A Rebuttal of the Predation Claims

“Seeing is believing,” as the saying goes, or as a defense attorney would say, “Who are ya gunna believe, me or your lying eyes?”

In effect, this is the situation as the case goes whenever the subject is raised on the cause of the injuries to Michael Moore, Stevie Branch, and Christopher Byers.

At trial, the prosecution was able to present a fairly compelling case that the knife pulled from the lake behind Jason Baldwin’s trailer had been the murder weapon, even going so far as to demonstrate on a piece of fruit the pattern the back of the knife was able to produce.

(The murder weapon being recovered from behind Jason Baldwin’s home.)

Attorney for Damien Ehcols, Dennis Riordan, in the documentary, “West of Memphis”:

“If you ask me the single greatest offense committed in this case, is what was done by John Fogleman with the knife in the lake.”

The issue in the case for the defense was to try their hardest to discredit the murder weapon, which had so strongly been demonstrated at trial to have inflicted the injuries on the victims. It was then with that in mind that after several years the defense invented a new claim, that there were no wounds inflicted by the “Lake Knife”, because the wounds had been the result of animals feeding on the bodies.

In this effort the defense attempted to elicit public support for this theory by arguing the case in the press through consensus and not by fact. The goal being that if they had enough highly regarded experts stating a similar opinion, that it would give the illusion that the defense claims were right and true, regardless of what each expert said, no matter how questionable.

Working with donations from Hollywood Director, Peter Jackson, the defense went about hiring experts such as Vincent DiMaio, who himself has been at the center of controversy over the years.

VincentDiMaio
(Vincent DiMaio in West of Memphis.)

Dimaio
(Vincent DiMaio testifying on behalf of the defense in the George Zimmerman Trial.)

Vincent DiMaio appeared in the documentary West of Memphis, and provided what appeared to be deliberately misleading information on the case, applying flawed logic and misrepresenting the prosecution’s claims on the knife injuries with blown up and out of context autopsy photos:

Vincent DiMaio:

 “The thing that’s most interesting in this case, is that while the autopsies are done in exquisite detail, to me the interpretation of the findings are completely wrong. There is nothing here that I would say is due to a knife. Either the cutting edge, the tip, or the back of the knife. If you think about how stupid it is, they’re saying that they’re killing these kids and you know, dragging the back of a knife across them. When I looked at the photographs, it’s obvious that by the appearance of the wounds they had occurred after death. If you’re gonna torture, mutilate someone, that’s to cause pain to them, but these wounds are post-mortem. So, why are you torturing and mutilating dead bodies? It doesn’t make sense. The irregular nature of the wounds, some scratches, there’s no bleeding, there’s no pattern. To me, it’s obvious animal activity.”

Through his wording he incorrectly gave an impression that all mutilations, particularly in this case, were for the purposes of torture, and that if the victims were dead this rules out that they were mutilated. He also seemed to suggest there was no such thing as a post-mortem mutilation, or dismisses that the injuries could have been for the purpose of killing the boys. A flawed kind of circular reasoning that he uses to reinforce the opinion that these are turtle bites and scratches.

He also says that the knife wounds only work if you’re dragging the knife across someone. An incorrect assertion. He’s using a suggestion by Peretti on the scrapes on Michael Moore’s chest and shoulder to discredit completely a knife. Peretti himself suggested that some of the matches to the knife were only possibilities, and those were just based on his limited time comparing the knife to the bodies, essentially saying that some of the weapon comparisons are done on the fly, but these injuries will be discussed more in depth later

Photo shown by Vincent DiMaio in West of Memphis

The implication that DiMaio was making, was that the Prosecution was claiming that Michael Moore’s injuries were supposedly torture inflicted by having a knife dragged over your body. This was not the Prosecution’s theory however, nor had it ever been.

According to Dr. Frank Peretti, Michael Moore had been punched in the chest and shoulder area by someone holding a serrated weapon in their clenched fist, likely a knife. He testified that the serrations on the chest were situated over bruises, and if there were bruises present, then that meant that the serrated pattern was inflicted while Moore was alive.

Peretti’s claims were bolstered by evidence at the crime scene, which included a ligature used to bind Michael Moore. The ligature used to tie up Michael Moore was made out of one of the victim shoe laces, which had been cut in half.

Notes from the crime scene describe, finding one of the shoes belonging to the victims with a single shoe lace still intact.

“None(sic) of the tennis shoes that – the left foot of the black and purple CUGA shoe has a black shoelace still intact. The – the rest of the shoes that were found do not contain shoelaces. It appears that possibly the material used to bind the victims’ hands and feet were the shoelaces from the shoes.”

http://callahan.mysite.com/wm3/crime_scene_notes_dictated.html

“Left Shoe – Tennis (CUGA – Shoe) – Black / Purple Shoe /
Black lace is still there.
Rest of the tennis Shoes located do not have shoe strings in
them.”

http://callahan.mysite.com/wm3/csn.html

The fact was that one shoe lace belonging to the victims remained intact, but how could that be, if there were only 6 shoes, and 6 shoe laces used to tie up the victims? Yet there was a 7th shoe lace intact in one of the shoes.

(Shoe belonging to one of the victims with a lace still intact.)

Lisa Sakevicius, a prosecution expert noted in her notes while looking at Michael Moore’s ligatures, that they appeared to be made from a single shoe lace that had been cut in half.

(They frayed end of the shoe lace used to bind Moore.)

Photos from the autopsy clearly supported Sakevicius’s notes, as there was no end cap on the shoe lace shown in the picture above, and the end of the binding, where the cap should be, is instead frayed, like it had been cut.

The defense themselves also admitted in a document during their appeals that the shoe lace binding Moore had been cut in half, just like Lisa Sakevicius did in her notes.

(Defense document, stating that a shoe lace from a Michael Moore had been cut in half.)

Link to the defense document in question.

The fact that Moore was tied up with a single shoe lace, which had been cut in half, meant that whoever was killing Michael Moore, had a knife. This is further backed up by defensive knife injuries found on Moore’s hand.

Between the injuries to Moore’s hand, and the fact that the ligatures used to bind him were cut in half, it can only lead to the conclusion that a knife was used in Moore’s murder, however he was not mutilated or stabbed with the weapon.

The prosecution during the Rule 37 appeals hearings for Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, submitted photos of other examples of serrated knife injuries; black and white images of those photos can be found in the links below.

https://thewm3revelations.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/serrations8.png

https://thewm3revelations.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/serrations6.png

https://thewm3revelations.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/serrations5.png

https://thewm3revelations.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/serrations4.png

Similar photos can also be found in such Criminal Justice books, such “Practical Homicide Investigation,” by Vernon J. Geberth. The below image is of a victim who was attacked with a serrated knife.

https://thewm3revelations.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/knifeinjury.png

This injury is remarkably similar to the one found on Michael Moore’s chest.

Comparison between injuries

Comparison between injuries

And when one looks at the knife next to this same injury it became fairly obvious that it’s the weapon that created the serrated pattern on Moore’s shoulder and chest.

Comparison between knife and injury

In that very same scene featuring DiMaio, the filmmakers show a cropped and blown up photo of an injury to the right lower jaw portion of Stevie Branch’s face. The image is deliberately out of context to suggest turtle bites may be present, and then the film, shows the serration pattern to Moore and some knife slashes on Christopher Byers to suggest that the injuries are claw marks from snapping turtles.

John Douglas in his book, “Law and Disorder,” suggested that the wife of celebrity, Peter Jackson had formulated the idea that the injuries were created by turtles with the help of an attorney, Steve Mark.

Found on pages 364-365 of “Law and Disorder, Douglas says the following about Jackson’s wife Fran Walsh:

“Experiments clearly demonstrated that the bite marks on all three bodies corresponded exactly with test bites inflicted by alligator snapping turtles. Interestingly, it was our personal attorney, Steve Mark, who first discussed this possibility with Fran Walsh, simply by speculating about other alternatives to the court testimony and researching the types of animal predators indigenous to the area. Steve and Fran developed the idea over a series of emails.”

Photo of the alleged bite mark displayed in West of Memphis

Below is an example of a turtle bite shown in the film.

Turtle

 

However, much like the injuries to Moore’s chest, the injury to Stevie Branch’s face was inflicted while he was alive. In greater context it’s clustered together with several injuries and appears to be the result of a severe beating. Testimony during appeals about this particular injury also state that it was inflicted while Stevie was still alive. And that Stevie had been hit with such force that the back of his skull fractured from his head slamming back against whatever surface he was laying on at the time of the impact.

The full injury to Stevie’s face

So, according to the testimony by Peretti, this was inflicted while Stevie was alive, and could not have been a turtle bite, there was even massive damage inside of Stevie’s mouth, which again reflected that he was struck in the mouth, and this was the cause for the so called “turtle bite” injury.

Injuries to inside Stevie’s mouth.

And the last injury shown out of context by DiMaio and the documentary West of Memphis, is that of the slashes found to the left buttock region of Christopher Byers.  To best understand this injury is to understand the surrounding injuries and how they relate to the alleged murder weapon, the knife pulled from the lake behind Jason Baldwin’s home.

Below is a diagram showing the knife and the injuries located on the right and left thigh as well as the lower abdomen of Christopher Byers.


On the right inner thigh, shown above was a series of cuts shaped like a row of dots, believed by the prosecution to be a serrated knife pattern. On the left inner thigh, situated on the left buttock was a series of slashes into the skin. These slashes are featured incorrectly in West of Memphis as “serration” injuries. And lastly on the right side of the lower abdomen is a red impression that forms two thick red lines near Christopher’s groin, suspected to be an impression from the handle of the knife.


The prosecution stated that the knife when jammed between Byers’ thighs, sliced up both thighs during the castration, because it has a saw on one side, hence the dots on the one thigh. Below is a link to a photo of this injury.

Photo of the serration injury

Pattern of the serration injury highlighted

In this document below, Peretti states to Jason Baldwin’s lawyer that the pattern was consistent with the saw on the back of the Lake Knife.

The prosecution contended that the the slashes to the left buttock were caused by the front of the knife. It was also possible that the red marks to the abdomen were caused by the hilt or handle region of the murder weapon, which were described by defense Criminal Profiler, Brent Turvey to Jessie Misskelley’s lawyer, Dan Stidham, in the documentary “Paradise Lost 2: Revelations”.

 

(Turvey and Stidham discussing the castration injuries in “Paradise Lost 2: Revelations.”)

Brent Turvey in the documentary, “Paradise Lost 2”:

“On really close examination, and that’s why I brought you the magnifying glass, because I want you to look, right here, you can see the impression of the handle of the knife as it is being plunged. See that little squareness right there. So whoever did this went like this, and grabbed this and went like that, (Turvey then indicates in a quick stabbing motion with his hand) and that’s how they cut it up. No precision, no accuracy, no skill required to do that. And it actually to me it is consistent to what is a fishing knife. That’s got the blade on one side, and the serrated top on the other.”

A link to a photo of the knife hilt/handle impression that Turvey describes in the above scene.

Hilt/Handle Injury Photo

Turvey further described in an online chat this injury along with a host of other injuries and theories on their cause that the defense were looking into:

<Ratgrrl> What are pattern wounds exactly and what other kinds of wounds did you see on the kids?

<Brent_Tur> Rat– Potential footwear impression on the back of Stevie Branches head. Belt marks from a severe whipping, cutting deep into the tissue on Chris Byers thigh, and an impression from the knife hilt in the genital area of chris byers, where he was emasculated.

Link to full chat.

An exact duplicate of the knife is shown here in a series of demonstration images, which will be discussed below.

In the photo, you can see the back of the knife presses into the right thigh, while the blade slides up underneath the left buttock region of the person in the photo.

The back of the knife can be seen to have a fairly sharp saw portion on it.

And as the prosecution stated, the saw on the knife dug into Christopher’s bare thigh, leaving the serrated pattern.

(Close-up of the saw digging into a thigh.)

Going back to Turvey’s statement in Paradise Lost 2, this defense expert cites the murder weapon as having two different cutting surfaces, a regular blade on one side and a serrated blade on the other:

“And it actually to me it is consistent to what is a fishing knife. That’s got the blade on one side, and the serrated top on the other.”

Demonstrations of the duplicate knife produced similar serration marks as those found on the inner right thigh of Chris Byers.

And infact pressing the back of the duplicate knife into your skin, the weapon could easily leave a visible pattern, consistent with that of the injury on Christopher’s thigh.

Comparison with Christopher’s injuries

It is this reason, that John Fogleman at trial, demonstrated the knife’s pattern on a grapefruit for the jury.

He then let the jury see the pattern and compared them to the thigh injury:

Further, looking at scrapes on someone’s arm made with the front blade portion of the duplicate knife, were similar in appearance to slashes on Christopher’s buttock.

Comparison with knife slashes

A comparison photo, shows that the slash marks are located on the left buttock, the exact location the knife is in the demonstration photo.

Comparison with Demonstration Photo

You can see with your own two eyes, that the Lake Knife is consistent with the injuries then on both Michael Moore and Christopher Byers. Further there were other injuries of interest such as the possible knife hilt injury mentioned before and some knife gouges located in the groin region.

Knife hilt injury?

Knife Gouges

Lastly the injuries to Stevie Branch were extensive. Much like Michael Moore, someone had punched him while they held a knife clenched in their fist. There was also numerous cuts with similar serration patterns as those found on Chris Byers’ inner thigh.

Located all over his face were numerous circle shaped injures, which were testified to by both William Sturner and Frank Peretti during the Rule 37 appeals. Sturner stated that it was as if a cylinder shaped object like a pipe had left the injuries. Two tool experts, Peter Loomis, and Homer Campbell stated that at least one of these injuries that Sturner described as being from an object shaped like a pipe, was infact consistent with the handle of the “Lake Knife”, and that the marks found below the injury were serration marks, likely caused by the saw on the same knife.

The Knife Handle Injury on Stevie Branch’s forehead.

Homer Campbell in an email regarding the injury:

“I believe the injurie to the left forehead and upper lid of the left eye were produced by the knife recovered or one similar. I also sent the photos of the injuries and the knife to another for evaluation and he agrees.

“Have fun with this and thank you for sending it to me.
Homer”

 

Peter Loomis in his communication with Homer Campbell, confirming for Campbell, that the injury was indeed inflicted most likely by the “Lake Knife”:

“Homer,

Bingo. The circular mark sure looks like the butt of the survival knife. The measurements fit. The diameter of the injury is 30mm, and the diameter of the prominent circular area of the butt of the knife is 29.8mm.

The 3 lacerations under the eyebrow look like they were made by the serrations on the back side of the knife. The measurements also fit here. The lacerations measure 11.2mm between them, and the serrated points on the knife vary between 11.1 and 11.4 mm. Of course the photo
with the wooden ruler is blurry depicting these serrations but I can still measure them.

Peter”

(Handle of a duplicate of the murder weapon. The bottom of the knife is circular.)

If one looks you can also see several examples of the serration pattern present on Stevie’s face. There are even locations in his cuts that appear fairly uniform; more like a slice from a tool or weapon of some kind rather than an animal.

A serration pattern on Stevie’s face.

More serration patterns on Stevie’s face.

When viewing Stevie’s injuries, it was like a knife plunged into the front of his face and out the side of his cheek, forming a large entrance and exit wound. Surrounding this were numerous examples of serration marks consistent with the “Lake Knife.”

Photo of the stab wound in Stevie’s face.

Another photo of the stab wound.

The stab wound going out the cheek.

It is with all this said, that there can be no injury pointed to on any of the murder victims that can be said to be caused by an animal of any kind. The very fact that Michael Moore was tied up with a single shoe lace that had been cut in half proves the presence of a knife in these murders. And the demonstration photos with the duplicate knife further explain the injuries on Chris Byers. And in addition you can visibly see circular patterns on Stevie’s face, and those patterns are again consistent with the knife.

Next, one must ask, if it is sinister in any way for a knife to be suspiciously disposed of at the bottom of a lake right behind the home of a murder suspect?

What are we left with? Theories from non-experts, such as the wife of celebrity, Peter Jackson and her lawyer? Cropped photos shown in a manipulative manner, like in the film “West of Memphis”? Injuries portrayed as predation, but were in reality antemortem as testified to during the appeals?

In arguing in favor of animal predation, defense criminal profiler, Michael Baden insisted that he knew the injuries were predation, just because… not for any other reason, just that he knew it just because he knew it and had no scientific basis for reaching such a conclusion.

Baden during testimony at Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley’s Rule 37 hearing:

Q] And, uh, was this conclusion something that you had to study the photos for a long time in order to make sure, or is this something that just sort of jumped out at you, or how
would you charaqcterize it?

A] No, it was looking at your grandmother. You know it’s your grandmother – – it’s either your grandmother or not. It’s looking at the photos, uh, these look very much like postmortem
animal activity. I had that opinion very quickly.

Baden however was countered by his good friend and fellow Forensic Pathologist, William Sturner, who said that Baden’s insistence that he knew it was predation just because he knew it, was unscientific.

The attempt in reality by the defense was to pile on as many famous experts in their favor to try and litigate their case in the media, by suggesting that the number of experts they hired some how out-weighed the facts of the case.

Experts hired by the defense included Vincent DiMaio, who worked for George Zimmerman’s defense team, Michael Baden, who worked for OJ Simpson as well as the Church of Scientology in the Lisa McPherson case, and Werner Spitz who worked for such defense teams as those of serial killer, Richard Ramirez, Casey Anthony, and Phil Spector.

(Werner Spitz at the trial of Casey Anthony.)

Werner Spitz’s credibility as a defense expert has frequently been challenged in recent years, particularly due to his defense of alleged child killer Casey Anthony.

Dr. Spitz from former prosecutor Jeff Ashton’s book “Imperfect Justice,” discussing his testimony in the Anthony case:

“Dr Werner Spitz was a forensic anthropologist who was over the age of eighty. Back in the eighties and early nineties, he was one of the leaders in his field. Over the last ten years or so, he had inserted himself into a number of high profile cases; O.J. was one, Phil Spector was another. Now he had involved himself in this case. I felt he was desperately searching for a way to maintain some relevance in his field.

“His testimony was twofold. First, Dr. Spitz attacked Dr. Garavaglia for having not opened Caylee’s skull at autopsy. She had left it intact. That was a violation of basic autopsy protocol, he continued. Second, he was the only witness trying to render the opinion the skull had been removed from the crime scene. He testified that someone could have removed it, taken it home, put duct tape on it, and returned it to the scene.

“When Dr. Spitz had performed his own autopsy, he had opened the skull and found some residue, which he claimed to be able to recognize from sight as the decomposition of the brain. To him, the residue indicated that the skull had been on its side when the brains decomposed. I called this the “brain dust” testimony.

“On cross, I started with his criticism of Dr. Garavaglia’s autopsy, about the violation of protocol claim, that Dr. G had not opened the skull. Dr. Spitz had been one of the authors of a basic text book on forensic anthropology. I took his book up to the stand, put it down in front of him, and said, “Show me where you say it is protocol to open the skull when it is skeletonized.”

“He leafed through the pages and did not find any reference to his claim. I next asked him if he was familiar with any other written protocol on the opening of the skull at autopsy. And he answered no. Next, I addressed the “removal and return of the skull” theory. I went through what I thought would be necessary to carry out what he was alleging. Someone would have to take the skull and the mandible home, put them in an anatomically correct position, tape the two pieces together, and put the skull back in the exact location where it had been. Dr. Spitz argued that though it would be difficult, it could be done.

“I showed him the photo taken at the medical examiner’s office, showing that strands of hair were draped over the skull. I asked him how the hair could fall so perfectly back to its original position in a re-created scene. I pointed out that the manner of the hair falling on the skull was not consistent with being on its side.

“Dr. Spitz got belligerent with me, to a point where he didn’t know how to answer. He said that maybe the medical examiner had staged the photo. So I showed him the photo taken at the scene with the strands of hair in exactly the same position. He then claimed that maybe the police had staged the skull. In my opinion, Dr. Spitz’s testimony ended up being completely discredited.”

Spitz’s discussing the Casey Anthony verdict.

It was Spitz, who along with Baden testified during Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley’s Rule 37 appeals, and it was Spitz who suggested that wild dogs feasted on the victims while they were still alive and submerged under water.  He even said that these dogs grabbed the victims by their heads and slammed and shook them around, bashing their heads on rocks and such, causing the head injuries.

Spitz on the head injuries:

“My interpretation of the injuries to the head was that first, there is no evidence of bleeding in the brain. My interpretation is that they may have been handled by large animals, shaken around.”

The injuries that I saw are entirely consistent and compatible with animal predation and the shaking of the bodies by an animal. Theinjuries to the face, to the head, the degloving of the penis, the tearing off of the scrotum, those injuries are not man-made.”

Prosecutor Brent Davis giving his closing arguments on the knife at trial:

“The other thing to keep in mind is– and John didn’t mention this, but remember this knife has two cutting surfaces. It’s got one here and it’s got this serrated portion back here. Now, the ripping type injuries you see on the children are on the inside of the thighs and the back of the thighs and the inside of the buttocks. Ok. When this surface is being used to remove the genitals and the knife is worked in and they’re trying to remove the genitals this back surface is what’s going to be coming in contact with the inside of the thigh and the back of the buttocks. The knife that you were shown over here, the Byers knife, it has but one cutting surface. If they’re using that knife to remove the genitals, then the back of that knife has no cutting surface at all and wouldn’t leave any marks on the inside of the leg or the back of the leg. And I ask you to go back there and look at this and think, when you look at those photographs and where those injuries are–think of how this knife is used, and I know it’s not pleasant. But think of it and then look at where those marks are and how they match up with this particular size of blade.” 

 

You can read further about the murder weapon at the link below:

The Lake Knife

Advertisements

Damien and The Great Dane

   (A dead dog mutilated by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer when he was a teenager.)

According to Jason Baldwin’s cousin, Joe Bartoush, about less than 8 months prior to the murders, on October 27, 1992, he and Damien Echols had found a dog, described as a Great Dane, which appeared to be sick. Echols, according to Bartoush killed the dog and was apparently going to keep it’s skull, because he was keeping a collection of animal skulls in his room.

 

“On 10-27-92 I was at Lakeshore Trailer Park with Damien Echols when he killed a Black Great Dane. The dog was already sick and he hit the dog in the back of the head. He pulled the intestines out of the dog and started stomping the dog until blood came out of his mouth. He was going to come back later with battery acid so that he could burn the hair and skin off of the dog’s head. He had two cat skulls, a dog skull and a rat skull that I already knew about. He kept these skulls in his bedroom at Jack Echols house in Lakeshore. He was trying to make the eyeballs of the dog he killed pop out when he was stomping. Damien had a camoflouge survival knife to cut the guts out of the dog with. This statement was written by Det. Ridge at my request.”

 

Damien Echols at trial, testifying about knives he had. In the context of his statement he was denying that he ever owned or had possession of the alleged murder weapon, a large black handled survival knife, known as the “Lake Knife”.

 I had one sort of like that, but mine didn’t have a black handle. The handle on mine was camouflaged, and it had the camouflage case and everything. The blade on mine was black. It wasn’t silver like that. 

Just like in Joe Bartoush’s statement, Echols said he owned a camouflage survival knife, seeming to provide some substantiation to Bartoush’s story.

This story is also corroborated by another teenager by the name of Timothy Blaine Hodge.

“there was a big black Great Dane Dog at lakeshore that I saw on the trail over the Bridge to the right as you go over the bridge it was Dead It’s intestines was strung out of his butt A boy named Adam told me he heard Damien did it. Adam’s last name is Phillips he lives in lakeshore” 

 

(Timothy Blaine Hodge’s written statement to police from June 22, 1993.)

An account from Jason Baldwin’s girlfriend, Heather Cliett also described a conversation with Damien, in which he told her about how he mutilated a dog before. A police report describes what he told her:

“At the skating rink Damien told her he stuck a stick in a dogs eye and then jumped on it and then burned it.” 

(Heather Cliett police report from June 7, 1993.)

 

Damien Echols in his own words from the book, “Almost Home,” an autobiography of sorts, which Echols wrote while in Prison, states in detail how he used to roam Lakeshore Trailer Park, and play with dead animals, both cats and dogs, just like Joe Bartoush had stated.

“Almost Home”, page 81:

“It sounds kind of odd to have a skull collection, but it’s easily explainable. There’s a hard-packed dirt path behind Lakeshore that the local youth wandered on. It doesn’t go anywhere specific, just sort of meanders around a small lake and a few fields. For some reason I always found odd pieces of skeletons that had died out there–possums, raccoons, squirrels, birds, and even the occasional dog or cat. I began collecting them because my teenage mind thought they ‘looked cool.’ I’ve never denied having questionable taste when it comes to interior decorating. The oddest thing we ever found was a beer bottle with two tiny skulls inside. The problem was that they were slightly too large to get out of the bottle. We spent hours trying to figure out how they got in the bottle in the first place.”

A document from a report on Damien’s 1992 arrest describes items removed by police from his room…

(Police report detailing items in Damien’s room from his initial 1992 arrest.)

The underlined portions describe a dog skull, which the police recovered from Damien’s room. As to how he obtained this skull, there were two different accounts.

His mother Pamela Hutchison stated in an interview on May 12, 1993, that Damien had one day brought home a dog skull that he found on the side of the road in Lakeshore.

RIDGE: OKAY, HAS HE ATTEMPTED TO GET YOU TO UNDERSTANDING HIS RELIGION?

HUTCHISON: YES, HE HAS

RIDGE: AND, IN THE EXPLAINING OF THIS, I UNDERSTAND FROM OTHER PEOPLE THAT HE MAY HAVE ANIMAL SKULLS OR SOMETHING SYMBOLISM IN THIS?

HUTCHISON: THIS ANIMAL SKULLS THAT HE HAD, WHEN I LIVED AT LAKESHORE, WAS JUST A SKULL THAT HAD BEEN FOUND LAYING ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. IT HAD BEEN THERE FOR I DON’T KNOW HOW LONG, AND HE PICKED IT UP.

RIDGE: OF COURSE I AM NOT SAYING THAT IT IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT EITHER, BECAUSE I’VE SEEN SOME BEAUTIFUL ART WORK ON ANIMALS SKULLS, I’VE SEEN AT TRUCK STOPS, SO I AM NOT CONDEMNING OR SAYING THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH IT. BUT WHAT, HOW DOES HE PERCEIVE IT. SOMETHING PRETTY, OR JUST SEEM TO THINK THAT IT IS SOME KIND OF POWER?

HUTCHISON: NAW, I THINK THAT IT IS JUST INTERESTING THAN ANYTHING.

In an interview on September 10, 1993 with Deputy Prosecutor, John Fogleman, she described the events surrounding the skull in more detail:

FOGLEMAN- ALRIGHT. DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT DAMION HAVING CAT SKULLS AND CARRYING THEM AROUND?

PAM- IT WASN’T A CAT SKULL. IT WAS A DOG SKULL.

FOGLEMAN- ALRIGHT. WHERE WAS THAT?

PAM- IT WAS HANGING ON MY CLOTHES LINE IN THE BACK YARD WHERE I MADE HIM LEAVE IT OUT THERE TO DRY BEFORE HE CARRIES IT TO SCHOOL.

FOGLEMAN- OKAY. LEAVE IT OUT THERE TO DRY. WHAT HAD HE DONE TO IT?

PAM- HE FOUND IT ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.

FOGLEMAN- OKAY, BUT I MEAN, WHAT DID IT NEEDED DRY FROM?

PAM- IT JUST SMELLED BAD AND I MADE HIM HAND IT OUT THERE IN THE SUN.

FOGLEMAN- OKAY. AND YOU DON’T KNOW OF HIM CARRYING A CAT SKULL AT SCHOOL.

PAM- NO.

FOGLEMAN- OKAY. DO YOU KNOW OF HIM HAVING ANY OTHER SKULLS?

PAM- NO.

FOGLEMAN- OKAY. DO YOU KNOW WHY HE CARRIED A DOG SKULL TO SCHOOL?

PAM- UM, HE HAD TOLD ME THAT HE WAS GOING TO CARRY IT TO SCHOOL FOR, SOMETHING LIKE THEY HAD SHOW AND TELL. OR SOME TYPE OF SCIENCE PROJECT.

FOGLEMAN- OKAY.

PAM- AND HE ONLY CARRIED IT THE ONE DAY.

During Damien’s trial testimony, he himself changed the story on how he obtained the skull, instead of saying he found it, it was now his step-dad, Jack Echols who found the skull.

Q: In addition, there was a skull of some kind – it looks like an animal skull – State’s Exhibit 116. Are you familiar with this?

A: Yes, I am.

Q: What is that?

A: It was a skull me and my step-dad, Jack Echols, had found and I just thought it was kind of cool. And before he gave it to me, he bleached it out and everything to make sure there wasn’t any germs or anything on it. It was a decoration for my room.

 

Damien, in his own words and actions described himself partaking in actions most common of serial killers, such as Jeffrey Dahmer, who had a fascination with death. Bartoush’s statement was corroborated by Timothy Blaine Hodge, and Damien himself admitted having a camouflage survival knife like the one Bartoush stated he saw. And he himself stated in Almost Home to playing with dead animals and their skulls, which he found in Lakeshore Trailer Park, much like Bartoush said he did. And in 1992, when he and Deanna Holcomb were arrested, the police found a dog skull in his possession, again verifying Bartoush’s claims that Echols collected skulls from dead animals.

The Muddy Boots

 

 

 

 

 

        (Photo of Damien’s boots from June 3, 1993 search of his family’s trailer. The photo is incorrectly labeled 9-3-93.)

On May 7th, 1993, Lt. James Sudbury, and Juvenile Officer Steve Jones interviewed Damien Echols the day after the victims’ bodies were discovered. It was during this visit that Steve Jones would later allege he saw something suspicious. This account is documented in the book, “The Blood of Innocents,” by Guy Reel, Marc Perrusquia, and Bartholomew Sullivan.

(Cover of “The Blood of Innocents.”)

“The Blood of Innocents,” page 95:

By the door sat Damien’s black combat boots beside a pair of tennis shoes. Both were caked in mud, the juvenile officer later would recall.

 

Later in the book, Damien Echols himself is asked about Steve Jones allegation in a death row interview.

Pages 416-417:

Inside the trailer, Jones said he saw a pair of tennis shoes and Echols’ black boots, all caked in mud–again, information that never came out at the trials.

 

“What am I, a dang fool?” Echols said, when told of Jones’ contention. “The tennis shoes did have mud on them, the boots did not. I kept the boots in perfect condition because they were always what I wore when I went out. The tennis shoes I didn’t care anything about, when it was raining or something like that I would wear them out to keep from messing my boots up.”

 

Echols acknowledged in the interview that Steve Jones did in-fact see a pair of tennis shoes with mud caked on them, but disputed Jones’ assertion that his boots had mud on them as well, arguing that Jones was only half right.

John Douglas, a famous FBI Criminal Profiler hired by Lord of the Rings Director, Peter Jackson, stated as follows in the documentary, “West of Memphis”:

“To do what he did to the children, hide the clothing, and hide the children–he got in the water, he got muddy.”

(The ditch where the bodies were found.)

On a final note, on the night of the murders two other items of information stick out. The first is a sighting of muddy footprints all over the bridge entering the crime scene. The killer had tossed the victim’s bikes off the bridge and into the water shortly after the murders.

(The Pipe Bridge leading into Robin Hood Hills.)

David Jacoby and Terry Hobbs searched around the Pipe Bridge on May 5th, shortly before it got dark out that night. According to Jacoby in his interview with police, he noticed muddy footprints all over the pipe and assumed they must have been from the missing victims.

Jacoby: At one point we got to ah ditch I remember seeing some foot prints going down I know it was bicycle tire prints going down in the ditch, and then we got up to ah there was a pipe that crossed the ditch got up to walk across that pipe and there was some muddy footprints on the pipe. And uh that I can remember that I just don’t remember I thank we went on across the pipe and walked on threw you know down along the ditch bank and threw more woods.

Jacoby later in his statement again described the prints that he saw on the bridge…

Jacoby: I thank uh we all kinda of walked down toward the edge of the water it was a little grassy then all of a sudden it was just muddy uh I don’t thank none of us really got in the mud. I remember myself when I seen it I walked down towards it I didn’t step in the mud and I seen I thank it was tire tracks I’m pretty sure it was and I told the rest of em it look like they took their bikes threw the ditch right here but you could look to the other side and didn’t see nothing coming out and I thought maybe they backed up so we Walked to where we could git to that I was wanting to say it was a black pipe going across there and there was you know foot prints from the mud on there so you know I assumed they had crossed it there and it really never dawn on me how they got their bikes across unless they carried it and they were all little kids so, I mean there was a West Memphis Police Officer there when we got in the woods and you know I told him this. I mean I don’t where it went to but it was kind of frantic that night but…

 

David Jacoby’s account to police of May 5, 1993.

 

(Narlene Hollingsworth, the aunt of Damien’s girlfriend, Domini Teer.)

Late in the night on May 5, 1993, Narlene Hollingsworth were driving along the busy service road that passed along Robin Hood Hills, when they spotted two people. Walking just past Robin Hood and in the direction of Lakeshore Trailer Park, was Damien Echols, and a second person, which Narlene had thought was her niece Domini Teer. And according to her, these two people looked wet and muddy.

(Narlene’s written statement to police.)

 

(The area Narlene saw Damien walking with muddy clothes.)

 

Re-capping, Criminal Profiler, John Douglas stated that the killer, should be wet and muddy, because he would have had to have gotten into the ditch with the victims. David Jacoby in turn saw muddy shoe prints all over the bridge leading into the crime scene, and the killer would have had to have walked on that bridge at some point on May 5th in order to dispose of the victims’ bikes. And later on May 5th, Narlene Hollingsworth spotted Damien Echols in muddy clothing walking around near Robin Hood Hills. Steve Jones also stated that on May 7th, when the police interviewed Damien, that he had a pair of caked muddy shoes and muddy boots sitting in his trailer.

Lee Rush and Jessie’s Crying Fits

(Lee Rush during an interview in the documentary Paradise Lost.)

On the early hours of June 4th, shortly after police arrested Jessie Misskelley Jr., three officers enforcing a search warrant of Jessie’s trailer, sat down and talked with Jessie Misskelley Sr., and his live in girlfriend, Lee Rush while they waited for crime scene investigators to arrive.

During the course of talking with the officers, Rush stated, “I knew that something was wrong, a few nights ago little Jessie was in his room crying so loud and sobbing so hard that it woke me up, I went in and asked him what was wrong? His reply was that his girl friend was moving to Florida.”

http://callahan.mysite.com/images/report_06-07-93.jpg

A few moments later, Rush again repeated her statements, saying Jessie had recently over the course of several nights had mysterious crying fits and waking nightmares. And every time she walked into Jessie Jr.’s room and asked him what was wrong, he repeated that he was upset over how his girlfriend Susie Brewer might move away to Florida.

“She told us it happened a number of times, and that she could not believe his girlfriends’ moving would cause that kind of hysterical behavior, but that little Jessie had been acting strange.”

http://callahan.mysite.com/wm3/cdabbs.html

 

Immediately during an interview for the documentary Paradise Lost, while being filmed sitting in the living room of their trailer, Jessie Misskelley Sr. and his girlfriend, Lee Rush openly argued about Jessie’s guilt, as Rush repeatedly seems to question Jessie’s innocence.

Lee Rush: “We don’t know what the truth is, but when it really gets down to brass tax. His daddy and I are gonna look him square in the eyes and say ‘son did you do this? D-were you even there?’ That’s when we will believe.”

Jessie Sr.: “Well, if he told me he did it, which I don’t believe he did, but if he told me he did it, he’d have to do his time. Suffer the consequences.”

Lee Rush: “If he admits to this he would be strictly on his own, we wouldn’t even send him a dollar for a pack of cigarettes.”

Jessie Sr.: “No, no, you’re wrong there.

Lee Rush: “Yes we would.”

Jessie Sr.: “No I would. He’s my son! I’ll send him money, but he will have to do his time.”

Lee Rush: “I wouldn’t give him a nickle.”

Jessie Sr.: “He’s my son.”

Lee Rush: “Now We could be talking about-“

Jessie Sr.: “He’s my flesh and blood!”

Lee Rush: “We could be talking about my son.”

Jessie Sr.: “Well…

Lee Rush: “If my son did something that horrible that, I wouldn’t give him a nickle, let him suffer.”

Jessie Sr.: “You can’t turn your blood away.”

Lee Rush: “I don’t know how you say you could and we’re gonna have a problem over this.”

Jessie Sr.: “But I know how it is being up in jail without having anything.”

Lee Rush: “Well that’s beside the point, if he, if he’s guilty, if he’s guilty of doing this to these little boys, no!

Jessie Sr.: “But he’s not.”

Lee Rush: “Well, I’m saying he’s not too, but if he happens to be, if it’s proven, no! forget it, no, no.”

Jessie Sr.: “But I don’t believe he did it. I’ll never believe he did it.”

Shortly after this filmed incident, the relationship with Jessie Misskelley Sr. and Lee Rush came to an end.

The Location of the Murders

Facts suggesting that the boys were killed on both ditch banks:

1. The Clothing

From the crime scene notes:

Near #1 Body – 3 – pair of Jeans were located.
[the word “Boy” is crossed out] Cub Scout – Blue / Yellow
Cap Located.
also three pairs of tennis Shoes located by #1 Body.
Left Shoe – Tennis (CUGA – Shoe) – Black / Purple Shoe /
Black lace is still there.
Rest of the tennis Shoes located do not have shoe strings in
them.
Cub Scouts of america Shirt Located in Creek Close to Body
#1
– 1 Pair of Jeans found is a Rustler Brand – 7 – Slim Turned
inside Out.
Cub Scout Shirt – Size 8
1-Pair of Nientendo Super Mario Underwear – Located Size 6
Located Close to Body #1
1 – Under Shirt – Blk / White – White designs – turned
inside out
Located Close to #1 Body
1 – Size 8 – Coast Highway Brand – Stripped Shirt –
Surfboard design – turned inside out.
Located Close to Body #1

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

The clothing was all mainly found near Michael Moore’s body which was right in front of a ditch bank located on the other side of the water.

(The ditch bank near where Moore’s body was located.)

crime_scene_17

(The general location of where Moore’s body was recovered from the ditch.)

crime_scene_41

This could suggest that Moore had been on the near-by ditch bank with his killer prior to death.

 

2. The Location of the Bodies

Moore’s body was found near a ditch bank, referred to often as the “slicked off” ditch bank.

(Another photo of the “slicked off” ditch bank.)

3ftblood

(A diagram of the crime scene made by police.)

lum07

Moore died from drowning. If he died of drowning, his body had to have been located near-by the ditch prior to it’s being placed into the water, because he was beaten and tied up prior to being placed into the water. This fact would suggest, much like the location of the clothing being by his body, that the slicked off ditch bank was where his body was prior to being placed into the water.

Moore’s body was found 27ft away from the bodies of his friends.

The notes citing the distance:

#2 Body 27’ South of #1 Body
#3 Body 32’ South of Body #1
4’2” – is the Width of the [the word “Stream” is crossed
out] Creek Where body #1 Was found.

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

dictated by Lieutenant Diane Hester:
Body #2 was found 27 feet south of body #1
Body #3 was found approximately 32 feet south of body #1
The width of the stream where body #1 was found is 4 feet 3 inches – 2 inches, 3 inches? 4 feet – correction, 4 feet 2 inches – and what? The width is consistant to where the other – body #2 and body #3 were found also.

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

The bodies of Chris and Stevie were located next to a different ditch bank, which was nearer to the path you would take to enter and exit the crime scene.

(Location of the bodies of Chris Byers and Stevie Branch.)

 

crime_scene_42

 

(The near-by trail located near the bodies of Byers and Branch.)

1174420_10201179770727902_477197288_n

If Moore was being attacked and murdered near Chris and Stevie, then he likely should have been found near the same ditch bank then as Chris and Stevie. However Moore was found near the slicked off ditch bank.

The bodies of Chris and Stevie were found 27ft away from Moore and were in front of a different ditch bank. Stevie, much like Moore had died of drowning. If he drowned, he had to have been subdued near-by to where his body was found, and the likely location then for that would be the ditch bank which was near to the bodies.

3. The Fact that Two of the Victims Drowned

This can’t be emphasized enough, that if two of the victims drowned their bodies had to have sat tied up near-by to wherever their bodies were found. It seems unlikely that the killer was going to just arbitrarily carry Moore’s body 27ft away from his friends for no apparent reason what so ever, when it would have been simpler for them to place the body near to where Chris and Stevie were found.

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

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

4. The Location of the Luminol

Luminol reactions were located on both sides of the ditch, located on both ditch banks.

(Locations of luminol reactions as shown in police diagrams.)

lum07

lum02

lum06

However photos were only taken from one ditch bank, likely because the bodies had been placed on the ditch banks by police near to where the bodies were located in the water and could have resulted from this and not from the crime. Lighting conditions were also cited for not photographing those locations.

Only two spots were ever really looked at as possibly being crime related from the murder itself. And these two spots were located on the slicked off ditch bank.

In total there were three spots that registered for luminol reactions on the slicked off ditch bank. The first spot, described as a “V” shaped pattern was looked at at one point as a possible spot that Chris Byers could have initially been castrated.

(Photo of the “V” pattern.)

V7

The second spot was where Michael Moore’s body had been set by police.

(Photo of this location.)

Moore1

And the third spot was a large spot, said to be 3ft in diameter by police.

bloodbath7

They were concerned from the apparent heavy blood loss that this was where one of the bodies sat during the commission of the crime and was not from the police setting Moore’s body on the ditch bank.

(Location of the three luminol reactions)

ditchbankreference2

Notes on the luminol:

Photo #1 was shot at a point 7’0” from the mark on the large oak tree, where the paint
spot had been sprayed as a reference point to measure from, this was in a straight line
between the huge oak and the other tree that had another paint spot on it for a second
reference point. This area had a spot that illuminated
to the naked eye that appeared to be about three feet in diameter indicating a heavy blood
area.

Photo #2 is an area of illumination that is directly over the spot where victim number 1
was lain upon the bank when he was pulled from the water. This spot is 3’8” from the
spot on the large oak tree in a direct line between that spot and location the body was
found in the water.

Photo #3 was taken on a root of the oak tree with the reference spot, the root is 6’0”
from the reference point in a straight line from that point heading straight into the water.
The fluoresced area in front of this large root indicated an area that was down sloping
toward the water, the illuminate spot formed a ‘V’ like shape!

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

As to the “V” pattern, it could have been caused by clothing from the victims being set on the ditch bank.

(Photo of victim clothing sitting in spot where luminol reaction was made.)

BLOWEDUP

But the third spot, the one that is 3ft in diameter can’t really be explained away. The spot could possibly either be blood from Chris Byers or Michael Moore. And given that Byers’ body was found near a different ditch bank and Moore’s body found near the slicked off ditch bank, it would seem more likely that this spot was related to Moore’s murder, and thus more likely his blood and not Chris Byers’.

This luminol reaction would again suggest that Moore’s body sat near-by on the ditch bank prior to being placed into the water.

CONCLUSION:

(Photo showing both ditch banks. The slicked off ditch bank is on the left side and the Branch and Byers one located on the right, behind the three trees in the middle of the photo.)

crime_scene_53

It would seem to be the simplest solution to the situation that Moore was beaten and tied up on the slicked off ditch bank, and that most likely the blood present there was from his murder.

Second the next most logical solution is that Chris Byers and Stevie Branch were murdered on the ditch bank where their bodies were set by the investigators who recovered the bodies.

A third conclusion is that this does not discredit any argument of blood on the slicked off ditch bank or even blood on any of the ditch banks. The reason being, is that the blood on the slicked off ditch bank would have more likely been as a result of the head injuries to Moore and not of a possible castration of Chris Byers. While Chirs Byers certainly can’t be eliminated as a source for the blood on the slicked off ditch bank, it would seem less likely. And as to the other ditch bank, while luminol reactions were detected on it, no photos were ever taken of the location. Additionally the spot was trampled on by investigators and was muddy and the bodies were soon set on it by investigaters and visible blood could have been left by the still bleeding bodies after they were recovered. The whole argument then on the blood then becomes moot, at least as to the castration of Byers and visible blood, since it was something that was not really documented as to the second ditch bank and because the bank had been compromised by investigators walking on it and laying the bodies on it.

The Phone Call Girls

Months following the arrests of the West Memphis Three, a group of girls often referred to in the case files by the nickname, “The Phone Call Girls”, stated that they could alibi Damien Echols. On the night of May 5, 1993, Heather Cliett; Holly George, and Jennifer Bearden would all place a series of phone calls and struggle through-out the day to get a hold of Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols.

It would begin on June 7, 1993, just days after Damien and his accomplices were arrested, with Heather Cliett reporting that she had tried to call her boyfriend, Jason Baldwin that day around 4:30 or 5:00 PM, but failed to reach him. She stated that she tried again around 6:00, but that the phone was busy. She stated that she didn’t get to see him again until that Friday, May 7, 1993, when she alleged she only said “Hi,” to him, then spoke to him on that Saturday when he told her that during the time that he was missing, he had gone to mow his uncle’s lawn.

(Heather Cliett’s June 7, 1993 police report.)

Heather had further told the police that at the time of the murders, during the period in which Jason was unaccounted for, that Jason was with Damien. She further stated that she knew this, because she called Damien that night, but could not reach Damien until 10:30 PM.

(Heather Cliett’s June 7, 1993 police report.)

The next day, she gave a handwritten account, stating that her, and Holly George had been on the phone with Damien at 9:00 that night. In this handwritten account, she changed the time that the phone calls with Damien took place, from 10:30 PM, to 9:00 PM. She originally just the day before on June 7th, said that she spoke to Damien at 10:30. She also said that the phone call involved the two girls talking with Damien about him leaving his pregnant girlfriend, Domini Teer for Jennifer Bearden, another girl who Heather knew. Cliett also stated that the next day, when she spoke to Holly, that she informed her that at the that Damien was unaccounted for, that he had been out walking the neighborhood.

(Heather Cliett’s June 8, 1993 handwritten account of May 5, 6, and 7th.)

And yet another undated report Heather from the same time period stated that she spoke with Damien sometime between 10:00 and 10:30.

In the same undated statement, Heather states that Holly told her at the skating rink two days after the murders, that Damien might have been walking around Ingram BLVD, a road that connects directly to the Service Road.

The full undated statement.

(Map showing Ingram Blvd.)

On September 10th, a few months after Heather gave her account to police, Holly George gave her’s, saying that on the day in question, Holly claimed she called Damien initially around 3:30 PM, and that later that night, Jennifer Bearden had spoken to Damien, a fact which contradicted Heather’s June 8th statement to police, in which she said that Holly and Heather spoke to Damien.

INVESTIGATIVE REPORT
TRIPLE HOMICIDE
BYERS/BRANCH/MOORE

ON 091093, I DETECTIVE B. RIDGE WENT TO THE RESIDENCE OF HOLLIE GEORGE IN BARTLETT, TENNESSE. I HAD FOUND THAT HOLLIE HAD BEEN ON THE TELEPHONE WITH DAMIEN ECHOLS ON THE DAY OF THE ABOVE NOTED HOMICIDE. IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT SHE HAD TALKED WITH DAMIEN ON THE TELEPHONE AT ABOUT 3:30 PM. SHE REPORTED THAT SHE HAD KNOWN DAMIEN FOR ABOUT A WEEK PRIOR TO THE TELEPHONE CALL. SHE INFORMED ME THAT SHE WAS AWARE OF JENNIFER BEARDEN HAVING CALLED DAMIEN AND TALKED WITH HIM DURING PERIODS OF TIME ON THAT SAME DAY. HOLLIE ALSO STATED THAT SHE HAD CALLED JASON ON THE SAME DAY. A TAPED INTERVIEW WAS CONDUCTED AS TO THE FACTS THAT SHE RELAYED TO ME WITH HER MOTHER BEING PRESENT ALONG WITH DETECTIVE BILL DURHAM, AND THE FIANCE OF HOLLIES’S MOTHER.

DETECTIVE B. RIDGE
WEST MEMPHIS POLICE DEPARTMENT

September 10, 1993 police report on Holly George.

According to Heather Cliett’s April 24, 2008 Affidavit, she admitted that she had lied to the police when she told them that Holly George had spoken to police on May 5, 1993, because she was covering for her friend Jennifer Bearden, who had wanted to date Damien. Bearden’s mother had a curfew on her phone use, and she was not supposed to be on it after 9:30 PM, nor would they have wanted their then 13-year-old daughter to date then then 18-year-old Damien Echols. This information explained the changing of the time of the phone call with Damien from 10:30 to 9:00, as well as why Holly had said that Jennifer spoke to Damien that night:

“My memory is that Holly George was not on the three-way call that I arranged. I did not really like Holly at that point, and I would have been much more comfortable talking to Jason, Jennifer and Damien. I believe that I told the police that Holly George was with me on the phone with Damien and Jason on the night the three young boys went missing in May of 1993. I was not on the phone with Holly that night. The reason that I did not tell the truth to the police was that Jennifer Bearden was my best friend at the time, and she had asked me not to tell the police that she had been on the calls with Jason and Damien. Jennifer told me that she was worried about what her mother would do if she found out that Jennifer’s name had come up as being on the calls. So after the police asked me to name who was on the calls, I gave them Holly’s name instead of Jennifer’s.”

Cliett further related in the 2008 Affidavit:

“I recall being on the phone with Jason and Damien the night the three boys disappeared. It was late at night and I was in bed acting as though I was asleep. My recollection was that I was on the phone with one or both of them until 12:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. That would have been the early morning hours of May 6, 1993, which was the day on which I found out that Chris Byers had been found dead.

“My memory was that during at least some of the phone conversation Jennifer Bearden had been connected by my three-way calling system, and that she talked to Damien Echols. I used to view Jennifer Bearden as Damien’s other girlfriend. I was aware that Damien was going out with Domini Teer at the time.

“After the killings happened, I had a number of contacts with the investigating police officers. I told them about having been on the phone with Jason and Damien that night. My memory is that the police were not really interested in my account of the phone calls. I also explained to them that I was on the phone very late that night, and that I had used a pillow to hide the fact that I was on the phone from my mother who used to look in on me from time to time in my bedroom. “

Heather Cliett, 2008 Affidavit.

Jennifer Bearden in a statement also taken on September 10, 1993 would claim to remember talking to both Damien and Jason several times on May 5th:

INVESTIGATIVE REPORT
TRIPLE HOMICIDE
BYERS/BRANCH/MOORE

ON 091093, I MET WITH JENNIFER BEARDEN AT HER RESIDENCE IN BARTLETT, TENNESSEE. THE INTERVIEW WAS A RESULT OF HAVING OBTAINED INFORMATION THAT SHE HAD BEEN ON THE PHONE WITH DAMIEN ON THE DAY OF THE HOMICIDE. SHE INFORMED ME OF SEVERAL TIMES WHEN SHE HAD BEEN ON THE PHONE WITH DAMIEN AND JASON DURING THE AFTERNOON AFTER SCHOOL AND UNTIL ABOUT 9:30 PM ON THE EVENING OF 050593. SHE GAVE A TAPED STATEMENT OF THE EVENTS THAT OCCURRED ON THAT EVENING.

Jennifer Bearden police report.

She first placed herself and Holly on the phone with Damien in a three way call that day, at some time after she got home from school. Then according to her, Holly hung-up and the three stopped talking. So, Jennifer called Damien back separately, and the two talked a bit more.

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?

Jennifer: Jason.

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.

This statement explained why Heather Cliett could not reach Jason when she called, because he and Damien were hanging out at Jason’s trailer and had been on the phone with Jennifer Bearden.  Bearden further said that she called Damien at Jason’s trailer about a half hour later, and spoke with him:

 

Jennifer: He said him and Jason were going to go some where, him and Jason were going some where and that he um, wanted me to call him later at his house around 8 and I said okay.

Ridge: Okay, did he say where he was going to go?

Jennifer: No.

So, she claimed that he told her to call him back at around 8:00 PM, then spoke to him later that night at 9:20, which contradicted Heather Cliett’s account of getting Damien on the phone at 10:30:

Ridge: At 9:20 you get Damien on the telephone and he tells you that he and Jason had been some where?

Jennifer: Um Um (yes)

Ridge: Okay, you didn’t know where? Did you ever ask him where he had been that night?

Jennifer: I said something about it, but you know I really didn’t… didn’t really care. Cause they go places together all the time you know.

Years later in a 2004 affidavit, Bearden said the following about the time of the calls:

“I understand that I told officers that I called Damien back at around 9:20 p.m. or 9:30 p.m., so I explained that I called him no later than 9:30 p.m. But my belief is that the phone call lasted past 9:30 p.m. I was supposed to have been in bed by 10:00 p.m. I was concerned that if my mother learned that I had been on the phone past 9:30 p.m., she would have thought I had not been obeying her, or conducting myself as she would have expected.”

She had changed the time for her phone call, because she didn’t want to get in trouble with her mother.

In the same affidavit she’s vague on times, not mentioning the time as 8:00 PM for when she first called. Instead she just says it was 9:00 PM. Does that mean she first tried to call him at 9 and not 8?

“I recall making a call to Damien’s house that night, May 5, 1993. I believe the call was made around 9:00 p.m. This was the night before the announcement of the killings of the three young boys. The first time I called I got a busy signal. The phone at Damien’s house did not have call-waiting. I called again and Damien’s grandmother answered. She told me that Damien was not home yet.

At some point later on I called again and I got Damien on the phone. I believe I stayed on the phone with him from about a half hour. My impression is that this call began at around 9:30 p.m. and ended around 10:00 p.m.”

Link to 2004 Jennifer Bearden Affidavit.

Did this mean that she called an hour later like she said in her police interview?

Jennifer: He said him and Jason were going to go some where, him and Jason were going some where and that he um, wanted me to call him later at his house around 8 and I said okay

Ridge: Okay, and when you called back about 8

Jennifer: His Grandmother said he wasn’t there, and I was suppose to call back around 9. and I called back around 9:20, 9:30 and I talk to him for a little bit, but then I had to get off the phone, because I wasn’t suppose to be on the phone after 9:30.

A few years following her 2004 Affidavit, she testified during Jason’s Rule 37, appeals hearing, stating that she lied about the time so she wouldn’t get in trouble with her mother.

Q] Okay. And what time would you normally go to bed or did your mom make you get off the phone?

A] I was supposed to be off the phone by 9:30 and in bed by 10:00.

During this hearing, she also changed the time frame in which her original call with Damien occurred, placing it at some time between 3:15-3:45, which conformed with Holly George’s original account. After that she called Damien at Jason’s trailer at some time after 5:00:

A] Uh, I would have had to give him time to get there, so I believe it was probably around 4:30, 5:00.

Q] What do you remember about that call?

A] Uh, I called, Jason answered, uh, I think I spoke to him for just a moment and then I spoke to Damien, uh, I got a little aggravated because he was playing video games with Matt and they weren’t really talking.

On September 10th, 1993, the same day the police spoke with Jennifer Bearden, Damien’s sister, Michelle Echols also provided an account of the phone calls to Deputy Prosecutor, John Fogleman.

In this new account, she said Jennifer Bearden spoke to Damien on the phone, but not Heather Cliett, the girl who first reported the May 5th phone calls to police in the first place. Instead she said it was Holly George, the girl that both Heather and Jennifer had lied to police about being on the phone at 10:30 in order to cover for Jennifer. But in the statement, Michelle also clarified that she had never met either Holly or Jennifer before, which may or may not explain why she says Holly was on the phone instead of Heather.

According to Michelle Echols, following the three way phone call with Jennifer Bearden and Heather Cliett, Damien then called Jason Baldwin that night, and then after that he apparently called his girlfriend, Domini Teer and got into a loud argument that could be heard from outside of the room as Damien yelled at the person on the other end of the phone.

Another interesting item to note about Michelle Echols’ statement concerning the calls is she claims they happened some time around 8:00 and then lasted until around 9:30 or 10:00, which was around the time frame that Jennifer Bearden and Damien’s defense investigator Ron Lax had wanted the phone call between Bearden and Damien to have taken place, because it would help alibi Damien.

Michelle’s statement:

FOGLEMAN – OKAY. WHO’S HOLLY?

MICHELLE – HOLLY IS THIS, I’VE NEVER SEEN JENNIFER OR HOLLY. THEY’RE JUST GIRLS THAT HE MET AT THE SKATING RINK.

FOGLEMAN – OKAY. AND UH, YOU KNOW HOLLY’S LAST NAME?

MICHELLE – HOLLY GEORGE.

FOGLEMAN – OKAY. DO YOU KNOW WHERE SHE LIVES?

MICHELLE – I KNOW SHE LIVES IN BARTLETT.

FOGLEMAN – HAS DAMIEN EVER BEEN OVER TO HER HOUSE TO SEE HER?

MICHELLE – NO.

FOGLEMAN – OKAY. UM, HOW LONG DID HE TALK TO HOLLY”?

MICHELLE – I’S SAY APPROXIMATELY 30 MINUTES.

FOGLEMAN – OKAY. WHO DID HE TALK TO AFTER HE TALKED TO HOLLY?

MICHELLE – JENNIFER.

FOGLEMAN – OKAY. UM, DO YOU KNOW HO LONG HE TALKED TO JENNIFER?

MICHELLE – UH, NO, NOT EXACTLY, I DON’T.

FOGLEMAN – OKAY. AFTER HE TALKED TO JENNIFER, WHO DID HE TALK TO?

MICHELLE – JASON.

FOGLEMAN – TO WHO?

MICHELLE – JASON.

FOGLEMAN – OKAY. WHAT TIME WAS IT WHEN HE TALKED TO JASON?

MICHELLE – UM, AROUND 9:30, 10:00. SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

FOGLEMAN – WHO DID HE TALK TO AFTER JASON?

MICHELLE – DOMINI.

FOGLEMAN – OKAY. HOW LONG DID HE TALK TO HER?

MICHELLE – AROUND 20 MINUTES. THEY HAD AN ARGUMENT THAT NIGHT.

FOGLEMAN – DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE ARGUMENT WAS ABOUT?

MICHELLE – NO, HE WAS IN THE BEDROOM. IN MY MOM AND DAD’S BEDROOM, AND SO…..

FOGLEMAN – HOW DO YOU KNOW HE HAD AN ARGUMENT?

MICHELLE – BECAUSE MOM WENT BACK THERE AND UM, HE GOT KIND OF LOUD AND WE COULDN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT HE WAS SAYING. AND MAMA WENT BACK THERE AND SHE MADE HIM GET OFF THE PHONE BECAUSE HE WAS ARGUING WITH HER. AND SHE DIDN’T WANT HIM ARGUING SO SHE MADE HIM GET OFF THE PHONE.

FOGLEMAN – OKAY, HE NEVER DID TELL YOU WHAT HE WAS ARGUING ABOUT.

MICHELLE – HE NEVER TALKED TO ME ABOUT THINGS LIKE THAT.

 

Full interview with Michelle Echols.

Getting back to Holly George, Holly insisted that she only spoke with Damien once that night, and never talked with anyone else, which corroborates Heather’s 2008 Affidavit statement, in which she said she lied to cover for Jennifer. George stated that she spoke with Damien earlier in the day and was later told by Jennifer Bearden she(Bearden) called Damien back at 9:00 PM, but Jennifer couldn’t reach him by phone, which may also help explain Michelle Echols’ accounts of the time of the phone calls:

RIDGE: SINCE THAT TIME HAVE YOU FOUND OUT ANYBODY ELSE THAT TALKED TO DAMIEN ON THE TELEPHONE THAT DAY?

HOLLY: NO, BESIDES JENNIFER BEARDEN AND

RIDGE: SHE HAD TOLD YOU SHE CALLED HIM AFTER

HOLLY: AFTER I HAD TALKED TO HIM AND HER EARLIER

RIDGE: OK DO YOU KNOW WHEN SHE CALLED HIM?

HOLLY: LIKE RIGHT AFTER I GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH HER AND THEY TALKED FOR A WHILE AND THEN THEY HANG UP (ILLEGIBLE) JENNIFER HAD TO GET OFF THE PHONE AND THEN SHE CALLED BACK LIKE AT 9 O’CLOCK OR SO

RIDGE: SHE CALLED BACK AT ABOUT 9?

HOLLY: (INAUDIBLE)

RIDGE: DID SHE TELL YOU WHAT THEY TALKED ABOUT?

HOLLY: UN UN (NO)

RIDGE: OKAY, DID SHE SAY THAT SHE HAD TRIED TO CALL HIM THAT EVENING AND COULDN’T GET HIM?

HOLLY: SHE SAID SHE TRIED ONCE COULDN’T GET A HOLD OF HIM BECAUSE NOBODY ANSWERED

RIDGE: ABOUT WHAT TIME WAS THAT DO YOU KNOW?

HOLLY: UN UN (NO) I FORGOT

RIDGE: BUT SHE TOLD YOU ABOUT IT OKAY, UM, DO YOU REMEMBER TALKING WITH HEATHER CLIETT THAT DAY?

HOLLY: THAT DAY NO

 

According to Heather Cliett, she lied when she stated that her and Holly were on the phone with Damien that night, and Holly said she had no recollection of being on the phone with Heather and Damien.

Further during the Rule 37 Hearing, Jennifer stated that Holly and Heather would never be on the phone together:

A] Heather Cliett, uh, she was, uh, lived in West Memphis, uh, she was intersted in Jason during that time we were friends.

Q] And was Heather also involved in some of the phone calls, in the three-way phone calls?

A] Uh, no, I believe I spoke with Heather myself, you know, on a three-way call. But she was never on the phone with Holly and I. Holly and Heather did not get along.

Q] Holly and Heather didn’t get along, but Heather and you were good friends?

A] Yes.

 

Holly stated years later, that she no longer even remembered the specifics of the night in question, just that she thought that she spoke with Jason and Damien on May 5, 1993 at some time:

“I remember that during the investigation of the West Memphis murder case, I was asked questions by police officers regarding my memory of phone calls that involved Damien and Jason.

I also have a memory of talking on the phone with Damien and Jason in May of 1993, and during the days surrounding the discovery of the bodies of the three young boys who were killed in West Memphis in May of 1993. I have no independent recollection of the exact time of specific phone calls or who may have initiated them.”

Affidavit of Holly George

The events of that night, really boiled down to Heather’s version of events, which had her and Jennifer Bearden speaking with Damien possibly as late as 10:30 that night.

Heather’s account stands as the most credible and had been the first and freshest account of that day, and as such might have been the real version of that night, and not Jennifer’s account as both girls were trying to lie to cover for Bearden’s bed time. Heather also stated that “Hollie” in her handwritten statement to police, had told her that during the time in which Damien was missing, he was out “walking around.”

(Heather Cliett’s June 8, 1993 handwritten account.)

She also thought he was walking maybe around Ingram Blvd, which connects to the service road.

(Undated statement by Heather Cliett.)

But as we know from Heather’s 2008 Affidavit, she lied to police about who really spoke to Damien, meaning that the “Hollie,” who told her that Damien was out “waling around,” was actually Jennifer Bearden.

The defense had at one point considered calling Bearden as a witness at trial, but had apparently decided against it as she never testified, most likely due to that her statement contradicted Heather’s earlier account.

beardenbearden2(Order for Jennifer Bearden to testify at trial.)

And according to Bearden she lied about the times so she wouldn’t get in trouble for being on the phone after 9:30, and said that Damien told her that he had been out with Jason Baldwin during the time that she was trying to reach him by phone:

Ridge: At 9:20 you get Damien on the telephone and he tells you that he and Jason had been some where?

Jennifer: Um Um (yes)

Ridge: Okay, you didn’t know where? Did you ever ask him where he had been that night?

Jennifer: I said something about it, but you know I really didn’t… didn’t really care. Cause they go places together all the time you know.

 

And Heather Cliett stated that this phone call took place at 10:30, well after the murders had occurred, and an hour after Narlene Hollingsworth would claim to have seen Damien near the crime scene.

(Heather Cliett’s June 7, 1993 police report.)

According to all the early facts of the case, Heather Cliett and Jennifer Bearden spoke to Damien on May 5th, 1993 at 10:30 PM. And according to Heather Cliett, she had only just said “Hi,” to Jason when she next saw him at the skating rink, on May 7, 1993.

(Heather Cliett’s June 7, 1993 police report.)

However, by the account of Brandy Wilson, Heather was sitting with Jason and Damien, when Damien is alleged to have bragged about murdering the boys.

The skating rink confessions of Damien Echols.

Heather had also witnessed Damien confess to the murders at a softball game she was at in late May, 1993.

“I was playing in a softball game on the day that Damien Echols showed up with Jason and some kids in the crowd at the game started shouting at Damien. They were saying things to him about having killed kids, and he was saying things back to people in the crowd. It was typical of Damien, and it was clear to me that he was calling attention to himself. Since I knew I had been on the phone with him on the night of the killings, I did not believe that he had anything to do with the situation.”

Damien’s softball game confession.

And following this 10:30 three way phone call with Heather Cliett and Jennifer Bearden, Michelle Echols stated that Damien had a phone call with Jason Baldwin and Domini Teer, and that during the time he was supposedly on the phone with Teer, Damien become loud and angry, but nobody knew what he was getting angry over, because he was in his parents’ bedroom with the door shut.

And yet another person alleged a phone call occurred that night between Damien and Jason.

Jessie Misskelley alleged that about an hour after he got home on the night of the murders he received a phone call from Jason Baldwin, and during this phone call he could hear Damien speaking in the background getting really excited and worried.

From Jessie’s June 3, 1993 confession to police:

DETECTIVE RIDGE: When he called you on the phone, did he say that he had just got in?

MISSKELLEY: He, he, he did, he called me, when he first got, called me, he said, how come I, how come I left, and said, I couldn’t stand it, I had to do something else.

DETECTIVE RIDGE: Okay. 

MISSKELLEY: And then Damien. . .

DETECTIVE RIDGE: You couldn’t stand it.

MISSKELLEY: And then Damien, I heard Damien in the background saying we done it, we done it, what we going to do now, what if somebody saw us?

 

 

Damien and Robin Hood Hills

A long time denial by Damien Echols ever since his conviction, was that he didn’t even live in West Memphis at the time of the murders. In-fact, not only did he not live in West Memphis according to him, but his home was 10 or 15 miles away from the crime scene or the neighborhood where the victims lived. Echols and his supporters claimed that he lived in the City of Marion, which neighbors West Memphis.

One has to wonder why Echols would maintain such obvious lies? The answer? Because his own statements, and those of his alibi witnesses and those who knew him, placed him either at Robin Hood Hills or near it on the day of the murders.

At the time of his arrest Damien Echols lived at this trailer…

de_pm_05(The residence of Damien Echols at Broadway Trailer Park.)

It’s location? 2706 South Grove located in Broadway Trailer Park, which resides in… West Memphis.

de_exhibit_A(Police document stating where Echols’ trailer was located.)

During an interview with CNN’s Larry King, Echols stated the following:

KING: Did you live in the vicinity where they lived?

ECHOLS: Well, I lived — I didn’t actually live in West Memphis. I lived in a small town right outside of West Memphis called Marion. So it was within, I don’t know, I’d say about a 10, 15 mile area.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0712/19/lkl.01.html

10-15 miles from where the victims lived? That’s Damien’s assertion.

(Map showing the location of Damien Echols’ trailer in relation to the crime scene. It was not 10-15 miles away as Damien said to Larry King.)

According to Google Maps, the walking distance based on their suggested routes, would take about 35 minutes to walk from Damien’s trailer to the crime scene, or about 1.8 miles. This is hardly even close to the 10-15 miles Damien stated. And it has to also be kept in mind, that these are just the website’s suggested routes, and do not factor in if someone were to cut through an area such as a field or yard.

(Suggested route from Google Maps, stating that it would only take 35-36 minutes to walk from Damien’s trailer to the crime scene. The map also lists 1.8 miles as the distance for this route, contradicting Echols’ claims.)

Despite how Echols had tried to remove himself from West Memphis, he did in fact reside there. This then makes his statements to Larry King  blatantly untrue, which will be delved into further below.

In yet another interview, this one being from 2010 he had this exchange with a journalist:

Interviewer: Let’s go back to 1993, had you, that area, that Robin hills area, was that an area you were familiar with or had ever been in?

Damien: No, it’s actually–um, most people always call us the West Memphis Three, but we actually weren’t from West Memphis, we were from um, a small town right outside of West Memphis called Marion, which almost no one knows where is. And, um, being that West Memphis is the closest thing to Marion um, it’s just sorta people look at it as almost being the same place. Uh, And all of the dealings we had were with West Memphis Police Department. So… West Memphis wasn’t a place that I went to um, a great deal of time you know? I went to school in Marion. Um, I lived in Marion. So, I didn’t really go to West Memphis a lot… at all.

Interviewer: So where these murders took place that was not an area–

Damien: No, because that would have been a residential area, uh-uh-uh, a wooded area close to a residential area. You know there weren’t any um– if I went to West Memphis it would have been to do something like say go to Wal-Mart, you know? Go to the grocery store, something like that. So it wouldn’t have been a residential area anyway…

Interview with Damien Echols

Here he again continues with the lie that he lived in Marion, and not only says he didn’t live there, but was unfamiliar with Robin Hood Hills, and suggested that he barely spent any time in West Memphis.

The HBO film, “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills“,  also inadvertently placed Echols not only in West Memphis, but near Robin Hood Hills in a scene showing local news footage.

A quote from the scene in question:

“Reverend Tommy Stacy’s church is down the street from where the bodies were found. One year ago, Damien Echols told the church’s youth minister he had a pact with the devil, and he was going to hell.”

It then cuts to an interview with Tommy Stacy:

“I do know that my youth director talked to Damien extensively at a revival that we had, and he told him that he could not be saved, that he could not give his heart to Jesus. My youth director then tried to get him to take a Bible, and he made the statement that he could not take a Bible, because if he did, the rest of ’em would get him.”

SecondBaptistChurchMap_zpsd542baeb

The map clearly shows that the Second Baptist Church is not only in West Memphis, but near the crime scene. As a matter of fact the crime scene is only a short walking distance from the Church, and “Paradise Lost” states it’s just down the street from the crime scene.

Adding to this, when pressed in court, Echols admitted to walking around West Memphis with his friend and co-defendant, Jason Baldwin:

A: We like to walk around a lot just with no place particular in mind. Just start out walking and walk around all day.
Q: Did you walk quite a bit around West Memphis, then?
A: Yes, I did.

He further was pressed and admitted walking through the neighborhood where the victims lived 2-3 times a week.

Q. Now, yesterday I asked you some general questions about, you had indicated that you and Jason quite frequently walked around areas of West Memphis?

 

A. Yes, sir.

 

Q. Okay. I want to direct your attention on this diagram — in fact, let me circle it. This area right in here which would be, I believe, east of — is that 14th?

 

A. Yes, sir.

 

Q. It is east of 14th Street and south of the service road and the interstate. In that particular neighborhood, Market Street, Goodwin, in there, did you and Jason frequently walk and roam in that area, the same neighborhood where the three victims lived?

 

A. I think by looking at the map I would have had to.

 

Q. How often?

 

A. Probably in that area maybe twice a week.

 

Q. For how long a period?

 

A. A few years.

 

Q. How many?

 

A. Probably at least two years.

 

(Damien admitted walking around the streets near the crime scene, circled above, and on the Service Road on the other side of the crime scene, shown as the Red line in the above photo.)

 

Q. All right. And that, when you told us yesterday that you hadn’t been over in that area, the residential area near Robin Hood Hills, were you just not thinking of that particular area?

 

A. No, when you said “neighborhood,” I just didn’t know what you are talking about, what that neighborhood is.

 

Q. But when I specified that particular area, the neighborhood that I circled, you were there two or three times a week?

 

A. Probably an average of two to three times a week.

 

Q. And what would the purpose be over there? Would you all just being walking around the neighborhood?

 

A. I had to walk through there to get from my house to Jason’s house. I would have to walk through there to get from my house to Domini’s house or anywhere in Marion.

 

(The Service Road on the other side of Robin Hood Hills. The crime scene is marked for reference.)

(Path leading from the Pipe Bridge to the Service Road.)

(Aerial view of the path neighborhood leading toward the pipe bridge.) 

(Aerial view of the pipe bridge leading across toward the Service Road.)

(“I had to walk through there to get from my house to Jason’s house.” Damien testified that he had to cut through Robin Hood Hills to travel to Jason’s house, just as the photo above shows a path leading down from the Pipe Bridge to the Service Road.)

(Damien cut through Robin Hood Hills 2-3 times a week to walk along this service road to Jason’s according to his own words. Jason Baldwin of course lived on the other side of town.)

 

Q. Okay. Where were you living at the time?

 

A. At the time I was arrested, Broadway Trailer Park.

 

Q. Okay. Well, when you were walking over here — this is the interstate, didn’t you — where, if you could, show me where you lived?

 

A. Right here (indicating), somewhere along in there.

 

Q. So you lived south of Broadway?

 

A. Uh-huh.

 

Q. And what time period was that? When did you quit living south of Broadway?

 

A. When I was arrested.

 

Q. Okay. And your only reason to walk through here would be to go to and from Jason’s residence?

 

A. Uh-huh.

 

Q. And that’s the path you would take, you and Jason would take a path through here and over there?

 

A. Yes, sir.

 

Q. And that would be two or three times a week?

 

A. On an average.

 

Q. Did you have anybody else in that neighborhood that you visited or that you went over and were at their house or anything of that nature?

 

A. Probably, there is several people in Lakeshore.

 

Q. Not in Lakeshore, in the neighborhood we circled.

 

A. No, but I had to go through there to get to Lakeshore.

 

Furthermore one of his co-defendants, Jessie Misskelley in an interview with false confession expert, Richard Ofshe, also placed him walking around West Memphis. Jessie told Ofshe the following:

“…Damien he don’t stay in one place long, he always walk around, he always go to West Memphis…he goes to West Memphis a lot…and he walks around.”

In a passage from Damien’s book “Almost Home“, found on pages 7-8, Echols placed himself living next-door to Robin Hood Hills when he was a child:

“A couple of strange incidents occurred during this period of my life, both which I remember vividly, but neither of which I can explain. The first happened while still living in the Mayfair apartments.

 

One evening as dusk approached my mother told me not to leave the walkway right in front of our apartment door. Being the unlearned heathen that I was, I beat it the moment she was out of sight. I ran around to the very back of the complex where a huge mound of sand was located, and proceeded to dig a hole with my bare hands. This was one of my favorite activities, in which I invested a huge amount of time as a child. I looked up from my digging some time later only to realize it was completely dark. I could see the streetlights on in the distance, and the night was deathly silent. No Crickets chirping, people talking, or cars driving by. Nothing but silence that comes once the movies is over and the screen goes blank. Knowing that I was now officially in trouble, I dusted myself off and started to make my way back to our apartment.

 

As I walked home I had to pass a place where two sections of the building came together to form a corner. The last time I had noticed this corner the apartment there was empty. Now it was dark, but the front door was open.

 

There was no trace of any light and the inside of the apartment was as void of illumination as some sort of vacuum. Standing in the doorway, propped against the frame with his arms folded across his chest was a man in black pants and no shirt. He had black, shoulder length hair and wore a shit-eating grin. “where you goin’, boy?” he asked in a way that said he was amused, but didn’t really expect an answer. I said nothing, just stood looking up at him. “Your mamma’s looking for you. You know you’re going to get a whipping.”

 

After a moment longer I continued on my way. When I encountered my mother, she had a switch in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I did indeed receive a whipping.

 

I never thought about this incident again, up until a day or so before I was arrested and put on trial for murder. I was eighteen years old, and the cops had been harassing me non-stop for weeks. My mother asked me one day after lunch, “Why don’t you take your shirt off and go in the back yard so I can take pictures? That way, if the cops beat you we’ll have some before and after photos.” Nodding my head, I made a trip to the bathroom where I took my shirt off. When I looked into the mirror over the sink, it hit me that I looked exactly like the man I’d seen all those years before in the dark apartment. Mirrors have always made me a little uneasy for some reason and this incident did nothing to change that.

 

The other bit of bizarre happenstance took place after we had moved from Mayfair and into a small trailer in the countryside. I slept in a tiny bedroom at the very end of the hallway. There were no windows, and only one way into or out of this bedroom. Fire exits? We don’t need no stinkin’ fire exits.

 

Late one night something woke me up. It wasn’t a noise, as the entire place was deathly silent. I rolled over and found myself face to face with a strange woman who appeared to be fast asleep in my bed. I was paralyzed with fright. So scared that I couldn’t move, couldn’t scream, couldn’t do anything. All I could do was stare at this sleeping woman, my eyes bulging in terror.

 

When the fear gave way to self-preservation I jumped from the bed and fled to my parents’ room, wailing like a fire engine. My mother and father bolted straight out of bed to the sound of me screaming, “There’s someone in my room!” My mother gave my father a scared look, but he was already on his way down the hall.

 

There was no woman found, and no way that anyone could have gotten past my parents’ room to leave. There was no window to crawl out of and no back door to flee through. My Parents pointed out these facts to me numerous times over the subsequent weeks, but I still couldn’t sleep more than an hour at a time. I never slept the whole night through until after we moved, which we fortunately did very soon.”

Damien in Almost Home

Damien placed himself and his family living at the Mayfair Apartments, which are located right next to the crime scene. The playground area sits right behind it, and is near to where the Pipe Bridge is located.

crime_scene_drawing(Map of the crime scene showing the location of the Mayfair Apartments.)

The apartment complex can even be viewed from the crime scene.

207717_523914287641565_1675680068_n (The Mayfair Apartments are visible in the upper right hand corner of the above photo.)

discovery_woods_and_blue_beacon_looking_south(The Mayfair Apartments are again visible in this photo in the upper right-hand corner.)

He lived right behind Robin Hood Hills as a child and admitted traveling through the location as a short-cut to Jason’s house at least twice a week, every week.

His step dad Jack Echols would also state this in a declaration.

“There were other times when Damien had so much energy he did not know what to do. He got really excited and kind of hyper and he always walked at these times. Damien walked to some of the parks in the area, to some of his friends houses, and across town…”

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

Damien hungout at parks in the area according to his step dad.

Damien would also list the “woods” and “park” as places he frequented in the community.

392(Document from Damien Echols’ mental health file, filled out by Echols himself.)

One of Damien’s friends, Heather Cliett took the police to Robin Hood on May 10th, 1993, stating that she had seen the victims playing there before.

HESTER
5-10-93
10:10 A.M.

PICKED HEATHER CLIETT UP FROM EAST JR. HIGH – WENT TO THE DEAD END OF GOODWIN – SHE TOOK ME TO A PLACE THAT THE KIDS CALL DEVILS DEN WHERE SHE HAS SEEN ALL 3 VICTIMS ON SEVERAL OCCASSIONS RIDING THEIR BIKES. TOOK A FEW PICTURES – RETURNED HER TO SCHOOL @ 10:30 A.M.

 

Heither Cliett, a friend of Damien’s had been to Robin Hood Hills, and had seen the victims at the location before herself.

Chris Littrell another one of Damien’s friends stated during a police polygraph interview that both he, and Murray Farris had been to Robin hood before.

http://callahan.mysite.com/images/littrell/chris_littrell_polygraph01.jpg

Tabitha Hollingsworth in her initial statement to police had also placed Damien and Jason as often hanging out at Robin Hood Hills, describing them often walking toward 10 Mile Bayou, the large body of water which ran under the Pipe Bridge:

 

 

 

 

DABBS: Have you ever known of anything that, you ever seen them together up, you say they camp out on this ditch here?

TABITHA: Yeah, they go back there to the river all the time.

 

(The location where Tabitha Hollingsworth stated that Damien and Jason like to travel to. “Yeah, they go back there to the river all the time.”)

Interview with Tabitha Hollingsworth

During a questionnaire conducted by police on May 9th and May 10th, 1993, a series of questions would be asked. The list of questions appears below.

d_echols_may10_questionnaire

For Questions 20 and 21 he stated the following on both days:

Damien’s friend, Jennifer Bearden, told the police on September 10, 1993, that Damien had told her on May 5th, during a phone call, that he was going to Jason Baldwin’s house, and that she called him later on after he had arrived at Jason’s trailer. He further told her he and Jason were going somewhere, and then during the time of the murders she was unable to reach him. She said that later that night around 9 or 9:30(In other statements, she said she lied about the time, making it between 10-10:30, because she didn’t want her parents to know she was up past her bedtime.) she finally got a hold of Damien at his home and he said that he and Jason had been “someplace”.

Ridge: At 9:20 you get Damien on the telephone and he tells you that he and Jason had been some where?

 

Jennifer: Um Um (yes)

 

Ridge: Okay, you didn’t know where? Did you ever ask him where he had been that night?

 

Jennifer: I said something about it, but you know I really didn’t… didn’t really care. Cause they go places together all the time you know.

 

On June 7th, 1993, Damien’s friend Heather Cliett told the police that during the time of the crime, she tried to call both him and Jason, but was unable to reach either one of them. She said she did not get a hold of Damien until 10:30 PM that night.

In a handwritten statement from June 8, 1993, Heather wrote the following:

“I Have known Jason Baldwin for 1 1/2 months. He has been my boyfriend for 1 month. On May 5th, 93 I tried to call him around 4:30/5:00, there was no answer. Later, around 6:15PM I tried, & it was busy. I didn’t try again!”

The time of 6:15, as Heather stated would coincide for the time in which Jennifer Bearden stated that she was talking with Jason and Damien over the phone at Jason’s trailer.

In the same handwritten statement, Heather states as follows:

“Around 9:00PM I was talking to a friend from Bartlett (Hollie), we tried to get a hold of Michael Wayne “Damien” Echols from then until around 10:30PM, when we finally got in touch w/him!”

Heather also stated that she could not reach Damien as well, accounting for the time period in which the murders took place. And lastly, a few days later on the Friday of that week, May 7th, 1993, Heather spoke to Hollie George, one of the other two girls who spoke to Damien on May 5th. Heather inquired with Hollie about where Damien was during the time that they were trying to reach Damien by phone. Hollie told her, that Damien said to her that he had been out walking the neighborhood.

The statements of these three girls place Damien on May 5th, walking to Jason’s house, and both Jason and Damien being together at the same time frame as the murders occurred. The girls were not able to get a hold of Damien again until somewhere between 10-10:30. And Damien stated that if he ever walked to Jason’s house he had to travel through the victim neighborhood, to the Service Road, and walking right past the crime scene.

CONCLUSION- 

Per Damien’s own trial testimony, every time he walked to Jason’s house he had to travel up 14th Street near the crime scene and walk out onto the Service Road, suggesting he had to either walk across the Pipe Bridge and into Robin Hood Hills to do so, or walk around Robin Hood Hills. Either way, he had to travel past the crime scene.

And in his own statement to police on May 10th, 1993, he said that he had been in Robin Hood Hills before.

And if what Jennifer Bearden said is true, then on May 5th he was around or near where the boys died at about the same exact time that they were killed, because as Damien stated, he had to travel to the Service Road and walk past the crime scene every time he visited Jason Baldwin.

According to Damien’s sister, that on the night of the murders, after he got home, he spoke to Jason Baldwin immediately after he got off the phone with the three girls who had been trying to call him all night.

FOGLEMAN – OKAY. WHAT TIME WAS IT WHEN HE TALKED TO JASON?

MICHELLE – UM, AROUND 9:30, 10:00. SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

Interview with Michelle Echols

This statement from Michelle Echols, shows that Damien did have some contact with Jason Baldwin that day shortly after getting home, which conforms to the statements of Heither Cliett, Hollie George, and Jennifer Bearden, who said that Damien had gone to hang-out with Jason Baldwin that day. And therefore if Damien had been to Robin Hood Hills that day, at about the same exact time as the murders took place, and had done so with his friend Jason Baldwin, then it would make sense that after he got home, he’d want to discuss the discuss the murders that he had his best friend had just committed.

That same night, Narlene Hollingsworth, the aunt of Damien Echols’ girlfriend, Domini Teer, was driving with her family on the Service Road at about 9:45. She and her family spotted two people walking past the Blue Beacon Truck Wash in the direction walking toward Lakeshore Trailer Park, where Jason Baldwin lived. Narlene recognized Damien, and assumed the person next to him with long hair must be her niece, Domini Teer. The police would come to believe later on that she mistook, Jason Baldwin for Domini, because of his similar appearance in the dark:

NARLENE: Okay, I got ready to go, and my husband went with me and my children were too. And, on our way, coming do[wn] like you’re going to Love’s, I saw Dominic and Damia[n] coming down the street. 

DABBS: What time was this? 

NARLENE: This was exactly 20minutes til 10, exactly, cause w[e] had our watches and we knew what time it was. Okay they had dark clothing on and they were not cleaned. 

DABBS: You said at one time that they were muddy all over. 

NARLENE: They did have dirt on them, yes they did, now 

HESTER: Now, which way were they walking? 

NARLENE: They was coming back towards Lakeshore, this way. 

               (Domini Teer at the time of the murders, had long red hair and dressed in black with blue jeans with holes in the knees.)

(Jason Baldwin had long dark blonde hair, and wore black shirts with blue jeans, with holes tore in the knees, just like Domini Teer.)

(Damien and Domini at the local skating rink in the days after the murders. Domini is wearing a black t-shirt with blue jeans, just like Jason Baldwin.)

 

So, at roughly 9:45 Damien is spotted walking along the service road near the crime scene with wet and muddy clothing. He’s seen with a second person, who could be Jason Baldwin, and these two people are walking in the direction of Jason Baldwin’s trailer. Damien then gets home some time between 10-10:30, and speaks with the three girls who had been trying to reach him much of the night, and then he speaks to Jason Baldwin immediately after getting them off the phone.

(Path from the Pipe Bridge into the crime scene.)

The evidence shows that it seems highly unlikely that he wasn’t familiar with the area, and the crime scene, which is why he told Larry King that he lived 10-15 miles away from the crime scene. He not only lived in West Memphis, but often walked the neighborhood where the victims lived and hung-out around Robin Hood Hills and in Robin Hood Hills. He was also unaccounted for at the time of the crime and neither he, nor Jason Baldwin could be reached by phone when the crime occurred. Eye witnesses who knew Damien also witnessed him fleeing the crime scene with a second person. Damien and this second person had wet and muddy clothes on, again fitting the facts of the crime.