|Why We Must Not Forget The West Memphis 3
By Clyde Lewis
It has been said that If ten men must go free to prevent one innocent man from falsely going to prison then so be it Ė so much for an antiquated statement like that right? An accused criminal used to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Not anymore. There are a lot of people that are tried in the media before they even go to trial. Itís an electronic witch hunt. People tell you that its better this way. That we should accept it. Some people are satisfied with Liberty and Injustice for all. Not me, Free the West Memphis 3.
Not long after my show on the Timothy McVeigh case I was hearing from several sources about the botched investigation and the subsequent dirty deeds that set a story in motion and influenced the outcome of the case.
It is difficult to fight against what has taken several years of media conditioning to take hold in the public consciousness. But I attempted to, and believe me, no matter what credible sources I cited I was merely setting myself up for hard failure.
Thatís a story for another time. Working in the media sometimes you have to be careful about what you say. Sometimes controlling interests tell you what to say and how to control what is being said in order to shape public opinion for a controlled response.
Maybe I should play the game and shut up. Maybe I should allow this to continue. Maybe I should just accept that we are all doomed to have ignorance rule, and reign as the dumbing down of America is accepted and embraced for the sake of safety, and prejudice.
But I wonít, and you can beat me up and shut me down, you can do anything to me but I will still be heard.
McVeigh was guilty before he went to trial. As soon as he was taken into custody there were magazines that put pictures of him on their front covers saying that his face was the "face of terror."
In this country it seems that before the miranda rights are even read to a suspect, before his mug shot even dries, the media already begins the trial for the public.
"Innocence until proven guilty" is no longer a right in the United States. In the media it seems that you are guilty if your face is even seen among Police, and flashing lights. If you are ever detained or questioned by police and the cameras are rolling you can bet that you are already being judged by people who obviously are absorbing a reporters spin, rather than giving someone the benefit of the doubt.
We know that McVeigh was caught and that the evidence pointed to him as the murderer but the question will still remain. But how much of your knowledge comes from the media and how much have you ignored about the case?
Did McVeigh get a fair trial?
After talking with many key people I realized that there were some inconsistencies that needed to be heard. Testimony from McVeighís former Lawyer and the 4000 documents that the FBI even admitted were withheld still have not convinced the general public that perhaps there were others involved and that McVeigh was not the kingpin that he professed to be.
Now that Mcveigh has been executed and his body cremated the "conspiracy" theorists are causing the media to take a double take some are sensitive to those who want to be heard, but itís too little too late, and the general populace wishes that people would get on with their lives and stop talking about the case.
The populace has been fed the line that an execution brings closure.
It most certainly does not, and if you notice, most of those who speak of closure are the politicians. They are also quick to throw the word hero around as well. As if it is any comfort for the victim to know that they are now heroes because they suffer and are scarred by the intrusive nature of any case that is tried by the media.
The media coverage of any high profile criminal case has become problematic. America has mistakenly taken for granted that the major news and media organizations are infallible.If you take a look at how the media handles murder cases, and other hot crime stories you start to see a trend.
The media used to report crime in a fashion that asked questions.
Now the media gives you the outcome before the trial.
Case in point is the recent story about actor Robert Blake and his wife Bonnie Bakely.
Bakely was shot in the head as she sat in a car about a block from a restaurant where she and Blake had just dined. Blake returned to the restaurant to retrieve a gun he'd left behind.
The police said that Blake was carrying a gun because Bakley had told him she was in danger.
When the police stated that no one, including Blake was above suspicion that gave the green light for reporters to start the spin and begin to ruin the life of a man who had been in films since the thirties.
Jokes were beginning to be told, and radio morning shows began doing parodies making Blake out to be the killer.
It appeared that the media, hungry for another O.J. Simpson drama unfairly cast a shadow on Blake and used every means necessary to pin the murder on him. It wasnít a question of who did the crime; it was how Blake could have done it and what nebulous circumstances point to him carrying out the crime.
There were alleged threatening phone calls from Blake to Bakely that when played on television news shows were obviously slowed down or pitched lower to give that demonic sound. They were most certainly calls that were made out of anger to a woman that police say had a very nasty reputation and feared for her life.
The news also had cited coincidences about his life, and the fictional life of the television character Baretta, who Blake made famous on ABC TV.
There was actually a report on ABC news, which showed a scene from the Baretta episode "He will never see daylight" where after a meal Tony Baretta, played by Blake, walks out of a restaurant with his fiancť. A black car pulls up and guns down the woman right in front of Baretta.
In the show they wondered if it was a Mafia hit. However out of context it looked as if the media was inferring that Barettaís life was as dark as Blakeís life.
The case now, has virtually disappeared from the headlines, without so much as an apology from anyone.
He was tried by the media and luckily, hopefully escaped with a little bit of his dignity still in tact.
I am sure there are those who still think that Blake killed her. Because there has not been any resolution in the media about such things.
It was all drowned out by the execution of another media gold mine, Timothy McVeigh.
When I attempted to point out on my show that McVeigh did not get a fair trial, I was met with ugly opposing opinions that attempted to put me in a position of supporting McVeigh.
Even though I tried furiously to tell those detractors that I knew what McVeigh was.
He was no one to emulate, but as a citizen, he was tried in the media, and then tried in court. He was found guilty and was executed even though new evidence was turned over and ignored at the last minute.
The Ground Zero show had invited numerous people to demonstrate where we went wrong in the courts with McVeigh, but many still were postulating that I was a nut with a silly agenda of trying to provoke my audience with some irrational and badly researched screed.
There were callers, who phoned in to tell me that I was wrong about even saying that he did not get a fair trial. There was a caller from Oklahoma City who told me that I should get used to the fact that this is the way law enforcement works and that we should settle for the injustices that are happening now.
He said that this is the new Justice and that he is satisfied.
I asked him how he could be so willing to surrender his liberty? He told me honestly that we do not have control. That the moment I get used to it I will be happy.
This troubles me because there are so many cases where people who are being tried unfairly, or coerced into confessions are marked for death and they go to the grave innocent.
The majority needs to hear these stories because of what George W. Bush said on his trip to Europe. When asked why the U.S. continues to use the death penalty as punishment, Bush replied that "We live in a democracy and in a democracy government carries out the will of the people," and the death penalty Bush says "is the will of the people."
Others asked why I would single out the McVeigh case as the case to look at when there have been several other cases that have had botched investigations and where evidence has either been manufactured, or left out.
Well my job of course is to talk about what is on top of peopleís minds and Timothy McVeigh is now an afterthought. So I have acknowledged and moved on. That is why now I have to show you other demonstrations of ignorance, and abuse of power. I need to show you that you should not be complacent. If you canít get past your prejudice about the McVeigh case, then maybe I should look elsewhere.
I am fully aware of cases where we have been too quick to pass the sentence of death on someone because of the need to find a culprit for a heinous crime.
There is one case that haunts me. It chills me to the bone to realize that sometimes the media and cultural spin on a case can appear as archaic as the Salem witch trials.
The case that frightens me is the case of the West Memphis 3.
Three eight-year-old boys were brutally murdered in May of 1993 in West Memphis Arkansas. The bodies of Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore were found in area Known as Robin Hood Hills.
Triple Homicides that are done on three children who are unrelated to each other is rare. The way they were left in the area is also strange.
All three of them were naked and they had been hog tied with their own shoelaces. The children had been severely beaten. Two of them were drowned. Photos showed head injuries to the boys, and one child, Christopher Byers, had what appeared to be belt-lashing welts and bite marks on his body. He had also been stabbed repeatedly in the groin. His genitalia were mutilated, In the court hearings it was said that the penis of Byers was whittled away with precision. His body was singled out for mutilation for some strange reason.
The West Memphis Police had not seen anything like this before. Three boys brutally murdered, and one with his genitalia removed looked pretty horrific. The sad part about the case is that Police were not at all careful with the crime scene, and were in fact sloppily handling evidence.
They were inadequately trained to handle a triple homicide of three young boys. When they couldnít figure out who may have been responsible for such a repugnant act, a Juvenile Probation officer remembered the name of a young boy, who had jet black hair and practiced Wicca. That young manís name was Damien Echols.
The Probation Officer was under the impression that this boy had to have committed the crime, because it appeared that the killing of the Byers boy looked like the act of a strange cult follower. Perhaps the act of a young troubled boy with black hair, who listened to Metallica, and Slayer. It was in their minds that perhaps Echols was the leader of a Satanic Cult and that Cult was out to sacrifice Children to the devil.
We have seen the harsh reality of ignorance with regard to Satanic Panic and the fear that vast conspiracy of murderous Satanists still exist in this country today.
While there are those who kill in the name of Satan we can also conclude that there are those who also kill in the name of God. However when it comes to those who practice Satanism we have already learned that their "religion" is really not a religion at all.
We have interviewed such Satanists as Peter Gilmore, and Rex Church who are both Satanists. None of them have spilled innocent blood and none of them have preached that this is the only way to come to Satan.
When ignorance finds itself in places of power, including the, government and law enforcement, the sparkplugs of that engine known as the justice system misfire and injustice becomes common place.
In West Memphis Arkansas a Witch-Hunt was about to take place.
The West Memphis Arkansas Police needed a suspect.
Who do you think they picked?
Damien Echols was the townís scapegoat from the beginning. It is a matter of record that in other incidents where crimes were committed near West Memphis, he was questioned many times by Juvenile officials. When other things ended up stolen or missing Echols was always suspected. There was even a time where a murder took place 100 miles away and immediately Echols was being questioned because the West Memphis police officials imagined that Damien was the leader of a Satanic network.
There was no evidence to show that he was a leader of a Satanic Cult. Yet people believed it and rumor upon rumor based on ignorance persecuted the young man and finally when three gruesome murders hit too close to home and the call went out for action it was time to act.
The West Memphis Police said that they were sure that their suspect was Damien Echols.
Of course I donít have to tell you that there was no evidence connecting Damien to the victims or to the murders.
The investigation was literally a witch-hunt and the rumors, irresponsible police work and the media spin on the case created an environment where he was getting his trial long before he entered a courtroom.
A woman who was in trouble with the law over writing bad checks was looking to get a $30,000 dollar reward in pointing the finger at the suspect and so she set out to record some incriminating "evidence." She invited Damien to her home to try and get a taped conversation incriminating him. She recorded nothing unusual so she then convinced her young boy to tell a tall tale about the murders implicating Damien.
The Boyís stories were so outrageous police could not arrest Damien based on his testimony. The Boy drew pictures of Damien killing the boys with a bloody sword, his eyes were glowing with fire. It was like something out of some strange movie.
The Police couldnít base their case on the imagination of a young boy.
The woman who still was hell bent on getting the reward money convinced a 17 year old, mentally retarded boy named Jessie Misskelley to tell police that he saw the murders take place and that Damien was the person who carried out the murders along with his friend Jason Baldwin.
Jessie spent a long time with police but yet only a fragment of what was said was tape recorded. Misskelley obviously was unfamiliar with the case because he kept giving time differences, and mismatched testimony. The police would lead him along in his confession and then the final blow was to show him pictures of the crime scene and the dead bodies of the young boys.
It frightened him and obviously he would say anything to get the police to stop pestering him.
The sad thing is that not only did Jessie implicate Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols but he eventually said that he was involved as well.
Jessie Miskelley was arrested along with Jason Baldwin and finally, the focus of their investigation Damien Echols.
Their case has been the subject of two documentaries. "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Lost 2: Revelations."
After watching Paradise Lost the first time I was frightened at the way the investigation was carried out and I also learned a valuable lesson.
Ignorance can creep into places of power. If it goes unchecked it leaks into our media, and then it is handed out freely to an unsuspecting populace who takes for granted that all things in print or transmitted is fact.
When a person is gunned down by police officers and the spin is that it happened because of the color of his skin, we can stand in judgement and say that it is a byproduct of racial ignorance, bigotry, and prejudice.
In Damien Echolsí case it is evident that he was fingered because he had jet Black hair, listened to heavy metal music, and practiced Wicca.
It is once again an example of how the media and the public have unfairly judged what I call the "Halloween Culture" or "Goth" movement.
According to Burk Sauls the town became caught up in what is known as "Satanic panic."
He relates on his website the history of "Satanic Panic" and how it applies in this case.
"Satanic Panic is a term used to describe a phenomenon which occurs with alarming regularity in areas with deeply rooted Christian traditions. Various forms of Satanic Panic have been observed since the beginning of time, and although the specific details may change with the times, the roots and results are the same as they have been throughout history. Satanic Panics occur when superstitious people in power choose to explain events that are difficult for them to comprehend by blaming demons and witches. Instead of trying to honestly and rationally understand the complexities of criminal behavior, sickness or mental illness they choose instead to simplify things by imagining a character named Satan who is responsible.
The aftermath of the Robin Hood Hills Murders were obviously a Satanic Panic, and the verdicts of the two trials (Damien and Jason were tried together) bear this out. Jason and Jessie were each sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole, and Damien was sentenced to die by lethal injection. Judge David Burnett later said that he was "not surprised" by the verdicts.
Books written by best-selling author Stephen King were used as evidence against Damien when no real evidence could be found. Black concert T-shirts were held up as evidence in an American courtroom in the 1990s as "proof" that Jason Baldwin was capable of murdering three 8 year olds. Lyrics to songs by BLUE OYSTER CULT and PINK FLOYD were shown to the jury, apparently in an effort to suggest to them that they were relevant to the murders, and somehow showed that the defendants were guilty.
The inconsistent testimony of a jail house snitch and a couple of little girls who claim to have overheard Damien "confessing" at a girl's softball game were taken seriously even after the sources were shown to be less than solid. There was no physical evidence that pointed to Damien, Jason or Jessie. There was nothing to suggest that they had killed the three children except the superstitious suspicions that were being fueled by the local media who seemed reluctant to publish a story unless it contained the word "Satan" or at least "cult."
If you have seen the movie "Paradise Lost" or "Paradise Lost 2" you can see why there is a national movement to free these boys from Prison. The possibility that these boys are innocent haunts everyone who even sees the film and it also causes everyone to ask why the stepfather of Chris Byers has never been detained or arrested in the case.
There is probably more evidence to suggest that John Mark Byers was involved in the murder of the three boys than Damien Echols and yet the evidence seems to be overlooked. Mainly because Byers seems to be an upright Christian man. However his appearance in the movie shows that his Christian views seem to be tainted by talk of wanting to carry out a "killing" of his own on Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie MissKelley. It is also tainted knowing that Byers has a criminal record for selling drugs.
The Movie "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Lost 2" is directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. In the film there is a sequence in the very beginning that shows John Mark Byers, the stepfather of one of the victims, going into a tirade and during the whole sequence, he practically is giving detailed explanations as to how the murders took place.
He carefully chooses his words, and rants with fury that he would literally spit on the graves of the suspects, and then in his words lose some other bodily functions as well.
It is eerie to hear how he seems to know how it was all done. How he vividly describes what the young victims were going through as they were being killed. There are also sequences where Byers is shown with his wife Melissa taking pictures of the Gravesite. There is another where he is shooting at a pumpkin and saying that it is Jessie, Damien, and Jason. He claims that the bullets he is using canít be traced and that he could use them on anyone and no one would know what gun they came out of.
The frightening part of Byers is that he seems like he knows just what to say on camera to trigger pity. At the same time he has an eerie way of having an sincere prose that just barely covers his vengeful and hateful persona.
It slips just slightly and one wonders just how much of his anger is for his stepson and how much of it is his own personal feelings about everything.
During the film Byers also gives the directors a knife. After inspection of the knife it is revealed that skin and blood is lodged in the hinges of the knife. It is analyzed and eventually we find out that the DNA that is in the knife belongs to Mark Byers. It is also speculated that there could very well be DNA of the young Chris Byers in the knife as well.
The jury evidently ignored this. When Byers is put on the witness stand and is asked about the knife, his testimony seems a bit confused and he seems a bit shifty eyed and worried that perhaps he is being accuse for the Murder.
The lawyer asks him if he has ever used the knifeóand immediately Byers interrupts him and says "for what?"
At the end of the segment Byers says that he is going to move away from West Memphis and he tells another reporter that the lawyers were unfair wit their question. He acts like they were trying to trip him up because he has some health problems, because he had a brain tumor at one time.
Not only that, but Byers also reveals further that he has a litany of other problems including, manic depression, hallucinations, blackouts, past drug use, and later in the movie "Paradise 2:Revelations" it is reported Byers wife Melissa dies under mysterious circumstances.
I have this theory about Byers that I am surprised that no one has brought up. He shows indications that he may have a rare mental disorder.
I have not seen the theory that I am about to propose about Byers. It seems too coincidental to be overlooked and something that I think needs to be considered.
Since both films seem to implicate Byers as the murderer of the young boys I guess I could demonstrate something that would implicate him even more.
I was particularly noticing that Byers looks different in every scene. Itís as if he was a chameleon. For a while I wasnít sure if one of the Byers was John Byers, and the other was Mark, and that I was looking at two different people. The shot where he is cursing at the alleged murderers, and then his appearance in Church are drastic.
After watching Byersí behavior in the film, and as I hear about all of his maladies and reasons why he is persecuted. As I think of all of his misdeeds, like abusing children and the untimely death of his wife and as I noticed that he was constantly changing his appearance. . I want to propose that Byers also suffers from something known as Munchausenís Syndrome.
It is a condition where parents harm children, themselves, and others in order to get sympathy.
For those unfamiliar with this mental disorder I will refer you to a definition that I have found and I ask as you read this to notice the similarities in personality traits of Byers.
Munchausen's syndrome is a mental illness that is named after the 18th-century German baron Hieronymous Karl Fredrich von Munchausen, who was known for telling convincing stories that turned out to be tall tales.
After the murders of the three boys in West Memphis, Byers had said that the testicles of his stepson were in a jar of alcohol under Damien Echolsí Bed. This story is untrue. It was completely made up. This only fueled more speculation that Echols was an evil young man. It also drew more attention to Byers.
It is reported that at when he turned 74 Munchausen married a 17 year-old, who gave birth to their son a year later. The child died within the first year of his life under "suspicious circumstances."
We have already pointed out that Byers wife Melissa had later died after the trial under suspicious circumstances, and it was the Byers boy who also was mutilated which made him stand out. The mutilation also made the story of a "cult" killing more believable and once again drawing attention to Byers.
An illness in which physical symptoms were produced by self-injury was first reported in the late 19th century. In 1877, Charcot described a behavioral pattern in male adults that involved self-inflicted injuries or fictitious medical documents as a means of gaining entry into a hospital.
It was shown in the Movies that Byers complained of having a brain Tumor, his blackouts and other maladies that I am sure he claims to have are just more sympathy badges that he wears to show that he is persecuted and needs attention.
Such behaviors often resulted in medically unnecessary investigations and treatments. Charcot coined the term mania operativa passiva to describe these individuals and their behavior.
In 1951, Asher described a syndrome in which individuals fabricated medical histories and committed self-injury in order to obtain medical intervention, even surgery. Remembering Munchausen's fabrications.
Asher named this condition Munchausen's syndrome. In 1976 a related disorder was identified and called "Munchausen's by proxy (MBP)". This variation involves inflicting harm on another person or falsifying someone else's medical reports to bring on unnecessary investigations.
The individual who is harmed is usually a child. Frequently, a true injury has left a scar that is used by the patient or claimant to prove an elaborate and convincing story.
Once again the only child to be mutilated was the Byers child. This could easily be used as a circumstantial tool to create a convincing story of occult or Satanic panic. Not only that, but the Byersí child had bite marks on his body. None of the dental impressions matched with Damien, Jason or Jessie. However John Mark Byers had all of his teeth removed in 1997 four years after the murders. In the movie he says his teeth were removed much earlier and he gives a bunch of contradictory reasons why he had to have them removed.
Medical professionals categorize Munchausen's as a factitious disorder. Factitious disorders occur when physical or psychological symptoms are intentionally produced or assumed in order to achieve the role of a sick person.
Although Munchausen's is a rare disorder, it occurs most often in men more often than in women; although it is most prevalent among adults, it has also been found in children. Researchers found evidence of fabrication in small numbers of children.
There are varying degress where the person who suffers from the disorder manifest symptoms ranging from false symptom claims to active bruising, injections of potentially dangerous liquids, and ingestions of caustic substances.
When physicians try to tease out the possible causes of a patient's complaints, they must remember the essential features of Munchausen's syndrome, which include chronic non-organic illness, pathological lying, and frequent traveling or moving.
In the movie "Paradise Lost" there was a sequence where Byers testifies in court about the knife that he gave to the directors of the movie. He was being asked questions regarding the knife, the blood, and skin that was found in its hinge. He was caught in several lies while he was on the stand.
Later reporters were asking him questions and he had stated that he has had several hardships in his life including a brain tumor. During the segment he mentions that he and his wife are planning on moving.
When pressed on the issue his wife states that anyone would move away from a town where your own flesh and blood was killed. They ended up moving to Cherokee Village and later had several run ins with the Police. It wasnít even three years after the murder of 8-year-old Christopher Byers that Melissa Byers was dead. Melissa and John lived in turmoil before her death.
In early 1994, shortly after their move , John Mark and Melissa Byers were jailed in Sharp County on charges of residential burglary and theft after more than $20,000 in antiques were taken from a neighbor's home.
John Mark Byers was also involved in an incident in which a group of teen-agers fought while Byers reportedly stood watch with a rifle to make sure the fight went on. One of the boys in the altercation carried a pocket knife belonging to Byers. The boy he was fighting was injured seriously enough to require hospitalization. Byers was later charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Melissa Byers was charged with disorderly conduct after a neighbor reported that Melissa had threatened to kill her family. The neighbor quoted Melissa Byers as having screamed, "You can't watch your family 24 hours, and you are going down."
Melissa Byers was arrested once again and charged with aggravated assault, this time for pointing a rifle at carpet layers who refused to work in her home until the floors were cleaned. By the time the Byers had been in Cherokee Village six months, police had been summoned to their residence at least eight times.
In January 1995, John Mark Byers was found guilty on the charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was sentenced to a year in jail, with nine months suspended, and ordered to pay half of the injured boy's medical bills. Other charges against Mark and Melissa Byers, including those for the residential burglary, were still pending in Sharp County Circuit Court on March 29, 1996, when Melissa Byers mysteriously died.
Her cause of death may have been an injection of some lethal substance. Autopsy reports found Dilaudid in her urine, and she had used alcohol and marijuana the night of her death. There was also lithium in her system.
There were holes found in her skin that appeared to be caused by use of a hypodermic needle.
John Mark Byers has moved again into a small apartment. If you watch the movies you can see how my theory about Munchausenís syndrome fits.
Every time a tragedy hits, John Mark Byers gets attention. He seems to be mentally deranged at times, and hopes that you are sympathetic to his life. He has one stepson murdered and a wife that mysteriously dies.
Here now is more of the supporting evidence of my theory about Byers.
Supporting features of Munchausenís disorder include a history of low-level mental illness; extensive knowledge of medical terminology and procedures and administering of drugs, medical procedures and treatments, including surgery; a deprived childhood; altering hair color or drastically changing their appearance to cover up injuries and multiple scars. Despite these acknowledged signs and symptoms; clear criteria for diagnosing the disorder have not been established.
In recent years, researchers interested in the factitious disorders have largely turned their attention to Munchausen's by proxy. Chronic deception by the caregiver usually leads to multiple hospitalizations and sometimes even death. It appears that the caregiver's motivation is to use a loved one's illness or death to attract personal attention and sympathy.
In a research report McClam (2000) states that in 41 rooms in an Atlanta hospital, video surveillance cameras recorded harmful incidents during the hospitalization of a child. More than half the tapes confirmed an incidence of MBP. Mothers suffocated their children, switched their medications, and even injected them with urine in an effort to keep them sick. These methods allow MBP to be discovered and diagnosed with more frequency.
Although effective treatments for Munchausen's syndrome and MBP have still to be developed, early intervention facilitates therapy and improves the prognosis for patients. However, the disorders remain very difficult to diagnose and early detection is difficult.
And many patients are very resistant to therapy and frequently give it up before any positive outcome can be noted. In many MBP cases, perpetrators are incarcerated, not treated. As more is learned about these disorders, better identification and treatment strategies will be developed.
So now that I have proposed my theories, I would urge you to view the movies and read the facts surrounding the case histories of the West Memphis 3. I would also urge you to understand that the media has the power to sometimes put a spin on a suspect, and in turn create hysteria and misinformation regarding a case.
This can also generate negative opinions about a suspect, when they havenít even received their sentence.
I canít finish this story without telling you that Damien Echols is still on death row.
He is now a Buddhist.
Jason MissKelley has since said that he made up the story about his involvement with the murders of the three boys. He has stated that he felt he had to say anything to get the police off his back.
Jason Baldwin is till serving his sentence and has worked in the prison Kitchen.
John Mark Byers now describes his life as an unmitigated series of woes, as "pain piled upon pain." He now lives on Social Security benefits because he suffers from Migraine headaches.
It has also been revealed that perhaps John Mark Byers had worked with Memphis narcotics police as a confidential informant. He will not confirm or deny the allegations.
When he was told that the police and autopsy reports on Melissa mentioned "numerous needle puncture marks" on her arms, feet, and groin, he responded, "That's news to me."
This story is a cautionary tale to everyone.
It is given to show that not everything is simple. That what appears to be truth is not always truth.
In this case we have a group of people who wanted to see the bogeyman put away for murder. There was circumstantial hysteria fueling the notion that a kid with Jet Black hair, who was a Wiccan committed the murders of three young boys. One friend and another boy were implicated as well.
There were several alleged confessions. All of them turned out to be lies, and they were all ignored by the courts fears that an alleged Satanic Cult member would be turned loose on their children.
The original defense for the three suspects was undefended and incompetent.
Did they get a fair trial?
Do they at least get to have their case heard again in an appeal?
Justice needs to be served.
Itís up to us to run checks and balances on ourselves. Itís time to declare war on ignorance.
Silence is acceptance.
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