True Crime Tuesday: THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE
In 1994, three teenage boys were arrested for the murder of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The boys went missing on May 5, 1993 and were found dead in a muddy creek the following day, naked and hogtied with signs of mutilation. Two lead law enforcement officers stated the crime presented “cult overtones”, playing on the fears of satanic panic, which was prevalent in the 1990s.
Neighborhood friends and eight-year-old boys, Steve Edward Branch, Christopher Mark Byers, and James Michael Moore.
16-year-old Jason Baldwin, 17-year-old Jessie Misskelley Jr., and 18-year-old Damien Echols. Echols and Baldwin were close friends who shared interests such as clothes, music, and their distaste for their Bible Belt town. The two friends knew of Misskelley but were not friends with him.
Baldwin and Echols had arrest records for crimes such as vandalism and shoplifting. Echols was poor, known to be a troublemaker, a self-proclaimed Wiccan, and had a history of mental illness. Echols is intelligent but rarely attended school. Baldwin was a talented artist and received good grades. Both Baldwin and Echols denied any involvement in the murders, although a polygraph examination of Echols did indicate deception.
Misskelley, a minor, had an IQ of 72 and was questioned by police for several hours without an attorney. He was often confused and didn’t understand Miranda rights or the job of his attorney, therefore, he ignored all legal advice. He eventually confessed to being present at the murders and assisting in restraining one of the boys. He implicated Baldwin and Echols as the murderers. No physical evidence was ever found linking Baldwin, Echols, or Misskelley to the murders.
Several other suspects were investigated, but either due to lack of evidence or poor follow up on the part of the police department, were not found to be viable.
What do you think?
Based on the above information, do you think the evidence supported the conviction of Baldwin, Echols, and Misskelley?
Answer YES or NO in the comments. Expand if you want!
BIO: Hello! Reading and writing are how I spend my time. I am passionate about all things books. Horror is my favorite genre, but I also love thrillers, literary fiction, science fiction, nonfiction, and anything else if it looks good to me. Be sure to look for more of my ramblings on Tor Nightfire. And I love cats!
Ashley is the co-owner of Night Worms. She is a True Crime Junkie, enamel ghost pin collector, and baker of horror cupcakes. Follow her on social media!