Week8 - West Memphis 3: Wrongfully Charged? October 23,...

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West Memphis 3: Wrongfully Charged? October 23, 2008 ENG112 Joe Gredler
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West Memphis 3: Wrongfully Charged? On May 6, 1993, three eight-year-old boys, Steve Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore were discovered mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas. The local media said the killers had been arrested. The police said Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin were the ones responsible for the murders. A local female who was at the police station for writing bad checks told police she would help them implicate Damien by concealing a tape recorder and recording their conversation. When she was unable to get Damien to talk about his part in the murders she had her son inform police he was in Robin Hood Hills the day of the murders. In Jessie’s confession, he said that he observed Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin rape and murder the three young boys. This could be the true confession, or nothing more than a mentally retarded boy’s fear coming out. The odd thing about the thirty-ish minute taped confession, Jessie made numerous inaccuracies regarding the details in the case, saying that the young boys were tied together with rope instead of shoelaces. He also messed up some details, saying the murders occurred during the day, but was promptly corrected by the police. (West, 2008). The boy’s tales became increasingly embellished and ultimately the police thought the boy did not know anything. Jessie Misskelley, a mentally handicapped 17-year-old, endured 12 hours of questioning, without a lawyer or his father’s permission. Later Jessie recanted his confession, but it was too late, Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols were all arrested, that evening, on June 3, 1993, and convicted of murder in early 1994. These three teenagers were unjustly charged for killing these three young boys. There is not enough evidence in the case pointing to the boys, and the crime just appears too convenient for these three to actually pull off. The West Memphis Police had no previous experience with murders, so they permitted possible evidence to be destroyed at the site where the bodies were found. The
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bodies of the three young boys were taken out of the water before the arrival of the coroner. Then the three young boys were placed on the bank in the sun destroying important evidence concerning time of death, i.e. body temperature, rigor mortis, etc. Instead of removing the bodies, the creek bed should have been emptied leaving the bodies where they were, in so doing protecting possible important evidence. Many unknown individuals can be spotted walking near the bodies in the short crime scene video, and the Chief Investigator, Gary
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This note was uploaded on 07/27/2009 for the course ENG 112 taught by Professor Gredler during the Summer '08 term at DeVry Cincinnati.

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Week8 - West Memphis 3: Wrongfully Charged? October 23,...

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