The West Memphis Three HBO Paradise Lost Purgatory: Victims Parents Plea For No Oscar, Call Film Cruel Hoax

Beverly Hills, CA- Following an announcement that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences  is considering the HBO documentary Paradise Lost III : Purgatory, as one of 15 submissions being considered for an Oscar in the documentary category branch of AMPAS, chaired by Rob Epstein-  Todd and Diana Moore took action.

The Moores are the parents of James Michael Moore, one of three eight your old victims murdered on May 3, 1993 along with Chris Byers and Stevie Branch.  Within days of an exclusive series on the murders appearing on which included the discovery of potential new evidence;  the nearly 18 year old case that resulted in 9 previous convictions of three suspects took a radical turn.

On August 19th  Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols and Charles Jason Baldwin pled guilty to the murders of all 3 children via an Alford plea and were immediately released from jail as convicted murders on parole.

Paradise Lost III produced by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky follows it’s predecessors I and II,  released in 1996 after the initial convictions of the West Memphis 3.

Berlinger is a member of AMPAS,  and has produced several unreleased documentaries of Hollywood A- listers including Charlize Theron, Hugh Jackman, Oprah Winfrey and Cameron Diaz.

Click below to read impassioned and unedited letter sent to Chairman Epstein. (more…)

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, 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. (more…)

West Memphis Three: Damien Echols Jessie Miskelley and Jason Baldwin Released

Jonesboro, AR- In a statement released Thursday, new judge David N. Laser announced an unscheduled hearing in the case of The West Memphis Three.

Damien Echols,  Charles “Jason” Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley have been incarcerated for 18 years for the murders of Stevie Branch,  Michael Moore, and Chris Byers.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity to,  a source connected to the West Memphis Police Department has confirmed that Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin have already been released from the Arkansas Department of Corrections; Misskelley has not.

Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley, along with their families, and the families of the victims, are expected to attend today’s hearing.

Check back to for this developing story.