At the time, legal experts agreed that this issue could result in the reversal of the convictions of Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols. ", Following a 2010 decision by the Arkansas Supreme Court regarding newly produced DNA evidence and potential juror misconduct, the West Memphis Three negotiated a plea bargain with prosecutors. Stidham testified under oath that during the trial, Judge David Burnett erred by making an improper communication with the jury during its deliberations. It was determined that the hair was not consistent with the hair of Echols, Misskelley, or Baldwin. , In 2007, Echols petitioned for a retrial, based on a statute permitting post-conviction testing of DNA evidence due to technological advances made since 1994 which might provide exoneration for the wrongfully convicted. The prosecution accused the three young men of committing a Satanic murder. His stated reasons for the removal are apparently contradictory. " Since his release, Baldwin has moved to Seattle to live with friends. "This was not justice," he said of the deal. Misskelley was tried separately, and his trial began in January 1994. Immediately thereafter, Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley pled guilty while maintaining their innocence; the rare legal maneuver is known as an Alford plea. The four-decade manhunt sparked multiple law enforcement task forces, spawned an FBI website dedicated to catching the killer and prompted lawmakers to create a … , In 2007, DNA collected from the crime scene was tested. Also presented in the filing was new expert testimony that the supposed knife marks on the victims, including the injuries to Byers' genitals, were in fact the result of animal predation after the bodies had been dumped.. According to Hutcheson, on May 19, 1993, she, Misskelley, and Echols attended a gathering of witches at a nearby field. Stidham calls the coroner's investigation "extremely substandard." However, these potential bite marks were first noticed in photographs years after the trials and were not inspected by a board-certified medical examiner until four years after the murders. At trial, the defense team argued that news articles from the time could have been the source for Echols' knowledge about the genital mutilation, and Echols said his knowledge was limited to what was "on TV". Metalcore band Zao's 2002 album Parade of Chaos included a track inspired by the case named "Free The Three". scout deaths", "New judge appointed for West Memphis appeals", "Deal Frees 'West Memphis Three' in Arkansas", "The Ropes & Gray Partner Who Helped Free the West Memphis Three", Prosecutor's statement on West Memphis 3 plea deal, "West Memphis Three Attorneys Discuss Alford Plea Details", "FLASH: West Memphis 3 freed in plea bargain", "West Memphis 3, locked up 18 years, together in NY", "Arkansas crime lab to study 'West Memphis 3' case DNA", "Father of Victim to Convicted Killer: "I'm Here for You, Victim's father wants West Memphis 3 set free, Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines Wins "West Memphis Three" Defamation Suit, "Professional profiler convinced of innocence of West Memphis Three", "Mindhunter: Former FBI unit chief recalls high-profile cases", "Metallica May Give Music To "Paradise Lost" Sequel", Untying The Knot: John Mark Byers and the West Memphis child murders, "Disturbed Release Benefit Single for West Memphis Three", "West Memphis Three 'Wrongully Convicted Episode Trailer White Light Productions' – CNN iReport", "Decades without daylight: 'West Memphis Three' describe life in prison", "Johnny Depp Reveals Anguish Over West Memphis Three Injustice", "West Memphis Three drama 'Devil's Knot' with Reese Witherspoon sets release", "West Memphis 3 cases to receive hearing, possible new trial", "Q&A: Paradise Lost directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky", "Damien Echols may be troubled but he's not killer, some say", "Defense Offers New Evidence in a Murder Case That Shocked Arkansas", "Echols of West Memphis 3 talks about appeal, death row", "The Damien I Know – The Architect and the Inmate", CNN Larry King Live-Damien Echols Death Row Interview, Echols' Attorneys File New Motion Claiming Wrongful Conviction In 'West Memphis Three' Case, "Piers Morgan – Damien Echols On The Death Penalty – 02/08/2013", "Ex-Misfits Singer Rocks With West Memphis 3's Echols | Billboard.com", "Illusions Album: Michale Graves & Damien Echols", "L.A. Times article on Damien Echols art exhibit at Copro Gallery", "SALEM Exhibit of Echols' Artwork at the Copro Gallery", "DAMIEN ECHOLS ARTISTS ON ART MARCH 25 6:15 – 7:00 PM", "The Midnight Gospel: Damien Echols' appearance explained - how the Netlfix voice actor escaped death row", The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture entry (The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies), Echols of West Memphis 3 talks about appeal, death row, Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=West_Memphis_Three&oldid=1016291174, Satanic ritual abuse hysteria in the United States, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from July 2009, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected biographies of living people, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2015, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2013, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, He co-wrote the lyrics to the song "Army Reserve", on, Echols and Michale Graves released an album titled, Echols began creating art while on death row as a "side effect of my spiritual, magical practice. , In July 2007, new forensic evidence was presented. Armed with this information, police interviewed Misskelley, who reportedly had an IQ of about 72. He has stated that he plans on enrolling in college to become a lawyer in order to help wrongfully convicted persons prove their innocence. This would include running the results through the FBI's Combined DNA Index System database. Further testing of the knife produced inconclusive results about the source of the blood. After a reported 12 hours of interrogation by police, Misskelley, who has an IQ of 72, confessed to the murders, and implicated Baldwin and Echols. He testified Judge Burnett responded, "You'll need food for when you come back for sentencing," and that the foreman asked in return what would happen if the defendant was acquitted. , California police sent blood and urine samples from Morgan and Holland to the WMPD, but there is no indication WMPD investigated Morgan or Holland as suspects following their arrest in California. Jeffrey Dahmer: He committed his first murder … She then claimed that the proceedings devolved into an orgy, at which point she asked Echols to take her home; Misskelley stayed. Following the attack, the murderers realize that they have failed at their mission by only killing Banquo. He was eight years old, 4 ft. 2 tall, weighed 55 lbs, and had brown hair.  Baldwin pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree murder while still asserting his actual innocence. The defense sought to introduce other suspects, notably a local teenager who left for California shortly after the bodies were discovered and who said that he might have committed the crimes before recanting.  Leveritt further noted that some of the physical evidence was stored in paper sacks obtained from a supermarket (with the supermarket's name printed on the bags) rather than in containers of known and controlled origin. Eight months after his original confession, on February 17, 1994, Misskelley made another statement to police. ", Brent Turvey, a forensic scientist and criminal profiler, stated in the film Paradise Lost 2 that human bite marks could have been left on at least one of the victims. , Echols' family was poor and received frequent visits from social workers, and he rarely attended school. After the initial investigation, the police failed to control disclosure of information and speculation about the crime scene.. Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped all charges against three Baltimore police officers accused in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, bringing to … Michael Moore was the son of Todd and Dana Moore. Searchers canvassed all of West Memphis but focused primarily on Robin Hood Hills, where the boys were reported last seen. According to local West Memphis police officers, on the evening of May 5, 1993, at 8:42 pm, workers in the Bojangles' restaurant located about a mile from the crime scene in Robin Hood Hills reported seeing a black male who seemed "mentally disoriented" inside the restaurant's ladies' room. April 30, 2020 - Two out of state murder suspects were arrested by the U.S. "WM3" redirects here.  During Echols' trial, Dr. George W. Woods testified (for the defense) that Echols suffered from: serious mental illness characterized by grandiose and persecutory delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations, disordered thought processes, substantial lack of insight, and chronic, incapacitating mood swings. , During Misskelley's trial, Richard Ofshe, an expert on false confessions and police coercion, and Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley, testified that the brief recording of Misskelley's interrogation was a "classic example" of police coercion. This ruling was in turn thrown out by the Arkansas Supreme Court as to all three defendants on November 4, 2010.. The court sentenced him to life plus 40 years in prison. If one of David’s servants had spoken an early word of warning like Abigail did, perhaps the rape of Bathsheba and murder of Uriah could have been avoided. Misskelley refused to testify, and the prosecution was forced to rely on circumstantial evidence, notably Echols’s interest in the occult. " Advanced DNA and other scientific evidence – combined with additional evidence from several different witnesses and experts – released in October 2007 had cast strong doubts on the original convictions. Hutcheson's young son, Aaron, was also present, and proved such a distraction that Bray was unable to administer the polygraph. His attempts at presenting an insanity defense failed, and he was convicted on 33 counts of murder and executed by lethal injection in 1994. I could not believe it was in Terry's things.  The court sentenced Echols to death and Baldwin to life in prison.. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley Jr. to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin to life imprisonment.During the trial, the prosecution asserted that the juveniles killed the children as part of … The song is about the West Memphis Three, with 100% of the proceeds going to their benefit foundation for their release. Byers was eight years old, 4 ft. tall, weighed 52 lbs, and had light brown hair. No one can absorb these numbers; they are intellectually and morally indigestible. Echols later published the books Life After Death (2012) and Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row (2014); the latter was written with his wife, Lorri Davis, whom he met while in prison. The non-murderers in the sample were ‘normal’, not taking any medication, and they did not have a history of mental or medical illness. A hair "not inconsistent with" Stevie Branch's stepfather, Terry Hobbs, was found tied into the knots used to bind one of the victims. He also told mental health workers that he was "going to influence the world. During subsequent questioning, Morgan claimed a long history of drug and alcohol use, along with blackouts and memory lapses. He was last seen wearing blue pants, a blue Boy Scouts of America shirt, and an orange and blue Boy Scout hat, and riding a light green bicycle. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Jason Baldwin (centre) of the West Memphis Three standing with his attorneys Paul Ford (left) and George Robin Wadley, Jr. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. To assist in the appeals process, Echols' appellate legal team retained a Berkeley, California-based forensic psychiatrist, Dr. George Woods, to make their case. During interrogation, West Memphis police suggested to Byers that he might have left the knife out accidentally, and Byers agreed with this. , The autopsies by forensic pathologist Frank J. Peretti indicated that Byers died of "multiple injuries", while Moore and Branch died of "multiple injuries with drowning"..  The defense team objected when the prosecution attempted to question Echols about his past violent behaviors, but the defense objections were overruled.. , Echols' lawyers claimed that his condition worsened during the trial, when he developed a "psychotic euphoria that caused him to believe he would evolve into a superior entity" and eventually be transported to a different world. Their clothing was found in the creek, some of it twisted around sticks that had been thrust into the muddy ditch bed. 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