

    We welcome Supporters (who think they are innocent and those that are still on the fence). Please feel free to ask any questions you might have about the case. There are people on there that know WAY more about the case than I do.

    Also, Michael Moore's father, Todd is a member of WM3 Hoax. I'm sure he will be willing to answer ANY question you have. (John Mark Byers is a member of WM3 blackboard, I'm sure he will be willing to answer any question you might have).

    HTH! P.S. Nova & I are not trying to make you choose sides. We want you to decide for yourself guilt or innocence.
     
  13. Nova

    Nova Active Member

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    Hey! How did I end up this discussion? Unless a post was deleted by the mods, I haven't even posted in this thread!

    That being said, I agree with iluvmua: enjoy your research and make up your own mind. This is just a discussion forum. None of us is going to end up on a retrial jury, even if there is one.
     
  14. iluvmua

    iluvmua Active Member

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    Also I wanted to add: Terry Hobbs has not been named a Suspect or a Person of Interest in the WM3 Case. (even though his hair was found).

    Just in case any newbies were wondering.
     
  15. Compassionate Reader

    Compassionate Reader New Member

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    However, according to briefs filed recently related to the hearing, he may be called to testify at the hearing. I suspect that, when all of the evidence that will be revealed at the hearing is revealed, he will be at least a person of interest, if not a suspect, in this case. The hearing is now set for December 5, 2011. Hopefully, it will be for all three defendants. However, one of Jessie's lawyers may have a conflict, and Jessie's hearing might have to be separated from the other two. If so, the separation will be due to a scheduling conflict and for no other reason.
     
  16. iluvmua

    iluvmua Active Member

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    Truthfully, It would be smart if he was called to testify because his hair was found at the crime scene and I'm sure the defense team will want an explanation as to how it got there.
     
  17. pufnstuf

    pufnstuf "Yes, she's emotionally disturbed. She's unbalance

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    Just to correct what's being said here--there is no conclusive proof that it was Terry Hobbs' hair that was found at the crime scene. The hair is consistent with 1.5% of the population.

    Since we're talking about hair, let me throw this out:

    In addition, a Caucasian hair recovered from the ligatures that bound Chris Byers was found to be microscopically similar to known head hair samples from Jason Baldwin, consistent with having a common origin as the Jason Baldwin head hair sample.
    (Appendix G).

    Additionally:

    The late Lisa Sakevicius, who was a state Crime Lab criminalist, testified that she identified two foreign brown Caucasian head hair fragments from the shaved head hair of the Branch child. She contended the foreign hairs were "microscopically similar" to head hairs extracted from Echols and from Tim Dodson, another man identified as a suspect early in the police investigation.

    Dodson was never charged in the case.

    In addition, Sakevicius testified that a Caucasian hair recovered from the ligatures that bound the Byers child was found to be "microscopically similar to known head hair samples from Jason Baldwin," and "consistent with having a common origin as the Jason Baldwin head hair sample."

    Also, a hair collected from the lower leg of one of the young victims exhibited characteristics consistent with Echols' hair samples, the motion stated.

    So there ya go. If we're going to say that a hair proves that Hobbs should be a suspect, then we should also conclude that the right people are in prison--based on hair.
     
  18. Melanie

    Melanie Inactive

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    WCL - we're 2 peas in a pod (and I'm in San Diego too) :)

    I've been sporadically following this case as time permits, and find it very intriguing. I flip flop though on the evidence and whether the 3 are innocent or guilty. My scale tends to shift to the innocent side more often than not.

    One of the victims fathers, John Mark Byer, is writing a book. He was entirely convinced the 3 were guilty, but he is no longer. He's waiting for the end of this current stage to complete the book. John is the step-father of Christopher Mark Byers (1 of the victims). Keep a focus on him as you watch the series, as he has now made a 360 degree turn in their innocence. This is a far cry from how he is portrayed in the documentaries.

    http://www.johnmarkbyers.com/Purchase_Book.html

    Good luck in your sleuthing!

    Mel

    Untying The Knot::John Mark Byers and the West Memphis Homicides
     
  19. pufnstuf

    pufnstuf "Yes, she's emotionally disturbed. She's unbalance

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    JMB trying to make even more money off the case? Not surprising.
     
  20. Compassionate Reader

    Compassionate Reader New Member

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    pufnstuf,

    Your DNA information is just a bit out of date. The 2007 DNA testing excluded all three of the young men in prison as the source of any biological evidence (like hairs) found at the scene. The information that you cited was based on the original testing, by older, less accurate methods.

    True, the Hobbs hair, as it is called, can belong to anyone in the 1.5% of the population that is in Hobbs' maternal line. The source of the hair, however, would have also had to have been at the discovery ditch to leave the hair. Then, there's that pesky Jacoby hair that can belong to anyone in the 7% of the population that is in Jacoby's maternal line. Again, this person had to have the hair deposited at the discovery ditch somehow, too.

    So, we have hairs from two different maternal lines, both found at the discovery ditch. One hair was found in the ligature of one of the victims, and that victim was not the step son of the man whose mitochondrial DNA is a very close match. The other hair was found on a tree stump by the discovery ditch. Jacoby has made a deposition in which he states that Hobbs was playing guitars with him on May 5, 1993 from about 5:15 pm to about 6:15 pm. Hobbs himself admits that he was "in and out of those woods all night long" but denies having been at the discovery site before the bodies were found. Who else in the maternal lines of either of these men was in West Memphis on May 5th and known to be in the vicinity?
     
  21. pufnstuf

    pufnstuf "Yes, she's emotionally disturbed. She's unbalance

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    No, I'm pretty good with my info. You are aware that not all hairs from the crime scene have been tested, right? Because that's a fact, and, therefore, you can't claim that the perps have been excluded as the source of "any" bio evidence.

    And you are aware that the defense's own DNA expert could not conclusively match the stump hair to D Jacoby.

    As for the ligature hair--the lace that was used to tie up Michael Moore quite possibly came from Steve Branch's shoe, since the victims were tied up with mismatched laces, indicating that the shoes were stripped of laces and then used indiscriminately to bind the victims. For Branch's lace to have the hair of someone who resides in his home embedded in his shoelace--that's what you're willing to convict Terry Hobbs on? Really?
     

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