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.

Advertisements

Jessie Misskelley: THE TRACY LAXTON INCIDENT

On May 15, 1993, Jessie Misskelley, and his older friend David Sims, who was 22-years-old at the time, and his younger friend, Dennis Carter, who was 15, had called the police from a bowling Alley stating they had seen three little boys, who were around 8 or 9 years old fleeing from a man near some train tracks. When the police arrived, they pointed the finger at a man named Tracy Laxton, saying that Laxton not only had tried to lure three little boys into the woods just moments prior, but had approached them as well, offering to let them drink in his camp in the near-by woods.

Ultimately Laxton was investigated and cleared, but the people who implicated him in the murders was shocking.

From the report:

Upon seeing officers, they came up & stated that they were walking on railroad tracks & had just bought something to drink at (indecipherable) and three white males who were (indecipherable) walking on tracks. Saw them & started running (indecipherable). Above described #1, #2 & #3 stated that as they got up on the tracks behind Goodyear they observed a W/M with reddish/blond hair come out of the woods and started trying to talk to them he said his name was Tracy & that he was from Mississippi & that his car had broken down at a church in Mississippi, Subject #1, #2 & #3 stated that the guy asked if they wanted to come over to his camp & drink some beer, #1, #2 & 3 stated they got scared because of the recent murders of the white males & that they ran to the phone in front of Howards Donuts & called the Police, then walked to the bowling alley. See Attached Subject Descriptions on #1, #2, #3

(The police report filed on May 15, 1993.)

(The police report filed on May 15, 1993.)

Following his confession to police, Dennis Carter, who had taken part in accusing Laxton, expressed that he wasn’t surprised that Jessie was arrested for the murders.

“Dennis states that he was not really surprised when he heard that Jesse was arrested for the homicide. States that he was always nice to him but it didn’t really surprise him that he was involved. States that Jesse never mentioned the murders to him.”

Link to transcribed notes of interview with Dennis Carter

David Sims, the other participant in the Laxton accusations also said the following about the events on May 15th:

“Jessie Misskelley never said anything about knowing about the murders, except the night we were at the police dept & he said (Jessie) that he thought Damien & Jason did the murders.”

(July 16, 1993 statement by David Sims discussing the Laxton incident.)

Sims further told the police that Jessie was “scared of Damien.”

(Excerpt from David Sims’ July 16, 1993 statement to police.)

The three 8-year-old boys that Jessie Misskelley and his two friends, David Sims and Dennis Carter had claimed they saw fleeing from Laxton were never found.

It was this incident that directed police to Jessie Misskelley on June 3, 1993 and the eventual confession to the murders of Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers.

Reluctant Witness: Buddy Lucas

21055067_10212379689038860_9017466338912084821_o(Recent photo of Buddy Lucas)

 

Buddy Sydney Lucas was perhaps one of the strongest witnesses in the case against the WM3, yet, for the most part he’s fallen off the face of the earth and remained silent on who killed Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers. But in 1993 and 1994, that would all be a different story…

During Jessie Misskelley’s confession to police on June 3, 1993, he informed investigators that he had given away the shoes he wore on the night of the murders to his friend Buddy Lucas:

 

DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Ok. So you had a white t-shirt with a basketball design on it? (22 second pause) Ok, uh, what about shoes. What kind of shoes did you have on?

 

MISSKELLEY: White and blue Adidas.

 

DETECTIVE GITCHELL: White and blue?

 

MISSKELLEY: Mm-hmm.

 

DETECTIVE GITCHELL: And who has those shoes now?

 

MISSKELLEY: Buddy Lucas.

 

DETECTIVE GITCHELL: And how old is Buddy?

 

MISSKELLEY: He’s about 18 or 19.

 

DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Why, why does he have your shoes?

 

MISSKELLEY: We went, we was coming home one day and it was raining and he didn’t have nothing else to wear so he put on one of my shoes.

 

DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Ok, and where does he live at?

 

MISSKELLEY: In Lakeshore.

A few days later, on June 10th, Officer Bryn Ridge visited Buddy Lucas and his mother, May Hudson at their trailer in Lakeshore Trailer Park.

b_lucas_photo                          (Photo of Buddy Lucas from 1993.)

During contact with the police, Buddy told Ridge a story that several months earlier, himself(Buddy Lucas), Jessie Misskelley, and another boy, Billy McGee had driven around on a 4-wheeler in some mud,  that afterwords his shoes were caked in mud, so Jessie gave him a pair of shoes to wear home. However Buddy alleged this occurred 4 months prior, making the incident take place well before the murders. This statement was then written down in a report by Buddy’s mother, May Hudson, and the police then took possession from Buddy a pair of blue and white Adidas shoes, which Buddy said were the ones that Jessie gave him. These shoes also happened to match the description of the shoes, in Jessie’s confession.

 

lucas_b_statement (June 10, 1993 Statement by Buddy Lucas.)

But this would not be the last contact with Buddy Lucas…

The next contact with police was on September 8, 1993, in which police asked him about his taking part in a violent assault committed by Jessie Misskelley and some other teens. The incident involved Jessie beating up a teenager with Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols, as well as other boys such as Buddy Lucas. The teen who was beaten up was John Perschke, who eye witnesses said Jessie threatened with a knife, pushing it toward Perschke’s throat and asking him, “would you like to be dead?”

Lucas told police that he did not participate in the incident, but had watched it from afar, saying he saw Jessie and about 6 other people there threaten John Perschke, and that he did in fact see Jessie press a knife to John’s throat.

lucas_b_statement2(September 8, 1993 statement by Buddy Lucas.)

The next time the police spoke to Buddy was on October 14, 1993. The reason Buddy was picked up was the result of a tip from his own uncle, who later gave a statement months later, on January 3, 1994, saying that his uncle, Eddie Wilson had heard from some people, that Buddy was telling people from his work details of the crime. Eddie then confronted Buddy on this, and Lucas allegedly admitted to his uncle that Jessie Misskelley had given him a pair of shoes which had blood on them.

 

wilson_a_and_e_report(Report on the statement from Buddy’s Uncle Eddie Wilson.)

Following this information, the police picked up Buddy from his work, and took him down to the police station and took a taped interview from him. It was during this interview, Buddy admitted new and crucial information about the shoes. Lucas had also told the police that the reason he had not told them the truth before, was due to being scared the police might arrest him too.

RIDGE – OKAY, SO YOU DIDN’T COME TO THE POLICE EITHER? 

 

LUCAS – UH-UH 

 

RIDGE – WHY DID YOU NOT COME TO THE POLICE? 

 

LUCAS – I WAS AFRAID THAT YOU ALL WOULD LOCK ME UP FOR IT, I DIDN’T HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT 

Lucas also expressed his fear that if if he had told the police, that he was worried someone might try to kill him as well, after-all, Jessie had told him he had killed the boys with his friends Jason and Damien, and he himself personally witnessed Jessie put a knife to John Perschke’s throat:

RIDGE – WERE YOU JUST SCARED OF US OR SCARED YOU WERE HURTING JESSIE, WHAT WERE YOU SCARED OF? 

 

LUCAS – THE REASON I DIDN’T COME UH, THEN BEFORE HE TOLD YOU ALL EVERYTHING, BECAUSE I WAS AFRAID IF I DID THAT HE WOULD HAVE SOMEBODY HURT ME 

 

RIDGE – YOU WERE AFRAID JESSIE WOULD HAVE SOMEBODY TO HURT YOU? 

 

LUCAS – YES SIR, HE KNOWS ALOT OF PEOPLE, THAT I DON’T KNOW 

 

RIDGE – OKAY 

 

LUCAS – I’M AFRAID HE WOULD HAVE SOME BODY HURT ME AND EVERYTHING 

It was then according to Lucas, that he revealed to police, that on May 6th, the day after the murders, he and Jessie were hanging out at Jessie’s trailer, and it was during this time that Jessie gave Lucas a pair of shoes to wear, saying he did not want to see them again. Jessie had also broken down crying and confessed to the murders, stating that he, Jason, and Damien had hurt some boys and were in trouble. Accordingly, Jessie told Buddy that he wanted to tell the police about the crime, and thus turn his friends in, but didn’t know how to do so without also going to jail for his part in the murders.

LUCAS – WE WAS UH, WAS TALKING ABOUT GOING OVER UH, BOBBY DOLLARS WIFE’S HOUSE TO GET MY HAIR CUT, BECAUSE SHE CUT LITTLE HAIR NOW AND THEN 

 

RIDGE – OKAY 

 

LUCAS – SO I WAS GOING TO GO OVER THERE, SO I SAID LETS GO OVER SEE ABOUT GETTING HER TO CUT MY HAIR, WE WENT OVER THERE, SHE CUT MY HAIR, HE SIT THERE AND PLAYED THE NINTENDO WITH HER LITTLE BOYS 

 

RIDGE – OKAY 

 

LUCAS – AND EVERYTHING, CAUSE HE USED TO, HE CLEANED UP HER HOUSE, WATCHES HER KIDS FOR HER, SO WE LEFT WE WENT BACK TO HIS HOUSE, I STARTED, I TOLD HIM, MAN, UH, THANKS FOR GOING OVER UH, BOBBY’S WIFE’S WITH ME AND EVERYTHING TO GET MY HAIR CUT, I GOING TO HOWLER AT YOU LATER, HE SAID NO MAN I GOT TO TELL YOU SOMETHING, AND EVERYTHING AND HE WAS BREAKING OUT IN A SWEAT 

 

RIDGE – YOU SAID SOMETHING ABOUT HIS EYES WHEN WE TALKED EARLIER WHAT WAS IT ABOUT HIS EYES 

 

LUCAS – THEY… THEY HAD WATER DROPPING FROM THEM 

 

RIDGE – HE HAD BEEN CRYING? 

 

LUCAS – UH-HUH SOMETHING LIKE THAT 

 

RIDGE – THAT’S JUST WHAT YOU THOUGHT? 

 

LUCAS – UH-HUH 

 

RIDGE – DID HE TELL YOU HE HAD BEEN CRYING? 

 

LUCAS – UH-UH 

 

RIDGE – OKAY, SO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HE TELLS YOU HE HAS TO TELL YOU SOMETHING? 

 

LUCAS – SO WE SIT THERE, SIT THERE, AND I SAID, HE SAID MAN ME JASON AND DAMIEN WE WENT WALKING LAST NIGHT IN THE TOWN OF WEST MEMPHIS, I SAID WHY DIDN’T YOU ALL COME BY AND GET ME? WE WILL WE UH, WE WERE IN A HURRY AND EVERYTHING GO UP THERE AND COME BACK HOME. I SAID ALRIGHT I UNDERSTAND (INAUDIBLE) NOW SINCE I FOUND OUT I’M KINDA GLAD HE DIDN’T COME BY AND GET ME 

RIDGE – OKAY, WHAT DID HE TELL YOU HE DO? 

 

LUCAS – WE…. HE TOLD ME THAT UH, THAT HE GOT IN A FIGHT, THAT’S WHAT HE TOLD ME AT FIRST 

 

RIDGE – OKAY 

 

LUCAS – I SAID DAMIEN AND JASON THEY HELPED YOU? HE SAID UM-YEA AND EVERYTHING SO I SAID WELL DID YOU ALL HURT ANYBODY? AND HE SAID YEA, I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS THOSE 8 YEAR OLD KIDS OR ANYTHING, SO I TURN AROUND AND COME TO FOUND OUT THAT JASON HE WAS WITH JASON AND DAMIEN WHEN THEY SACRIFICED THEM LITTLE KIDS. I WAS COME AND TELL YOU ALL 

 

RIDGE – OKAY 

 

LUCAS – AND HE SAID NO I’LL DO IT 

 

RIDGE – SO HE TELLS YOU HE WILL COME TO THE POLICE 

 

LUCAS: UH-HUH, AND ALRIGHT THAT WEEKEND I CAME BACK OVER AT MY MOM’S AND EVERYTHING 

 

RIDGE – UH-HUH 

 

LUCAS – I READ ABOUT IT IN THE PAPER AND EVERYTHING AND COME TO FOUND OUT HE DID FRONT HIS SELF THAT HE DID DO IT CAUSE HE TOLD ME HE WOULD 

 

RIDGE – OKAY 

 

LUCAS – AND EVERYTHING 

 

RIDGE – DID YOU CALL HIM? 

 

LUCAS – UH? 

 

RIDGE – WHEN YOU READ THING IN THE PAPER DID YOU CALL JESSIE OR TALK TO HIM AGAIN? 

 

LUCAS – UH-UH, CAUSE HE WAS ALREADY LOCKED UP WHEN I HEARD ABOUT IT, IN THE PAPER 

 

RIDGE – OKAY 

 

LUCAS – AND EVERYTHING, CAUSE IT HAD THEIR PICTURE ON THE FRONT PAGE 

 

RIDGE – OKAY, THURSDAY MORNING AFTER THIS WEDNESDAY YOU WENT TO HIS HOUSE 

 

LUCAS – UH-HUH 

 

RIDGE – HE TELLS YOU HE’S IN SOME TROUBLE? 

 

LUCAS – UH-HUH 

 

RIDGE – AND WHAT DID HE TELL YOU HE WAS IN TROUBLE OVER? 

 

LUCAS – THAT HE REALLY, HE SAID UM, WE HURT, UH…. UH WE HURT A COUPLE OF BOYS, THAT JASON AND DAMIEN KILLED 

 

RIDGE – OKAY 

 

LUCAS – COUPLE, I SAID WAS YOU INVOLVED? HE SAID YEA, I SAID WHAT DID YOU DO? I FINALLY GOT IT TALKED OUT OF HIM WHAT DID HE DO, HE SAID I HIT UH, A COUPLE IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD 

 

RIDGE – OKAY, AND 

 

LUCAS – AND EVERYTHING TO KEEP THEM FROM RUNNING AND EVERYTHING 

 

RIDGE – AND THAT’S WHAT HE TOLD YOU? 

 

LUCAS – YES SIR 

 

RIDGE – AND THIS IS ON THURSDAY MORNING? 

 

LUCAS – UH-HUH 

 

RIDGE – OKAY. 

 

LUCAS – THE TWO SHOES HE GAVE ME, AND EVERYTHING 

 

RIDGE – DID HE GIVE YOU SOME SHOES ON THAT THURSDAY MORNING? 

 

LUCAS – UH-HUH 

 

RIDGE – OKAY, AND DESCRIBE TO ME HOW HE GAVE YOU THOSE SHOES? 

 

LUCAS – HE… HE PICKED UP AND STARTED TO HAND THEM TO ME. ALL THE SUDDENLY HE DROPPED THEM, AND BROKE OUT IN SWEAT, CRYING EVERYTHING ELSE, HE SAID MAN TAKE THOSE SHOES I DON’T WANT TO SEE THEM NO MORE, I SAID YOUR SURE? AND EVERYTHING, I DON’T REMEMBER SEEING THOSE SHOES AT HIS HOUSE, HE SAID, I SAID ARE THEY YOURS? HE SAID YEA. SO I SAID, HE SAID TAKE THEM I DON;T WANT TO SEE THEM NO MORE, I SAID ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT ME TO TAKE THEM? AND HE SAID YEA, AND EVERYTHING SO THERE WASN’T NOTHING ON THE SHOES AND EVERYTHING SO TURN AROUND HE GOING, I GOT THE SHOES I WENT HOME AND EVERYTHING 

 

RIDGE – AFTER YOU GOT THE SHOES DID HE SAY, WHAT DID HE SAY EXACTLY TO YOU ABOUT THOSE SHOES? 

 

LUCAS – THAT HE DIDN’T WANT TO SEE THEM ANYMORE AND 

 

RIDGE – OKAY 

 

LUCAS – AND EVERYTHING HE DIDN’T WANT TO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM SHOES 

Immediately following his taped interview, Lucas was administered a polygraph. It was during this polygraph interview, that Lucas suddenly began to recant the statement he just gave moments before. He was now claiming that none of the events he described had happened.

lucas_b_poly(Polygraph report on Buddy Lucas, showing he failed when he denied his prior statements were true.)

After being confronted with the fact that the polygraph detected deception in his answers now denying that he knew anything about the crime, Lucas admitted he was trying to take back his statement, because he was scared of what might happen to himself or his family if he agreed to testify against Jessie Misskelley.

After the polygraph Lucas spoke with Deputy Prosecutor, John Fogleman and told him he had tried to recant, because he was scared that Jessie’s friends, Dennis Carter and Dino Perfetti might try to harm him or his family if he testified. He then provided the police with another pair of shoes and agreed to give them the shoes he was wearing, so they could investigate him as a possible suspect since he had now stated he had knowledge of the crime which he tried to hide from investigators.

Shortly after this, a defense investigator, working for Damien Echols, by the name of Ron Lax had approached Buddy Lucas and his family. Lucas had made contradictory statements, first saying that Jessie had given him the shoes before the murders, then admitted to lying to police and even to having knowledge of the murders. It was after this meeting with Lax, that Lucas suddenly stopped cooperating with police and began looking for alibi witnesses to try and alibi himself for the night of the murders.

It was Deputy Prosecutor, John Folgleman’s opinion, that Ron Lax had scared Lucas into refusing to testify, which Lucas seemed to agree with during a taped phone call between Fogleman and Lucas and his mother May Hudson. During the call, Buddy insists his uncle is lying, and says he became scared when Detective Bill Durham, who had been giving him the polygraph had confronted him when he failed the polygraph and was shown to be lying:

Fogleman: Nobody’s saying that you were involved in the murders, Buddy 

 

Buddy: I didn’t want to be brought up in it and I don’t — Mr. John, I won’t go to court on Damien and Jason 

 

Fogleman: And you’re not going to be asked to go to court, Buddy. But did Ron Lax tell you that you were going to be brought up in the middle of it? 

 

Buddy: No. Uh uh. I just thought that I didn’t want to be brought up in it, and he said that — 

 

Fogleman: Buddy, you’ve been listening on the other end, right? And you know what I told your mom about — 

 

Mary: No, he just got on 

 

Fogleman: You just got on? 

 

Buddy: uh huh 

 

Fogleman: Well tell your momma what you told Eddie Wilson about the bloody tennis shoes 

 

Buddy: I didn’t say nothing to Eddie Wilson 

 

Fogleman: Now Buddy. Why would Eddie tell the police that you did? 

 

Buddy: I didn’t say nothing to Eddie. I didn’t even say anything to Eddie. 

 

Fogleman: Well I’m not talking about lately. I’m talking about some time ago. 

 

Mary: Did you tell Eddie and Amy and everything that Jessie gave you a pair of bloody tennis shoes? 

 

Buddy: nuh uh. I told him that uh when I went hunting with Uncle Ronny that pair of shoes I gave little Eddie 

 

Mary: uh huh 

 

Buddy: and he asked me where that stain come from and I told him when me and Ronny went hunting. And he asked Uncle Ronny and Uncle Ronny told him yeah 

 

Fogleman: Well, Buddy, why do you think if that’s all you told him then why would Eddie go to the police with that? 

 

Buddy: Because he thought I had something to do with it. that’s when they kicked me out. 

 

Fogleman: They kicked you out of the house because they thought you had something to do with it? 

 

Buddy: Yes sir, cause they kept on jumping down my throat and I told them look just get off my back cause I don’t know nothing about it. And I left. They kept jumping down my throat. I told them look I don’t know nothing about it. 

 

Fogleman: Buddy, and listen, it’s all over with and nobody thinks you had anything to do with murdering those boys. Nobody does. But — 

 

Buddy: My family didn’t believe that 

 

Fogleman: (laughs) 

 

Mary: Nobody didn’t think you did 

 

Fogleman: But nobody thinks that you had anything to do with it Buddy. And all I’m trying — all that’s over with. You’re not gonna be called to testify. You know Jessie’s trial is over with — 

 

Buddy: You all won’t bother me no more, will you? 

 

Fogleman: No, we’re not going to bother you Buddy. We just want to know the truth about it because you know these people are telling us things and this investigator this Lax guy is going around getting all kinds of witnesses to change their stories. And I never had — I’ve been doing this for over ten years and I’ve never had one witness change their story. Once they tell the police, I’ve never had them do it and we’ve had at least three in this case do it. And I’m just trying to find out what in the world is going on. 

 

Buddy: I know they hollered at me Mr. John and that ain’t no lie 

 

Fogleman: well 

 

Buddy: That Durham guy 

 

Fogleman: Yeah well if he did he shouldn’t have done that but why — 

 

Buddy: Mr. John I was scared, crying, didn’t know what to do. I figured they was gonna throw me in jail. And I ain’t never been locked up in my life.

 

Fogleman: Well and you’re not gonna be locked up. You know I’m just wanting to know you know like Eddie and Amy Wilson they called the police and said that he had heard – he said that he had heard that you’d been talking around your job saying that you had something to do with it. And he said — wait, let me finish — he said that he went down and confronted you about it and that you said naw I didn’t have anything to do with it and I hadn’t been saying that but he did Jessie did give me these bloody tennis shoes. 

 

Buddy: nuh uh 

 

Mary: The shoes that Jessie gave Buddy Mr. John the police dept got them when they first comed and questioned Buddy 

Buddy: The blue and white adidas ones – the only pair of shoes Jessie gave me Mr. John 

 

Fogleman: Well and another thing that confused me about that Buddy is that you know you’d said that you’d gotten those shoes from Jessie like way back in Feb? 

 

Buddy: yuh huh 

 

Fogleman: Well you know when Jessie told the police about what happened he says that the shoes that he was wearing that day were white and blue adidas and that he gave them to you. And then when the police come and talk to you the first time you give them a pair of white and blue adidas 

 

Mary: yeah 

 

Buddy: uh huh 

 

Fogleman: Now why in the world would Jessie say you know pull out of the sky a pair of white and blue adidas that he had had given to you three months before? 

 

Buddy: Try to cover up for the real shoes 

 

Fogleman: Well and well, is Jessie that smart? To try to cover up for the real shoes? 

 

Buddy: I just guessed that I mean — we was all four-wheel riding 

 

Fogleman: even if — 

 

Buddy: uh huh and he gave me shoes back in February to wear home cause I got mine wet and muddy 

 

Fogleman: Ok. Well Buddy, even if he did give you some bloody shoes that wouldn’t mean that you were in trouble or that somehow that would mean that you were guilty of anything 

 

Buddy: I just don’t want to be brought up in it 

 

Fogleman: Well, you’re not going to be but I just want to find out the truth. I mean I can give you my word you’re not going to be called as a witness. And you know me and your momma knows me, and I’ve never steered you all wrong. 

 

Buddy: But Mr. John I wanted to tell you about with him hollering at me 

 

Fogleman: uh huh 

 

Buddy: But I was just scared and stuff. my mom told me she said you can tell Mr. John and Mr. John would take of it 

 

Fogleman: Kind of hurt my feelings when you wouldn’t talk to me and then I get a call from a lawyer and 

 

Buddy: But I was scared though. He was hollering at me. I didn’t know what to do, I thought he was going to throw me in jail 

 

Mary: What I decided that was me about the lawyer Mr. John 

 

Fogleman: uh huh 

 

Mary: And everything. Because I was I mean if Buddy had to go to court 

 

Fogleman: uh huh 

 

Mary: And I walked into that courtroom and Buddy told me that man screamed and hollered at him I would grab that man 

 

Fogleman: well 

 

Mary: I believe in the law 

 

Fogleman: uh huh 

 

Mary: and I believe in everything right and I think that you do too 

 

Fogleman: uh huh 

 

Mary: I mean we’re taxpayers we pay 

 

Fogleman: Sure, that’s right 

 

Mary: And he’s supposed to do right. if you don’t, get out of the system 

 

Fogleman: mm hmmm. Yep. Well I can’t argue with what you’re saying. It’s just I just wanted you Mary to understand that the police just didn’t dream this up but that they had some basis for talking to Buddy about where these shoes came from some more 

 

Mary: that’s what I tried to tell Buddy. I said somebody had to be talking. 

 

Buddy: but Mr. John 

 

Fogleman: yes sir 

 

Buddy: You can ask my family. You can’t believe little Eddie in nothing. I swear you cannot believe — 

 

Fogleman: who? 

 

Buddy: You can ask any part of my family. You cannot believe little Eddie and Amy. 

 

Fogleman: uh huh 

 

Buddy: Eddie Wilson 

 

Mary: and Mr. John about little Eddie and Amy 

 

Fogleman: uh huh 

 

Mary: You oughta check their brother’s record. Chris. 

 

Fogleman: uh huh 

 

Mary: and everything. Little Eddie’s not so bad. Little Eddie’s pretty good, but it’s his wife and the crowds he moves around with 

 

Fogleman: uh huh. Well Buddy and again you’re not going to be brought up into anything but what we’re trying to find out. What we really believe — even though this investigator was being nice to you when he talks to you, we think that he’s doing more than just talking. And you know maybe suggesting some things about us that aren’t true. 

 

Buddy: I know he didn’t, Mr. John, I swear he did not bribe me 

 

Fogleman: oh no I’m not suggesting he bribed you. I didn’t say anything about anyone paying — did I say anything about anyone paying any money? 

 

Buddy: nuh uh 

 

Fogleman: no I didn’t and I didn’t mean that. But I mean there are ways that people do things like for instance suggesting that or you know if you [?] that could get you in trouble. And saying something like that. Did he ever say anything like that? 

 

Buddy: uh uh. But bout them shoes, you cannot believe little Eddie and Amy. I mean if you check on those records and people they hang around with I mean 

 

Fogleman: Buddy I — you know I told you before you know that that’s over with 

 

Buddy: uh huh 

 

Fogleman: You know that only mattered in Jessie’s trial 

 

Buddy: uh huh 

 

Fogleman: ok? 

 

Buddy: uh huh 

 

Fogleman: That’s all that mattered, was in Jessie’s trial. Jessie’s trial’s over with 

 

Buddy: yes sir 

 

Fogleman: So you don’t have to worry about that, ok? 

 

Buddy: Alright. You ain’t mad at me, Mr. John? 

 

Fogleman: I’m not mad at you, Buddy 

And just like that, Buddy Lucas accused his own family members of lying against him, suggested that he might for some reason be arrested for his involvement in the crime, and lawyered up rather than testify to what he knew.

Despite his statements to police, that Jessie Misskelley did the murders and was trying to implicate Jason and Damien without going to prison himself, supporters of the West Memphis Three sometimes parade around Buddy Lucas as if he had participated in the murders, instead alleging that Lucas committed the murders with LG Hollingsworth, a friend of Damien Echols and related to Echols’ girlfriend Domini Teer, and that the two committed the murders with Stevie Branch’s step-dad Terry Hobbs and his friend David Jacoby.

From a news story from March 13, 2013 in which the accusation first emerged:

An attorney for one of the victim’s mother dropped the bombshell in court today that she believes her ex-husband Terry Hobbs took part in the killings.

The hearing was to allow the victim’s parents to see all the evidence in the case.

During the hearing the attorney filed a motion and brief with the court.

In the court document the attorney said new witnesses shed new light on what may have happened to the three West Memphis boys on May 5th 1993.

“The truth is right here,” Mark Byers said.

Byers’ son was one of three boys murdered.

He believes the truth of what happened to his son Christopher, Steve Branch and Michael Moore is in an affidavit from a man named Bennie Guy.

Guy claims there were four people involved in the murders and two of them confessed to him.

He said Buddy Lucas confided in him nearly a year after the murders.

“I asked what did you do? He then said, me L G Hollingsworth and two men, we was there with them boys. We did it.”

He said he didn’t tell anyone because he “didn’t want the boy to get into trouble for something i could not believe he had done.”

Link to story

So, which is it with Buddy Lucas? Was he a witness against the WM3 or a suspect in the crime, or both? Supporters of the WM3 will always dismiss Lucas as a witness when it comes to Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, but consistently prop him up as a suspect in the murders whenever it fits their agenda of saying that someone else did it.

Was Eddie Wilson lying?

Why did Buddy fail the polygraph?

Why did Buddy make the statement to police about Jessie’s confession?

Why did he mention to police that Jessie hit some of the victims to stop them from running away?Jessie had told the police that he had to chase down Michael Moore to prevent him from running away, the statement is shocking then that Lucas would make a similar statement.

And what of those shoes? Isn’t it odd that Buddy immediately turns over a pair of blue and white Adidas shoes after Jessie tells the police on the night of the murders he was wearing a pair of blue and white Adidas?

 

Damien Echols and DNA

00damien_and_domini

(Damien Echols in the days following the murders wearing an axe necklace.)

Of the most significant allegations made by the defense and supporters of the West Memphis three was the claim that no DNA evidence was ever recovered that connected any of the convicted men to the crime. This allegation however is dubious and wholey inaccurate as one can easily see when they discover that DNA located at the crime scene and even on evidence recovered from a necklace belonging to Damien Echols had connected Mr. Echols to the murders.

THE LIGATURE DNA—

(WARNING! Link contains cropped image of autopsy photo depicting the ligatures of Stevie Branch.WARNING!)

The ligatures used to bind Stevie Branch.

DNA testing conducted years after the murders while the West Memphis Three were incarcerated revealed three DNA mixtures recovered the bodies of Stevie Branch and Michael Moore. One of these samples was located on the ligatures used to bind Stevie Branch at the crime scene. This DNA revealed a mixture of DNA, meaning there was DNA present from two different individuals on these bindings.

exhibit_p_12

(The DNA findings from the ligatures, indicating three different numbers present on the D5s818 Locus.)

exhibit_v_12

(DNA profiles for the West Memphis Three and the victims in the case.)

As seen in the images above, the numbers listed under D5s818 on the ligatures for Stevie Branch are 10,11,12. Normally there would only be two numbers present as seen in the second image showing the DNA profiles for the victims and the West Memphis Three, but here there is three numbers, indicating the presence of a second person’s DNA. In addition under the Locus for D13s317 are the numbers are 8,11.

Now, Stevie Branch’s profile for the D5s818 is only 10, 12. So that means the number 11 must be more than likely part of the profile from the second party who left their DNA on the ligature used to bind Stevie, and more than likely shared one of the same numbers as Stevie; either 10 or 12. And of the DNA profiles of the victims and the West Memphis Three, the only ones that could fit for D5s818 would be either Damien Echols or Jessie Misskelley, who both had 11,12 which would fit with the DNA mixture on the ligatures for Stevie Branch. However Misskelley’s profile for D13s317 does not correspond to the DNA, which is 8,11. This leaves Damien Echols as a better candidate for being the individual who’s DNA is mixed with Stevie Branch’s on the ligatures in question. So, whoever deposited the DNA on the ligatures just so happened to share a similar DNA profile to Damien Echols.

This item of evidence is often disregarded, because there was evidence of contamination present, which has been used by supporters of the West Memphis Three to suggest that any subsequent DNA recovered had to be from the real killer, and therefore any physical evidence against Damien Echols was not to be believed.

 

THE EVIDENCE OF CONTAMINATION–

(Autopsy photo shows someone,handling Stevie Branch’s genitals without any gloves on. The penile swab taken from Stevie’s genitals, subsequently didn’t match any known suspects.)

The DNA profile for Stevie’s penile swab, revealed a profile that did not match to either Stevie, nor to any of the suspects. As can be seen, the numbers listed for D168539 are 8 and 11.

Examining the DNA profiles for all, it shows above, that Stevie’s numbers were 9,12, so the recovered sample, 8,11 is not from him. And none of the DNA samples from either the victims nor the suspects, had an 8 for D168639, so that means someone else left this sample, and the above autopsy photo shows what appears to be Dr. Peretti not wearing gloves when he was doing the autopsy photos of Stevie’s genital region at the same exact location as the penile swab.

 


Lastly another penile swab, this time taken from Michael Moore, may have been the result of contamination. The numbers again showed a mixture, this time for D5s818, and of this mixture it showed likely Michael Moore’s DNA and an unknown second individual’s DNA. Looking at the suspect DNA samples, none of them are consistent with the mixture of 9,12,13, which is not surprising considering that no gloves were worn when Stevie’s genitals were handled for the purpose of documenting injuries at the location. It’s therefore likely that the same may be true in the case of the DNA pulled from Moore’s genitals.

A response from the prosecution in this matter was that the bodies had sat over night in a ditch, submerged in water, and thus, any usable DNA from the killer had likely washed away. And with this in mind, the three DNA mixtures recovered from the bodies of Stevie Branch and Michael Moore were in question as likely contamination, particularly in light of the photo of someone’s bare hand touching Stevie’s genitals.

The fact of the matter was that the DNA pulled from the genital swabs was compromised during autopsy, likely by Dr. Frank Peretti, who had performed the autopsy.

THE AXE NECKLACE DNA—

ascl_03-11-94_submission

(Crime Lab document detailing an investigation into dark spots located on Damien’s necklace, which later was proven to be blood.)

ascl_03_14_94

(Another document discussing the discovery of blood on Damien’s necklace.)

Damien Necklace

According to documents and video from the early 90’s, specs of blood were discovered on a necklace that had been worn by Damien Echols. The blood was too small at that time for exact DNA testing to be performed, but once again found a DNA mixture composited from blood from two different people on this necklace. DNA results revealed that one of the individuals who bled onto the necklace was Damien Echols, the chief suspect in the murders of the three victims. But DNA on the second individual was less clear as there was less blood. Tests determined that it either belonged to Stevie Branch, the victim who’s ligatures had DNA that could have been from Damien Echols, or the other possibility being Damien’s alleged accomplice Jason Baldwin.

To go further into this matter, there existed evidence that the necklace at one time belonged to Jason Baldwin, having most likely been given to him by a girlfriend prior to the murders. It is also known that both Damien and Jason wore this necklace as indicated in the below photo, which depicts Jason Baldwin wearing it.

States_exhibit_99

In addition, Jason had several drawings in his room at the time of his arrest.

jb_journal_graded_paper

(Homework assignment belonging to Jason Baldwin with drawings in the corner.)

drawings3

(Drawing of the axe necklace located on the above home work assignment.)

The question becomes, if one were to believe the blood on the necklace was Jason Baldwin’s, why was he bleeding on it? And why was there blood of Damien also? Could it be because they were killing three little boys and had they themselves been injured in the commission of the crime?

But the real more shocking scenario in this matter is the more likely probability that this DNA is that of Stevie Branch, the victim who Jessie Misskelley alleged in his confessions that Damien was most responsible for attacking and murdering.

Both matters are discussed in a deleted scene from the documentary Paradise Lost, in which the film makers for reasons unknown felt the incriminating evidence should be left out of the film.

The Bloody Necklace

 

Conclusions—

These two DNA items act as physical corroborating evidence to the involvement of Damien Echols in the murder of Stevie Branch. The ligatures revealed a DNA mixture containing DNA from Stevie Branch and a second individual. This mixture as the documentation revealed was consistent with Damien Echols. Further, blood on a necklace worn by Damien and shown to be worn by him in the days and weeks after the murders, turned out to contain blood from two different people; Echols and a second individual. Testing demonstrated that it was very possible that the DNA of the second individual was that of Stevie Branch. Confessions by Jessie Misskelley also implicated Damien Echols as the killer of Stevie Branch.

The very fact that Echols could not be eliminated from the DNA mixture found on the ligatures would be corroborating evidence of the statements made by Jessie Misskelley, and per Jessie’s statements, Damien Echols had tied up Stevie Branch, therefore it would make sense that Damien’s DNA would be present there if he were guilty of the crime… of which DNA happened to be located on the ligatures which matched back to… Damien Echols just as Jessie Misskelley had stated in his confessions.

Going back to the necklace, if Damien was guilty the very fact that blood was located  on an item of clothing belonging to him (the necklace) would be yet another strong corroborating item of guilt. It’s difficult to explain away blood from both himself and a second individual in an innocent manner that does not point to guilt in the homicides. And if Damien was the one who killed Stevie Branch, as Jessie Misskelley had stated, then not only would Damien’s DNA be on the ligatures but  there would exist evidence, such as blood which would be upon his person, and it was. And if Damien was the person who killed Stevie Branch, then the blood would then be that of Stevie Branch… DNA testing showed that of the victims, the blood was consistent with that of Stevie Branch, further corroborating Jessie’s confession. IN BOTH INSTANCES of Damien Echols and DNA connecting him to the crime it always seemed to connect him to the murder of Stevie Branch. A coincidence? Very unlikely.

The Bite Mark Claims

The following article is broken down into four parts for the convenience of the reader.

Part 1Our Tale Begins: A summery of the Defense Team’s original claims. Containing theories of human bite marks.
Part 2When at First You Don’t Succeed, Lie, Lie, Again: A look at the changing claims, of the Defense. Introducing animal bite marks into the equation.
Part 3The Truth, Reality’s Best Friend: A look at the Prosecution’s opinion. With statements from prosecution experts, and those who actually performed the autopsies, and a break down on the injuries.
Part 4The Simplest Solution is Often the Right One: Additional evidence contradicting the defense claims, including thoughts on a likely murder weapon, evidence of antemortem injuries, luminol, and footwear from the victims.

OUR TALE BEGINS

Over the years the defense team would make numerous claims about the wounds present on the victims. For years they acknowledged that the wounds were mutilations made with a knife. Later they would also insist that all of the serration patterns which had matched to a knife the state had connected to the defendants, were actually human bite marks, but that a knife was also involved.

At the time of the human bite mark claims they had hired a criminal profiler to construct a profile that would point away from the WM3. This profiler was Brent Turvey, who was adamant that the bites were made by John Mark Byers, the step-father of Christopher Byers.

Turv_Bond0904-1
(Brent Turvey)

In an online chat he’d list wounds that he and the defense alleged were on the victims.

<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.

http://murderincorporated.yuku.com/topic/3097/Chat-with-Brent-Turvey-June-6th-1998#.UMPmJvmnKSp

Turvey was eventually cross examined about these claims in the following exchange.

Q.   Mr. Turvey, let me refer you now over to page fourteen of
your report and it’s the section under wound pattern analysis
on this — and this refers to the victim, Steve Branch.

A.    (EXAMINING.)

Q.    Are you there?

A.    Yes, I am.

Q.    Okay. Now, if I understood your testimony yesterday, when
you first received the material regarding the autopsy photos,
did you indicate that the pictures of Steve Branch were some of
the very first ones you examined?

A.    Yes, I did.

Q.    Okay. And if I understand, you characterized —
understood your testimony, as soon as you looked at the picture of the face of Steve Branch, based on your experience and knowledge and training, as soon as you looked at it, the thought bite mark jumped in your mind?

A.    Bite mark, yes, with an explanation.

Q.    Okay.

A.    My explanation being that I am not qualified to determine
the difference between a human bite mark and an animal bite
mark which is why I immediately said, okay, hopefully, a
forensic odontologist had looked at these.

Q.    Which one were you looking at?

A.    Which one?

Q.   Yeah.

A.    I was looking at the entire area.

Q.    Okay.

A.    There wasn’t a particular one. There — there were
several areas that could have had — that could have been
injuries that were the result of bite marks…

Q.   Okay. Were you aware of any efforts performed by the medical examiner’s office to specifically examine all three of the bodies for the purpose of ascertaining if there were any– any injuries consistent with bite marks?

A.    I — I have no report that says to me that they — whoa.
I apologize. Let me back up for a second. There is a mention of the tooth impressions on the victims  — of the inside of the victims’ mouths —

Q.    Right.

A.    — that were the result of their own lips being pressed
against their teeth. However, outside of that, I have no
knowledge of any — any efforts made by the medical examiner in

Q.   Okay. When you looked at the photographs of Steve Branch,
immediately the lights go off, you say in your head that —
that we may have bite marks here.

A.    Yes. 

Q.   Okay. And would you also expect a forensic pathologist looking at those same photographs to have the same reaction?

A.    I would hope but with an explanation. Can I — can I
explain?

Q.    Sure.

A.    My — my experience is that sometimes they see ’em and
sometimes they don’t…

A.   Sure.

Q.   Okay. And you would expect if bite marks were this
obvious that they jump out at you on the first perusal of the
photographs that you could get — you could rely on getting
some input back from the pathologist regarding that area?

A.    I’m not sure I understand the question.

Q.   Okay. You would expect a pathologist to give you some
guidance if you submitted those type of materials to him?

A.    It depends on what you ask the pathologist to do and how
much money you paid him, I suppose. If you only asked him one
question and that’s all you asked, I wouldn’t expect him to
give you anything beyond that question necessarily. It depends
on the forensic pathologist and what was asked of him…

BY MR. DAVIS:

Q.   But the — one of the first steps you would take if you
suspected bite marks is to send it to somebody like a forensic
pathologist to determine do they concur with your opinion?

A.    No. No, that would not be my first step.

Q.    You would — you would go directly to the odontologist?

A.   Yes, I would.

Q.    Okay. And not — not send the photograph for examination
or perusal by — by a forensic pathologist?

A.    It depends on the forensic pathologist. If the forensic
pathologist was also a board certified forensic odontologist,
then I’d be happy to send them to him

Q.    Did you notice what you believed to be bite marks on other
areas of the bodies of other victims?

A.    Yes, I did.

Q.    Okay. And did that enter into some of the opinions you
formulated that there were bite marks on multiple victims?

A.    Potentially bite marks, yes.

http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/rule37/october27.html

In the documentary “Paradise Lost 2: Revelations”, it was cited with a certainty that since John Mark Byers had his teeth pulled, it was proof that these were bite marks… and now the defense team could never prove it in court. In reality Byers simply needed dentures, and liked to gab, giving multiple stories for why he got them pulled. The documentary crew and many supporters of the WM3 would try to suggest that this proved he was the real killer.

Turvey would also suggest that the injuries to Stevie Branch’s genitals were caused by masturbation, and not an injury caused by the perpetrator.

Q.    Okay. Now, I’m — I’m referring to page sixteen of the
report regarding the sexual assault and rape indicators
regarding Steve Branch.

A.    (EXAMINING) Yes.

Q.   Okay. And is it fair to say that in your report that you
concluded that the injuries to the penis of Steve Branch were
the result of self-masturbation or masturbation play.

A.    Those are two possibilities, yes.

Q.   Okay.

A.   Very strong possibilities.

Q.   And you state in the report, it is the experience of this
examiner that this particular type of abrasion injury is
commonly seen as the result of repeated manual masturbation
without sufficient lubrication.

A.    That’s correct.

http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/rule37/october27.html

WHEN AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, LIE, LIE, AGAIN

Years later the defense would drop these claims once they moved on to a new suspect. This time accusing Stevie Branch’s step-father Terry Hobbs. With this new accusation, came new bite mark claims. The bite marks were now the result of animal predation. The problem with this is that defense experts could never settle on what animals had caused the injuries. Some said dogs. Some turtles. Some were vague, but suggested any number of animals. All of these experts also based their opinions off of photos, and did not actually perform autopsies, nor view the bodies in person. This would naturally make it more difficult for an expert to judge if wounds were postmortem, perimortem, or antemortem.

One of the several experts the defense sought out to try and prove their claims was Terri Haddix, who would even claim how he used such cutting edge computer software as Adobe Photoshop to prove that the wounds in the autopsy photos were the result of animals feeding on the corpses and not the result of being mutilated with a knife. He would then vaguely say that a knife looked like it could, maybe make some of the wounds, but that he’d expect more cutting.

Another expert who weighed in on the bite mark claim was Werner Spitz.

118265-forensic-expert-dr-werner-spitz-testifies-in-the-trial-of-casey-anthon
(Werner Spitz testifying for the defense in the Casey Anthony trial.)

Spitz would say the following on the matter.

“Looking at the body of Michael Moore (Exhibit 48Q) I see a pattern on the right shoulder. The pattern is shown in other photographs including 48I. The pattern is all part of one event. It is inconsistent with a tool like a serrated knife.

The pattern is shown in other photographs including 48I. The pattern is all part of one event. It is inconsistent with a tool like a serrated knife.

This seems to look like the paw of a large animal. There are also scratches that look to me like animal mutilation.”

http://www.wm3blackboard.com/board/pdfs/Rule37/Spitz%202.pdf

Paw marks? The defense is currently claiming turtles made these injuries, but Spitz was suggesting that there is paw marks on the victims. As it would turn out Spitz favored dogs as the culprits in his theories.

Spitz also suggested that the victims weren’t even beaten.

“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”

According to him, animals, likely dogs, shook them around causing the skull injuries. He was actually trying to suggest that nearly all of the injuries were the result of dogs picking up the bodies with their teeth, and slamming them into rocks and trees.

http://www.wm3blackboard.com/board/pdfs/Rule37/Spitz%202.pdf

“The injuries that I saw are entirely consistent and
compatible with animal predation and the shaking of the bodies by an animal. The injuries to the face, to the head, the degloving of the penis, the tearing off of the scrotum, those injuries are not man-made. I cannot tell you where they occurred. The penis was not removed, it was degloved. Degloving or mutilation of the genital area by certain animals is not that unusual. I have an exemplar of it with me in one of the books I referenced.”

http://callahan.8k.com/images2/writ_exhibits/Exhibit_FF_04.jpg

Spitz made all of these claims with no proof to back it up. He gave no explanation when it came to the fact that the killer(s) had dumped the bodies under water and pressed them into the mud so they wouldn’t be found. Did the dogs drag the bodies out of the water, and then put them back? Did the dogs wear scuba gear and attack the bodies underwater? How did the boys actually die then? Did they drown? There had only been evidence that two of them drowned.

After learning more about who Werner Spitz, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that his claims would be downright… crazy, as he has a record of making ludicrous claims in other cases.

Lets start with the Casey Anthony case. Here’s some nice quotes about Dr. Spitz from former prosecutor Jeff Ashton’s book “Imperfect Justice”.

“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.”

What a credible expert we have here. Let’s read on. Another time he was called to testify for the defense in the trial of serial killer Richard Ramirez.

The appeals documents point out Spitz’s testimony, making claims that the defense would try try and twist so as to suggest other people had really committed the murders, and that only maybe a few were even linked.

http://scocal.stanford.edu/opinion/people-v-ramirez-33683

“The defense focused on the lack of physical evidence tying defendant to the charged crimes, attacked the reliability of the identifications of defendant, and offered the alibi that defendant was in Texas when the crimes against Mabel Bell, Florence L., and Carol K. were committed.

The manager of Jennie Vincow’s apartment building testified that the windows in the victim’s apartment were in working order following the murder.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz testified, based upon the temperature of Vincow’s apartment, her body temperature when found, and the circumstance that her body had been covered, that Vincow had been dead four to five hours when her body was discovered.

The police officer who discovered the AC/DC cap at the scene of Dale Okazaki’s murder testified the cap was just inside the threshold of the garage.

Okazaki’s roommate, Maria Hernandez, was shown a photographic lineup that did not include defendant’s photograph, and she said one of the photographs resembled her attacker. That person was apprehended and questioned, but then released.

A police officer who responded to the scene where Tsai-Lian Yu was murdered testified that witness Jorge Gallegos told him that he never saw the assailant fight with the victim, did not hear gunshots, and would not be able to identify the assailant. Photographs later taken of the crime scene showed poor lighting conditions that would make an identification of the assailant difficult. A defense pathologist testified that Yu’s injuries were consistent with her having been shot while seated in her car.”

The defense pathologist in the Tsai-Lian Yu portion was Werner Spitz.

The defense team with the help of Spitz had been trying to also suggest that Jennie Vincow’s son, who had discovered her body, killed his elderly mother, which was why they were looking to argue the time of death.

This is a quote from page 488 of “The Night Stalker: The Life and Crimes of Richard Ramirez” by Philip Carlo, concerning some of Spitz’s testimony on behalf of the defense.

“The defense called Dr. Werner Spitz, who stated he had studied the morgue photographs of all fourteen murders in the case. In his opinion, Veronica Yu was shot inside her car, and going by body and ambient temperatures, Jennie Vincow had died two hours before she’d been found.

  Not happy with this witness, Halpin demanded to know why the doctor was so sure Veronica had been shot from inside the car. Spitz replied that the wound was on the right side of the chest and the bullet’s trajectory left-to-right. He then told the jury how he had calculated Vincow’s time of death.”

The defense even went so far as put her son on the stand and make him recount having seen his mother’s remains, and how her head was barely attached to the body. They also attacked him for refusing to take a polygraph and not being cooperative with the police after having witnessed the sight of his mutilated, and partially decapitated mother. He sobbed through-out much of his testimony, and many of the jurors would find it painful to watch.

Lastly lets take a look at the Phil Spector case.

Spitz would testify in that case, to how the victim spontaneously shot herself, despite that her teeth were clenched when the bullet was fired. Now normally when someone shoots themselves, they put the gun in their mouth, and tend… not to inflict extra harm upon themselves, such as shooting through your teeth first.

http://losangelestrials.blogspot.com/2009/02/phil-spector-trial-dr-werner-spitz.html

Here’s some quotes from another site.

“Dr. S: There’s a lot of pressure in a confined space. […] The recoil shattered the teeth but the gases expelled them out […] across the room.

Weinberg then puts up an image of the excised tongue up on the ELMO. To me, this is one of the grossest photos. I know that seems strange but to me, it just is.

DW: Do those appear to be blunt force trauma from something being forced into the mouth?

Spitz identifies the large dark area on the left side of the tongue may not be a bruise at all! It may be soot!

Dr. S: No. There’s a lot of trauma there. […] Lots of explosive trauma in the mouth.

To me, it’s possible this is not what Weinberg expected him to say. It’s interesting that he doesn’t go over the autopsy diagrams with Dr. Spitz from the autopsy report to verify or not verify that this area of the tongue may or may not have been caused by the gun. We know for certain that this area of the tongue is a bruise because Dr. Pena dissected it and found how deep it went. For Dr. Spitz to look and a photograph of it and say that it may not be a bruise, but soot, is pretty sad. It sends me the message that it’s been a long time since he familiarized himself with the evidence.”

http://sprocket-trials.blogspot.com/2009/02/phil-spector-retrial-day-thirty-nine.html


It’s needless to say that while Spitz is a famous, and very high paid expert often deployed by defense teams, his testimony is also questionable.

The defense team would also hire yet another famous, yet questionable expert, this time in the form of Dr. Michael Baden. Baden was noticeably famous as a celebrity forensics expert, having testified for the defense in the O.J. Simpson case. Below is an article on his testimony from the civil case.

“At Simpson’s criminal trial, which ended in acquittal last year, Michael Baden testified that it was likely two people armed with two knives committed the murders. He repeated that Monday at Simpson’s wrongful-death civil trial.

But under a sometimes shrill cross-examination by Edward Medvene, one of the lawyers representing the Goldman family, Baden said there was strong evidence to support a one-killer theory.

In particular, he backed off the two-killer theory when told that another defense witness, Henry Lee, had testified in a pretrial deposition that only one pair of shoe prints was found leaving the scene.

The testimony came in the second week of the defense case, expected to go until mid-January. The plaintiffs have presented their side.

Also, Baden previously had testified that Goldman struggled for as long as 15 minutes before crumpling to the ground and dying. If so, it would have been impossible for Simpson to begin his attack at 10:40 and return to his home by 10:55 as the plaintiffs contend.

Baden said he based his opinion on trails of blood down Goldman’s clothes and blood in his shoe. Baden said the evidence suggested death was caused by bleeding from the jugular vein, from which blood oozes slowly.

But under cross-examination, when confronted with pictures of Goldman’s clothes that showed relatively small amounts of blood, Baden couldn’t point to evidence that there was more than half a quart of expended blood. At least 1.5 quarts must be lost for a person to die, experts say.

The plaintiffs’ pathology expert, Werner Spitz, testified last month that death came within seconds after the attacker pierced Goldman’s aorta.

Baden acknowledged that Goldman could have collapsed within two or three minutes. “I think it was pretty quick, a few minutes, whatever,” he said brusquely.

Baden also contradicted Simpson’s testimony on how Simpson cut himself. Baden told jurors that while examining Simpson five days after the murders, Simpson said he thought he cut himself going to his car to get his cell phone.

Simpson told police the same thing after the murders. But when he testified in the civil trial, Simpson emphatically denied cutting himself in Los Angeles. He said he cut himself on broken glass in Chicago.

Tuesday’s testimony was the third time since last Thursday that Simpson’s forensic witnesses seemed to waffle. Last week, DNA expert John Gerdes repeated testimony criticizing Los Angeles police department techniques for collecting DNA. But he then acknowledged that most of the test results in the case were reliable.

And before Baden on Monday, expert Herbert MacDonell repeated his testimony that a bloodstain found on socks left on Simpson’s bedroom floor was deposited after the socks had been taken off. He based that on tests detailing how blood passed from one side of the socks to the other.

That was the cornerstone of a defense argument that the blood was planted. Under cross-examination, MacDonell conceded the seepage could have occurred when police criminalists applied wet swatches to the socks to pick up the blood sample.

Analysts said the testimony weakened the defense’s case.

”The big three (witnesses) have not delivered the kind of doubt-raising impact that the defense hoped they would have done with this jury,” says Southwestern law professor Robert Pugsley. “The failure is particularly significant in light of Simpson’s poor performance on the stand.”

Also Tuesday, an alternate juror was dropped after bragging in a Christmas card to a friend that he was on the panel. The friend, a sheriff’s deputy, reported it to court officials. The ouster leaves four alternates.

By Jonathan T. Lovitt, USA TODAY “

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/index/nns140.htm

Baden had been claiming that Simpson was innocent, because he felt that there was two killers, and Simpson just wouldn’t have had the time to commit the murders. But, at the civil trial, Baden’s expert opinions seemed to fall apart. To this day, despite being proven wrong, he refuses to back down from his claims. The only bit he admits is that maybe O.J. was guilty, but if he was, he’d have to have had an accomplice.

In this video you can see Baden still making the multiple killer claim, even with the fact that there was only one set of bloody foot prints left by the killer, and O.J.’s blood found next to those prints.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxBOeMv2cms

In the West Memphis Three case, Baden would suggest a theory to help out the defense, claiming snapping turtles along with a whole slew of other animals had possibly caused the injuries.

“I cannot be specific about what animal might have caused the injury, but my view is that the injuries I saw were consistent with animal activity. I did review the affidavits of Shawn Ryan Clark and Heather Hollis, who explained that they had been swimming in the ditch and had seen alligator snapping turtles in it.
“I would not purport to identify specific animals that might have inflicted the injuries. I would defer to forensic veterinarians. They could have been turtle injuries, there were scrape marks that might look like turtle claw marks, and there might have been dogs or other animals. Some of the injuries on the bodies are triangular and consistent with my experience with the sorts of triangular injuries
caused by snapping turtles. (BMHR 1921-1923).”

http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/bm_rule37/bm_rule37_baden.html

The defense later with the help of Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson would eventually engage in the production of a documentary called “West of Memphis”, in which the turtle claims would be furthered. The documentary was directed by Amy Burg, with Jackson and Damien Echols as producers. It would feature scenes with turtle wranglers and autopsy photos that it would claim matched up to the shape of turtle mouths.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2130321/

THE TRUTH, REALITY’S BEST FRIEND

The state would counter all of these animal predation claims with their own experts.

Dr. William Sturner would state the following.

“As to the injuries to Christopher Byers, I did review the testimony that they had a “serrated…quality” to them. (BMHR 2885) My opinion was that the injuries to him are not characteristic of animal predation. They look like incised, gouged, penetrating wounds. Some are antemortem wounds that may have leeched out in
the water – perimortem might also be correct. (BMHR 2887)
“I would have told Dr. Peretti if I had seen a particular pattern to the injuries. I did not see evidence of animal predation. (BMHR 2912).”

http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/bm_rule37/bm_rule37_sturner.html

The original state Forensics expert Frank Peretti would also state the following on the defense’s ever changing claims.

“Peretti was asked by the State to review the testimony given by defense experts Spitz, Baden, Souviron, and Ophoven. He said he only read part of Spitz, all of Baden, and some of Souviron. He said he couldn’t read much, because the defense expert’s opinions were ‘ridiculous.’ He was pressed by Burt, became irritated, and then stated angrily that Spitz was ‘incoherent,’ Baden ‘reasonable,’ and Souviron out in ‘left field.’ He said Spitz’ description of a dog shaking the bodies, smacking them against trees did not make sense. He went further and said that he felt their testimony was nothing more than a personal attack against him, to make him look incompetent. He said only Baden said that the autopsies conducted were fine. He said he didn’t think their opinions meant much, because they had not looked at the actual bodies. He said he didn’t feel badly for not supplying the information the experts asked for, because he had asked for photos and other materials from them, and did not receive anything. He went further and said he felt important being attacked by all these experts. He said he was only one person who was right, why did they need so many to prove he was wrong.”

http://westmemphisthreediscussion.yuku.com/topic/7651/Updates-Hearings-News-articles-links-notes-court?page=5

Two experts would also state that the knife the state believed was used in the murders, had matched up to the wounds perfectly.

http://westmemphishomicidesdiscussion.yuku.com/topic/1407&sa=U&ei=DUK2UJ6NEIfA8ATy-oCICg&ved=0CBQQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNHCapFoPbdjPe9I38Xd3yiTXil3rA#.ULZCuMWsfg4

Both of these experts had impeccable credentials, and were well respected in their field. One was Homer Campbell and the other was Peter Loomis.

Homer Campbell has in the past even worked on cases with FBI profiler John Douglas.

http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/forensics/bitemarks/4.html

And Peter Loomis has even worked on famous serial murder cases.

http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/crime/crime_krqe_albuquerque_more_women_from_mesa_graves_described_200905202323

Here’s what they would say to Shaun Wheeler, a long time investigator into this case.

Homer Campbell would say this.

“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.”

Peter Loomis was the individual Campbell sent the photos to for evaluation.

Here’s what Peter Loomis would have to say.

“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.”

Now here’s one of the photos of the wounds that the two experts are talking about. This photo was at one time purported by the defense to show a human bite mark(Remember those claims by Brent Turvey?). As it would turn out these wounds would be matched to a knife, and not human teeth.

(Warning) This photo was used since it’s been debated as a “bite mark”, and also happens to show the area in question. (Warning)

http://callahan.8k.com/images/pics/bitemark.jpg

Look at the ruler next to the wound. Study the size. What you’re seeing according Campbell and Loomis is multiple wounds at that spot. Notice the large circular wound with the “X” shaped wound in the middle. Look at the size of it compared to the ruler.

Now look at the knife handle.

http://callahan.8k.com/images/lakeknife/knife3.jpg

Do you see how it’s round and the same size as that wound? It even matches up almost perfectly to the measurements on the rulers.This is the likely source of that wound. The “X” shaped wound likely got there from the compass that used to be on the end of the handle as well. It possibly may have broken during the attack, thus explaining it’s absence from the knife. The “X” possibly being caused by the center piece in the middle of the compass.

In this video we can actually see this knife handle compared to the wound.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zgf1Epw3TM

Now go back and take a look at those crescent moon shaped wounds. Notice how they go, cut, space, cut, space, cut.

Now take a look at this photo of the same knife.

http://callahan.8k.com/images/lakeknife/knife2.jpg

Do you see all those serrations on the back of the knife? See how it goes notch, space, notch, space? Look at the size of them on the knife. See how they’re of similar size to the wounds? They even measure up to be about the same size as well, just as the experts claimed.

In court Deputy Prosecutor John Fogleman demonstrated how the knife created similar serration patterns on a grapefruit.

MR. FOGLEMAN: I told you we would be getting back to this knife. And this is one of those deals where y’all are gonna have to look at some of those pictures. And you may even have to study some of them back in the jury room.

THE COURT: Refer to it by exhibit number.

FOGLEMAN: Exhibit 77.

THE COURT: Alright.

Untitled

FOGLEMAN: There are–if you’ll look at those photographs, there are marks on Christopher Byers where you’ve got like a dash–where it’s a cut–a cut and open space, a cut and an open space. And if you take this knife (INDICATING) and do that (INDICATING) then you look closely you can see it leaves a cut and an open space, a cut and an open space.

Untitled.png2

Untitled.png3

During the presentation, the knife clearly made the same type of serrations that Peter Loomis had compared exactly to to the very same knife, and matched to Stevie Branch. And according to Loomis the measurements were about the same.

Fogelman went further during his closing statements.

“This is the picture, the area circled–dash, dash, dash, dash. Now keep in mind one thing, when you go back in the jury room, get your–this is not to scale right here. (INDICATING) Now I’m gonna be fair. If I lay this up here, boy you’ll think–boy, that’s sharp. And just matches, just practically perfectly.

But now listen, now. This is not one-to-one. Keep in mind this is a rounded leg. So there’s a little bit of distortion. But if you take this, and take a piece of paper–get your ruler back there and measure the spaces on here, you’re gonna find that in between each of these blade is a quarter inch and the blade itself is three-sixteenths. Take a little piece of paper, and on this scale right here–not on your ruler, but on this scale–go three-sixteenths and a quarter, and three-sixteenths and a quarter and where your three-sixteenths are, make a straight line–just like this would be. (INDICATING.) And then, on the flat part right here (INDICATING) these two that are larger, if you do it–think about, it’s rounded. This strikes a rounded surface. The ones on the end are only gonna have part of the blade. Take that, and you lay it on the two larger cuts and you’re gonna find that they match. They fit. That is one example of how this knife matches–not just a little bit, but so much more than that knife or any other serrated knife.

He compared this knife to a knife submitted by the defense, belonging to John Mark Byers. The Byers knife was an attempt by the defense to suggest that Mark Byers had been the real killer. Fogleman, made point by point though that the survival knife they recovered was the more likely weapon.

“Now, I’m saying that that shows, that this exact knife caused it–now I submit the proof that shows this knife caused this–but true, it could be another knife like this, but I submit to you the proof–the circumstantial evidence shows that this knife–State’s Exhibit 77, caused those injuries right there. (INDICATING.) Now, if you look at those, there are similar injuries right here. (INDICATING.) And look at the gap between that cut and that cut. (INDICATING.) Now, you’re gonna have a harder time on this particular one because see in the picture how the ruler is bent. (INDICATING.) They’ve got it pushed down so you’re gonna have distortion in the measurements. But look at this one–and then there’s another one on here that is almost as telling as these and those on that picture. (INDICATING.) This is State’s Exhibit 71C. See this wound right here? (INDICATING.) See how wide and jagged and gouged that wound is? See that? (INDICATING.)” Well, you take this knife and drag it across with a serrated edge and boy you’ve got a straight line. Take this knife and drag it and it rips and tears just like in the picture.

Ladies and gentlemen, you go back there and look at those pictures, and as Mr. Davis asked you in jury selection–look at those pictures closely. Now there’s another way that these knives can make markings and that’s scrapes. And you’ll see that–that this knife has a vastly different pattern if it’s scraped against the skin than this knife. (INDICATING.) And it’s obvious just by looking at it. You got a larger gap and then you’ve got two narrow gaps–two narrow gaps, a large gap, two narrow gaps, a large gap. For this one you’ve got–it’s pretty uniform, and you’ve got a quarter inch, three sixteenths, quarter inch–it’s uniform all the way down. Where this one you would have a large gap, then you’ve got the blade which is smaller, and then the larger gap. This one you’ve got a number of different blade patterns and it’s going to make a completely different scrape than this knife. (INDICATING.)”
During closing statements during the Echols/Baldwin trial, Prosecutor Brent Davis would describe how the knife was sharp on both sides, and how the knife inflicted these injuries.

“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.”

Now in Peretti’s rule 37 statement he’d say the following about  the injuries to Stevie’s face.

“There were contusions of the ears and injuries that I noted to be, irregular gouging wounds, cutting wounds on the left side of the face. I characterized them as gouged in that the tissue was torn and pulled. State Exhibits 34 and 35 show the pattern injury to the top of the face. State Exhibits 36 and 37 shoe the bell shaped injury and the injury to the ears. I did not section these injuries. There was a pattern injury that I concluded might have been a belt buckle.”

http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/bm_rule37/bm_rule37_peretti1.html

Now here’s the gouging injuries Peretti is describing.


(WARNING) Photo of wounds on Stevie’s face. (WARNING)

http://imageshack.us/a/img845/8968/fel.png

Now in this next image some portions of the wound have been highlighted. These show what look like almost straight lines in this wound.

http://imageshack.us/a/img196/8535/if1.png

Now, these wound’s could have been where the knife entered at.

Now in this next one, you can see there’s like a line going down to one of these gouging wounds.

http://imageshack.us/a/img823/9100/5t7u.png

This line could be from the blade touching the skin, either on the front or back side, as the gouging injuries were being inflicted.

Now this next one shows what looks like a second line also going down towards the gouging wounds.

http://imageshack.us/a/img824/7103/v9gm.png

Now in this next one we see almost two crescent moon shaped injuries, with an opening at the bottom of each.

http://imageshack.us/a/img855/651/92db.png

These could be caused by someone pressing a knife at the location, explaining the openings in the bottom of the shapes, and trying to cut the victim’s face. Possibly the victim may have been resisting, leaving this injury.

Next in Peretti’s rule 37 statement he said this concerning the injuries to Christopher Byers.

“There were multiple wounds in the inner thighs. In my view all of the wounds occurred prior to death. Though I wrote that the wounds looked post-mortem, you could see hemorrhage in the tissues. There were some injuries to the buttocks and what I described as superficial cutting wounds in parallel lines. There was some drying of the tissues. I don’t know any kind of animal that would have caused this kind of pattern of wounds. There were a number of contusions found elsewhere on the body. I found diffuse pallor caused by the loss of blood. He had bled out. There were ghost cells found on the penis slides. These indicated the leaching of blood. The serrated knife that you have here could have inflicted the pattern wounds on the skin. I found that the knife shown to me by the State (State’s Exhibit 42) had patterns consistent with linear gouges on the remains of Mr. Byers.

I characterize certain contusions in the thigh area as defensive wounds.”

So these injuries on the inner thigh region may have gotten there as defensive wounds, from Christopher resisting as he was castrated.

(WARNING) Photo of the inner thigh of Chris Byers. (WARNING)

http://imageshack.us/a/img845/2598/t92b.png

Now let’s go back to what Brent Davis said in closing.

“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.”

So, there were serrated patterns all over Stevie and Chris, and these injuries seemed to match up to a large survival knife.

THE SIMPLEST SOLUTION IS OFTEN THE RIGHT ONE

Now this all seems to suggest that a knife isn’t that far-fetched as the source of the mutilations.

Another thing to consider is the fact that there was still one lace in the shoes belonging to the victims.

clothing_244_size_13_shoe_lace_

shoe-1

Now the victims were tied up with their own shoe laces, with six laces used to tie the victims up. Two of these laces were actually the remains of one lace which had been cut in half, which is why there’s another lace still in the shoe. That right there would mean that there was a knife used in this crime, which counters the defense claims that the wounds were the result of animal predation.

Luminol photos would also show blood at the crime scene, again suggesting that the victims were likely cut with a knife.

luminol044

luminol034

In a letter to prosecutor Brent Davis, Frank Peretti stated that there was hemmorhaging of the wounds.

” First, Dr. William Q. Sturner, (the Chief Medical Examiner at the time of the autopsies) and I personally examined the bodies of the three boys along with Dr. Kevin Dugan, a forensic dentist. Dr. Dugan’s finding that none of the wounds appeared to be human bite marks was subsequently corroborated by Dr. Harry Mincer.

Second, as part of the autopsy process, tissue samples were taken from some of the superficial and penetrating wounds. When Examined grossly and microscopically these samples demonstrated presence of hemorrhage, clearly indicative of antemortem injury and not postmortem animal activity.

Third, physical examination of the penetrating wounds showed a lack of soft tissue bridging typical of wounds caused by tearing or biting. These wounds did show clearly incised edges, indicating they were caused by a sharp instrument.

Finally, I have consulted with Dr. Charles Kokes (the current Chief Medical Examiner) regarding the autopsies and he concurs in the findings made and the conclusions drawn from them.”

Antemortem, means the boys were alive when the injuries were inflicted, meaning they had to have been done by their killer(s). This further makes it unlikely that animals were responsible.

http://callahan.8k.com/pdf/peretti_letter_5_30_08.pdf

Sturner would back up these statements.

“To me, the injuries to Mr. Byer’s inner thighs had some fresh blood in them, and that would qualify them as antemoretem or perimortem injuries. I reviewed the histological slides of Mr. Byers penis, and there was fresh hemorrhage, and also some ghost cells of bacteria there. The fresh blood cells are indicative of antemortem or perimortem injuries. 

The injuries to Steve Branch’s face, around the mouth seemed to me to be perimortem or antemortem as well. I thought that there was evidence of more than one impact to him, given the findings at autopsy.
I think that I heard about the discussion about the possible bite mark with Dr. Dougan after the fact. My opinion was that the injury to Steven Branch’s check came from some kind of cylinder, something that was could be used to pound. I did not view those injuries as animal predation. The findings about his pallor were important because they reflected blood loss.

As to the injuries to Christopher Byers, I did review the testimony that they had a “serrated…quality” to them. My opinion was that the injuries
to him are not characteristic of animal predation. They look like incised, gouged, penetrating wounds. Some are antemortem wounds that may have leeched out in the water – perimortem might also be correct.”

He would also talk about his experience with two of the defense experts, and how it’s normal to disagree on cases. He’d also mention a pipe like injury to Stevie’s face.

“I have co-authored a paper with Dr. Michael Baden. He is an excellent
forensic pathologist. I know Dr. Spitz as a well-known authority in the field. The same is true of Dr. Di Maio. I would consider all of their opinions to see where they stood in relation to my own. Experts can have differences of opinion. 

I am not familiar with Dr. Joseph Cohen, or that he had testified in the
Echols Rule 37 , and that he was a New York Assistant Medical Examiner. It is my opinion that pathologists in that office would have seen cases of animal predation in his professional experience.

I do not believe that I made any notes in connection with my examination of the bodies. I did a kind of “curb-side consult” It was Dr. Peretti’s case.
Had I been asked to testify at trial, I would have expressed the view that it
was a cylindrical tool that had left an imprint on the left cheek of Mr. Branch. I don’t recall ever being approached by a defense lawyer in the case about that subject. My view was that the lesions on Mr. Branch’s face were of an unusual shape and I thought it was some kind of a pipe that made them.

I agree that it is helpful for a forensic pathologist to consult with a certified forensic odontologist. They are usually on staff in major offices. 
In my own professional experience, it has been very unusual to have seen a removal of genitalia as in Mr. Byers’ case. I might have seen only one other case in Chicago.”

Remember the statements by Loomis and Campbell about the bottom of the knife? They suggested that the handle of the knife left a circular pattern.

knife5

The bottom of the knife was round, and was essentially a metal pipe. Sturner also suggested a pipe for some of the injuries to Stevie’s face.

The knife also once had a compass that went on the knife, common to many survival knives, much like the one pictured below.

SurvivalKnife

This compass may have looked something like this.

knives-survival-knife-with-compass-black-hk-8838b-c

So the bottom stuck out with a little metal part, which most likely caused the “X” shaped injury, that was mentioned.

http://callahan.8k.com/images/pics/bitemark.jpg

With all of that said, it’s safe to say that the wounds were likely not the result of animal predation, and no solid evidence of definite bite marks on the bodies. There’s also 7 experts suggesting that the wounds were made with a knife, luminol photos, which seem to confirm that the mutilations occurred on the ditch bank, rather than in the water as a result of animals feeding on the bodies.

There was even possibly blood seen pooling on the top of the water at the crime scene on the night of the murder. At the time it was thought to be an oil slick. It was reported by Jackie Hicks in the book “The Blood of Innocents”.

page 44

“Searching until the wee hours, Hicks and Terry Hobbs spotted what they thought was an “oil slick” on Ten-Mile Bayou about 3 A.M. “Terry asked me, ‘What’s that on the water?'” The men couldn’t tell. They went home, and Jackie decided he should brace his daughter.

“We better prepare for the worst,” he told her.

So this meant that the bodies were bleeding in the water. Blood was actually floating on top of the water at this point. Couple that with the fact that the wounds hemmorhaged, an a cut shoe lace, and it all seems to suggest that there was a knife involved in this crime.