In September of 1993, a then 27-year-old woman, by the name of Carrie Morris, provided a handwritten statement to police, alleging that on the date of the murders, that she had witnessed Damien Echols following Michael Moore in the hours prior to the crime. And as an additional item of interest, Mrs. Morris, happened to also be a long time family friend of the Moores, and could recognize Michael on sight.
Today in 2018, Carrie Morris still says she saw Damien following Michael on the day of the murders. In a series of posts she has made to social media, she again reaffirmed what she saw.
Her 1993 police statement reads as follows:
On Wednesday, May 5, 1993, I was going toward Barton we, when I saw Michael Moore walking about 3 house’s in front of Mr. Echols. Michael Moore was going home to get his bicycle to go trail riding with Steve Branch. This was at about 3:30 or 4p.m. About an hour later Michael, Steve, Chris came and ask my daughter (Tiffany Morris 8 years old) to go ridin with them. I told them no. We left to go to Memphis, when they were chasing my truck. This was about 4:30pm.
Her timeline of events has the incident occurring at sometime around the window of 3:30 or 4:00 PM.
A police interview with Damien Echols’ friend, Jennifer Bearden states that on the day of the murders he was on the phone with several girls, including Bearden, her friend Holly George, and Jason Baldwin’s girlfriend, Heather Cliett. According to Bearden she was on the phone with Damien at some time around 3:15 or 3:30 PM that day, and that during this call he stated that he was going to walk to his friend, Jason Baldwin’s house.
An excerpt from Bearden’s interview with Detective Ridge:
Jennifer: We weren’t talking about much we were just talking about you know if we were going to the skating rink this weekend, that weekend, and um, and Holly had to get off the phone, because her mom needed to use it. And um, I said Damien I’ll call you right back, she said, he said okay, and so he hang up, and um call, and I called him back. And we talked for a little bit, and he goes can you call me back, I’m going to Jason’s, he said call me in about 30 minutes, and I said okay. I called him back in about 30 minutes at Jason’s.
Ridge: And about what time was that call you made to Jason’s?
Jennifer: Between, it had to be some where in between 4:15 and 5, something like that 5, 5:30.
Ridge: Who answered the phone at Jason’s?
Ridge: And did you talk to Damien?
Jennifer: Yeah, I talked to Jason about 5 minutes and the (inaudible) with Damien and he really wasn’t talking, because they were playing video games with his little brother Matt.
Based on Bearden’s events, that meant that sometime between 3:15 and 3:30, Damien got off the phone with her and began walking to Jason’s house. This gave Damien a roughly half hour to 45 minute window in which Carrie Morris could have in-fact seen Damien, as she said she saw him at some point between 3:30 and 4:00PM.
Testimony from Damien at trial also stated that he often walked from his house directly to the service road on the other side of Robin Hood Hills in order to reach Jason’s house. And to do this he often walked around or near 14th Street.
Returning to Carrie Morris’s statement, she further stated:
Damien & Michael were both walking South on 700 block North Wilson on the East side of the street. I know it was Damien Echols because I saw his picture in paper after he was arrested. I knew it was Michael from school and knowing his parents all my life & known Michael for about 3 years ever since they moved back from Florida.
According to the sighting, Michael Moore was seen walking on the block behind his house, while Damien followed behind him.
It’s of note that the location that Morris spotted Damien is also near-by to the homes of Heather Cliett and LG Hollingsworth. Cliett was one of the girls Damien had spoken to multiple times over the phone on the day of the murders, and LG was a friend of his who also happened to be the cousin of his then girlfriend Domini Teer. LG was also himself was investigated as a suspect in the murders and made a handful of statements indicating he could have been involved the crime, possibly after the fact.
Heather Cliett though, in an affidavit made in 2008 added a startling new piece of information to the puzzle. She claimed that on the day of the murders, stating that on May 5th, 1993, prior to the victims going missing, Christopher Byers was at her home. This is significant, as Damien had been speaking with her on the phone on that same day, and in relation to the Carrie Morris sighting, Damien was a short distance from Heather’s home when he was seen following Michael Moore around.
Given the time frame and location, the statement made by Carrie Morris would seem very significant, as it could be true. The time is compatible with the time that Damien left his home, and is in the general direction he would have walked to get to Jason Baldwin’s house, so it’s the right time and the right place. And the location of the sighting is near the home of one of the girls Damien was talking to on the day of the murders, and this same girl says that one of the victims was at her house that day.