The West Memphis Series Part II: Guilty By Plea And Have Been Set Free

Jonesboro, AR- In a shocking development, four days following the first installment of the West Memphis Three on www.blinkoncrime.com, on August 19, 2011 Damien Echols, Charles Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley, through an Alford plea, were convicted of three counts of first degree murder following an agreement made by Prosecutor Scott Ellington and their respective defense attorneys for the murders of eight year old boys James Michael Moore, Christopher Byers ( Murray) and Stevie Branch.

Judge David N. Laser agreed to and imposed suspended sentences for time served to Echols, Miskelley and Baldwin; all were released and immediately declared their innocence during the ensuing press conference.

In Part I of our series, we touched briefly on the development of new evidence and possible murder weapon, the blue handled- mountain ice axe, which inexplicably was never presented at trial.  It had been admitted into evidence after being retrieved from its owner, following it’s return by  Jason Baldwin’s, younger brother Mathew.

Requests to confirm whether or not the ice axe was maintained in evidence at West Memphis Police Department were non-responsive at the time of this publication.  Part II continues first with what the jury never heard.  A podcast of my interview on the case following the release of the WM3 can be found here.

Premature Illumination

One of the larger points of contention in the murders was the lack of blood evidence at the scene.  The lack of blood or blood spatter at the scene with such gruesome injuries spawned the defense theory the ditch was a dump site or secondary crime scene.  This was largely due to the fact that the jury would never hear about the results of luminol tests; it was suppressed by motion of the defense In both trials.

Luminol enhanced chemiluminesence (LCL) technology in 1993 was geared toward examining items of evidence in a lab under black light for optimum photographic results, or its secondary application for use in an enclosed environment which can be manually darkened and a portable black light ( we now call this an alternative light source or ALS) brought to the scene.

LCL when sprayed onto a surface containing  remnants of blood, or more specifically the iron in blood, will create a glowing reaction when iron, invisible to the naked eye, is present.

In 1993 under Arkansas law, Luminol testing was considered new, novel, and not accepted as scientific evidence.

While the methods for collection, testing and controls have advanced significantly since 1993 and LCL testing is widely used in criminal case work, analysis of the findings in the instant case flatly dispute the notion that there was no blood associated with the crime scene along the ditch bank of Robin Hood Hills.

Contrary to the misconception that there was no evidence of blood at the scene, the results of two consecutive days of luminol tests at the scene were enlightening.

As Kermit Channell and Donald Smith, from the Arkansas crime lab could not bring the “outside in” they were forced to set up shop in the woods along the banks of the ditch.  Also present for testing  both days were WMPD Detectives Mike Allen, Tony Anderson and Bryn Ridge.

Donald Smith’s report below in it’s entirety below, The other reports can be found here.

STATE CRIME LABORATORY
P.O. Box 5274
Number 3 Natural Resources Drive
Little Rock, Arkansas 72215

REPORT OF LABORATORY ANALYSIS

Investigating Officer / Agency / Address
Sgt. Mike Allen
West Memphis Police Department
100 Court Street
West Memphis, AR 72301
Laboratory Case Number: 93-05717

Date Received in Lab: 05/07/93
How Evidence Received: M E / Matthew Elliott
Agency Case Number:

Suspect (s):

Victim (s):
Steve Edward Branch

Date of Report; 06/10/93

FIELD INVESTIGATION. WEST MEMPHIS TRIPLE HOMICIDE. MAY 12 and
MAY 13. 1993 LUMINOL:

This analyst and Kermit Channell, Serologist responded to request to perform luminol on
a potential crime scene area on May 12, 1993. We left that afternoon, arriving in West
Memphis at approximately 6:30 P.M., proceeding to the Police Department.
Officers Tony Anderson, Brian Ridge, and Mike Allen accompanied Kermit and myself
to a swampy area in the northern edge of West Memphis where the victims were found.
A general survey of the area in the daylight hours was conducted. Approaching darkness
fresh solutions of luminol reagent were prepared. When the area became dark, using
flashlights for light support, the part returned to the area and proceeded to spray and
locate areas of luminol light emission activity, a presumptive test for the presence of
trace quantities of blood. The following observations were noted:

(1) At a trail along a stream bed an approximately 11 foot high bluff overlooking the
stream positive reactions were noted on either side of a tree with more reaction noted to
the right side of the tree, facing the stream bed.

(2) An Area with used plastic sheeting west of the trail and the bluff gave more positive
reactions were noted.

(3) At the west bank of the stream bed, to the right of some trees, an area gave positive
reaction. It was explained by the Police Department that this was where two of the
victims were placed when they were recovered from the stream bed.

(4) In the stream bed, below the described (at one time) water line, positive luminol tests
indicated where one of the victims was found in the water as related by the West
Memphis Police Department.

(5) On the east bank of the stream bed were a pile of sticks and a depression in the soil
where luminol tests showed a concentrated area of positive reaction.

[PAGE 2]

(6) North of this point luminol tests gave positive reaction to a large area of
concentration (described by West Memphis Police Department where the third victims
was placed upon recovery from the water).

(7) North of the point #6 near some tree roots, another large area of concentration of the
luminol reaction was noted.

(8) Trace amounts of positive luminol reaction was noted on the slope west of the area
where two of the victims were recovered and placed. (reference area #3). The areas north
and south of where the third victims had been placed (5) and (6) were unaccountable
known activity by the Memphis Police Department or rescue / recovery operations.

From these areas of noted luminol reactions for the presumptive presence of trace
amounts of blood the following opinion is rendered:

The traces of presumed blood detected along the trail (2), and at the bluff (1), and one the
slope (8) appear to be transfer of blood by the rescue and recovery teams.
Reaction in the areas where the recovered victims were placed is the apparent result of
trace blood transfer from the victims (3) and (6).

The area below the water level on the west side of the stream was accounted as where
trace amounts of the victimís blood diffused into the mud in the stream bed.

The areas (5) and (7) indicate activity prior to recovery of the victims and relate to
activity to the victims when perhaps they were being attacked.

It should be noted that the luminol testing was performed some days after the discovery
of the victims and at least one rainfall had occurred. There were no visible signs or
indication of blood at any of the locations that we investigated.

[PAGE 3]

Upon the group returning that night to the police headquarters Inspector Gitchell and his
staff were advised of our findings. It is our opinion the crime had taken place where the
bodies of the victims were recovered. Inspector Gitchell was further advised of the
inability to document the luminol reaction of the evening because of the light leaks from
stars and the back scattered light from West Memphis. To document the luminescence
Inspector Gitchell was advised that we would have to place tenting over the areas of
interest and to block out all stray light possible.

The luminescence requires near total darkness to document luminol reactions in the open
field.

It was decided that Kermit and I should stay over the next day perform the tests again
and photograph them.

The morning of May 13, Inspector Gitchell provided us with equipment, supplies and
manpower needed to document the areas of positive luminol reaction. A test with plastic
covering over the canvas was erected and photographs were taken of the positive areas
noted of the previous evening again with fresh luminol application.

Because of the limitations due to some light leakage, physical activity in the area
destroying some of the reaction, the weather conditions of some light rain the night
before and the originally low concentration levels in the areas on the bluff (area #1), along
the trail (area #2), where the victims were placed (area #3), and the area in the stream bed
where the body was recovered (area #4) and the area above the recovery area (area #8)
we were not able to document photography as we observed these areas the evening of
May 12.

The tented area over the areas where the victim’s body was placed (#6) and the
questioned area (#5), subdued the light to a degree that a less than perfect photograph
could be obtained. These photographs still documented the areas of interest, showing
luminol reaction in respective areas. These photographs were without the benefit of flash
painting application to reference the areas photographed. A still photo of the questioned
area from the original camera tripod location does reference the questioned area. The
photographs were processed revealing the luminol reaction at areas where the victim was
place (#6) and the questioned area (#5)

[PAGE 4]

The tent was moved and photographs were taken of the questioned area by the tree root (#7). Photographs of the areas (#4, #5 and #6) with surveyor flags mounted were taken to reference those areas tested and photographed. All photographs were left with Inspector Gitchell.

[signed] Donald E. Smith, Criminalist

Soil samples were submitted on May 14, 1993, but for unknown reasons not tested until 4 months later, and did not react to the luminol.

The result was considered inconclusive as it was not likely to detect blood from a four month old soil sample in the first place.

Although the luminol reaction results were not admissible in the trials, for analysis purposes, it tells an irrefutable story.   The obvious counter-argument could only be that investigators were new to the technique, some of the initial testing was unable to be photographed, or to any conspiracies, that detectives simply made up results for some purpose.

However, as none of  the investigators present had the autopsy results prior to the testing, and most certainly did not have Jessie Miskelley’s “account” to draw from, outside of the known injuries and other more circumstantial evidence in this case, these findings certainly further support there were multiple perpetrators in this crime- and that  it all went down right there.

In 1998, Damien Echols filed a Rule 37 hearing for causes of incompetent counsel and due to his “actual innocence.”  Jessie Miskelley lost his appeal to overturn his conviction also in 1998, but It was not until 2008 that Baldwin and Miskelley filed their Rule 37 petitions.   For purposes of evaluation,  I am including affidavits , exhibits and testimony excerpts from some of the expert witnesses at all three hearings and subsequent related appearance spanning from 1998- 2008.

Brent Turvey, of Knowledge Solutions, LLC  trained under renowned blood spatter expert Dr. Henry Lee, did not consider any of the luminal reports when hired by Dan Stidham in 1998  for  his expert opinion in his representation of Jessie Miskelley requesting a new trial.  Turvey’s report found (here) was largely the impetus for future defense experts for all three defendants to “weigh in”.

While Turvey’s work was largely unsupported once his infamous “bitemark” was debunked and he bought into the “Baldwin knife” which has since been abandoned by all subsequent defense experts, as the first guy up at bat so to speak, his testimony demonstrated the burgeoning direction to the CSI Effect the West Memphis Three would take toward their ultimate freedom.

I explore Turvey’s initial observations taken directly from his report, in the beginning of each unique victim’s autopsy segment, followed by updated relevant expert information and my subsequent analysis.

Autopsy By Coroner- Autopsy By Proxy

In the interest of brevity,  I intend to focus on the dissenting views of the experts, and I stipulate that in no report that I have reviewed, was there evidence of sodomy or object penetration of any of the boys.

While I believe Dr. Perretti’s prior experience with cases that involved same did form his opinion on the possibility as it relates to some of the injuries,  I do not believe that such testimony should have been permitted at trial, nor would it be permitted today.

Memphis Triple Homicide May 5, 1993
James M. Moore #ME-329-93
Steve E. Branch #ME-330-93
Chris M. Byers #ME-331-93

LOCATION: On May 6th, 1993, all three victims were found, bound wrist to ankle with shoe laces, in the water of a drainage ditch, in a heavily wooded area called the Robin Hood hills, behind the Blue Beacon Truck Wash in West Memphis, Arkansas. An equivocal forensic examination of all available crime scene and autopsy photos, crime scene video, investigator’s reports, witness statements, family statements, autopsy reports and numerous other sources to be listed as referenced in the endnote section of this report. The purpose of this preliminary examination was to competently assess the nature of the interactions between the victims and their environments as it contributed to their deaths as indicated by available forensic evidence, and the documentation regarding that evidence.

James M. Moore

James Michael Moore autopsy found here.
The following forensic information is taken directly from the official autopsy report filed by Dr. Frank J. Peretti of the Arkansas State Crime Lab, Medical Examiner Division, dated 5-7-93, Case No. ME-329-93 and/ or from The official coroner’s report filed by Kent Hale, Crittenden County Coroner, dated 5-6-97.

The purpose of this section is not to present an all inclusive, detailed account and explanation of every piece of information in these reports, but rather to explore these reports, with the corresponding photos, for consistency, possible omissions, and to review injuries or patterns that this examiner deemed to be significant to the case.
Wound Pattern Analysis
This victim received more traumatic head injuries than any of the other victims in this case. Dr. Peretti states that defense wounds were present on the victim’s hands. These wounds were very few, indicating that victim was incapacitated quickly after the attack began. So the nature of these head injuries, and the limited defensive type wounds, combine to indicate sudden, forceful, and repeated blows that resulted in abraded contusions, multiple lacerations, and multiple skull fractures.

There is an unexplained directional pattern abrasion just below the victim’s right anterior shoulder area.

This unexplained injury does not correspond with any of the physical evidence collected at the location that victim was discovered. It is furthermore inconsistent with any of the naturally occurring elements that exist in that environment. The best conclusion that this examiner can reach is that this pattern abrasion was created by forceful, directional contact with something that was not found at that crime scene, whether it be a weapon, a surface or something else capable of creating that pattern.

The shoelace ligatures used to restrain this victim did not leave deep furrows, and also did not leave abrasions. This indicates that the victim was not struggling while the ligatures were in place. This indicates further that the victim was very much unconscious when the ligatures were affixed to his wrists and ankles.

We know that the victim drowned, that is to say that hemorrhagic edema fluid was present in the victim’s lungs, indicating that the victim was breathing when he was placed into the 2ft of water in the drainage ditch at Robin Hood Hills.

Together, these facts suggest that the purpose of the ligatures in this victim’s case was to keep the victim from moving around or being able to swim should he regain consciousness once he had been thrown into the water. It is this examiners opinion that the assailant in this case demonstrated all manner of awareness and cognizance at this location. The assailant knew that this victim was not dead when they threw this victim into the water, and that the ligatures would assist to complete the act of deliberate homicide should the victim become conscious.

Lack Of Injuries
When compared to the other two victims in this case, who were found at the same location, bound nude with shoelace ligatures in the same fashion, the most striking discrepancy is the lack of injuries suffered by this victim. In the crime scene and autopsy photos made available to this examiner, there were no readily discernible bite marks visible, the genitals have not been visibly disturbed or molested, and there are no discernible stab wounds. This lack of attention is very telling, and will be discussed in the Offender Characteristics section of this report.  There is also, again, a lack of mosquito bites to this victim, which, as mentioned earlier, suggests that he received his injuries elsewhere first. This because the injuries took time to inflict, time during which many mosquito bites would have been received, even after death.

Analysis: I find the statement that he had the least amount of injuries, yet the most severe head injuries in dire conflict, as he died from multiple injuries, and drowning.  The fractures to his head and lacerations to his left and front right skull were enough to cause his death within minutes on their own, and there can be no doubt that he received them while he was already unconscious because of the lack of injury at the ligature sites. There is very little hemorrhage involvement with the open lacerations, and all lacerations were abraded; one with a dovetail and upside down L producing an ovid fracture.  In Jesse Miskelley’s confessions, he says one of them was moving as he was put in the water while he was leaving.  I believe the reason he never mentioned that Michael Moore was beat about the head with an instrument of some kind is because he never saw that.  Michael was located in the ditch just below the oak with the exposed root that had the luminol result “shaped like a V”,  which would be consistent with him struggling to get out of that water, on that bank, with a cast off or blood spatter pattern consistent with someone beating him toward the bank and in front of that tree.

Mosquito bites: Only females take a blood meal, so that potentially reduces the population by 50%, and at no time will they bite a deceased person.  They are attracted mostly by carbon dioxide, released from a breathing person.  Both Dr. Haskell and Dr. Goff agreed to this ultimately.

What is further curious to me, is that while Turvey was hired by Miskelley,  who confessed at least three times by the date of the generation of this report, does he not note the obvious discrepancy for the placement of Mike Moore upstream, or that he was found on his right side with the left side surfacing when in effect dislodged by Det. Mike Allen.  Moore was also hogtied differently, with different knots than the other 2 victims, with ONE black shoelace.  There is a reason that Turvey was not given Miskelley’s updated confession following his conviction, and instructed to disprove it; he would not have been able to.

Steven Edward Branch

Stevie Branch autopsy found here.

Wound Pattern Analysis
There are numerous violent, traumatic injuries to this victim’s face and head, as well as numerous superficial scratches, abrasions, and contusions noted throughout the rest of his body. Dr. Peretti, however, does not note the presence of extensive defensive wounds.

This indicates a violent, overpowering attack on this victim that he was unable to put up resistance against. The constellation of wounds are very similar to those inflicted on James Moore, however they are much more intense and include the victim’s face.

This level of attention paid to the victim’s face, in terms of depersonalization and rage, is indicative of familiarity and that will be explored later on in this report.

Furthermore, there is the existence of patterned injuries all over this victim’s face that could be bite marks. Since the ME may have missed this crucial evidence, other areas of his body may show bite mark evidence as well. The autopsy photos of this victim supplied to this examiner were not of sufficient quality to make an absolute determination of any kind, and would require a thorough examination by a qualified forensic odontologist for an informed, conclusive analysis. [note: Dr. Thomas David, board certified forensic odontologist, has confirmed the wound as a human adult bitemark and excluded Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley as the offender using bite impressions obtained from the men in prison] Bite mark evidence is very important in any criminal case because it demonstrates behavior and lends itself to individuation. It can reveal to an examiner who committed the act, because bite marks can be as unique as fingerprints. And, once established, it also reveals the act itself; biting.

Another unidentified pattern compression abrasion can be found on the back of Steve Branch’s head. The source of this injury caused a 3? inch fracture at the base of the skull with multiple extension fractures that terminate in the foramen magnum (that’s the hole at the base of the skull where the spinal cord connects to the brain). Upon close examination, this pattern injury is consistent with compression made from footwear. Again, without better photos supplied to the examiner showing a variety of angles, it’s very difficult to make a positive identification of any kind. But the pattern is consistent with a footwear impression, and would require a footwear impression expert to analyze and make an informed, competent determination.

The shoelace ligatures used to restrain this victim did leave deep furrows, and also did leave patterned abrasions on both the wrists and ankles. This indicates that the victim was struggling while the ligatures were in place. This indicates further that the victim was very much conscious before or after the ligatures were affixed to his wrists and ankles. We know that the victim drowned, that is to say that hemorrhagic edema fluid was present in the victim’s lungs, as well as in the victim’s mouth, indicating that the victim was breathing when he was placed into the 2ft of water in the drainage ditch at Robin Hood Hills.

Together, these facts, again, suggest that the purpose of the ligatures in this victim’s case was to keep the victim from moving around or being able to swim should he regain consciousness once he had been thrown into the water. It is this examiner’s opinion that the assailant in this case demonstrated all manner of awareness and cognizance at this location. The assailant knew that this victim was not dead when they threw this victim into the water, and that the ligatures would assist to complete the act of deliberate homicide should the victim become conscious.

Lack Of Injuries
There is again a lack of evidence to support any sort of strangulation. Dr. Peretti states that his examination of the neck of this victim revealed no injuries, and the photos that this examiner has seen support that conclusion.

Analysis: He missed the wound to Stevie Branch’s penis entirely. While not contained in his formal autopsy report, it was proven during the trial that Dr. Peretti’s colleague  was called into evaluate what Turvey was calling “bite marks” and was ruled out.  The fact that bite impressions did not match Echols, Baldwin or Miskelley was in no way exculpatory, and I will save you the bite by some animal with a rough tounge report nonsense I had to read .

The 3” fracture at the base of the skull, which “spiderwebbed” into subsequent fractures, also very likely severed his spinal cord,  so one must assume this injury was also quite perimortem.

Steve ‘s left face was found to be abraded on the entire left side, and is consistent with someone either stomping on right side of his neck and fracturing it, with an obvious boot print, if the left side of the face was on the ground.

The gouging wounds- likely had to be inflicted following the fracture due to the lack of hemorrhage in comparison to the severity of the wound, and all experts agreed the injury was likely perimortem.  So the question becomes- why?

Seems like a very important question, second only to what caused the trauma, based on the constellation of terminal injuries already inflicted on him.   Wouldn’t the only thing left  to do at that point  be to submerge him?

It is my theory- therein lies the problem.  Byers was put in the ditch first, and we know he was already deceased, therefore, he sinks.  Stevie Branch is placed in the water next to him, and he either begins moving or floats and the suspects thinks he is still alive, and uses an implement to force him into the ditch bottom until he succumbs and stays submerged.  I will leave out the specifics of the gouging wound as to why I think that resulted in the usage of the other end of the ice axe on Michael Moore.  The luminol result,  found in  the ditch bed itself, after it was drained,  slightly downstream from Byers and Branch,  but still upstream from Moore could also support this theory.  We know that Byers had already bled out,  but Branch was still alive when he was put into the water and the only significant bleeding wound on his person capable of  leaving blood evidence in the bottom of the ditch to survive it simply being washed away in the creek, there is a high degree of probability he bled directly into the dirt.  He was found face down.

Christopher Byers

Christopher Byers autopsy found here.

It should be noted that this victim’s injuries were the most extensive, most violent, and most overtly sexual of the all the victims in this case. The nature and extent of this victim’s wounds indicate that the assailant spent the most time with this victim.

Additionally, this victim’s toxicology report revealed non-therapeutic levels of carbamazepine in the blood. All of these differences are very important, and will be explored in the later sections of this report.

Wound Pattern Analysis
There are numerous violent, traumatic injuries to this victim’s head, specifically to the base of the skull. There was also evidence of the violent emasculation of the victim’s sex organs, extensive lacerations and bruising to the victim’s buttocks, as well as numerous superficial scratches, abrasions, and contusions noted throughout the rest of his body. Dr. Peretti also noted that there were numerous healed injuries of varying nature on this victim. Dr. Peretti, however, did not note the presence of defensive wounds.

Again, this indicates a violent, overpowering attack on this victim that he was unable to put up resistance against. The general constellation of wounds to this victim is more advanced, more extensive, more overtly sexually oriented and includes the use of a knife.

This knife was used not only to inflict multiple stabbing and cutting injuries to the victim’s inner thighs and genital area, it was used in the emasculation process. There is, unmentioned in either the ME’s or Coroner’s reports, what appears to be a clear impression of the knife handle on the right side of the large gaping defect left behind after the removal of the victims penis, scrotal sac, and testes. This was impression was created when the knife was thrust full length into the victim by the assailant, during the process of emasculation. This indicates forceful, violent thrusts. The nature of this emasculation, as indicated by these wounds, is neither skilled nor practiced. It was a rageful, careless, but purposeful act carried out in anger.

It is the opinion of this examiner that this injury would have resulted in massive, uncontrollable blood-loss, from which the victim could not have survived without immediate medical attention.
It should also be pointed out that the nature of the stab wounds inflicted on the victim’s genital area, separate from those received during the emasculation process, show marked irregular configuration and pulling of the skin. This indicates that either the knife was being twisted as the assailant stabbed the victim, or that the victim was moving as the blade was withdrawn.

The second set of injuries is described as five superficial cutting wounds on the left buttock (pictured on the left in this photo at the right). It should be noted that these injuries are actually lacerations, as indicated by the bridging between the open tissue, and the irregular edges. Both indicators are apparent upon close examination of the photographs. It is the opinion of this examiner that this set of injuries is most consistent with the parental whipping given to Chris Byers by Mark Byers. It is further the opinion of this examiner that after having received this set of injuries, which tore open the skin and would have resulted in some severe bleeding, the victim would have been unable to walk or ride a bicycle without incredible pain and discomfort.

The third set of injuries is the multiple linear superficial interrupted cuts on the right buttock region (pictured in the photo above on the right). These injuries are not consistent with having been made by a belt as they are cuts. The edges are not irregular, and the cuts are interrupted, again indicating movement by the victim or the assailant during the attack.

Furthermore, there is the existence of bruised ovoid compression injuries all over this victim’s inner thigh that could be suction type bite marks. Since the ME may have missed this crucial evidence, other areas of his body may show bite mark evidence as well. The autopsy photos of this victim supplied to this examiner were not of sufficient quality to make an absolute determination of any kind, and would require a thorough examination by a qualified forensic odontologist for an informed, conclusive analysis.

Bite mark evidence is very important in any criminal case because it demonstrates behavior and lends itself to individuation. It can reveal to an examiner who committed the act, because bite marks can be as unique as fingerprints and positively identify a suspect. And, once established, it also reveals the act itself; biting. The shoelace ligatures used to restrain this victim did leave deep furrows, and also did leave patterned abrasions on both the wrists and ankles. This indicates that the victim was struggling while the ligatures were in place. This indicates further that the victim was very much conscious before or after the ligatures were affixed to his wrists and ankles.

We know that this victim did not drown, that is to say that no hemorrhagic edema fluid was present in the victim’s lungs, or well in the victim’s mouth. This indicates that the victim was already dead when he was placed into the 2? ft of water in the drainage ditch at Robin Hood Hills. This is, again, very different from the other two victims in this case.

Dr. Richard Souviron forensic odontologist: all mutilation is peri and post mortem, no knife was used.

On a final note, Mr. Hale states in his supplemental report on Chris Byers that there is a stab wound on his head. This is actually incorrect, and rectified by Dr. Peretti who states in his autopsy report of Chris Byers that the same injury is a 1¼-inch laceration to the left parietal scalp.

There is also, again, a lack of mosquito bites to this victim, which, as mentioned earlier, suggests that he received his injuries elsewhere first. This because the injuries took time to inflict, time during which many mosquito bites would have been received, even after death.

Additionally, unlike Steve Branch, there is no overkill present in this victim’s face. That is to say that this is another of the marked differences between the killings of Steve Branch and Chris Byers which is very important to note, and which will be explored more thoroughly in this report.

Recommendations
It is apparent from the physical evidence in this case that Chris M. Byers was attacked with sudden, violent force from which he defended himself in only a limited fashion. It appears as though this attack took place, at least in part, while his cloths were off and while the shoelace ligatures restrained him. He was sexually assaulted (an assault of a sexual nature, to areas of the body considered to be sexual, that does not include sexual penetration), and associated stab wounds indicate that he may have been conscious during several phases of the attack.

Analysis:  How does he miss that the dosage of (car) was sub therapeutic, meaning below the level at which he was described and confuse it as non-therapeutic, in his estimation, as a possible means to subdue him.  He completely missed the fact that it is likely that the level, found in his blood, was greatly reduced because there was very little blood volume left in his body.  AND, it was a prescribed medication.  Turvey does not mention the other factors that support Byers died first,  and he died quickly and violently.  While he did have stomach contents,  he did not have any urine in his blatter and there was substantative evidence his bowels had evacuated at the scene,  commonly a result of an immediate violent death.

Consensus or Conundrum- Depends Who You Ask

Regardless of which expert one believes, within the confines of each report,  is the absence of the belief with any certainty that the “Baldwin” serrated knife was used.  What they all agree on, is that the gouging injuries to Branch and Byers were very similar.  They all agree that there was evidence of blunt force trauma, significant curvilinear fractures,   what is commonly referred to in Forensic Pathology today as “chop wounds”, other sharp force trauma.

Thoughts onPost Mortem Animal Predation

I agree it is possible that snapping turtles could have caused what looks to be possible claw marks and at least one possible bite mark.  I am emphasizing possible because I don’t think one can rule out animal predation 100%

Bryn Ridge himself testified he has seen snapping turtles in that area, some time ago.   That said, there was not so much as a crawfish found in that creek as it was being pumped out, and that included a screen.

Dr. Spitz went as far as to suggest that somehow a carnivore of some kind was the cause of the animal predation although all oter evidence suggests that the boys were completely submerged, as well as their clothing, and there was obviously no animal tracks or other artifacts at the scene that would make that theory sound anything remotely believable.  Thankfully, he  stopped short of suggesting that a new breed of homicidal carnivores with a cleaner crew who could walk upright was responsible.

Fortunately I Dressed For Bushwhacking

Starting with one of the most important parts of the autopsy evidence, is the very fact that detectives knew VERY LITTLE about it outside of the cause of death, until late May at the earliest.  So little in fact, that Gary Gitchell, Lead Investigator, wrote a list of follow up questions to the crime lab on May 26. (need link here)

Frank J. Peretti, MD preformed all three autopsies on May 7, 1993, and filed reports on May 10th for cause of death only.   Those causes of death btw, were all listed as homicide by multiple injuries, period.  Nobody knew that two boys died from drowning, and not all three.  This is particularly concerning because the first conversation that Steve Jones and Det Sudbury had with Damien Echols was  on May 7th prior to autopsy and in his subsequent interview with Det Bryn Ridge on May 10, when asked by Ridge how he knew about that,  Echols told Ridge that Jones told HIM that whoever did this “urinated” in the mouths of the boys.

Urine was found in the stomachs of 2 of the victims, but that information was given by phone only to Gitchell, and not before May 16th, 1993.  There is no possible way Damien Echols could have had case- specific information unless he was there or knew someone that was that told him what occurred, as the detective interviewing him at the time was clueless to that fact during the interview.

There are certainly many statements by both Echols and Miskelley prior to arrest that indicate they had prior knowledge of the murders,  but I have been able to ride the see saw on those for the most part, like many.

The fact that Echols knew that there was urine in the stomachs of two victims,  when it was intentionally ommitted from the report can only mean he was there, or knew someone who was,  and in my opinion, both.

To be continued,  West Memphis Three Part III

Sources:

Crime lab Index: http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/img/crimelab.html

Chris Byers autopsy:

http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/autcb.html

Michael Moore:

http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/autmm.html

Stevie Branch:

http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/autsb.html

Turvey Report: http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/b_turvey_profile.html

Related Posts:

1,384 Comments

  1. Dysthymia says:

    Blink (on Crime) I’ve been a fan here since the Anthony case. You do great work here and I can just feel through your words what a strong advocate your are for victims of crime.

    I’ve never posted before but I’ve been following your WM3 series and I wonder if there will be a Part 3? (Once I was sort of “on the fence” about these men but after reading your series I became convinced of their guilt).

    One other comment. Did you read Todd and Dana Moore’s letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science? It was heartbreaking.

    I will complete the series in January, and yes, I am aware of it. These people have been put through Hell all over again and I have no words to help them. Horrifying.
    B

  2. Dysthymia says:

    Thank you for the answer. I know that the Moores (as well as the other children’s families)have many prayers said for them and for those innocent little eight year old boys: Michael, Stevie, and Chris. May they rest in peace.

    Peace.

  3. Xara says:

    This is a link to a pretty extensive interview with Peter Jackson and
    Fran Walsh:

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/52167

  4. GraceintheHills says:

    Mom3.0 says:
    December 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm
    Grace ,
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us-
    You opined that the skull fractures were extensive and that they would have resulted in death if not treated…can you give us your opinion on how big a window of time you are talking about?

    Also if you wouldn’t mind, you said that you read through the autopsies several times, in your opinion, could this blunt force trauma- be attributed to beating the face of the victim, or would it be more likely to striking the victims head…and could this occur on/against a ditch bank?- Meaning would it have to be a rather hard surface, and last if these type of injuries are seen in accidents- possibly car accidents or horse riding accidents….would the victims have had to fall from a rather tall height? -
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    @Mom3.0: Before I reply, I just want to say to any of these precious children’s family members/friends who may be reading here, you have my deepest sympathy and continued prayers. I truly hope the actual perpetrators of this horrific offense have been convicted, and justice has been served.

    As you have noted before, Mom3.0, it is very difficult to write about these injuries.

    As I am sure all of you know, it is not the skull fractures per se that cause death, it is the intracranial bleeding and brain swelling that ensues if the fracture disrupts arterial or venous blood flow. All of the boys had subarachnoid (intracranial or inside the skull) hemorrhages. Subarachnoid hemorrhages are potentially life-threatening medical emergencies, and, depending on the size or number of these bleeds, can produce coma/death within minutes. I think just about everyone involved is convinced the head injuries rendered the boys unconscious. We know that at least two of the three boys lived long enough to be placed in the water and drown, but, IMO, it is impossible to know the time interval between injury and death.

    Nowadays, it is fairly common to see a medical examiner attempt to reenact for the jury during his testimony how injuries may have been inflicted on the victim, but, as far as I can see, this did not happen in this case. I have viewed a limited number of the autopsy photos, as some of you have. It would *appear* from the lack of evidence of significant blows to the boy’s faces (as reflected in the autopsy reports of two of the boys, in particular) that direct blows *may* have been delivered to the sides and/or the backs of their heads. Could the boys have been struck and/or shoved and hit their heads against a stationary object? Perhaps a tree or tree root on the bank? I don’t know. There are cases in the literature of children who were struck while standing, fell and hit their heads on a hard surfaces, and sustained fatal skull fractures.

    In re-reviewing the autopsies, I was struck by another thought that had never crossed my mind before. If one believes JM’s confessions, we have three teenagers in a drunken frenzy repeatedly beating three unrestrained (i.e. still moving) eight year olds with their fists and/or other implements, yet, oddly, there are no internal injuries (bruised kidneys, ruptured spleens, broken ribs, etc). Lack of internal chest/abdominal injuries leads me to wonder if the boys may have been restrained before the fatal blows were delivered to their heads. Depending on the perpetrator(s) personalities, and the manner in which they threaten or instill a false sense of trust in the victims, many children can be led to comply with these perps demands with surprisingly little effort.

  5. GraceintheHills says:

    Xara, thank you for posting that interview. It was very interesting.

  6. Xara says:

    @Grace~ You’re quite welcome, I’m glad you found it interesting.

    @marbor~ Thank you for posting that link!

  7. Mom3.0 says:

    Grace thank you for your response- I am still processing the info-

    xara thank you for posting that link- I have not had the time to read it all through yet-

    Marbor thanks to you for the link also- I will be reading that one too-

    I will be back with some thoughts hopefully sooner rather than later.

    Thanks for sticking around guys-

  8. Jesse Nothing says:

    Part Three please! I am dying to read more, especially after last night’s premier of Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory. It would be very timely to release the next installment of your investigation now, as many will no doubt have seen the film and then search online for more information, only to be bombarded with a one sided supporter viewpoint. And thank you so much for your work. So many people think that there is no one left with any credibility who believes in the guilt of the WM3.

  9. Scott H says:

    Amazing that once again, while a rather large portion of part three focuses on JM’s initial confession and it’s in consistent nature, for the third time in 15 years, spanning 3 different “documentaries”, it is failed to be mentioned that Jesse confessed 3 more times. Whether you believe in innocence, guilt, or sit firmly on the fence, it simply can’t be argued that all 3 of these films are heavily biased, so much so that many extremely important facts that would need to be presented to paint a complete picture of this case, are simply not included. One can imagine why that is. The team of lawyers and forensic experts and profilers paints quite the picture of what money really can accomplish.

    True dat and well said. This is a mockumentary as far as I am concerned, but who the hell am I, I do not have a SAG card.

    B

  10. Mom3.0 says:

    Scott H-
    Hello

    I feel I need to point out that every documentary ever filmed does not include every detail- it is nearly impossible do to so.
    But having said that, I agree that the film makers most likely chose not to include certain things- like Jesse’s confessions-
    Although portions were played, they did not go into details.

    How many of Jesse’s confessions were given and known, by the 1st films finish/debut?

    IDK, BUT in the first film, which I have just watched, I feel I must bring to your attention that Jesse’s police car “confession” was brought up-

    see here:(capitalization by me, for speakers emphasis on that word)
    IRT to deal w/Jesse-
    Prosecutor says in meeting with MM parents, grandparent of SB, natural father of SB and Chris’s parents-

    Right now, we dont know what his situation is although right now we think he is more inclined to testify then he has been at any other point up to now…
    The Friday that Jesse was convicted, they questioned him, the officers that took him down, inquired of him what of what really happened… and apparently Jesse, CONTRARY to somebody that was innocent that would say things like gee I just been convicted and I didnt do it, what a terrible injustice…Jesse talked all the way down there about how he committed the crime and the specific details unfortunately we need his testimony really bad…ummm..
    If it was a perfect world, we would take what we have on Jesse and leave it, and we’d go and get the other two.. and get them and be happy, but its not…and uh, we need his testimony to be sure and get convictions on the other two. I think we’re gonna, negotiate his sentence down some..in order to get him to testify…

    Then Fogelmen says: Hes not gonna testify just out of the goodness of his heart, the only way that I think that he would be willing to testify… is if the life sentence is removed… Now I do want to say ALL is not lost, if he doesnt testify…uh but, the odds are reduced significantly,uh, we still have got some evidence… WHAT we got, besides Jesse, (clears throat, is we got a a fiber, that was found on umm, I think, it was found on Stevies shirt, that matched a fiber from Jason Baldwins mother, whichs called secondary transfer..we’ve got (sighs) a fiber from a shirt, or a couple of fibers, from a shirt found at Echols house, found…one of ‘em was on like on Michael’s cub scout cap.. another maybe on the shirt that matched Damiens… Fiber evidence its its IMO is better than hair evidence, but they cant say that it came from that particular garment to the exclusion of all others…Uh we got, the Hollingsworth clan that says they saw Damien and Domini out on the service road…we’ve got some, uh.. Kids that say that Damien.. they heard him at a girls softball game, overheard him… say that he killed the 3 boys, and he was gonna kill 2 more, before he turned himself in ( Todd Moore says they havent scared those ones off yet like they did them other ones?…) Fogelmen responds well um no not yet…(other prosecutor talks too low to hear).. Fogelman continues…we’ve got umm a guy, that was in jail with uhh Jason, who says that Jason made some incriminating statements to ‘im..
    Now there are some things that they are gonna try to do to attack this kids credibility.., but uh..OH!, and weve got the Knife that was found, uhh, in the lake behind Jasons house…so thats what weve got..but thats ALL, basically that we’ve got.

    Other prosecutor says: You asked what the odds were of convicting them without Jesse and its uhhh, you know, 50/50 you know might be good…

    Scott, even in the trials themselves, not every detail was brought forth, it is next to impossible to bring in everything- and one can argue that each side is “biased” and that justice falters because of it… Each side has a point of view and interprets evidence and the jury interprets the interpretations… Each side- whether it be the defense or the prosecution makes careful decisions on what to present and what to hold back…and the jury is only left with a partial picture. Each side is helped or harmed by their determination and purse or lack there of…

    I think much the same can be said for a documentary- its not necessarily the truth in the “story” but in the manner in which it is told-

    So I guess it boils down to who you choose to believe- Gitchell and his belief that the case was an 11…the prosecution and thats all we have,including the Knife and Griffis, and Narlene being mistaken about seeing Domini… the defense and the “false story” the defense and the “guilt by association”, the defense and Damiens own testimony… The Hollingsworth clan and their inconsistencies, the guy who was in jail with Jason who came forward months later, the softball girls & only mom & 2 others being called to testify but not in agreement on each detail and not the one who was threatened… Jesse and his meandering confessions and denials and confessions and denials, DE and JB who said in each and every film that they didnt do it…the rumors of Cults and devil worship and ritual sacrifice and orgies…

    Anyone can change a persons perception, depending upon ones own convictions and the determination to “prove” it… and the susceptibility and biases of the chosen audience and their willingness to be persuaded…

    AJMO

  11. Mom3.0 says:

    PS Scott-

    You wrote:

    many extremely important facts that would need to be presented to paint a complete picture of this case, are simply not included. One can imagine why that is. The team of lawyers and forensic experts and profilers paints quite the picture of what money really can accomplish.


    Scott, could you please list what important facts need to be presented?

    Although I agree, again ,- lots was left outof the films, according to Fogelman and his “thats all” speech and LEO’s “Strong Points” memo, much wasnt left out not even at trial- so, besides Jesse and his confessions which can not be argued are full of lies and wrong details, what needs to be presented?

    As for your thoughts on what money can buy. I agree with you our justice system is sadly working in favor of those with money- However, these 3 did not have any at the time of their convictions. It was the state, at that time who had the money, & could present experts to bolster their own conclusions- So is it okay in that instance to have experts, but not in a defense?

    And whether or not the experts were bought and paid for later, it seems to me, some of their findings are helpful in obtaining evidence that was not known or tested in 1994 such as the DNA evidence and hair evidence testing- as well as concerns over animal predation- which surely you can not deny that at least some of those injuries were a result of predation?

    So, it seems to me, none of these bought and paid for experts- are saying they are innocent, they are simply saying that the evidence they have seen, points to something other than a serrated knife or occult ritual sacrifice, and the DNA they have had tested does not lead to the convicted 3- but in no way is it evidence of guilt toward another person- certainly not beyond a reasonable doubt…

    So what is the problem? I thought we all agreed that some injuries could have been caused by animals, & these murders had nothing to do with Satan or sacrifice, and i thought we were all in agreement that Hair and fiber evidence can be a result of innocent secondary transfer and can not point definitely to the perp – to the exclusion of all others…

    AJMO

  12. Mom3.0 says:

    Oops I think I forgot to include link to the strong points list on callahans, here it is for reference:

    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/img/strong_points.html

  13. Scott H says:

    I never said I believed these murders were ritualistic, I do not believe that. I don’t believe the lake knife was the murder weapon, however, I also do not believe the animal predation theory. Animals didn’t cave the base of Steve Branch’s skull in, animals didn’t hogtie the boys, and animals didn’t throw the bikes in the water or use sticks to drive the boys clothes into the mud do avoid detection. I guess I have never really understood the animal predation theory, what is it attempting to prove? That not all the injuries were inflicted by the murderers? That it wasn’t a ritualistic killing, that it wasn’t a knife that was used? If Christopher Byers genitals were removed by an animal, the other two boys would have suffered the same injury, guaranteed. I don’t know what you are asking at the end of your post, I don’t believe the murders were a sacrifice, Satanic, or ritualistic. I believe the hair was secondary transfer, I don’t buy the animal predation theory, but I’m not sure why that matters. We can all agree the boys suffered a horrible death at the hands of sick individuals, whether a few of the injuries were post-mortem matters little to me. Way too much time has been spent arguing about that.

    As to what was left out of the documentarIES

    1. Misskelley’s multiple post conviction confessions. We all know you disregard them, however they did occur. The only reason they aren’t mentioned is because it would raise questions about the threes supposed innocence, i.e, 100% biased storytelling.

    2. Never is it mentioned that Damien was admitted to mental health institutions 3 times, or that he was deemed by the state of Arkansas to be so mentally ill he was provided disability payments. So he was disturbed enough to be seen by the state as unfit to be employed. Berlinger and Sinofsky have no problem rifling through Byers past, yet cannot seem to show the same diligence with the main suspect/focal point of the entire investigation. Bias

    3. As an addition to the above post, exhibit 500 anybody? Mom, you can’t deny the 500 paints a portrait of an individual who could potentially commit a crime of this nature, I mean Damien was a pretty sick pup prior to the murders, it’s not heresay or rumor, it’s documented fact, written down in 500, is it ever brought up? Bias

    4. Luminol photos, shows blood where Jesse claims the murders occured, yes I know luminol wasn’t allowed in trial in 1994, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bear mentioning. They seem to prefer the no blood at crime scene angle much more for some reason. Bias

    5. Some seriously flawed alibis for all 3, especially Damien, who can’t keep straight from one day to the next exactly who picked Jason himself and Domini up in a car the day of the murders.

    6. Damien’s courtroom behavior, whether you believe in the guilt, innocence, or sit firmly on the fence in regards to the convicted in this case, the way Damien acted during the trial, blowing kisses and winking at the parents of the murdered boys, can only be interpreted one way, evil. Damien likes to claim he was a smartass as a way to explain away his behavior in 1994, yeah, I used to be a smart ass as well, I’m quite positive I wouldn’t mock murder victims parents in any situation, let alone one in which my life was literally on the line, and I am supposed to be “innocent”.

    Mom, I have read enough of your posts to know nothing I say can sway the way you feel about this, and I must admit I have grown weary about arguing the circumstances of this tragedy. It might be different if they were still behind bars, but they aren’t. They are busy continuing the pursuit of money drained off of three dead boys, as we can see by Damien’s producing credit in Peter Jackson’s upcoming West of Memphis docu crap. What happened to attempting to find the “real killers”? Maybe Damien and Peter thought the perpetrators were on the set of the hobbitt in New Zealand, or were employed at Dianey Land? I’m not sure how much longer I can fight this fight so to speak, I’ve said the same things so many times, it’s just starting to wear thin. It might be time to just accept that in my opinion, three murderers were set free on the back of a misguided filmaking duo, celebrity ignorance, and a crazy lady who managed to fall in love with a death row teenager she saw on tv. What a wonderful world we live in.

    No disrespect to Mom3.0 of course, but this is a magnificent post.
    B

  14. Mom3.0 says:

    Hello ScottH- thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts and for your response- very much appreciated.

    I want to also thank you for listing the things missing from the movies and your thoughts on these.
    If its okay Ill give you my thoughts on your list at another time

    I know I tend to be very lengthy in my responses so Im gonna break up my thoughts-

    LE based their case and their search warrants and most of their questioning of witnesses on the theory that this was an occult/satanic ritualistic crime- which was perpetrated for religious reasons if only misguided mixed up religious reasons.

    The prosecution went to trial presenting a case that SEEMED to bolster the theory that these murders were satanic/ritualistic/cult murders-

    They went to trial building their case upon this foundation… almost everything they presented whether it be the Book of Shadows or the Aliester Crowley code or the music, or the albums or the drawings or the poems, or the books or clothes and even the bindings and the ditch and the knives and the date- and the phases of the moon etc were used as proof of mised up dabbling devil worshippers-

    Most certainly the closing arguments went to proving this, as “in and of itself” this all meant nothing, but when taken all together… all this went to show that Damien had no soul, and was the leader of a cult which although not Satanic in belief, was twisting Wicca- into some form of black magic which resulted in these children being sacrificed to Satan for power and Chris being castrated for his semen (according to Griffis), *which by the way, is also bogus as EVERYONE knows that boys do not start producing semen until they reach puberty- these boys were eight and showed no outward signs of even the beginning stages of pubescence*

    This is the theory they went to trial with, this is the theory which Jesse confessed to, this is theory the expert griffis backed- This is the theory that kept Gitchell awake and frightened, thinking of DE at the end of his bed- this is the theory that Narlene and her daughter bolstered in their written statments as well as so many more towns people including the Rev Tommy- and his youth minister, and Deana Holcomb, and Vicki H and Aaron H

    Yet now- today everyone agrees that these were NOT
    satanic/cult/ritualistic murders and we all agree that none of the aforementioned “evidence”- was proof – it was poppy cock-

    “I never said I believed these murders were ritualistic, I do not believe that”
    I never said that you said that Scott – My point was that at the time of the trials LE and the town and the jury did believe this. Which now, just like you, they have come to the realization that this theory was dead wrong, again the point being that we all agree now on this fact.

    “I don’t believe the lake knife was the murder weapon”
    I never said that you believed this Scott, again my point was at the time of the trials, The Prosecution, presented it as evidence of guilt. And all have now since come to the conclusion, just like you, that this lake knife was not the murder weapon-which underscores the point I was making that we all agree on this now-

    AJMO
    Cont part 2

  15. Mom3.0 says:

    Part 2-
    hey Scott- thanks again for your well thought out response-

    You wrote in part:

    “however, I also do not believe the animal predation theory. Animals didn’t cave the base of Steve Branch’s skull in, animals didn’t hogtie the boys, and animals didn’t throw the bikes in the water or use sticks to drive the boys clothes into the mud do avoid detection.”

    Of course animals did not murder these children nor did they force them to undress, nor did they hogtie them, nor did they hide the clothes or the bikes and they certainly did not dispose of them in the ditch.

    ” I guess I have never really understood the animal predation theory, what is it attempting to prove?”

    Scott H- Respectfully, I think that is the problem you and others may be having – you seem to weigh the evidence upon whether or not it proves the Prosecutions theories of the crime, or whether or not it fits into a specific theory you have IRT how the 3 did it—and perhaps not objectively as a way to get to the absolute truth of what happened.

    Considering animal predation/necrophagia IN NO WAY goes to prove these 3 arent guilty. Considering whether or not the injuries were due to animal predation/necrophagia is in no way lessening the atrociousness of what these little boys endured, nor does it disprove the 3 from having been the killers.

    Whether or not you believe that JM and JB and DE killed them, or if you are not sure who did, it matters not IRT the animal predation theory as these injuries, would have no bearing on whether or not these boys were brutally murdered- much like Caylee Anthony, whose little body laid out in much the same type of area, and was subjected to animal necrophagia, and predation as well as to the elements- these factors masked the time of death, and the means of death, as well as stopping a timely discovery.

    AJMO
    cont part 3

  16. Mom3.0 says:

    Part 3
    Scott as I know you know,
    It is a fact that all three boys had skull fractures- which likely would have resulted in their deaths even without any other injury and without drowning, which drowning was listed as cause of death to Stevie and Mike, but not to Chris.

    It is a fact that there are no obvious “stab” wounds- most of the wounds thought to be from a knife are in fact described as gouges, jagged cuts, and abrasions.

    Stevie’s facial wounds are described as:
    The entire left side of the face to include the left ear and an area measuring 5 1/2 by 5 inches, showed multiple confluent red abrasions with multiple gouging type irregular cutting wounds and overlying abrasions. The cutting wounds measure from 1/8 to 1 3/4 inches. Many of these wounds terminated into the oral cavity.

    So as to your question – IMO the animal predation could have in fact happened regardless of what any expert said and testified to in the past- as this case proves over and over- experts CAN and HAVE been wrong.
    So therefore, IMO, those who are open to reviewing this theory/evidence, as well as other new theories and information, such as the iceax theory of Blinks- are simply trying to get to the TRUTH of who killed these boys and how.- No matter what others may have claimed in the past- & regardless of which “side” presents this new info or whose “side” it may help

    You went on to opine:
    “If Christopher Byers genitals were removed by an animal, the other two boys would have suffered the same injury, guaranteed.”

    ScottH, I assume that you are of the male gender, due to your screen name- let me point out to you that your ”guarantee” does NOT fit with the facts of this case nor with the facts of a male body.

    Please excuse the graphic nature— I mean no disrespect.

    One of the victims DID NOT DROWN- He was dead when he was put in the water.
    Unlike the others who were alive at the time they were placed in the water, and thereby subsequently drowning was a contributing factor in their demises. The ditch water was cold- Scott H. If you are a male, you know what happens to male genitalia when subjected to cold water. As anyone who ever watched Seinfeld can attest to … Isnt it at least possible that this could go to show why only one victim had been castrated due to necrophagia?

    You wrote:
    “We can all agree the boys suffered a horrible death at the hands of sick individuals, whether a few of the injuries were post-mortem matters little to me. Way too much time has been spent arguing about that.”

    ScottH, you have just made my point- it does matter EXACTLY what happened to the boys- as finding the truth and getting and securing justice is the goal.-

    Its not about arguing Scott-

    Its not about being right or wrong.

    Its about the search for truth and justice-

    Exactly what happened, and by what means, and by whom -may not matter to you, as you have already made up your mind as to culpability and guilt- which I can understand.

    But I would think it still matters to the boys families, and it would matter to any one falsely accused of any of these acts, and it matters to me- and to thousands of others- and it sure as HELL mattered to Stevie, Chris and Michael.

    Thanks again Scott for sharing your thoughts- I know just like me you care about these kids and about justice–

    Again for the record- I am not saying my thoughts and opinions are anymore likely or valuable then yours -just that they are different.

    AJMO
    Peace

  17. Matt says:

    While holding up the photos of the dead kids the pathologist said that the scrape marks could have only come from animal preadation. Unless of course one of the WM3 had really long pointy fingernails. Damien of course had long pointy fingernails at that time and the injuries look like they were caused by someone scratching at the kids.

    Even though I was a supporter after watching the first movie one thing always confused me. Why did the filmmakers not give an in depth analysis of Damien, Jason and Jessie’s alibi on the day of the murders? They certainly have no problem looking into Terry Hobbs movements that day in the latest mockumentary.

    The film was so biased that by the end the filmmakers themselves were seen asking questions to Scott Ellington.

  18. Matt says:

    One more thing. Dedicating the film to the three little boys after showing their dead, naked and hogtied bodies for shock value is disgusting.

  19. Rebecca says:

    I THINK IT WAS SO SO WRONG FOR THEM ALSO TO DEDICAE A MOVIE TO THEM I FEEL SENCE AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER THIS BACK IN 93 I FEEL THE 3 TEENAGERS DID BUT THEN AGAIN IF THE MURDER IS STILL OUT THIER I REALLY HOPE HE BURNS IN HELL CAUSE WHAT HE DID TO THOSE LIL BOYS IS VERY HEARTBREAKING …………..THEN MORE I THINK OF IT I FEEL UPSET CAUSE ITS SO SO SAD AND ALL I CAN DO IS ONLY SAY A PRAYER TO THOSE FAMILYS OF THE BOYS THIER WILL BE DAY WHEN U WILL SEE THOSE BOYS AGAIN AND I BET THEY STILL PLAY ..LAUGH EVEN CRY CAUSE THEY DO WATCH OVER YOU GUYS CAUSE THEY KNOW THEY YOU ARE SAD …..In loving memory of three little boys. In 1993, West Memphis, Stevie, Michael & Chris were murdered. Rest Peacefully, Dear boys

  20. Mom3.0 says:

    Scott thank you for the list again.

    I agree the films did not include alot of information and they did not go into specific details on a great many things- I am not sure that this proves bias- as so much was left out… information that could go toward quilt as well as info that could go toward innocence

    I think you may have missed where I gave my opinion : these filmmakers did believe the three were innocent, so therefore ofcourse there was a slant in that direction

    I have also stated that according to the many reviews I have read from many different people non and supporters alike – everyone comes away with a different perspective on guilt or innocence after watching these films

    I think it is all in the eyes of the viewer- in their perspectives –not necessarily in those of the film makers.

    And I would also like to say I would have appreciated these movies including much if not all of the info on your list- as well as other information -as I think every piece of info is part of the picture but I disagree on the weight each piece of information adds toward proving guilt or innocence.

    AJMO
    Cont part 2

  21. Mom3.0 says:

    1. Misskelley’s multiple post conviction confessions.

    You are correct ScottH, they did occur- and the films did not mention every single confession -but as I pointed out for you last time- contrary to your previous held belief, Jesses police car statements were mentioned.

    These films may not have covered each and every confession in detail- but they did give a summation in regards to the overall validity of each-IMO

    “We all know you disregard them, however they did occur.“

    Yes, they did occur- & yep I do disregard them because even though Jesse confessed more than once and even with his hand held firmly upon The Holy Bible- he lied in each and every statement- and he refused to testify against the other two- you know, the only place where swearing on a Bible- would matter..

    “The only reason they aren’t mentioned is because it would raise questions about the threes supposed innocence, i.e, 100% biased storytelling.”

    I agree they should have included them.
    I realize that you believe that the only reason they were not shown is because it would raise questions regarding all 3’s quilt- but the fact of the matter is
    IF they had all been included, and if they all had been dissected like they should have been, what they would have ended up illustrating is what I have been saying all along- Jesse Misskelly is a liar- He never supplied police with real information – they did not already have, and each and every statement included easily disprovable facts and details –

    100% due to bias?- I cant say- & You can not know this for a fact either—

    AJMO
    cont part 3

  22. Mom3.0 says:

    Part 3

    Scott,
    There is nothing that anyone can know as 100% fact in this case- we were not there, we do not know, mistakes were made in the investigation, in the recovery, in the securing the evidence and in the taking of statements etc as well as in the trials themselves.

    2. “Never is it mentioned that Damien was admitted to mental health institutions 3 times, or that he was deemed by the state of Arkansas to be so mentally ill he was provided disability payments. So he was disturbed enough to be seen by the state as unfit to be employed. “

    Nope, Youre correct-
    None of this was included. Nor was his prior arrest record.
    None of this was used as evidence against him in court either- yet the prosecution certainly was not biased toward the accused and despite not having this info at trial, the jury still found them guilty…

    I might add the films did not include The Hollinsgworths many inconsistencies either, nor did they include the info on the older brothers arrest record- nor did they include info on the many other possible POI or interviews with those who encountered them– such as those who interacted with Bojangles- or the HH or LG Hollingsworth- nor did these films include the fact there were at least 3 other girls that made statements to interacting/overhearing the softball game “confession”

    Alot of information was left out – both in favor of guilt and of innocence

    “Berlinger and Sinofsky have no problem rifling through Byers past, yet cannot seem to show the same diligence with the main suspect/focal point of the entire investigation-”

    True, or so it would seem, we cant really know if their conscience bothers them, now can we?

    As I have stated before, our justice system sadly, seems to be geared toward forcing an accused person to prove their innocence by supplying another perp- in other words, no matter the guilt or innocence of the accused- -inorder to supply reasonable doubt it seems they MUST “Kronk” someone

    Having said that- what the questions and concerns surrounding bojangles, JMB, and TH etc showed
    IMO– is the police ineptitude – IRT investigating, questioning and completely clearing each and every person that may have had the means and opportunity to commit these murders-

    That is not to say LE must have tunnelvision for parents and families…- they certainly can look at every angle, every tip, every POI- all the while diligently working to clear up all questions and concerns- which would aid in securing the convictions were upheld

    All avenues must be exhausted whether they be claims of a Zanny the Nanny- or of Lucifer “Lucy” the head honcho, drug dealing directive giving mastermind etc

    The truth is- had the WMP did their jobs correctly from moment one – NONE of this would be a factor. We would all be confident in the discovery, the investigation, the arrests, the prosecution and the convictions. As there would be no doubt the ones accused, tried and convicted were in fact guilty.
    And the truth is LE are the ones that lead to the Kronking of family members and Bojangles and all the rest.

    AJMO
    COnt part 4

  23. Mom3.0 says:

    Part 4

    Scott,

    IMO
    They had a theory and they stuck with it to the detriment of all involved-

    That is not to say they didnt catch the right culprits- IDK if they did- and in truth neither does anyone- because NONE of us, if we are completely truthful- can follow the evidence-presented in trial and conclude guilt beyond a reasonable doubt

    3.” As an addition to the above post, exhibit 500 anybody? Mom, you can’t deny the 500 paints a portrait of an individual who could potentially commit a crime of this nature, I mean Damien was a pretty sick pup prior to the murders, it’s not heresay or rumor, it’s documented fact, written down in 500,”

    You are correct the “500” was never brought up in these films, it wasnt brought up to illustrate guilt in the trials either.

    IMO- these pages do not encapsulate DE – they are not evidence of a murderer to be, they are not a blueprint on how to recognize a child-killer.

    The 500 were not and could not be presented as evidence in court to show DE‘s guilt or his propensity to commit these murders.
    There is a reason for that- NONE of these factors would, could or should be used to argue/ illustrate guilt.

    The only time I have encountered someone using the 500 to argue the case, is when someone uses it as proof of guilt or as proof of the propensity to commit the murders, which again I disagree.

    The truth is, most of the children and adults living in and around the area may have had their own 500, that doesnt mean they are the killers, nor does it mean they grew up to be killers-

    IF we over generalize, then we would end up essentially having to put at least one of the victims in the same category – a murderer to be and That wouldnt be right.

    Having a poor family, coming from a dysfunctional family, having problems in school, being labeled as having emotional/behavioral problems, having an IEP or being on meds, receiving treatment resulting in “500” does not make any child the next Ted Bundy nor does starting fires, vandalizing, fighting, threatening suicide, threatening harm towards others to include parents- siblings go to show a person is capable of murder and having a juvenile arrest record (such as those of DE JB and DE) is not proof that a person will grow up to be a killer either.

    AJMO
    Cont Part 5

  24. Mom3.0 says:

    Part 5

    4. “Luminol photos, shows blood where Jesse claims the murders occured, yes I know luminol wasn’t allowed in trial in 1994, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bear mentioning.”

    ScottH- you are right again.
    They did not include the luminol photos- – perhaps you are correct,and it is because this evidence was not allowed in trial- and it may infact NOT bear a mention-

    If it was included in the documentaries than surely it must also include the factors that go to show that this testing was botched from every conceivable angle-

    MANY mistakes were made in this case- and I believe this luminol testing was a major one-
    First, this testing did not occur right away IIRC it was DAYS later–add to that:
    Once luminol is used- the sample is no longer viable for other testing. The area can no longer be tested for DNA- Luminol destroys DNA, although in some cases a reagent can be used to try and regain some.

    Luminol reacts with blood, urine and fecal matter, not just human, but animal also

    - Luminol gives a number of “false positives”. This can happen, when bleach or other such cleaning products are used- sometimes ofcourse when trying to get rid of evidence-
    -
    - Luminol also reacts positively to some plant materials, you know, leaves and such- and compost materials, and also to some paints/dyes- iron, copper, rust.

    If the testing is not done properly, or by properly trained CSI techs- major mistakes can occur- which render the results useless

    A repeated spraying can create streaking on vertical surfaces and pooling on horizontal surfaces. Making it appear as though more evidence of blood as been discovered.

    Ditch water is yucky.
    Cleaning products, dyes, iron, copper, rust etc could have been in the run off which was obviously filthy.

    Did all these factors effect the results?

    Was it reacting to plant materials?- Was it reacting to the childrens body placement… the bringing the bodies into the area to dump? Was it reacting to water/blood/other bodily fluids dripping from the victims bodies or from LEO’s Allens and Ridges shoes or clothes? Was it rendered useless by bad testing procedures or other?

    We cant know

    5. “Some seriously flawed alibis for all 3, especially Damien, who can’t keep straight from one day to the next exactly who picked Jason himself and Domini up in a car the day of the murders.”

    ScottH- they were teens- they gave alibis- (which several people later came forward to back these accounts)-. They were told it wasnt enough, they tried to elaborate- it wasnt enough… that does not necessarily mean they were the killers of these boys.

    Many people did not have alibis – and many gave varying accounts- including The Hollingsworths- especially LG- and almost every other teen in the area-
    BTW If I ask my teens right now what they were doing a week ago Mon. They would be hard-pressed to remember -especially if it wasnt a school day- I imagine for kids like DE dropouts with no jobs and no direction and no money and no car- it would be even harder as one day tends to just morph into the next and so on.

    AJMO
    Cont Part 6

  25. Mom3.0 says:

    Part 6

    6.”Damien’s courtroom behavior, whether you believe in the guilt, innocence, or sit firmly on the fence in regards to the convicted in this case, the way Damien acted during the trial, blowing kisses and winking at the parents of the murdered boys, can only be interpreted one way, evil.”

    Well if that was true, “evil” being the only interpretation which could be given regarding DE’s behaviors.. then I guess that is one point in favor of the documentaries as being unbiased, as they included much of these questionable aspects as well as incorporating DE’s JB and JM own thoughts- such as the Memphis boogyman quote, and JB’s reactions to the question on DE’s guilt or innocence- or JMs reaction to someone saying DE was a good kid… or any # of other “aha” guilty clips I have seen “nons” pull out.

    7.“Damien likes to claim he was a smartass as a way to explain away his behavior in 1994, yeah, I used to be a smart ass as well, I’m quite positive I wouldn’t mock murder victims parents in any situation, let alone one in which my life was literally on the line, and I am supposed to be “innocent”.”

    Well, I guess that proves you are not insensitive and lets not forget it prooves you are a whole lot smarter too— But being insensitive or stupid is not a crime, and it certainly does not make a person evil- nor does it make them guilty of murder

    JFTR-
    IF DE is innocent- this was also the worst time of his life- he may have been in shock -He may have been scared beyond belief- he may have been angry – and he may have been sad- Just like the parents who in their worst moments, taunted and teased and provoked – Does that make them “evil” or guilty? NO, it makes them human—

    AJMO
    Cont Part 7

  26. Mom3.0 says:

    Part 7 the end

    If you read thru all this I thank you- sorry for the length-

    Scott you wrote:

    “Mom, I have read enough of your posts to know nothing I say can sway the way you feel about this”

    ScottH that isnt true- I can be swayed with facts and evidence-as I have not decided one way or another – but its okay that you feel that way. There are days when I feel that way too, even though I am not trying to sway anyone just myself…

    “I must admit I have grown weary about arguing the circumstances of this tragedy. It might be different if they were still behind bars, but they aren’t.”

    With all due respect Scott- it shouldnt matter if the 3 are out or not- IMO

    Im sorry you are weary. This case takes alot out of a person

    You wrote
    “They are busy continuing the pursuit of money drained off of three dead boys, as we can see by Damien’s producing credit in Peter Jackson’s upcoming West of Memphis docu crap”

    Perhaps they are doing it in pursuit of money, or maybe they are doing it to get more attention, or maybe it is because this is one of the ways they are working to find the truth and have a voice? I do not know-

    But if I may ask- what would you have them do inorder to prove they were looking for the killers?
    If you were innocent and freed from prison, but were a convicted felon on pr. -How would you go about finding the real culprit, especially since LE has said there is nooneelse & the case is closed? Would you go and become a private detective ? What?

    you wrote:
    “What happened to attempting to find the “real killers”?
    Maybe Damien and Peter thought the perpetrators were on the set of the hobbitt in New Zealand, or were employed at Dianey Land?”

    ScottH- Im sorry, but IF they are innocent, are they not entitled to stop and enjoy the world, their freedom, their friends, their new found hope? How many actually exonerated persons diligently at every moment pursue the “real killers” Does the fact that they dont, does this equate to them being guilty or to them being fine with the “real killers” walking the street? Of course not. even though they are not exonerated they are out of prison, and certainly if innocent, should be afforded some happiness

    you wrote:
    “I’m not sure how much longer I can fight this fight so to speak, I’ve said the same things so many times, it’s just starting to wear thin”

    What fight ScottH?- The fight to prove you are right in your opinions that they are the killers? The fight to prove your opinions on supporters being misguided,ignorant and crazy ?

    ScottH, You ask what they are doing to find the real killers and then you proceed to knock down every attempt they have ever made at providing proof of their innocence- whether it be new expert info, or a new film or a new witness coming forward or recanting- or new questions and concerns arising-

    The truth is ScottH- you will never win the fight to prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt- because in truth that should have never happened the first time around- and we will never be able to go back and have a do-over-

    AJMO

    Thanks again Scott for sharing this list and for sharing your thoughts- and thank you for letting me share mine

    Peace

  27. Mom3.0 says:

    Hello Matt and Rebecca- I just read your posts- most posters have moved to Blinks newest thread- If youd like to join the conversation there, here is the link:

    http://blinkoncrime.com/2011/12/06/the-west-memphis-three-hbo-paradise-lost-purgatory-victims-parents-plea-for-no-oscar-call-film-cruel-hoax/#comments

  28. Flit says:

    Thank you so much for these articles. I saw the docu when it first came on HBO, was young, identified with the accused, bought the VHS tapes of both documentaries, gave to their defense funds, etc etc. But it’s become painfully obvious to me over the years (because of FACTS, not biased documenatries) these three are guilty. They should be in prison. Damien is nothing more than a seasoned, practiced socio/psychopath continuing to pull the wool over many eyes.

  29. Frank says:

    When will you write the third part to this story? FYI… been talking about your take on the crime on the WM3.org Facebook page. Has been said of your story, “basic facts are just wrong” and “probably one of the worst sources of info about the case I have seen.” Perhaps you’ll want to chime in.

    No thank you Frank, it is my policy to offer comments on my work right here, where I am positive there is an aspect of the case or allegation of an erroneous fact debated ad nauseum.

    B

  30. Toadie says:

    I found you by doing some research. I don’t totally agree with everything you have said Blink, but I do appreciate all of your efforts. Our life is never easy, no matter what any of us do. It’s just too easy with the 3 being the perps. They were troubled kids, each having their own issues. Very poor family backgrounds with added mental problems from the kids and also the parents. And DE having the worst of it. But that being said it was a Bible belt state, an election year, very tragic case of how these boys were murdered, they just had to have an arrest. I mean these boys wore black clothes, listen to rock music, and got into trouble more than once. Surely they did it! They had to do it, right? I just am not sure about anything anymore. I think it could be either way. I believe mostly in their innocence due to lack of evidence and the evidence against TH. I believe there are others that could of done it, LG Hollingsworth, and a few others. But I also believe that the 3 could of done it too. Right now if I had to go with percentages I would say 85% innocent 15% guilty. IF was in a court room and on their jury I would find them innocent. Due to lack of evidence, and I believe they all had alibis. And I would also find them innocent due to evidence against TH, because that to me shows them less guilty, unless TH and the 3 killed them together? Now that would be a twist? Anyway nice to talk and hope we can all converse more on this really weird, strange, but mostly heart breaking case. RIP Stevie, Chris and Michael

  31. @toadie
    I actually approached this case thinking it highly probable they were wrongly.accused.

    My research and analysis former a different conclusion and I stand by it without reservations

  32. Big Al says:

    Where is part III? Maybe I am unable to locate it but even after doing a google search there was nothing located so either you have given up the reason to document the rest of your finders or no longer find reason to publish them since it would seem the poor dead children of this tragic accident no longer matter.

    I certainly hope since you read the content of my work to date you know the children were my only priority.

    During this process, as you read, three men plead guilty via an Alford plea, were released and are busily traveling the country promoting their new celebrity. What possible commentary could I add to that?

    I am on record. I believe these men to be responsible for the murder of these boys.

    B

  33. Liam says:

    Hey Blink, hope all is good!

    With the movie “Devil`s Knot” in cinemas this case has come to attention again, coupled with the West of Memphis film, it paints a pretty strong case against Mr Hobbs being responsible for these murders. I, like many others, have believed from the beginning that the right people were convicted but now I am not afraid to admit that they might very well have convicted the wrong people. It`s a very light case against the 3 whereas Mr Hobbs has a lot more pointing to his involvement. Take the 3 convicted out of the equation and Mr Terry Hobbs would be sitting on death row, how good do you think the case against Mr Hobbs would be, assuming the 3 convicted were indeed innocent?

    Liam- I can’t answer that because I don’t think there is a case against Hobbs whatsoever- a hair in a shoestring is secondary transfer evidence. In a case from 1993, that did not retain it’s evidentiary samples to begin with, and degradation of same rules the day- one cannot a case make. I stand 1000% behind my assertion that Echols, Baldwin and MissKelley committed these murders and I would also remind same of the found broken whiskey bottle that cemented Jesse’s confession ( for the 3rd time) after his conviction he gave to his own lawyer on a stack of bibles. Was the case mishandled badly, of course, and perhaps unfair of me to say this because I cannot reference the source, but I have since had conversations with major contributors to the Appellate case that will agree with me now. There is a different difference between innocent and wrongful conviction.

    B

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