The Evan Williams Bottle

On, February 4, 1994, Jessie Lloyd Misskelley, Jr, was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of Christopher Byers, Michael Moore, and Stevie Branch. And it was at this time he was escorted out of the courthouse and to a police car to be transported. It was during this car ride, that Jessie began to talk with the officers driving him, saying that the jury was right to have convicted him, because he really did do it, and not only that, but he was more involved in the murders than he had confessed to, admitting that he had been lying trying to lessen his involvement when talking to police.

Excerpt from the police car confession:

Jessie was asked how the boys were kept under control while being raped and not tied yet and he stated “They were like puppies, when you whoop a puppy and tell it to stay, it will.”

Report on Jessie’s police car confession.

(Jessie Misskelley on February 4, 1994.)

It was after this confession, that Jessie’s Lawyer, Dan Stidham spoke with him in regards to what he had told the officers.

Prosecutor, Brent Davis, related what followed in a hearing prior to Damien and Jason’s trial:

We then rode down to the Department of Corrections on Tuesday.  Mr. Stidham rode with me.  Mr. Fogleman and Mr. Gitchell met us at Brinkley, and we went to Pine Bluff.  At that time, Mr. Stidham talked with him for approximately ten or fifteen minutes, at which point he came out of the room, grabbed a Bible. went back in and — this is my personal observation — but approximately 30 to 45 minutes later Mr. Stidham exited.  He was very upset, unnerved, just kept mumbling things — “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now.  I don’t know what to do now.”

From Jessie Misskelley’s February 8, 1994 confession with his lawyer, Dan Stidham:

STIDHAM: Okay. Jessie, a few minutes ago I asked you about making some statements to the Officers when they transported you from Piggott to Pine Bluff. You told me that you had told them some stuff. Is that Correct?

MISSKELLEY: Yes, sir.

STIDHAM: And at first you told me that you were just making it up, that you were lying to them, and then you placed your hand on the Bible and told me that you were there when these boys got killed.

MISSKELLEY: Yes, sir.

STIDHAM: Uh, what’s the truth, Jessie? I want to know the truth.

MISSKELLEY: The truth is, me and Jason and Damien done it.

STIDHAM: You were there when the boys were killed?

MISSKELLEY: Yes, sir.

STIDHAM: Now, what’s going to be very important is for you to tell me why it was that you have been maintaining that you weren’t there all this time?

MISSKELLEY: I was scared.

STIDHAM: what were you scared of?

MISSKELLEY: I always lied and I hadn’t ever put my hand on the Bible and swore. Nobody didn’t tell me to do that. If they would have told me that at first, I would have done it. Nobody told me to put my hand on the Bible.

STIDHAM: Okay. So basically, you’ve been lying to me and Mr. Crow for the past seven, or so months – about not being there when in fact you were there?

MISSKELLEY: Yes, sir.

During this confession, which he privately gave to Dan Stidham, Jessie admitted a greater involvement in the murders and even stated that he had fabricated previous claims from his first confession to police, because he didn’t want to go to prison for capital murder. It was also during this confession that Jessie provided a physical piece of corroborating evidence:

STIDHAM: Then what happened?

MISSKELLEY: Then Vickie went uh, went to the store and bought me some liquor.

STIDHAM: Vickie Hutcheson?

MISSKELLEY: Yes, sir.

STIDHAM: Okay, so about 6 o’clock. Is that, where did you run into her at?

MISSKELLEY: I went to her house.

STIDHAM: So you went by (inaudible) to Vickie’s house? This is on May 5th, the day the boys were killed?

MISSKELLEY: Yes, sir.

STIDHAM: And Vickie went to buy you some liquor?

MISSKELLEY: Yes, sir.

STIDHAM: Where’d she go, did you go with her?

MISSKELLEY: Huh-uh. (Negatively indicating)

STIDHAM: Did you stay at the house when she left, or tell me what happened?

MISSKELLEY: I was standing on the corner talking with Dennis, Dennis Carter.

STIDHAM: Standing on the corner where?

MISSKELLEY: By my house.

STIDHAM: So tell me how you went to Vickie and why she went to get you some liquor?

MISSKELLEY: I asked, no, Dennis asked uh, asked me, you know, did I know anybody to get us something to drink? I told him, Vickie will. So we gave Vickie some money and I went down her house and started talking just a little bit, and I asked her would she go to the store and buy me some liquor.

STIDHAM: And she said -?

MISSKELLEY: She said, yes. She said hand me the money, she said, I’ll go in a minute. I said, okay.

STIDHAM: You left her house, or what?

MISSKELLEY: I left her house, and me and Dennis went to my house and you know watched as she went around the corner and we sat there on the corner, sat there and talked about, you know, drinking. and stuff.

STIDHAM: So did Vickie bring you some liquor?

MISSKELLEY: Yes, she carried it to her house and me and Dennis went down there and got it.

STIDHAM: What did she buy you?

MISSKELLEY: Evan Williams.

STIDHAM: Evan Williams?

MISSKELLEY: Uh-huh.

STIDHAM: What is that, wine?

MISSKELLEY: Whiskey.

STIDHAM: Just one bottle?

MISSKELLEY: She bought two bottles.

STIDHAM: How big are the bottles?

MISSKELLEY: About – –

STIDHAM: Fifth?

MISSKELLEY: Yeah, about – –

STIDHAM: About this tall?

MISSKELLEY: Uh-huh. (Affirmatively indicating)

STIDHAM: Then what happened?

MISSKELLEY: Then I started drinking out, uh, Dennis’ bottle, and I told him I was going to Lakeshore.

STIDHAM: So, did you go to Lakeshore?

MISSKELLEY: Yeah.

STIDHAM: what happened when you went to Lakeshore?

MISSKELLEY: I met Damien and Jason Baldwin.

(Vickie Hutcheson.)

In his statement to Stidham, Jessie stated that he and his friend Dennis Carter had gone and asked Vickie Hutcheson, an adult friend that Jessie knew and babysat for, to buy them both some Evan Williams Whiskey.

One of Jessie’s best friends, Buddy Lucas stated that on May 5th, 1993 he had gone over to drop off some barbecue chicken for Jessie and his father, when he saw Jessie walking away from his house with another teen, matching Jessie’s story about him and Dennis Carter going to ask Vickie for some whisky:

LUCAS – AND EVERYTHING, SO ME AND MY COUSIN REX WENT OVER THERE, TOOK THEM SOME CHICKEN AND EVERYTHING. I ASK THEM WHERE’S LITTLE JESSIE AND EVERYTHING. HE, BIG JESSIE SAID THAT UM, HE WENT WALKING THAT WAY AND EVERYTHING, AND WE LOOKED OUT THE DOOR AND HE WAS WALKING OFF WITH SOMEBODY ELSE. 

RIDGE – OKAY, WHICH WAY ARE YOU DESCRIBING? 

LUCAS – TOWARD WEST MEMPHIS 

RIDGE – OKAY, AND JESSIE WAS WALKING AWAY 

LUCAS – THEY WERE HEADED OUT OF HIGHLAND TRAILER PARK 

RIDGE – OKAY, JESSIE AND SOMEBODY, BIG JESSIE DIDN’T KNOW? 

LUCAS – UH-HUH 

RIDGE – IS THAT RIGHT? 

LUCAS – YES SIR 

                          (Buddy Lucas.)

Several other witnesses provided information concerning Vickie Hutcheson to Ron Lax, a defense investigator working for Damien Echols’ lawyers. One of these witnesses, was 16-year-old, Jennifer Michelle Roberts, who stated that Vickie had purchased whiskey and cigarettes for her.

Lax: Okay. Now, you’re sixteen years old? Aren’t you?

Roberts: Yes, sir.

Lax: And Vickie was how old? Thirty-two? Thrity-three?

Roberts? Thirty–thirty?

Lax: Thirty? Okay. She was at least thirty, then?

Roberts: Yes, sir.

Lax: So, ya’ll shouldn’t have had too much in common?

Roberts: No, sir.

Lax: But yet you hung around a lot together?

Roberts: Yes, sir.

Lax: And she told you a lot of things?

Roberts: Yes, sir.

Lax: In fact, she even bought you whiskey to drink? Is that correct?

Roberts: Yes, sir.

Lax: And gave you cigarettes?

Roberts: Yes, sir.

It was according to Jessie, in that February 8, 1994 confession to his lawyer, that after obtaining the Evan Williams, he met up with Jason and Damien, who had a bag with them that had beer cans in it, and that they all then walked to Robin Hood Hills, and were drinking out in the woods when the victims showed up. Immediately after the murders, Jessie fled the crime scene and was walking home, and while walking home, passed under a bridge. While under this bridge, Jessie became angry over the murders and smashed the Evan Williams bottle.

STIDHAM: Okay. What did you do with the whiskey bottle?

MISSKELLEY: Well, after I’d done seen what Jason did to – I don’t know which boy it was – but he cut his penis and everything, and I was still mad and I still had whiskey in my bottle. I walked down the street drinking whiskey, and all of a sudden I just busted it.

STIDHAM: Where’d you bust it at?

MISSKELLEY: On the overpass.

STIDHAM: Which overpass?

MISSKELLEY: Going towards – came back that way.

STIDHAM: Did you walk over the top of the overpass?

MISSKELLEY: I went back the same way I came. Up – up under by Lakeshore – where I busted it was at Lakeshore, by the Lakeshore where – between Wal-Mart and Lakeshore, over that overpass. I busted it there.

STIDHAM: On top of the overpass?

MISSKELLEY: No. I was underneath walking. I didn’t walk over it, I just walked underneath on the grass and stuff all the way through. And that’s when I busted the bottle.

STIDHAM: Underneath it?

MISSKELLEY: Uh-huh. (Affirmatively indicating)

STIDHAM: Directly underneath it?

MISSKELLEY: I just threw it and hit the side.

STIDHAM: Which side? Do you remember?

MISSKELLEY: Which side? Like they was going – I mean the road was going towards –

STIDHAM: Did you throw up? You told the officers that you threw up.

MISSKELLEY: No, I got – I was dizzy.

STIDHAM: Okay, where did you go after you left the overpass where you busted the bottle?

MISSKELLEY: I walked straight home.

Prosecutor, Brent Davis discussing the Evan Williams bottle:

Mr. Stidham then went back into the room, at which time he did not allow us, nor did we request or insist on having contact with his client.  He went back inside and talked for another hour and came back and to paraphrase indicated that his client’s story matched with the facts much better and there were a few things we needed to do to be able to corroborate his statement.

At that point we got in our vehicles, and one of the things to corroborate his client’s statement was to determine if there was an Evan Williams whiskey bottle under an overpass in West Memphis.

To quote Mr. Stidham, I believe at that time, “If we can find a bottle like he says, then that will convince me that it happened.”  At 9:30 or 10:00 at night we drive — ten o’clock in the evening — we proceed, the four of us, to roam underneath the overpasses of West Memphis and lo and behold find a broken bottle in the location indicated by his client.

We then take the bottle to a local liquor store where we proceeded to spend the better part of an hour matching the bottle with certain items, and lo and behold it matches with the brand name bottle Mr. Stidham had indicated that we should be looking for in the first place.

At that point Mr. Stidham says that wasn’t good enough to convince him.

Full hearing discussing the Evan Williams Bottle.

(Bridge where Jessie smashed the Evan Williams bottle.)

Also possibly matching Jessie’s confession was the recovery of some beer cans found at the crime scene, along with a grocery bag from Road Runner Petro, a gas station in the area where Damien Echols’ father, Joe Hutcheson worked.

(Beer can recovered at the crime scene.)

(Road Runner Petro bag found at the crime scene.)

 

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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.

The Discovery of the Sticks

A controversial element to the crime, or at least controversial to supporters of the WM3 was that of the three sticks recovered by investigators at the crime scene, with many supporters refusing to believe that they may have been murder weapons as the prosecution contended, or that they had entirely no relevance to the crime alleging that because two of them were not recovered from the crime scene on the day the bodies were discovered, that they held no connection to the homicides.

The Discovery of E-138 and E-139—

E-139bat

(E-139, a large stick that was recovered near the body of Michael Moore.)

According to Det. Bryn Ridge, that as he was searching the ditch for evidence, approaching the location where Michael Moore’s body was discovered, a stick that was shoved down into the mud had come free and floated to the surface. The stick was shoved straight down into the bottom of the ditch with a shirt from one of the victims wrapped around it.

Testimony on the matter was elicited by Deputy Prosecutor John Fogleman at trial:

Ridge: This item is a stick that – when Sergeant Allen told me he had located the body and pointed out the area where the body had been located, I was up on the west bank which is a high bank. Ok. I proceeded to the north, come down into the creek, and began walking down into the creek and searching that creek. In searching the creek, I would start in the waterline on one side, rake all the way through and get back on the other side – see if anything was there before I would walk through that area, which could possibly destroy any evidence. Ok. I had walked approximately 10 feet and gotten almost to that body when this stick was uh – dislodged and when it came floating up out of the water uh – this shirt was discovered, and the shirt was wrapped around the end of the stick –

 

Fogleman: Ok.

 

Ridge: – and all that was jabbed down into the mud in the bottom of the ditch.

 

Fogleman: Alright. Now when you say it was dislodged when you were walking toward that area, what if anything could you see about that stick?

 

Ridge: Just the end of the stick sticking up out of the water.

This stick was documented in several crime scene photos due to the fact that it was near the body of Michael Moore and had a shirt wrapped around it. It was not originally taken in as evidence as it was unknown what the murder weapon was at that time and no autopsy had yet been done. Eventually weeks later, using photos of the crime scene, investigators recovered this stick, labeling it as E-139 and also recovered a second stick next to it as another possible weapon which they labeled as E-138.

MooreE-139

(Photo of investigators discovering E-139 as they pull the body of Michael Moore from the ditch.)

MooreE-139b

(E-139 highlighted in the above image.)

MooreE-139b3

(A visual comparison between the recovered stick known as E-139 and that of the stick shown in the ditch.)

As stated above, Bryn Ridge discovered the stick which he noticed particularly because a shirt had been wrapped around it, indicating that the killer or killers had more than likely had contact with it, an observation not made at the time.

E-139

(Victim T-shirt being removed from the end of E-139.)

clothing_243

(Shirt removed from E-139.)

Ridgesticks

(Testimony along with the corresponding photo depicting the discovery of E-138 and E-139.)

same stick 2

(Comparison image with a photo of E-139 again demonstrating that the stick pictured is the same one in the crime scene photos from the day the bodies were discovered.)

same stick 3

(Another comparison photo with E-139, again showing that it is the same stick that was recovered.) 

same stick

(Comparison photo showing that E-138 is indeed the stick seen floating next to E-139 in the above photo.)

Stick location

(Where the two sticks were located. This location is directly in front of what became known as the “slicked off” ditch bank which was the same location where Moore’s body was discovered.)

Neither of these two sticks were taken into evidence on the day the bodies were discovered. They were initially missed as evidence despite the significance of E-139 having the shirt wrapped around it, which again indicated that it had been handled by whoever killed the boys.

As for E-138, it was a similarly large stick found directly next to E-139, but was more dubious as there was nothing that directly demonstrated a connection between it and the murders in the same manner that E-139 did. It was recovered because it was directly next to E-139 under the premise that E-139 was a murder weapon and therefore E-138 might have been as well.

Following the confession of Jessie Misskelley, Ridge returned to the crime scene and recovered E-138 and E139, the sticks he had discovered and neglected to take into custody on the day the bodies were discovered.

INVESTIGATIVE REPORT
TRIPLE HOMICIDE
BYERS/MOORE/BRANCH

ON 070193, I WENT TO THE CRIME SCENE TO DETERMINE IF ANY EVIDENCE COULD BE FOUND THAT HAD BEEN OVERLOOKED DURING THE INITIAL SEARCHES OF THE AREA THAT THE ABOVE NOTED HOMICIDE. WHILE AT THE SCENE AND THINKING ABOUT THE CASE SO FAR AND THE STATEMENTS THAT HAD BEEN MADE BY THE DEFENDANT JESSIE MISSKELLEY JR. I DISCOVERED THAT THERE WERE TWO STICKS ON THE SCENE THAT HAD GONE PREVIOUSLY UNDETECTED. IN THE STATEMENT THAT JESSIE HAD GIVEN HE DESCRIBED A STICK THAT HAD BEEN USED BY ONE OF THE CO-DEFENDANTS TO BEAT THE VICTIMS ON THE HEAD WITH. I SEIZED THE STICKS AND BROUGHT THEM TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT TO BE SENT TO THE CRIME LAB FOR ANALYSIS TO DETERMINE IF THEY COULD HAVE BEEN THE SAME AS JESSIE STATED HAD BEEN USED TO BEAT THE VICTIMS. THE STICKS WERE PLACED IN THE EVIDENCE FILES AND WILL BE SENT TO THE CRIME LAB UNDER NUMBERS E-138 AND E-139.

DETECTIVE B. RIDGE
WEST MEMPHIS POLICE DEPARTMENT

 

THE DISCOVERY OF E-17—

The third and final stick recovered was E-17, the only stick to be taken into evidence immediately at the crime scene, due to the fact that it appeared to have parts of it carved off or missing. It was found floating around the location of the bodies of Chris Byers and Stevie Branch.

Ridgestick

(Discovery of E-17 with testimony on it’s discovery.)

Ridgestick2

(E-17 highlighted in the discovery photo above.)

IMG_0038

(All three sticks in evidence.)

THE STICKS AS WEAPONS—

  Testimony was given both at trial and during appeals that it appeared as if two different weapons were used to strike Michael Moore in the head. On the left side of his head were several injuries that appeared like thin lines, which were inflicted with a weapon that was consistent with a thin stick like E-17.

From the trial of Jessie Misskelley, Dr. Frank Peretti stated the following under questioning by Prosecutor Brent Davis:

Peretti: Ok. State’s exhibit 59A, 62A, 61A, 63A will demonstrate the head injuries and some of the chest injuries. State’s exhibit 59A shows a laceration over the left forehead region and also we can see an abrasion. When I talk about abrasions, I’m going to be using the terms–abrasion means a scrape or a scratch and a contusion means a bruise, in layman’s terms black and blue. Here we can see, on the left side, we can see the laceration and also we can see an abrasion on the right side of the forehead. State’s exhibit 62A is a view of the head showing the left side and here we can see…

 

Brent Davis: [interrupting] Doctor, excuse me just a second, was the hair shaved back so that could be photographed?

 

Peretti: Yes. I shaved the hair. Here we can see three impact points on the scalp. We have three separate scalp lacerations surrounded by an abrasion and contusions surrounding the wound. Above the eyebrow, we have an abrasion immediately adjacent to the eyebrow or scrape and also on this photograph, we can see a bruise or contusion noted below the left eye, this dark discoloration here. On State’s exhibit 61A, we have two abrasions or scrapes on the top of the head, that ovoid-we have two separate impact sites here.

 

Davis: Now Doctor, I notice that the injuries depicted in exhibit…what number is that?

 

Peretti: 61A.

 

Davis:…61A are different than those that appear in the previous exhibit 62A?

 

Peretti: That’s correct.

 

Davis: Can you explain to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury, based on your experience and expertise in this field, why we have different type injuries?

 

Peretti: Well, we have two different instruments–weapons are being used, inflicting these type of injuries.

 

Davis: And when you say–what type of instrument would you expect to be used or a general description of the type of instrument that would inflict the injury in 61A, I believe?

 

Peretti: On 61A, we’re looking for an object with a broad surface–wide surface area.

 

Davis: Doctor, would that be consistent with say a log aproximately 2 to 3 or 3 to 4 inches in diameter?

 

Peretti: An object of that nature is consistent with inflicting these type of injuries.

 

Davis: Okay. Now the injuries that you see in photograph number 62A, you said it would have been inflicted by a different type weapon. What could have caused that? Or what type of instrument would you expect to cause those injuries?

 

Peretti: Well, this wound has different characteristics than the previously shown wound. Here we have lacerations, or in laymen’s terms cuts, on the scalp that are somewhat irregular. Some are straight, some have a stellate appearance and these type of injuries here indicate an object of a smaller diameter such as, you know, a piece of wood, a 2 by 4, a stick or broom handle are capable of inflicting these type of injuries here.

 

Davis: So, something about the size of a broom handle?

 

Peretti: Yes.

Below are links to photos of these injuries, which are shown here due to their relevant case value.

Located on the left side of Michael Moore’s head were several thin impact injuries which broke the skin on his head.

WARNING! Autopsy photo! WARNING!

Located on the right side of Moore’s head were a couple of very different injuries that were large and semi-circular in appearance, which were consistent with a large stick or log having struck him, such as E-139; the stick located near his body with the shirt wrapped around it.

WARNING! Autopsy photo! WARNING!

In the next photo, it shows the same injuries underneath the skin. It can plainly be seen that there are circular injuries creating a more clear pattern onto the skull.

WARNING! Autopsy photo! WARNING!

stick

(E-139 presented in court. It was a likely murder weapon used in the death of Michael Moore.)

Dr. Terri Haddix, a Forensic Pathologist consulted with by the defense, stated in her own report from October 22, 2007 the following on the injuries to Moore’s head, particularly these circular fractures:

“The items potentially responsible for producing the scalp contusions, abrasions and lacerations are legion and the appearence of the cutaneous injuries doesn’t particularly help narrow the field. However, the curvilinear skull fractures identified during Moore’s autopsy are suggestive of an object with a similar curvilinear profile.”

Haddix states what you can see with your own two eyes when it comes to the wounds on the right side of his head, that the weapon that created the large circular fractures must also be similar in shape; having a rounded shape. This in turn further demonstrates that E-139 is the likely weapon responsible for those injuries.

The next relevant injury  for this discussion is yet another thin line like injury found on the top of Chris Byers’ head, again consistent with being inflicted with a weapon such as E-17.

WARNING! Autopsy photo! WARNING!

And finally, Stevie Branch, who also had injuries from being beaten with an object also had a pattern on his thigh, from which it appeared he had been restrained with a long thin object consistent with E-17.

WARNING! Autopsy photo! WARNING!

During questioning by John Fogleman at trial it was heavily suggested by Det. Gary Gitchell that in his opinion from working at the crime scene, that a stick, likely E-17 had created the clear pattern on Stevie’s thigh.

Q: Do you know whether or not – – are you aware of any evidence that would indicate that there had been some sort of binding other than the shoestrings?

A: Some markings of their legs.

MR. STIDHAM: I’m going to object to that. He’s not the medical examiner.

MR. Fogleman: He can state what he observed.

THE COURT: Are you testifying from reports, records or from your own personal observation?

THE WITNESS: From my own observation.

THE COURT: Overruled.

 

BY MR. Fogleman:
Q: I want to show you State’s Exhibit 59B, the mark across the leg here. Did you observe that?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: What did you observe?

A: Well, the – –

MR. STIDHAM: May I interpose another objection? Your Honor, I think that calls for pure unadulterated speculation on the part of this witness who is not qualified to render such an opinion.

MR. Fogleman: Your Honor, I asked him what he observed.

THE COURT: I’m going to allow him to testify to what he observed on the victims’ bodies. I’m not going to let him speculate as to the cause of the observation. Your objection will be sustained in that regard. He may testify to what he personally observed.

 

BY MR. Fogleman:
Q: What did you observe?

A: I observed this bruising. I believe it was on the left leg stretching approximately three and a half inches of the leg.

Q: Did you observe a pattern?

A: Yes, sir, it appears to be of a – –

 

MR. STIDHAM: Your Honor, again, that calls for pure speculation. Why didn’t they ask the Medical Examiner yesterday when he was here? He may be qualified to answer that question.

MR. Fogleman: Your Honor, I think – –

THE COURT: I cannot respond to why they didn’t ask somebody something, but I’m going to let this (p. 957) witness testify to what he personally observed, but he cannot draw conclusions on what he observed.

 

BY MR. Fogleman:
Q: Did you observe a pattern?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: On this piece of paper, could you draw the pattern that you observed?

A: (DRAWING)

Q: I’m going to mark this Exhibit 105A. Is that what you observed on his leg?

A: Yes, sir.

 

MR. STIDHAM: Your Honor, may we approach the bench?

(THE FOLLOWING CONFERENCE WAS HELD AT THE BENCH OUT OF THE HEARING OF THE JURY)

 

MR. STIDHAM: Your Honor, this witness is not qualified to render an opinion based
on – –

 

THE COURT: I’m not going to allow him to render an opinion as to causation, but I’m going to allow him to testify to what he saw.

 

MR. CROW: Can I view the photograph?

 

MR. Fogleman: (HANDING)

 

MR. CROW: I think the photograph is more adequate to show what he observed, your Honor.

 

MR. STIDHAM: They are trying to pass him off as (p. 958) an expert in pathology. That’s not proper.

 

MR. Fogleman: Your Honor, I asked him what he observed and I asked him to draw it.

 

THE COURT: I’m going to allow him – –

 

MR. STIDHAM: Your Honor, that could have been caused by a stick. That could have been caused by anything.

 

MR. CROW: Your Honor, the photograph shows it.

 

THE COURT: You are again arguing what caused these markings that he saw, which is something you can argue at the end of the case. Each of you can draw conclusions, and you can argue what you believe to be the cause of that. The officer is going to be permitted to testify to what he saw.

 

MR. STIDHAM: Will this exhibit be allowed to be introduced?

 

THE COURT: Yes.

 

MR. CROW: I think the picture shows it better.

 

THE COURT: I’m going to allow it.

Ralph Turbyfill testified at trial to attempts made in regards to testing the sticks for fingerprints and evidence of DNA, either from the killer or the victims. The sticks had in the case of two of them sat in the elements for a number of days before they were tested, and all three had been submerged in water. Ultimately as shown in the testimony below, no prints were able to be recovered, but a reaction was made for amino acid, indicating that one of the sticks may have been handled, suggesting again that it could be a weapon.

Fogleman: I also want to hand you state’s exhibit 53 and ask if you can identify that item?

 

Turbyfill: This also has my initials on it, uh – case number. It’s a stick. Case number and initials are also out at the end of it. And uh – I did process this for latent fingerprints and again, there were no latent fingerprints on it at all.

 

Fogleman: Were there any other tests or examinations you did on that?

 

Turbyfill: I did – on all these items, more than one test was ran on each one in attempt to – to uh – detect latent impressions, everything from – from uh – visual examination to uh – superglue examination – exposing to superglue to develop any invisible latents. And chemical processing after which, laser was used to detect prints and no latent prints were detected.

 

Fogleman: Ok. Uh – now did you do some kind of test that relates to – to uh – amino acid?

 

Turbyfill: Right. That’s the chemical test on wood – unpainted wood and paper, cardboard items. That’s an amino acid indicator that which we exposed this – the stick to the uh -chemical and again, no prints were developed.

 

Fogleman: Alright. Did you have a reaction as far as the amino acids?

 

Turbyfill: Some – it’s the pinkish reaction that you see on the wood, is the reaction. And that also can be caused from amino acid from whatever source, which could be – you know, from the chemicals in the water – whatever. If there’s any amino acid there, it will show up pink.

 

Fogleman: Alright. So the – so you did have a reaction about the amino acids?

 

Turbyfill: It’s just strictly a chemical uh- color reaction, but no – no defined friction skin ridges or anything like that.

 

Fogleman: Alright. Alright. Ok. And what – I’m a little confused – what is the purpose of the thing about the amino acids?

 

Turbyfill: The body has amino acids in it and one of the chemicals that we use reacts or colors that particular amino acid. And this pink reaction is the result of the coloring of that amino acid. Which uh – fingerprints has that amino acid and on paper, unpainted wood, and cardboard we can detect fingerprints using that chemical. So – I mean that, just because there’s reaction, that doesn’t mean it was handled or that it was a fingerprint.

 

Fogleman: Ok. So it could mean that it was handled or it could be from something in the water?

 

Turbyfill: That’s correct. It’s possibly because it was handled.

 

Fogleman: Ok. I don’t have any further questions, your Honor.

CONCLUSION— 

It cannot be said that these sticks were not related to the crime. It can be argued that perhaps E-138 was not connected to the crime as far as being a murder weapon, but that it was merely taken into evidence because it was next to E-139, but there’s very strong evidence to believe that E-139 was a murder weapon and relative suspicion in the form of weapon patterns that either E-17 or something much like E-17 was also involved in the commission of the crime.

Statements from defense criminal profiler, John Douglas were critical of investigators for neglecting to take E-138 and E-139 into evidence on the day that the bodies were discovered, as Douglas felt they appeared to be used to weigh down evidence, and in turn meant they had been handled by the killer:

From “Law & Disorder- Inside the Dark Heart of Murder” by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker:

Page 287, discussing investigators discovering the bodies and clothing of the victims-

Soon they had an almost complete collection of what the three boys had been wearing, most of it secured with sticks beneath the bottom of the creek. What was that all about? I wondered.

Later on page 287, Douglas again notes the following concerning the sticks-

I noted in my reading that investigators had not retrieved and catalogued the sticks used to submerge the clothing in the mud.

Next on page 360 during his theories on an alternative criminal profile, he further makes clear a belief that the killer had handled the sticks recovered by investigators-

Postoffense behavior reflects that he felt the need to hide the victims’ clothing at the scene. He did so by sticking small branches he found at the scene into the clothing and pushing it under the muddy water and out of view.

By the very admission of a defense expert, John Douglas, these sticks were used in the commission of this crime. And that coupled with statements by Ridge, Peretti and Gitchell and Tubyfill and Dr. Terri Haddix, and even what you can see with your own two eyes from the photos presented here in this post, that the victims were attacked with E-139 and more than likely also with E-17.

So, why is it important for supporters and even members of the defense team(Dr. Werner Spitz, a defense expert who claimed wild animals caused the head injuries to the victims.) to try and discredit the sticks as evidence? Well, to answer that, one must read the following exchange between Jessie Misskelley and the prosecution in this case:

DAVIS: Ok. Were they, at some point did they get hit with anything besides your fist?

 

MISSKELLEY: Stick.

 

DAVIS: Who hit’m with a stick?

 

MISSKELLEY: Damien, I hit, I hit one of’m with a stick and

 

DAVIS: Now. When you say that, do you remember what kind of stick Damien had, you saw those sticks we had in Court.

 

MISSKELLEY: No, I didn’t look at them. I know there’s a stick craved something into it or something. You know part of the bark off of it.

 

DAVIS: Do you know how long it was? Was it as long as a baseball bat or longer or?

 

MISSKELLEY: it was longer than a baseball bat.

Jessie had stated as can be seen in the above that HE and DAMIEN had used sticks to beat the victims, and that HE, Jessie had struck one victim with a stick. This statement would be consistent with Peretti’s statements that more than one weapon had been used to beat Michael Moore, who happened to be the victim that Jessie Misskelley had confessed to chasing down and beating.

Similarly Jessie also put a stick in his hands during the clean-up of the crime scene during a confession he gave to his lawyer:

MISSKELLEY: After they done tied them up. You know, I – I – I, you know, I wiped my footprints with a stick, you know, like a zigzag, covering up my footprints and everything. And the blood, they wiped them on, you know, like in the water, make sure all the blood was off the water – make sure the blood was off the leaves and stuff.

 

STIDHAM: How’d they do that?

 

MISSKELLEY: Rubbed together, or get their finger and just wipe if off real good. And just wipe that off.

 

(Mud and dirt on ditch bank, which appeared to be scraped up with an object.)

(Scraped and rubbed down area of the ditch bank near where Michael Moore’s body was recovered.)

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 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.