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krystolzero DIRECT LINK IN MY BIO: Tomorrow is the anniversary of the murder of these 3 boys as well as the rally where this petition to have the case reopened will be presented. PLEASE take just a few seconds out of your day to sign and share this and learn about the case if you are unfamiliar. 3 teenagers lost nearly 20 years of their lives being wrongly convicted of this horrific crime. Though 2 were sentenced to life without parole and 1 to death, they are now free due to the Alford Plea, however they are still 3x convicted murders and they need to be exonerated and the families, friends, and thousands of people moved by this case need closure and these children need to have justice served in their honor. PLEASE sign. #wm3 #westmemphis3 #westmemphis #damienechols #jasonbaldwin #jessiemisskelleyjr #stevebranch #christopherbyers #michaelmoore #justice #nojustice #asahutchinson #leslierutledge #investigation #murder #police #1993 #arkansas #petition #change #brutal #may4th #maythe4thbewithyou #may5th #cincodemayo #mayweather #mcm #mancrushmonday #hashtagabuse 1d

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the.creepshow PART 18: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

Echols's 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. His psychosis dominated his perceptions of everything going on in court, Woods wrote. Echols's mental state, while in prison awaiting trial, was also called into question by his appellate team.

While in prison Damien wrote letters to Gloria Shettles, an investigator for his defense team. Echols sought to overturn his conviction based on trial error including juror misconduct, as well as with the results of a DNA Status Report filed on July 17, 2007, which concluded "none of the genetic material recovered at the scene of the crimes was attributable to Mr. Echols, Echols' co-defendant, Jason Baldwin, or defendant Jessie Misskelley .... Although most of the genetic material recovered from the scene was attributable to the victims of the offenses, some of it cannot be attributed to either the victims or the defendants." Advanced DNA and other scientific evidence – combined with additional evidence from several different witnesses and experts – released in October 2007 had thrown the original ruling into question. A hearing on his petition for a writ of habeas corpus was held in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

On August 19, 2011, Echols, along with Baldwin and Misskelley, entered an Alford plea. The judge then sentenced them to 18 years and 78 days, the amount of time they had served, and also levied a suspended sentence of 10 years. Echols's sentence was reduced to three counts of first degree murder. Lawyers representing the West Memphis Three reached the plea deal that allowed the men to walk free. They were transferred to the hearing with their possessions. The plea deal did not technically result in a full exoneration; some of the convictions would stand, though the men would not admit guilt. The counsel representing the men said they would continue to pursue full exoneration.
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Normal Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 17: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

Damien Wayne Echols (born Michael Wayne Hutchison December 11, 1974) was on death row, locked-down 23 hours per day at the Varner Unit Supermax. On August 19, 2011, Echols, along with the two others collectively known as the West Memphis Three, were released from prison after their attorneys and the judge handling the upcoming retrial agreed to a deal. Under the terms of the Alford guilty plea, Echols and his co-defendants accepted the sufficiency of evidence supporting the three counts of first degree murder while maintaining their innocence. DNA evidence failed to connect Echols or his co-defendants to the crime.

Echols, ADC# 000931, entered the system on March 19, 1994. Until August 2011, he was incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) Varner Unit Supermax. In 1999, he married while he was in prison.

The mental stability of Damien Echols during the years immediately prior to the murders and also during his trial was the focus of his appellate legal team in their appeal attempts. In his efforts to win a new trial, Echols, 27 at the time of the appeal, claimed he was incompetent to stand trial because of a history of mental illness. The record on appeal spells out a long history of Echols's mental health problems, including a May 5, 1992, Arkansas Department of Youth Services referral for possible mental illness, a year to the day before the murders. Hospital records for his treatment in Little Rock 11 months before the killings show a history of self-mutilation, and assertions to hospital staff that he gained power by drinking blood, that he had inside him the spirit of a woman who had killed her husband and that he was having hallucinations. He also told mental health workers that he was "going to influence the world." The appellate legal team argued that Echols did not waive his assertion that he was not mentally competent before his 1994 trial because he was not competent to waive it. To assist in the appeals process, Echols's appellate legal team retained a Berkeley-based forensic psychiatrist, Dr. George Woods, to make their case.
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the.creepshow PART 16: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

Charles Jason Baldwin (born April 11, 1977) along with Misskelley and Echols, entered an Alford plea on August 19, 2011. Baldwin pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree murder while still asserting his actual innocence. The judge then sentenced the three men to 18 years and 78 days, the amount of time they had served, and also levied a suspended sentence of 10 years. Baldwin was initially resistant to this deal, insisting as a matter of principle that he would not plead guilty to something he did not do. But, he said, his refusing the deal would have meant Echols stayed on death row. "This was not justice," he said of the deal. "However, they’re trying to kill Damien." Since his release, he has moved to Seattle to live with friends and is in a relationship with a woman who befriended him while he was in prison. He has stated that he plans on enrolling in college to become a lawyer helping wrongfully convicted persons prove their innocence. Baldwin stated in a 2011 interview with Piers Morgan that he worked for a construction company and he was learning how to drive.
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Normal Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 15: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

Jessie Misskelley Jr. (born July 10, 1975) was arrested in connection to the murders of May 5, 1993. 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. However, the confession was at odds with facts known by police, such as the time of the murders. Under the "Bruton rule", his confession could not be admitted against his co-defendants and thus he was tried separately. Misskelley was convicted by a jury of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder. The court sentenced him to life plus 40 years in prison. His conviction was appealed and affirmed by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

On August 19, 2011, Misskelley, along with Baldwin and Echols, entered an Alford plea. Judge David Laser then sentenced them to 18 years and 78 days, the amount of time they had served, and also levied a suspended sentence of 10 years. All three were released from prison that same day. Since his release, he has become engaged to his high school girlfriend and enrolled in a community college to become an auto mechanic.
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the.creepshow PART 14: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

Following their convictions, Echols, Misskelley and Baldwin submitted imprints of their teeth. These were compared to the alleged bite-marks on Stevie Branch's forehead that had not been mentioned in the original autopsy or trial. No matches were found. John Mark Byers had his teeth removed in 1997, after the first trial but before an imprint could be made. His stated reasons for the removal are apparently contradictory. He has claimed both that the seizure medication he was taking caused periodontal disease, and that he planned the removal because of other kinds of dental problems which had troubled him for years.

After an expert examined autopsy photos and noted what he thought might be the imprint of a belt buckle on Byers' corpse, the elder Byers revealed to the police that he had spanked his stepson shortly before the boy disappeared.

In 2007, DNA collected from the crime scene was tested. None was found to match DNA from Echols, Baldwin, or Misskelley. A hair "not inconsistent with" Terry Hobbs, stepfather to Stevie Branch, was found tied into the knots used to bind one of the victims. The prosecutors, while conceding that no DNA evidence tied the accused to the crime scene, said that "The State stands behind its convictions of Echols and his codefendants."
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Slumber Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 13: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

John Mark Byers, the adoptive father of victim Christopher Byers, gave a knife to cameraman Doug Cooper, who was working with documentary makers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky while they were filming the first Paradise Lost feature. The knife was a folding hunting knife manufactured by Kershaw. According to the statements given by Berlinger and Sinofsky, Cooper informed them of his receipt of the knife on December 19, 1993. After the documentary crew returned to New York, Berlinger and Sinofsky were reported to have discovered what appeared to be blood on the knife. HBO executives ordered them to return the knife to the West Memphis Police Department. The knife was not received at the West Memphis Police Department until January 8, 1994.

Byers initially claimed the knife had never been used. After blood was found on the knife, Byers stated that he had used it only once, to cut deer meat. When told the blood matched both his and Chris' blood type, Byers said he had no idea how that blood might have gotten on the knife. During interrogation, West Memphis police suggested to Byers that he might have left the knife out accidentally, and Byers agreed with this. Byers later stated that he may have cut his thumb. Further testing on the knife produced inconclusive results about the source of the blood. Uncertainty remained due to the rather small amount of blood and because both John Mark Byers and Chris Byers had the same HLA-DQα genotype.

John Mark Byers agreed to and passed a polygraph test during the filming of Paradise Lost 2: Revelations in regard to the murders, but the documentary indicated that Byers was under the influence of several psychoactive prescription medications that could have affected the test results.
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Normal Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 12: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

When police speculated about the assailant, the juvenile probation officer assisting at the scene of the murders speculated that Echols was "capable" of committing the murders, stating "it looks like Damien Echols finally killed someone." 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. 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. The defense's expert testified that the mark in question was not an adult bite mark, while experts put on by the State concluded that there was no bite mark at all. The State's experts had examined the actual bodies for any marks and others conducted expert photo analysis of injuries. Upon further examination, it was concluded that if the marks were bite marks, they did not match the teeth of any of the three convicted.
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Normal Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 11: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

There has been widespread criticism of how the police handled the crime scene. Misskelley's former attorney Dan Stidham cites multiple substantial police errors at the crime scene, characterizing it as "literally trampled, especially the creek bed." The bodies, he said, had been removed from the water before the coroner arrived to examine the scene and determine the state of rigor mortis, allowing the bodies to decay on the creek bank, and to be exposed to sunlight and insects. The police did not telephone the coroner until almost two hours after the discovery of the floating shoe, resulting in a late appearance by the coroner. Officials failed to drain the creek in a timely manner and secure possible evidence in the water (the creek was sandbagged after the bodies were pulled from the water). Stidham calls the coroner's investigation "extremely substandard." There was a small amount of blood found at the scene that was never tested. According to HBO's documentaries Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996) and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000), no blood was found at the crime scene, indicating that the location where the bodies were found was not necessarily the location in which the murders actually happened. After the initial investigation, the police failed to control disclosure of information and speculation about the crime scene.

According to Leveritt, "Police records were a mess. To call them disorderly would be putting it mildly." Leveritt speculated that the small local police force was overwhelmed by the crime, which was unlike any they had ever investigated. Police refused an unsolicited offer of aid and consultation from the violent crimes experts of the Arkansas State Police, and critics suggested this was due to the WMPD being investigated by the Arkansas State Police for suspected theft from the Crittenden County drug task force. 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.
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the.creepshow PART 10: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

Three weeks later, Echols and Baldwin went on trial. The prosecution accused the three young men of committing a Satanic murder. The prosecution called Dale W. Griffis, a graduate of Columbia Pacific University, as an expert in the occult to testify the murders were a Satanic ritual. On March 19, 1994 Echols and Baldwin were found guilty on three counts of murder. The court sentenced Echols to death and Baldwin to life in prison.

At trial, the defense team argued that news articles from the time could have been the source for Echols's knowledge about the genital mutilation, and Echols said his knowledge was limited to what was "on TV." The prosecution claimed that Echols's knowledge was nonetheless too close to the facts, since there was no public reporting of drowning or that one victim had been mutilated more than the others. Echols testified that Detective Ridge's description of their earlier conversation (which was not recorded) regarding those particular details was inaccurate (and indeed that some other claims by Ridge were "lies"). Mara Leveritt, investigative journalist and author of Devil's Knot, argues that Echols's information may have come from police leaks, such as Detective Gitchell's comments to Mark Byers, that circulated amongst the local public. The defense team objected when the prosecution attempted to question Echols about his past violent behaviors, but the defense objections were overruled.
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Normal Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 9: WEST MEMPHIS THREE
Police said the recording was "inaudible", but Hutcheson claimed the recording was audible. On June 2, 1993, Hutcheson told police that about two weeks after the murders were committed, she, Echols and Misskelley attended a Wiccan meeting in Turrell, Arkansas. Hutcheson claimed that, at the Wiccan meeting, a drunken Echols openly bragged about killing the three boys. Misskelley was first questioned on June 3, 1993, a day after Hutcheson's purported confession. Hutcheson was unable to recall the Wiccan meeting location, and did not name any other participants of the purported meeting. Hutcheson was never charged with theft. She claimed she implicated Echols and Misskelley to avoid facing criminal charges and to obtain a reward for the discovery of the murderers.

Misskelley was tried separately, and Echols and Baldwin were tried together in 1994. Under the "Bruton rule", Misskelley's confession could not be admitted against his co-defendants and thus he was tried separately. All three defendants pleaded not guilty.

During Misskelley's trial, Dr. 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. Critics have also stated that Misskelley's "confessions" were in many respects inconsistent with themselves and the particulars of the crime scene and murder victims, including (for example) an "admission" that Misskelley "watched Damien rape one of the boys." Police had initially suspected that the victims had been raped because their anuses were dilated. However there was no forensic evidence indicating that the murdered boys had been raped and dilated anuses are a normal post-mortem condition.

On February 5, 1994, Misskelley was convicted by a jury of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder. The court sentenced him to life plus 40 years in prison. His conviction was appealed, but the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the conviction.
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Normal Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 8: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

Shortly after Misskelley's first confession, police arrested Echols and his close friend Baldwin. Eight months after that original confession, on February 17, 1994, Misskelley made another statement to police. His lawyer, Dan Stidham, remained in the room and continually advised Misskelley not to say anything. Misskelley ignored this advice and went on to detail how the boys were abused and murdered. Stidham, who was later elected to a municipal judgeship, has written a detailed critique of what he asserts are major police errors and misconceptions during their investigation.

Vicki Hutcheson, a new resident of West Memphis, would play an important role in the investigation, though she would later recant her testimony, stating her statements were fabricated due in part to coercion from police.

On May 6, 1993 (the day the murder victims were found), Hutcheson took a polygraph exam by Detective Don Bray at the Marion Police Department to determine if she had stolen money from her West Memphis employer. Hutcheson's young son, Aaron, was also present, and proved such a distraction that Bray was unable to administer the polygraph. Aaron, a playmate of the murdered boys, mentioned to Bray that the boys had been killed at "the playhouse". When the bodies proved to have been discovered near where Aaron indicated, Bray asked Aaron for further details, and Aaron claimed that he had witnessed the murders committed by Satanists who spoke Spanish. Aaron's further statements were wildly inconsistent, and he was unable to identify Baldwin, Echols or Misskelley from photo line-ups, and there was no "playhouse" at the location Aaron indicated. A police officer leaked portions of Aaron's statements to the press contributing to the growing belief that the murders were part of a Satanic rite.

On or about June 1, 1993, Hutcheson agreed to police suggestions to place hidden microphones in her home during an encounter with Echols. Misskelley agreed to introduce Hutcheson to Echols. During their conversation, Hutcheson reported that Echols made no incriminating statements.
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Normal Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 7: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

Police officers James Sudbury and Steve Jones felt that the crime had "cult" overtones, and that Damien Echols might be a suspect because he had an interest in occultism, and Jones felt him capable of murdering children. They interviewed Echols on May 7, two days after the bodies were discovered. During a polygraph examination, he denied any involvement. The polygraph examiner claimed that Echols's chart indicated deception. On May 9, during a formal interview by Detective Bryn Ridge, Echols mentioned that one of the victims had wounds to the genitals, and this was felt to be incriminating knowledge.

After a month had passed with little progress in the case, police continued to focus their investigation upon Echols, interrogating him more frequently than any other person; however, they claimed he was not regarded as a direct suspect but a source of information.

On June 3 police interrogated Jessie Misskelley, Jr. Despite his reported IQ of 72 (categorizing him as borderline intellectual functioning), and his status as a minor, Miskelley was questioned alone; his parents were not present during the interrogation. Misskelley's father gave permission for Misskelley to go with police but did not explicitly give permission for his son to be questioned or interrogated. Misskelley was questioned for roughly twelve hours. Only two segments, totaling 46 minutes, were recorded. Misskelley quickly recanted his confession, citing intimidation, coercion, fatigue, and veiled threats from police. Misskelley specifically said he was "scared of the police" during this confession.

Though he was informed of his Miranda rights, Misskelley later claimed he did not fully understand them. In 1996, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that Misskelley's confession was voluntary and that he did, in fact, understand the Miranda warning and its consequences. Portions of Misskelley's statements to the police were leaked to the press and reported on the front page of the Memphis Commercial Appeal before any of the trials began.
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Normal Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 6: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

The sighting of a black male as a possible alternate suspect was implied during the beginning of the Misskelley trial. According to local West Memphis police officers, on the evening of May 5, 1993, at 8:42 pm, workers in the Bojangles' restaurant about a mile from the crime scene in Robin Hood Hills reported seeing a black male who seemed "mentally disoriented" inside the ladies' room of the restaurant. The man was bleeding and had brushed against the walls of the restroom. Officer Regina Meeks responded to the call, taking the restaurant manager's report through the restaurant's drive-through window. By then, the man had left and police did not enter the restroom on that date.

The day after the victims' bodies were found, Bojangles' manager Marty King, thinking there was a possible connection to the bloody man found in the bathroom, reported the incident to police officers who then inspected the ladies room. King gave the officers a pair of sunglasses he thought the man left behind and the detectives took some blood samples from the walls. Police detective Bryn Ridge testified that he later lost those blood scrapings taken from the walls and tiles of the restroom. A hair identified as belonging to a black male was later recovered from a sheet which was used to wrap one of the victims.
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the.creepshow PART 5: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

Echols spent several months in a mental institution in Arkansas, and afterward received "full disability" status from the Social Security Administration. During Echols's 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." At his death penalty sentencing hearing, Echols's psychologist reported that months before the murders, Echols claimed that he obtained super powers by drinking human blood.

At the time of his arrest, Echols was working part-time with a roofing company and expecting a child with his new girlfriend, Domini Teer.

Early in the investigation, the WMPD briefly regarded two West Memphis teenagers as suspects. Chris Morgan and Brian Holland, both with drug offense histories, had abruptly departed for Oceanside, California, four days after the bodies were discovered. Morgan was presumed to be at least casually familiar with all three murdered boys, having previously driven an ice cream truck route in their neighborhood.

Arrested in Oceanside on May 17, 1993, Morgan and Holland both took polygraph exams administered by California police. Examiners reported that both men's charts indicated deception when they denied involvement in the murders. During subsequent questioning, Morgan claimed a long history of drug and alcohol use, along with blackouts and memory lapses. He claimed that he "might have" killed the victims but quickly recanted this part of his statement.

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. The relevance of Morgan's recanted statement would later be debated in trial, but was eventually barred from admission as evidence.
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the.creepshow PART 4: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

At the time of their arrests, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was 17 years old, Jason Baldwin was 16 years old, and Damien Echols was 18 years old.

Baldwin and Echols had been arrested for vandalism and shoplifting, respectively, and Misskelley had a reputation for his temper and for engaging in fistfights with other teenagers at school. Misskelley and Echols had dropped out of high school; however, Baldwin earned high grades and demonstrated a talent for drawing and sketching, and was encouraged by one of his teachers to study graphic design in college. Echols and Baldwin were close friends, and bonded over their similar tastes in music and fiction, and over their shared distaste for the prevailing cultural climate of West Memphis, situated in the Bible Belt. Baldwin and Echols were acquainted with Misskelley from school, but were not close friends with him.

Echols's family was poor, with frequent visits from social workers, and he rarely attended school. He had run off with an early girlfriend. The pair later broke into a trailer during a rain storm and were arrested, though only Echols was charged with burglary. Police heard rumors that the young lovers had planned to have a child and sacrifice the infant; based on this story, they had Echols institutionalized for psychiatric evaluation. Echols denied allegations that he had chased a younger child with an ax, but did admit to attempting to remove a classmate's eyeball and while detained reportedly sucked blood from another boy's arm. He was diagnosed as depressed and suicidal, and was prescribed the antidepressant imipramine. Subsequent testing demonstrated poor mathematical skills, but also showed that Echols ranked above average in reading and verbal skills.
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Normal Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 3: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

Police initially suspected the boys had been raped; however, later expert testimony disputed this finding despite trace amounts of sperm DNA found on a pair of pants recovered from the scene. Prosecution experts claim Byers' wounds were the results of a knife attack and that he had been purposely castrated by the murderer; defense experts claim the injuries were more probably the result of post-mortem animal predation. Police believed the boys were assaulted and killed at the location where they were found; critics argued that the assault, at least, was unlikely to have occurred at the creek.

Byers was the only victim with drugs in his system; he was prescribed Ritalin (methylphenidate) in January 1993, as part of an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder treatment. The initial autopsy report describes the drug as Carbamazepine, and that dosage was found to be at sub-therapeutic level. John Mark Byers said that Christopher Byers may not have taken his prescription on May 5, 1993.
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Normal Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 2: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

Three eight-year-old boys—Steve Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers—were reported missing on May 5, 1993. The first report to the police was made by Byers' adoptive father, John Mark Byers, around 7:00 pm. The boys were allegedly last seen together by three neighbors, who in affidavits told of seeing them playing together around 6:30 pm the evening they disappeared, and saw Terry Hobbs, stepfather of Steve Branch, calling them to come home. Initial police searches made that night were limited. Friends and neighbors also conducted a search that night, which included a cursory visit to the location where the bodies were later found.

A more thorough police search for the children began around 8:00 am on May 6, led by the Crittenden County Search and Rescue personnel. Searchers canvassed all of West Memphis, but focused primarily on Robin Hood Hills, where the boys were reported last seen. Despite a human chain making a shoulder-to-shoulder search of Robin Hood Hills, searchers found no sign of the missing boys.

Around 1:45 pm, juvenile Parole Officer Steve Jones spotted a boy's black shoe floating in a muddy creek that led to a major drainage canal in Robin Hood Hills. A subsequent search of the ditch revealed the bodies of three boys. They had been stripped naked and were hogtied with their own shoelaces: their right ankles tied to their right wrists behind their backs, the same with their left arms and legs. Their clothing was found in the creek, some of it twisted around sticks that had been thrust into the muddy ditch bed. The clothing was mostly turned inside-out; two pairs of the boys' underwear were never recovered. Christopher Byers had lacerations to various parts of his body, and mutilation of his scrotum and penis.

The autopsies, by the forensic pathologist Frank J. Peretti, indicated that Byers died of "multiple injuries", while Moore and Branch died of "multiple injuries with drowning". (I have crime scene and autopsy photos, but still undecided atm if I am going to post them)
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Normal Welcome To The Creepshow
the.creepshow PART 1: WEST MEMPHIS THREE

The West Memphis Three are three men who were tried and convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment. During the trial, the prosecution asserted that the children were killed as part of a Satanic ritual. A number of documentaries have been based on the case, and celebrities and musicians have held fund raisers in the belief that they are innocent.

In July 2007, new forensic evidence was presented in the case and a status report jointly issued by the state and the defense team stated, "Although most of the genetic material recovered from the scene was attributable to the victims of the offenses, some of it cannot be attributed to either the victims or the defendants." On October 29, 2007, the defense filed a Second Amended Writ of Habeas Corpus, outlining the new evidence.

Following a successful decision in 2010 by the Arkansas Supreme Court regarding newly produced DNA evidence, the West Memphis Three negotiated a plea bargain with prosecutors. On August 19, 2011, they entered Alford pleas, which allow them to assert their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them. Judge David Laser accepted the pleas and sentenced the three to time served. They were released with ten-year suspended sentences, having served 18 years and 78 days in prison.
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