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September 7, 2010

"West Memphis 3" Follow-Up

Posted: 12:51 PM ET

During last nights show on the "West Memphis 3," we shared statements from Diana Moore, mother of murder victim Michael Moore, and the Arkansas Attorney General, whose office will defend the conviction of Damien Echols before the Arkansas Supreme Court later this month.

Because of time constraints, we weren't able to read the entire statements, but since there are no time constraints on the blog, we wanted to post them here in their etirety.  Also below are statements we received from Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines, two of our guests last night, in response to Diana Moore.

Statement from Diana Moore, mother of murder victim Michael Moore:

In 1993, all I wanted was justice for Michael, Christopher, and Stevie, and closure for myself, and my family. 17 years later, still no justice, or closure.

Since the convictions, the media has made it a point to make this case all about the convicted. I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that three innocent 8 year old children were brutally murdered, and these three men were convicted on the evidence presented to 24 , (in total), juror members that voted unanimously to convict.

Not one of the celebrities interviewed in this program has ever bothered to personally read the case file at West Memphis PD, or speak to anyone involved in prosecuting this case.

My little boy died that day. I'm his mother, and wish to say that the public remains ignorant about what happened in court primarily as a result of the Paradise Lost films, and the writing of Mara Leveritt. My voice is small compared to theirs, but I believe more relevant. They weren't there during the trials, and they didn't lose anybody. I lost almost everything, and not a day goes by that I don't mourn for Michael. The public should think about that before casting their lot in with Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines.

Statement from musician Eddie Vedder, in response to Diana Moore:

I humbly ask that those personally connected to the case understand that there is no way I would ever speak out publicly without having read and studied every document and detail made available in the last twelve years. The murder of the three young boys is without question the saddest and most horrifying element of this brutal case.

As the father of two I cannot comprehend the overwhelming sense of grief and heartbreak the parents have suffered over the last seventeen years.

It hurts to think that while trying to correct the further injustice of three men wrongfully convicted, their pain is further compounded.

This case is so sadly one of tragedy upon tragedy. I send Ms. Moore my respect and understanding, and am so sorry for her unfathomable loss.

Ed Vedder

Statement from musician Natalie Maines, in response to Diana Moore:

My heart goes out to you, Ms. Moore. I can only imagine the heartache and pain you have endured over the past 16 years and I respect your need for peace and closure. I believe a new trial for Damien, Jason, and Jessie, is the first step towards the justice you deserve and desire for your son. Please know that, Michael, Christopher and Stevie are never forgotten. Their sweet and innocent faces are ingrained in our minds forever.

I wish you peace,
Natalie

Statement from Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel:

Our office knows that there are concerns about this case, but be assured that we take the utmost care in handling the appeals of death sentences handed down by Arkansas jurors. Though some celebrities have brought more attention to this case than to the dozens of other pending death-row appeals in this state, every one is an extremely serious matter.

We are committed to fairness and justice not just for the three inmates, but also for the three little boys who didn’t live to see middle school.

Filed under: Damien Echols • Dixie Chicks • Eddie Vedder • Natalie Maines • Pearl Jam • West Memphis 3


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Sun In Somebody Elses Sky   September 2nd, 2010 1:11 pm ET

I'm a mother of two and an Eddie Vedder fan. I'm glad LKL devoted a full hour to this story and provided equal attention to all parties.

This is very sad scenario but I hope justice for the three little boys prevails first and foremost. If the three that may have been wrongly convicted are proven innocent, I hope that equal – more – resources and attention are committed to capturing the true killer.

If there is any 'celebrity' that is going to attach themself to a cause, Eddie Vedder is the most sincere you could ever hope for.


brookefromAR   September 2nd, 2010 4:59 pm ET

Ive been following this since I was a teen and I am now 30. These people were convicted long before this case ever went to trial. Sad that three 8 year olds were brutally murdered but even sadder that three teens were wrongfully convicted. This is where our justice system failed not three but six kids... What I find even more horrifying is that once the AR attorney had the DNA evidence proving that it did not belong to the three boys or the WM3 he still said they were guilty. The lack of justice in this entire case sickens me for all the kids that have suffered!


cindy knigge   September 2nd, 2010 5:36 pm ET

Thank you for keeping this case in the news. Damien definitely deserves a new trial and his conviction overturned. I am 100% positive these young men did not kill those boys in 93 and the real murderer is laughing at the Arkansas court system. At this point it is obvious to anyone who has studied this case that these guys were falsly convicted. Arkansas is too proud to admit that they made a mistake. It is past time to set this right!


Vishous   September 2nd, 2010 5:37 pm ET

Lis

I happen to disagree with you, Lets see Damien Echols was expelled from school for terroristic threats, he tried to poke Shane Diviliss eyes out with his fingernails that were sharpened too points, he started fires in school and threatened to put spells on teachers. Damien was not your average teenager. He also blew kisses at the parents of the murdered children, during his trial. He also threatened to eat his fathers face, and ask Lorri was his mother and sister were taken off the visitors list. And Now after the televised concert Lorri is asking for more money, it doesn't make sense.


Curt   September 2nd, 2010 5:49 pm ET

I have sent this same story on- line years ago but after watching your WM3 show last night I thought it was worth repeating.
A friend of miine named "Ray" had been staying out at the Wentzville Missouri campgrounds during the concerts by the Grateful Dead at the Maryland Heights Riverport Ampitheatre in 1995. (The year that they had that colapsed balcony incident). I ran into him a few months later and I asked him about his experience by being around all of those "Dead-Head Fans" in one place out in Wentzville. The one memory that still haunts him to this day (as far as I know) was (as he described to me) as if the incident was still very vivid although it had occurred at least four months earlier.
His recounting of his experience was centered around when a small group of people were all huddled around a swing set/ playground spot and most of them were just kicking back relaxing and or discussing Dead Head trivia stuff when he noticed that one guy was spinning on one of the swing set seats away from everyone else and as he walked up closer to this man thinking about striking up a small conversation he got this "bad vibe" about this guy within only a couple of feet away from him. As Ray recalled his words... " I decided to get on the sliding board instead of sitting next to him and then just listened to him quietly repeating to himself "THEY CAN"T CATCH ME CAUSE I GOT ALL THREE." When Ray told me this story.years ago I asked him who did he tell this information to and he replied "I told my dad and we both tried to tell the police about what I had heard but they dismissed me as another ranting from a Grateful Dead Head Fan."
Then as Ray and his dad thought more about it they decided that it might be better if they just shut up and not bring it up anymore if the authorities were not going to take Ray seriously.
Every now and then I still run into him in public and even though we never bring up that story consciously when we start taking we both know that that story still lingers in his mind,


Susan Bratton   September 2nd, 2010 6:22 pm ET

*WARNING*
If you are a parent in the State of Arkansas you need to watch your children carefully. They can be accused of something that they did not do or they could die and the case be unsolved.

Thank you
Susan Bratton
Alexander AR


smcdevitt   September 2nd, 2010 6:59 pm ET

My heart sank when I read that statement from the Arkansas Attorney General. Those guys, the West Memphis Three, are screwed.

When you have officials who are just bound and determined to tie themselves to the emotionalism of the case without paying attention to things like facts or science, we all know what the outcome will be.

Despite overwhelming doubt about their guilt, I'm really afraid those boys (now men) are going to stay in prison. And yes, Mr. Attorney General, those who support the WM3 all know and fully appreciate the fact that three young lives were taken. (Actually, it's more like six.) Don't insult us as supporters, or toy with the emotions of the families of the victims who have already suffered a terrible loss.


crystal   September 2nd, 2010 7:54 pm ET

its sad about the loss of 3 boys. its also sad about the lives of the 3 men thats lost. they r all victims. the Wm3 r innocent. period. mrs. moore is still grieving, so she is blinded and cant see the facts. she needs to so they all can finally rest.


Caryn   September 2nd, 2010 9:00 pm ET

The supporters of the men known as the "West Memphis Three" claim they are all "innocent. There is no evidence that proves beyond all doubt that they are the blameless innocents that their shrill, myopic supporters believe them to be. The groupies/supporters of these characters are incredibly off-putting; they seem rather hysterical, downright desperate to pin the murders on somebody, anybody other the "West Memphis Three." But so far there has been no definitive proof that can prove their innocence.

Damien Echols is one of the most chilling personalities I've ever seen, right up there with Charles Manson in terms of creepiness. His dead eyes, his lack of affect, his monotone voice all indicate a profoundly disturbed individual. And he was like that BEFORE he got sent to Death Row (his supporters claim he's that way because he's been on Death Row for years). He strikes me as someone who would be capable of anything.


crystal AR   September 2nd, 2010 9:48 pm ET

they are innocent! vishous, they were kids, and kids sometimes do stupid stupid things. try to look "cool" etc...these men r not guilty! they were singled out bc of the way they dressed, how their hair was, the music they listened to. guess what, those same bands they loved so much are some of todays classic bands everyone loves! until u have studied this, abd read all transcripts etc. dont say guilty till its proven. and cathy, the law in the u.s.a is "innocent until proven guilty" in in case u forgot. not guilty till proven innocent. remember? no evidence at all points to them boys, however; it does point to terry hobbs. our attorney general is a horrible general for our state. im ashamed of him. just another hillbilly redneck trying to look tough. the people who know this case back n front all know they are innocent. im from arkansas, and i think our justice system sucks massively! here u can go to prison for a hot check, and murderers go free! or innocent people convicted, while the criminals run free. and they all sit back and laugh and joke about it. sickens me.


Kuuipo   September 2nd, 2010 9:54 pm ET

I watched part of LKL last night and the show did little to convince me that these three men are innocent or that there's enough new evidence for them to qualify for a retrial. Chelsea King and Amber Dubois are on the front page of the CNN Justice page today; a reminder of what can happen when dangerous criminals are released. I'm hesitant to support a cause that would potentially release three very dangerous child-killers into free society.


crystal AR   September 2nd, 2010 10:15 pm ET

kuuipo, have u studied the case? or just happened to catch it on LKL? the show wasnt created to convince the public of their innocense. it was created to bring awareness to this case, because it has become a case thats known worldwide. and too many things point to their innocense, and not their guilt. and if most of the parents of the 3 boys that were killed have changed their minds about damien, jessie and jason, then their must be something behind it. they know they didnt do it too. minus mrs.moore. that speaks volumes in my eyes.


they were guilty   September 2nd, 2010 11:27 pm ET

The West Memphis 3 were found guilty and lost every appeal.

Echols (one of the 3) was seen in muddy clothes near the crime scene. He bragged about the murder to two other teenagers, stating he killed the three boys. This was presented as evidence at the trial. Echols also had a history of psychiatric treatment. His reported actions included brutally killing a dog, starting fires at his school, threatening to kill his teachers and parents and stating he liked to drink blood.

Baldwin (another of the 3) confessed to a friend and described the crime to this friend. This evidence was presented at trial.

Fibers on the murdered victims' clothing were found to microscopically similar to things in the Baldwin and Echols homes.


All We Are Saying. . .Is Give JUSTICE A Chance   September 2nd, 2010 11:55 pm ET

Ms. Moore, I am so sorry for your loss. May PEACE be with you.


Kuuipo   September 3rd, 2010 12:29 am ET

No, Crystal AR, I have not studied the case; I happened to catch LKL and I read up a little last night and today. I haven't formed a strong opinion as to the guilt or innocence of these three men. But I do believe in our court system and as Ms. Moore points out, 24 people unanimously agreed to convict these men. I've served on a jury and I can tell you how hard it is to get 12 people to agree about anything. We also have an appeals process. The few cases that I've heard of where innocent people have been convicted have been due to poor eyewitness testimony.

Here in California, two young women died when a psycho criminal was set free to rape and kill. Be very sure of your cause.

The truth has a way of coming out, and I have faith that it will.


BDG   September 3rd, 2010 2:48 am ET

I am a native Arkansan and remember when this happened. I remember how every single person that I talked to already thought those kids were guilty. I remember that most of what people talked about is how weird the WM3 looked. Arkansas, especially smaller communities like West Memphis, is not always friendly to people who "look different." I don't think there is any question that Damien Echols was disturbed (and probably much more so now), but I don't think the evidence stood as enough to convict them, let alone give anyone the death penalty. What I do know is that Arkansas (making a big generalization here) wanted these boys to hang. Better to pin it on someone that didn't do it than the thought of the real killer still being out there and the system not doing it's job. My heart absolutely goes out to the families of the victims. This was nothing short of horrific. I was only a few years older than the victims when this happened and it was a really scary time. But, we owe it to EVERYONE to reexamine this case. Carefully this time.


blog on the west memphis 3   September 3rd, 2010 7:17 am ET

Good info on the case – search for "eassurvey west memphis 3"


Dr. David A Camp   September 3rd, 2010 7:47 am ET

As a criminologist and professor in this area of 20 years I see a sad truth here – one all to often found in such cases. The tragedy impacted the emotions of all that learn of it, and those emotions seek to upend the basic premise of the criminal justice system in the US.

When we seek justice we often are seeking revenge – OK! However, we must not leave the premise of innocent until PROVEN guilty. If the case was improperly tried, we cannot allow our desire to revenge – even when justified – get in the way of justice. The guiity must pay, but we must PROVE then as such. Railroading does occur. I suspect the detectives utilized the common interrogation practices to obtain the confession. I know these techniques and teach about them and like polygraphs they all too often produce false results if not absolutely used exactly as taught. Otherwise the guilt bias that accompanies them will produce false confessions. WE MUST be sure, Not simply seek to make anyone pay. When we base justice on things such as not approving the way someone thinks or presents themselves we are no better than nazi's or other hate groups. WE MUST not become a hate group based on this. We must go on facts – not opinion. If the facts – past or present indicate innocence, then our presumption of innonence must acquit. If it PROVES guilt we must seek justice.


knipxaine   September 3rd, 2010 9:10 am ET

I can't even begin to fathom what life must be like for the families of the three murdered children. I like to think I would want to be 100% sure that the killers were caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Even if you do not believe the WM3 are innocent, can we not all agree that there is a shadow of doubt. DNA evidence, information that the jurors documented as weighing on their decisions that was inadmissable, the murder weapon, the violated crime scene.....all of these things weigh heavy on my mind.

I feel the three convicted young men were poor and received mediocre representation at best. They were different. They liked heavy metal, black clothing and had interests in the supernatural. How many of us can look back and find we did the same things as teenagers? Your teenage years are a natural time of experimentation, in testing boundaries, in discovering the person you will one day be. Would this trial have had the same outcome if they had been three rich kids from Memphis?

I applaud Eddie Vedder, Natalie Maines and all the others who took time out of their busy lives to stand up for what they believe in. They made educated conscientious decisions to come to Arkansas and help these "children" who have grown up in the prison system. They had nothing to gain by helping. I wish more people exhibited such empathy, and willingness to stand up for what they think is right. They are asking for JUSTICE, justice for the three jailed men, and justice for the three children who were killed.

Don't close your eyes or your mind. Get infomation elsewhere, think for yourself and decide how you would feel if the three convicted men were your children, your brothers, your friends. There were too many mistakes made in the investigation and the hearings to convict without some doubt. I think we can all agree we want justice to be served.


Polly   September 3rd, 2010 9:18 am ET

Ask a politician if a million people who have heard the speeches, went to school and studied Civics, American History, and Political Science, read the newspapers, heard it on the talk shows and news... and then went to the polls and voted... can a million people at a time get it wrong? If that is so that they can, how hard is it to believe that 24 people can also get it wrong? Just sayin


A Mom   September 3rd, 2010 10:34 am ET

Dear Caryn:

I was disappointed to read that someone with the intelligence to use words like 'myopic' could be so misinformed about the judicial system which is obvious by your statement ' There is no evidence that proves beyond all doubt that they are the blameless innocents ...'
That is not how it works. The burden of proof is on the Prosecutors, which they failed miserably to do as evidenced by the jury foreman stating to the attorney that if they (the Prosecutors) didn't come up with something better he was going to have to introduce the confession of Jessie Misskelley to secure a conviction. In case you didn't realize this either, the confession was not allowed in the Court Trial because Jessie recanted and refused to offer testimony against Damien and Jason, even after being offered reward money. Since the confession was not offered in Court, it is not legally allowed to be introduced after the trial in the jury room because it does not afford the defendants the ability to refute it and the jurors notes from the jury deliberation have indications that the confession was discussed.

It saddens me that your myopic view is exactly why these boys are behind bars.

NOUN: 1. A visual defect in which distant objects appear blurred because their images are focused in front of the retina rather than on it; nearsightedness. Also called short sight . myopic (-pk, -pk) , myopically

I pray that the attorney that has been appointed to hear this matter on September 30th has the courage to determine that his peers have failed and these boys deserve a new trial. If the Prosecutors case was, indeed, airtight then they have nothing to fear by a new, fair trial on ALL the evidence.


David Perry Davis, Esq.   September 3rd, 2010 1:54 pm ET

My heart also goes out to the parents, families, and friends of the victims – the boys who lost their lives and the teens (now men) who have spent 17 years in prison on wrongful convictions. With the exception of the Moores, the families of the victims are all West Memphis Three supporters. I pray that someday Todd and Dana Moore will care more about who killed their son then about "being right."

There are two villains in this story – Terry Hobbs, who DNA and common sense show murdered three little boys.

Second – the State. That's you, Dustin, Fogelman, Brent, Burnett, Mike Walden, etc. Even if you had a good faith basis to believe in what you were doing in 1994, the evidence that has come out since then shows that you were wrong. I don't believe your actions at this point are in good faith – you care more about not admitting a mistake than you do about justice "for three boys who never lived to see middle school" and for three men whose lives YOU CONTINUE TO DESTROY.

Arkansas is waking up – you will all (Dustin, Brent, Brent, Burnett, Mike Walden) get the Fogelman treatment. I'm proud to have donated (and written letters and made calls, etc) to fight Fogelman's absurd bid for a seat on the Arkansas Supreme Court. There was no other serious opposition to him except for the WM3 issue.

You're next Dustin - if you can't stand up for justice here, you PLAINLY do not deserve your office (not to mention not deserving the governor's mansion). It's really sad that justice can't motivate you - perhaps the thought of your political self-preservation will do so!

*** FREE THE WM3 ***


Beth   September 3rd, 2010 4:29 pm ET

i am a free the west memphis three supporter. i do believe they are innocent, and at the very least, deserve a new and fair trial. i was at the rally in little rock, and it was awesome! i also plan on being at the court house on the 30th.
having said that, when i attended the rally, i wore my husband's old boy scouts shirt to signify that i (like many other wm3 supporters) have NOT forgotten the 3 8 year old boys. i don't believe that the men incarcerated are the guilty parties, and i would very much LOVE to see the real killer(s) actually brought to justice. once these men are given a fair trial and/or exonerated, i still will donate to whatever it is that will find the real killers and bring them to justice.


Jango   September 3rd, 2010 5:33 pm ET

These three guys and this country is screwed BIG time if someone can be sentenced to death because " His dead eyes, his lack of affect, his monotone voice all indicate a profoundly disturbed individual". See Caryn's comment of september 2nd, 9pm et.
And of course, a lot of people out there got more strong evidences: they didn't go to church nor read the bible, they listened to hard rock music, and wear black . They wear different. Oh, and the devil worshipping thing.

They would probably get better justice moving to Afghanistan to be judged by the elders of a remote tribe, rather than being subjected to this so called "justice system" based on prejudice, made from people that banged their own heads way too much with their own bibles.
These guys are screwed. And the real assassin will never be found.


Lis   September 3rd, 2010 9:45 pm ET

I am a Stevie, Michael, and Christopher supporter. I know their murders have not been solved. I believe the person who killed them is still out there and free to do what they want. Meanwhile, three men are in prison for a crime that DNA evidence says they did NOT commit. Jason, Jessie, and Damien have alibis for the evening of May 5th.

I urge people to research this case. Do not read any of these comments and think for a moment that they truly reflect the complexities of the substandard investigation facilitated by the WMPD, the unjust trials for the three, and the subsequent injustices that have occurred since these men were convicted.

Domini and Damien were not together on the 5th. No one saw Damien on the service road because he was with his family. Read the case documents. Read the statements made by Damien's entire family as well as the Sanders family. Read the interviews with Jennifer Bearden, Holly George, and Domini Teer. The WMPD didn't bother to question a majority of the witnesses who could provide these men with an alibi until at LEAST FOUR MONTHS after the murders took place. That is absurd. The entire investigation was a joke.

These men are innocent. Stevie, Michael, and Christopher deserve justice. Someone out there murdered them, stripped them of their clothing, and threw them in a dirty ditch! There is no evidence of the sexual abuse that Jessie Misskelley said Damien and Jason inflicted on these boys. They is no evidence they were brutally sodomized. Please don't read what people say on here and believe all of that information is factual. I assure you that it isn't.

There is no way I would devote every single day of my life to this case if I did not believe these three men were innocent. A miscarriage of justice has occurred. Jury misconduct is GROUNDS for a retrial! If you think these men are guilty, FINE, but give them a chance to prove they are innocent in a fair trial. Damien and Jason were tried together! It was a complete conflict of interest. First, Ken Watkins provided an alibi for Jason but he couldn't use it because of statements he made about Damien. Narlene Hollingsworth said she saw Damien and DOMINI on the service road. They weren't even together that night! She didn't implicate Jason...why should he have to stand trial next to someone else? We are talking about someone's life here.

Do the research. Read every document, every trial transcript, and look at the way the police and prosecution handled this case. If you do all of this and you can look me in the eye and tell me that if YOUR son was accused of these murders...you'd feel comfortable letting the WMPD and WM prosecutors question and charge him then we can have a real conversation about this case. Until then...you don't know everything you need to know, but if you put in the time and effort...you will.


wm3 were guilty   September 3rd, 2010 10:30 pm ET

"With the exception of the Moores, the families of the victims are all West Memphis Three supporters."

not true:
West Memphis 3: Stevie Branch's Father Upset with Johnny Depp
He felt compelled to speak out now because of recent publicity in the case. "I'm here for the three eight-year-old boys that were tortured and murdered, one of which was my son, Little Steve," he said.

Branch was convinced after the trials, and remains convinced today, that the right people are behind bars for the murders of Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore.

-
"There are two villains in this story – Terry Hobbs, who DNA and common sense show murdered three little boys."
not true:
One hair was all that was found. A hair could have been on the clothing of the boy for any reason. There is no other evidence nor motive.

-
The 3 had motives, Echols belief system and his violent past. They had criminal histories.


January   September 4th, 2010 5:52 pm ET

Some of the Pro-WM3 comments are astounding. I myself, do believe there is guilt present, and WM3 are where they should be.

Although initially, there were certain critical errors in the case -the overall outcome was justified in my opinion.

To me, Damien Echols is a dark, and very disturbed individual -I think these events were a (un)natural progression for him (from the almost lack of novelty of killing animals) there is an unmistakable coldness in his eyes. I am not an expert, but he seems to display BPD, and a bit of Schizotypal PD. Jason to me, is not a quiet, shy person- as some perceive.. he seems cold, and calculating- to an extent; his long delay in answering a direct question from his own lawyer about his involvement, was a little chilling for me to watch. I think Jessie is guilty as well, but more in the sense of guilty by association. I think he actually has a conscience, and remorse; which is why he confessed more than once– & his confession is what seems to be scrutinized, and overlooked the most- and yet, was the most detrimental in their conviction- Jessie gave his statements with far too much detail for it to be fabricated- right down to the location of the 'broken whiskey bottle'.

The 'new DNA/hair' evidence, in my view is weak.. it could have been a natural transfer as Terry Hobbs, was the step-dad to Steve Branch- they resided in the same home. I also think it was borderline absurd that he had to pay legal fees when presenting a Defamation Of Character suit... but that is another matter- entirely.

10++ years have passed since their conviction, yet what I personally think the public is seeing is the WM3 speak differently, etc.. it could be due to maturity, or due to having time to think about their actions– if it is an attempt at shame, or remorse that is on display to the public; that doesn't deduct from the horrific reality that was woven years prior.

The opinions expressed here are my own; all I ask is for some of you to view this case with common sense.


Cathy   September 4th, 2010 10:33 pm ET

I'd like to see a CNN special on this story.


jason reinhardt   September 5th, 2010 4:43 am ET

It's very sad and pathetic to me that the Arkansas district attorneys office does not have the intelligence or competence to use simple common sense in this case. Just go back and look at all video documentation, and written documents and the intelligent people of this country will realize the truth. The truth is the damn killer is still out there. All one has to do to realize who did this, is go back and watch and study the tapes. I can tell you which one did it, and it's none of the 3 convicted sitting in prison at the present. Its not rocket science people! Jason Reinhardt


mary henderson   September 5th, 2010 12:05 pm ET

Justice will never be served for those three little boys or for the three wrongly convicted for their murders as long as the guilty parties are free. People think that just because someone is arrested, they must be guilty. As far as I know, Arkansas is the only state that can convicted you without physical evidence. Not one shred of evidence, a hair, a fingerprint, a piece of clothing was produced. Only the confession of a mentally challenged boy and the over-zealous prosecution who wanted to close the case immediately.


DJ   September 5th, 2010 3:31 pm ET

I have done my research and my gut feeling is they are guilty. However they clearly did not receive a fair trial. Most of the evidence used to convict was inadmissible by any competent court of law. Retry the WM3.


Shaun Wheeler   September 6th, 2010 1:14 am ET

I met and knew Dana around the time she began looking through the case files. She was one of a handful of people who have taken the time over the past thirteen years to actually do this. When I looked at them, there had only been three people in there previously, all of whom were reporters from the Commercial Appeal.

Eddie and Natalie's reply speaks worlds towards their credibility. Dana didn't ask for their empathy or sympathy, she asked them to keep in mind what this was about and pointed out that neither of the two of them had bothered to get their facts right.

Did Eddie bother to talk to either of the two prosecutors, John Fogleman or Brent Davis?

No.

How about Natalie?

Again, no.

The same goes for Henry Rollins. I listened to Henry say a dozen times that "Jessie wasn't advised of his rights". I asked him if he would like to read the three signed waivers.

I asked him "Where did you get your information?"

Henry would not answer the question.

Just like Eddie, just like Natalie.

Always happy to clear things up.


Steph in Denver   September 7th, 2010 3:46 am ET

I dont think anyone ever thinks of this case without the faces of those three little boys burned into our minds. I can not fathom the agony of having your child murdered. But "Free the West Memhis Three" to me has always been a bit of a double entendre – meaning- Free the three innocent men in prison so we can catch the real killer/s and free the spirits of the three innocent children who were taken away from all of us.

I have reviewed the case files and I didn't have to sign the registry- they are available online and through several (even opposing) sources, but then you know that Mr. Wheeler.

And Henry Rollins "did not answer the question?" Henry Rollins is outspoken and vocal to the extreme- touting often that he "Wont Shut Up" so if you are insinuating here that he simply went mute and pouted in the corner, then I Sir, call "Bunk".

The point is, those who "have faith in the system" will be soothed that the applet process is a part of that same system. Those who yearn to listen to the words of the prosecutors, will be able to do so- as they present their theories nearly 17 years later. If the theories are truthful, then you can be rest assured that the truth will rise above. And those of us who want the true murderer/s of three little boys identified and punished, well, I believe quite strongly that a new trial will assist all of us who seek blind justice.

So what are we afraid of? Ultimately, we are all on the same side.
Retry the WM3!!! Retry them now!


Cajazz76:24:8   September 7th, 2010 6:13 pm ET

@they were guilty

Please consider rescinding your Constitutional Right's and offer them to someone with some common sense, who will use them in a manner that eliminates bias and prejudgment of something you only feel in your head. Then consult with a qualified specialist and appease your temporal lobes of the hidden guilt you use to usurp fairness from those, whom the majority within this blog see as been given an unfair trial. The convicted three are now the ones that appear most likely to be the quintessential violated victims.. Silly dude...festering on a pachyderm's rump...caj


BLP   September 7th, 2010 9:36 pm ET

First let me start by saying that my sympathies still go to the parents/loved ones of Stevie, Christopher and Michael- even after all these years.

I lived in Memphis, TN- right across the Mississippi River when the murders took place. Around 15 or so miles from West Memphis. I have followed this story closely, read everything, driven through the neighborhoods, etc. I have NO DOUBT that the "WM3" are guilty. Those of you who doubt, how long have you followed this story? I have since the DAY THE BOYS WERE KILLED. I watched everyday as the court cases were going on, I watched all the interviews during and after the murder.

So, those of you who are wanting them freed, would you want them around your children? your families? how about babysitting your kids? Just something to think about, eh?

I am sickened that the murderers who mutilated those innocent children are getting so much attention. I am sickened that so many people are so eager to free them. My heart still greives to this day for those murdered children, their families, their school mates who were left to try to understand why 3 classmates never came back, and a community that covered 3 states still feels pain over this. (In case you didn't know W. Mphs is near where AR, TN, MS intersect)


Sharla Chalfant   September 7th, 2010 9:47 pm ET

I was at the concert last Saturday Night. I am from Arkansas and am mortified that our justice system in this state has done this to these three young men. These boys were not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There are so many reasonable doubts it is staggering. The police departments in that part of the state were involved in drug coverups at the time and didn't want the State Police to help with the investigation lest there own activities be uncovered. I am sick of hearing people imply one doesn't care about the three boys who were murdered if they are for a new trial for the convicted. Whatever happened to the notion of "Liberty and Justice for all"? I hope and pray that our Supreme Court will do the right thing in this case and declare a mistrial. I no longer have faith in the legal system in this state. I believe it is a good ole boy system that protects its own. The declaration of a mistrial would go a long way in restoring my faith. I will be at the courthouse September 30 in support of Damien, Jesse and Jason.


raul carrion   September 7th, 2010 9:52 pm ET

wow!!!! before saying and asking whos guilty or not dont you wanna know whos guilty first ??? tham dont you know that this wronfull convictions wont go anywere !!!!!!???? be realistic people !!!!


LINDA   September 7th, 2010 9:53 pm ET

HAVING WORKED IN THE COURT SYSTEM 42 YRS FROM PROSECUTORS OFC, DEFENSE ATTY, JUDICIAL SECTOR I HAVE SEEN FIRSTHAND HOW POLICE CAN COERCE ANYONE TO CONFESS = TO THE POINT THAT NOW ALL JUVENILE SUSPECTS MUST BE VIDEOTAPED BECAUSE OF A OILICE OFFICER'S ACTIONS. NORMAL CITIZENS DO NOT THINK INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE ARRESTED BUT INFORMED PEOPLE KNOW THAT IT IS A COMMON OCCURRENCE. YOU ARE TOTALLY GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT. BACK IN THE DAY OF THESE 3 BOYS BEING ARRESTED THEY WERE PRIME SCAPEGOATS BECAUSE THEY LOOKED DIFFERENT. TODAY'S YOUTH WOULD NOT MAKE THEM SEEM ODD IN THEIR BLACK CLOTHES. FEAR OF THIS CRIME MADE PEOPLE BELIEVE THESE BOYS REALLY WERE THE CRIMINALS SO NO WAY A FAIR TRIAL.


CRYSTAL IN TENNESSEE   September 7th, 2010 11:16 pm ET

I THINK THE STEP-FATHER OF CHRISTOPHER BOWERS ONE OF THE 8 YEAR OLD VICTIMS DID IT. AND I THINK HE KILLED THE MOTHER AS WELL BECASUE SHE KNEW HE DID IT AND WAS MENTALLY BREAKING DOWN BECAUSE OF THE GRIEF AND KNOWING HE DID IT AND HE WAS A KILLER AND TOOK HER SON THE CHILD HAD BEEN SHOWING SIGNS OF ABUSE LIKE PLAYING WITH HIS FECAL MATTER AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE. PEOPLE WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY AND WATCH THAT CRAZY S.O.B. THE STEP-DADDY DID IT AND EVERYONE INCLUDING THE PEOPLE ON HBO NO IT THEY RECEIVED THE KNIFE THAT HAD THE LIL BOYS BLOOD ON IT THAT THE STEPDAD GAVE AS A GIFT THE STEPDAD ALSO HAD ALL OF HIS TEETH REMOVED AND DENTURES PUT IN WHILE THE TRIAL WAS GOING ON. IF THIS WASNT SO SERIOUS ITS ALMOST PATHETIC THAT SOMEONE COULD COMMIT SUCH A CRIME AND SHOW IT OFF ON A TELEVISED MINI SERIES AND MAKE A MOCKERY OUT OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM. IT WAS LIKE HE WAS BEGGING SOMEONE TO ARREST HIM FOR IT. HE PRETTY MUCH SAID EVERYTHING EXCEPT I DID IT........ HELLO THE STATE OF ARKANSAS I HOPE YOU GO BANKRUPT FOR WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO THOSE BOYS... AND THE VICTIMS FOR NOT GETTING JUSTICE ESPECIALLY SHRISTOPHER BEYERS HE SHOULD'VE GOTTEN JUSTICE ALONG TIME AGO WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN SERVICES BUT THE GOVERNMENT DOESNT CARE OBVIOUSLY IN THAT STATE.....


WitchHunt   September 8th, 2010 12:03 am ET

Free David Leonard Wood

Cleared by DNA evidence for the serial killings in El Paso, Texas yet he is sentenced to die.


W Craig Aulenbach   September 8th, 2010 1:07 am ET

Without getting into the merits of the case, I wonder why Pearl Jam and the Dixie Chick girls are so interested in a forensics matter. The fact of the matter is that crimes are committed each and every day, go to trial each and every day and people are convicted each and every day and I am sure some of the convicted may well be innocent. But, I do not see why this case is so much different than others. My prediction is that the only ones that will really benefit from all of this are the musicians.


Jeff   September 8th, 2010 1:33 am ET

The people who think these boys are innocent are the same people who believe wrestling is real, and pretty much everything Hollywood spews at them. Just because you read something on a website or heard it from someone you admire doesn't make it so. The director of Paradise Lost had an agenda–do you think HBO would have ran it if he showed the truth, that these boys really did it? These "celebrities" and any attorneys involved are nothing more than media wh*res.


Mary Davis-Orr   September 8th, 2010 2:08 am ET

I have been following the West Memphis 3 and have always felt they were innocent and was railroaded. They should have known that when they got the impression of the teeth marks off of the little one and none of them matched. The law should have checked and investigated it further before arresting the wrong ones. Those guys are serving a crime they did not commit and a wrong needs to be made right some way.


Vernon Gillispie   September 8th, 2010 2:18 am ET

If the intent of Larry Kings show was to win support for the "West Memphis 3" as it appears to have been - it failed where I am concerned. Everything presented pointed to their guilt. Damien's comments regarding his being remembered long after his death and little children fearfully looking under their beds for fear that he might be there was chilling. Damien's demeanor during the trial and his sentencing, and comments of their own relatives betray the true nature of these guys. Granted that they have wised up and conceal their character better after close to two decades in prison but that is to be expected. What you presented as evidence: the hair of a stepfather on his stepson's clothing and a mistake regarding whereabouts in a deposition 15 or 16 years after the fact are pretty weak evidence. You will need something better than that to win a new trial.


WitchHunt   September 8th, 2010 2:23 am ET

To W. Craig Aulenbach, yeah how did this case get so much national publicity yet there are other innocent people around the country in same predicament rotting away in prison and no one to stand up for them


Alfredo Zuniga   September 8th, 2010 3:35 am ET

I agree with W Craig Aulenbach, also too many convicted said they are innocent,so far I have not seen anybody doing some noise for three little boys that are not with us today,we need better quality education "in house" parents should be more responsible for what kids do in school and in the streets,young generations are going to far out of respect for others and life. Justice will be done one way or another,the truth will come out eventually in favor for the victims.I believe in our Justice System.


Jeff   September 8th, 2010 5:31 am ET

I think you people would believe anything Hollywood or a rock star would tell you. I was 23 when this happened and lived a few miles down the road from D.E. They sidi it. As for DNA, it doesn't disprove they were there. And the whole, I was coerced defense is bull. This isn't the middle ages where the bind you to the rack until you confess. Whose next on your agenda? Maybe Scott Petterson... Stop formulating your opinion via biased documentary's and conspirocy websites.


LK   September 8th, 2010 5:44 am ET

There are so many different reasons there needs to be a new trial. How about starting with the Judge and the many biased rulings he made. Then you can pick apart the testimony. How about the jury misconduct? There are just so many wrongs. I totally believe in the death penalty, but only in iron clad cases. This is not one of them.

The most important thing is to find out WHO committed this crime. Because if those 3 didn't do it (and it appears that they might not have), then who did?

Here in Arizona we had convicted a guy based on faulty bite marks. He spent a lot of time in prison. It was only through DNA of the actual killer that he was proven innocent and was set free. (He was lucky that the guy committed a crime and had to give up his DNA). Many years later, but at least before he died. Wrongful convictions happen more frequently than most people realize! If DNA is good enough to convict, then it's good enough to exonerate. You can't have it both ways.

And please...that someone could find Echols guilty based on his appearance, dead eyes, and other such nonsense is pathetic. Many killers are very charming guys. They don't run around looking nuts, drooling and scaring everybody around them. If they exhibited this behavior, there would be a lot less murdered people.


Nona West Memphis   September 8th, 2010 8:27 am ET

Well, for those who say they KNOW for a fact these guys did not kill the boys, then please, I beg you, come forward with who did since you were there and had to have seen it happen. Tell all and be done with it already!


Cecil   September 8th, 2010 8:35 am ET

If it were Eddie Vedder or Johnny Depps kids that were found in those woods, they may feel differently about speaking to free these guys. They were not present in those woods! How can they be so sure these guys are innocent? Just another Hollywood bandwagon to jump on. Puuh-leeze!


Bird   September 8th, 2010 9:40 am ET

Eddie Vedder is a true American idiot


james   September 8th, 2010 4:31 pm ET

I feel grate for the three boys who died


Lisa   September 8th, 2010 4:37 pm ET

I knew both Jason and Jessie. And I know they didn't do it. Jasons sister was a good friend of mine and I have known Jessie since he was around 5 years old neither of these boys could of hurt a fly let a lone hurt these three beautiful little boys.
I pray they will be able to get out soon and the real killer will be brought to justice.


james   September 8th, 2010 4:52 pm ET

To: the Parents of:

Chris Byers
Michael Moore
Steve Branch

Your sons have ascended to reside in God's Love.

I know the pain and yes the anguish that you are going through.

Yet they are at peace

Yet they have no pain or sadness.

Their Very handsome and I know that they will be missed .

For at night just look to the sky and as the stars twinkle above so there is their Love in their Precious eyes for Mom and Dad.

And the gentle breeze will be the never ending sound of their Voices.

and the sun the smile so great.


true beliver of almity   September 8th, 2010 10:00 pm ET

hello
mr hero let e know that do know thw meaning of islam muslim christian hipocrat or nun waiting for answer


Mom in STL, MO   September 9th, 2010 2:16 am ET

I will be in Little Rock on Sept 30. I believe that the WM3 will get a new investigation and a new trial. All of Arkansas should be demanding Justice. All Americans should be demanding Justice for all six! It is our right and our responsibility to watch over all branches of our government! The police botched this investigation and probally others. The state police were aware of the mis-conduct in that department. Other agencies should be brought in to investigate this case and retrial given. Someone in ARK Supreme Court has to have common sense to know that the world is watching and demanding that they do the job the are hired to do or they will be OUT! The people of Arkansas must demand justice and all others must back them up to keep our freedom! Justice for SIX!!!!


Cajazz76:24:8   September 9th, 2010 2:52 am ET

James

You are a bit peculiar...are you a Sun God of sorts in the shadows of inclined guilt? How weird your commentary is and do you don't live in West Memphis, Arkansas do you? What an odd display and quite ostentatiously suspicious, I may add..odd nonetheless...caj


Chris White   September 9th, 2010 10:24 am ET

Mr. Camp made a very powerful statement. I have personally dealt with the Arkansas Court system, as well as the Arkansas appeals courts and Mr. McDaniel the attorney general. I know ALL to well what it is like to be INNOCENT in ARKANSAS.............it's clearly GUILTY till PROVEN INNOCENT, when your trial begins. Winning an appeal is like playing the lottery!

"We must go on facts – not opinion. If the facts – past or present indicate innocence, then our presumption of innonence must acquit."

This comment is a very powerful comment. I was convicted and sentenced to 35 years based on OPINIONS. I could not overturn any opinion based on my defense facts. I have spent 6 years in the Arkansas Prison System, better known as ADC. Wondering how in the hell am I ever going to get out of here when everyones OPINIONS keep me here. New evidence of "MORE FACTS" have come forward as well, to clear up all the OPINIONS based on my conviction YET the appeals court choose to turn down my appeals.

What the courts hold tight to is OUR JURY. 12 people who can decide our faith.......who may not have listen to all the FACTS. Who may have formed an OPINION ALREADY when the defense presented the FACTS. Let alone may not have understood all our FACTS. OR maybe even slept while listening to our facts. BUT yet might have heard loud and clear an OPINION.

I have been walking this walk and until you walk it, you can NEVER believe it can happen to you. You want to believe there is such thing as justice but my life was based on OPINIONS, I knew my FACTS were screwed. I hope the families of these 3 boys seek justices, I know how you just want it to end and for the OPINIONS to go away. BUT I am like these 3 men in prison fighting for my freedom too. It has not been 16 years for me but behind this wall it feels like 50 years. I upset a lot of people arguing my facts and hoping someone will listen. I know how it must hurt the family of these 3 boys because I continue to fight like these 3 men fight. IF the Stevie, Michael and Christopher's family could for one day picture yourself in our shoes behind this wall begging for someone to listen to the FACTS, and not go on ALLLLL the OPINIONS that were given through out the trial and in the media, and in the paper and in the interviews and focus on the facts. Maybe the fog could lift and you might begin to agree on the FACTS.

I live behind the wall believing the truth will follow me into the future and that the lie will stop in its tracks and no longer be able to keep me behind this wall. It's all I have.


John Q   September 9th, 2010 4:35 pm ET

Morgan Piers replacing Larry King!!! ARE YOU CRAZY!!!!!It is a shame that the American media is being sold out to international influence that does not reflect American views. Specifically the recent fascination with the once despised British accent and humor...that MOST certainly does not reflect the American viewpoint!!!...From Simon Cowell to Ozzy Osborne , British influence that is perpetuated by the media honchos is not reflective of American views. Whats wrong with promoting another American journalist for Larry King....someone that is looked up to by future young aspiring journalists from New York to St. Louis to Chicago to LA to Nebraska!.... where are the good American personalities going to come from if media execs push foreigners to present American views and topics....all I have to say to the current honchos and media execs...your predecessors would be ashamed of you!!!!....You sold out!!!.


newaygo michigan   September 9th, 2010 7:01 pm ET

I feel for both familys the loss of three 8 year old boys is horrifing, and the imprionment of the other three as well. I wish everyone would look at the whole picture. There was evidence shown that a diamond cutter tool was used on one of the boys perfectly are you going to be convinced that one of the young men im prison new how to do that? (I DONT BELIVE THAT) What about the man that was suppose to have walked in the restuaraunt that day covered in blood and no one at that resteraunt was questioned. I feel the three boys lost there lives and cant be brought back home but the other three lost 17 years of there own lives something i dont belive they commited some one knows who did this and they are just to scrared to come out. This whole story has always sounded to fishy to me some one is covering up something either in the department or some one that knows who did this. They do deserve a new trial 17 years later there is better technology and better results if some one would take the time to review and run the eveidence they might be surprised what they come up with.


kimi   September 10th, 2010 9:17 pm ET

If justice was not done, why, have 6 kids lifes taken with it could just be three. I am very sorry to the parents of the young boys. U r much braver than I would be. I did research the case. My son who also went through a radical stage dressed real wierd and looked scary, even scaring me one time. I know that is a beautiful boy with great manners and even holds the door for the elderly. They will never get out of jail as everyone involved was promoted and would loose their jobs and wealth. If it could be done I would gladly take their place.
Because of this situation I have told my sons if they ended up in jail say nothing but "I want a lawyer." This is truly sad but true.
Let the boys go. The killer is still on the loose.


Jessica   September 15th, 2010 2:40 am ET

Look at the case again, look at the empirical evidence through forensic analysis, we didn't have the luxury of that kind of testing back then..., it doesn't hurt to look at the evidence rather than blindly pointing the finger at some kids just because they're antisocial, dabbled into questionable material, and love metal. I love metal, I'm antisocial and I, like them used to deck myself out in the goth garb but guess what, I'm over the whole necessity of shock value because I grew up. I studied religion (still do) because I wasn't raised with a firm grasp of belief in a higher power and I wanted to believe in something* . This isn't reason enough to convict ME of murder and it's certainly not enough evidence to keep these men behind bars. Freedom of expression? Freedom of religion? Freedom of speech? There will be no solace for me with this case unless they open their eyes and look at what's in front of them. Just think, what if the killer is still out there? what then?

Atlanta, Georgia


Prof. Watson   September 15th, 2010 9:19 am ET

In 2007, when Echols appeared on LKL (footage of this was shown on the 9/1/10 broadcast), Echols, in response to a question from King, stated that at the time of the murders he lived in Marion, within a "10 to 15 mile radius" of the crime scene. This is patently false. Echols was living in West Memphis at the Broadway trailer park, approximately two miles from Robin Hood Hills. He was arrested at that address, and the search warrants were issued for that address, and all evidence seized was from that address. Why did he lie? He also wasn't sure of how old the boys were ("8 – I think they were all 8 years old"), or even how old he was ("17 or 18"). The phrase "three-eight-year-olds" was repeated often enough over the years before 2007; how could he not be sure? And who forgets how old they were when they were arrested for a triple child murder they say they didn't commit? If the WM3 ever obtain a new trial, I'm sure Dennis Riordan won't let his client take the stand.


Shaun Wheeler   September 19th, 2010 1:28 am ET

As to Henry Rollins –

Henry is the one who is selling the idea that somebody is sentenced to death who while legally guilty, is factually innocent.

I am not troubled by the fact that he has a small audience, or access to some sort of cable market or perhaps a column or two in some fractional market around the hinterlands of obscurity. If he truly believes that equates with some sort of meaningful influence, well here's to the power of positive thinking.

What I am troubled by is the fact that for somebody who expresses such a belief that he has such a paucity of knowledge but continues to purport otherwise.

He knew nothing about the trials and at one point was apparently under the impression that there was only one trial.

He knew nothing about the crime scene, or at least if we can sidestep the usual contentious supporter BS, the location where the bodies were recovered.

He had no idea that Jessie had confessed more than once. Or that there was a recorded (no need to thank me for it now that it's everywhere) copy of it available.

I think Henry should ask Kathy Bakken to explain why, if Kathy's real quest all these years has been to "get to the truth" why she went to such lengths to censor Craig Swieso and others who tried to post it to her discussion list on the case.

But this has never been about "the truth", has it? It's about opposing capital punishment at all costs. Pity some folks can't be honest about that much.


kimi   September 27th, 2010 2:11 pm ET

Yes it can happen to you if you don't support it not happening to other people. Peace


DNA   September 29th, 2010 5:47 pm ET

A question for the parents: How would it make you feel knowing the death of your child also lead to the death of an innocent person?


Tim   October 4th, 2010 3:11 pm ET

I'd like to think I have an open mind to all of the facts with this case. After viewing the HBO documentatries and the countless other programs, it does seem that the 3 should receive a new trial at the very least. What you dont find as easily available online is the evidence that juries heard that led to guilty verdicts. Other than the confession, what is the compelling evidence heard during the trial that convinces the jurors beyond reasonable doubt?


West Memphis 3 evidence   October 10th, 2010 10:42 pm ET

West Memphis 3 confession, physical evidence bit.ly/cOT2ft


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