The Supposed "Evidence" Against Damien

Discussion in 'West Memphis III' started by Compassionate Reader, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. Compassionate Reader

    Compassionate Reader New Member

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    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?
     
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  3. kyleb

    kyleb New Member

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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.
     
  4. reedus23

    reedus23 New Member

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    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.
     
  5. kyleb

    kyleb New Member

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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.
     
  6. kyleb

    kyleb New Member

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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.
     
  7. kyleb

    kyleb New Member

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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?
     
  8. kyleb

    kyleb New Member

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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?
     
  9. Cappuccino

    Cappuccino Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  10. reedus23

    reedus23 New Member

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    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.
     
  11. reedus23

    reedus23 New Member

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    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.
     
  12. kyleb

    kyleb New Member

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    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:

     
  13. kyleb

    kyleb New Member

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    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.
     
  14. Cappuccino

    Cappuccino Well-Known Member

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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....

    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/ebtrial/fbibench.html
     
  15. Cappuccino

    Cappuccino Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  16. kyleb

    kyleb New Member

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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.
     
  17. Cappuccino

    Cappuccino Well-Known Member

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    @KyleB - I'm referring to this exchange here...

    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/ebtrial/brynridge2.html
     
  18. kyleb

    kyleb New Member

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    Ah, I thank you for that, it's good to see the exchange itself rather than just your characterization of it. So, the sticks were admitted into evidence during the Baldwin/Echols trial, but again there's no reason to let such weak evidence obscure the more notable facts presented against Echols at trial.
     
  19. Cappuccino

    Cappuccino Well-Known Member

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    All of its weak evidence. The Hollingsworths testimony, for example, is every bit as weak as the sticks and the spot of wax - even the prosecutor had to cherry pick that to make it fit his case.
     
  20. kyleb

    kyleb New Member

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    It seems to me to that consider the evidence weak one would have to assume the following:

    1. Anthony and Narlene Hollingsworth were lying or confused about seeing Echols near the scene of the murders covered in mud as someone who'd just hidden the bodies in the creek would be.

    2. Either Jodee Medford and Christi VanVickle were lying confused when they told Jodee's mother Donna that they'd just heard Echols brag about committing the murders, or they were both lied along so did Donna Medford when she testified confirmed that her daughter and Cristy told her Echols he bragged about committing the murders at the softball game as soon as the girls got in the car with her to leave.

    3. Bryn Ridge was lying or confused regarding Echols' knowledge regarding unconfirmed details of the murders.

    4. The consistency between wounds on the victims and survival knife just some wild coincidence. or perhaps the result of some level of conspiracy.
    Am I including unnecessarily supposition in that, or do those who argue the jury should've found reasonable doubt not comprehend the fact that juries are required to focus on the evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defense rather than dream up ways to do otherwise?
     
  21. Cappuccino

    Cappuccino Well-Known Member

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    With the Hollingsworths' evidence its not easy to convict Jason Baldwin unless you think they were lying or confused in their evidence. The prosecutors, of course, did cherry pick their evidence that way - that it was really Jason they saw, and mistook for Domini Teer.

    Not a very credible theory, I'm afraid. Narlene Hollinsworth is Domini's aunt, and had known her since she was a baby. She didn't know Damien all that well, so if she is in a car travelling along a dark road and sees two figures, which one is she more likely to recognise accurately? Common sense tells me that she's more likely to have recognised her neice accurately, and then assumed that the man with her was whoever was her bf at the time, than to have accurately recognised someone she didn't know very well and mistaken her neice for a young man.
     

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