WEST MEMPHIS THREE: ANOTHER LOOK

Categories: Essays
Written By: Billy Sinclair

           Following my last post about the West Memphis Three case, I was encouraged by supporters of the three convicted men to visit websites supporting the men and re-examine the “facts” in the case. The supporters suggested that my core factual presentation in my two previous posts was not entirely “accurate.” Their primary concern was about my assertion that despite all the “new” evidence developed in the case, there is no “smoking gun” for exoneration of the West Memphis Three. I spent the better part of my weekend reading Terry Hobbs’ 2007 interview with the police, his court deposition/documents, and a four-part series about Damien Echols which ran in the Jonesboro Sun this past July (and can be found here). Not only did this research leave me more convinced that there is no exoneration “smoking gun,” it created a cast of troubling new questions about the history of the case and the West Memphis Three’s primay figure, Damien Echols.

            Let me preface my comments with the observation that “innocence advocates” play a vital role in maintaining the integrity of our criminal justice system. But the “innocence movement” has become a “cottage industry” with a political agenda that has less to do with determining the “actual innocence” of wrongly convicted defendants and more to do with undermining the death penalty (here and here). For those who truly appreciate the integrity of the “actual innocence” issue, I suggest they visit John Allen’s Skeptical Juror website (here).

            One of the most troubling aspects about the West Memphis Three case has been the tendency of their supporters to offer up other “suspects” as the real killers of the three eight-year-old boys: Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Chris Byers. The first suspect was a bloody African-American man dubbed “Mr. Bojanles” who was seen by employees at a local Bojangles restaurant on the evening of the crime. The restaurant was located near by the bayou in Robin Hood Hills where the bodies of the three boys were found. Employees said the black man was dazed, covered with blood and mud, and used the restroom at the restaurant. The employees called the police who responded to the call but did not fully investigate the incident. When the bodies of the three boys were found the next day, the restaurant’s manager once again called the police who this time responded by taking blood scrapings from the walls of the restroom. That evidence (if it can be called such) was later destroyed or lost.

            The next suspect was John Mark Byers, the adoptive father of Chris Byers. He became a prime suspect after Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky produced a 1996 documentary about the West Memphis Three titled Paradise Lost. During the filming of this HBO documentary, Byers reportedly gave a knife to cameraman Doug Cooper who gave it to Berlinger and Sinofsky. After filming of the documentary had been completed, the two filmmakers reportedly discovered what appeared to be blood on the knife and quickly turned it over to West Memphis law enforcement authorities. At the time the “bloody knife” was significant because the prosecution’s case was built on the premise that the bodies of the three boys had been mutilated with a knife after they had been strangled—a premise that would later be undermined by the West Memphis Three defense team who secured testimony from prominent forensic experts who said the mutilation had been caused by animal predation and not a knife.

            The third and fourth possible suspects became Terry Hobbs and a co-worker named David Jacoby. Hobbs, the stepfather of Stevie Branch, was actually a suspect in the eyes of his ex-wife Pam (Stevie’s mother through a previous marriage) immediately after the crime was discovered. This ex-wife, who by all accounts was two bulbs shy in a three-bulb lamp, began telling her family, friends, and anyone else who would listen as her marriage fell apart about her suspicions that her husband had murdered the three boys. Pam never offered any logical motive as to why Terry Hobbs would brutally murder the three boys or any reasonable explanation as to how he could have carried out those murders.

            The case against Hobbs’ gained momentum among West Memphis   Three when supporters secured DNA testing of evidence found at the crime scene. The Arkansas Supreme Court recently described this evidence as “a foreign allele from a penile swab of victim Steven Branch; a hair from the ligature used to bind victim Michael Moore; and a hair recovered from a tree stump where the bodies were recovered.” The DNA testing on this evidence, performed sometime between 2005 and 2007, excluded the West Memphis Three as sources of the material. However, the tests revealed that the hair found on the Moore ligature was consistent with Terry Hobbs and the hair found on the tree stump was consistent with David Jacoby.

            These findings, along with Pam Hobbs’ longstanding ranting accusations against her husband and the fact that John Byers and Mr. Bojangles had been dismissed as prime suspects, was enough for many West Memphis Three supporters, including Dixie Chick lead singer Natalie Maines and John Byers himself (who had climbed on board the wagon against Hobbs once he was cleared as a suspect), to make direct public accusations and/or unmistakable insinuations that Hobbs was in fact the killer. This chorus for Hobbs’ guilt reached a crescendo last year when Jamie Clark Ballard, who lived several houses from the Hobbs, signed an affidavit saying she saw the three boys with Terry Hobbs at about 6:30 p.m. on the day they went missing. The Ballard affidavit is reportedly supported by statements from her mother and sister as well.

            I have absolutely no respect for belated, “johnny-come-lately” affidavits in high profile cases, especially those case which have achieved celebrity-like status. The Ballards, who have never received any recognition beyond the small block they live on in West Memphis, are now part of a cause celebre. This horrific crime happened in 1993. It took these local-yokels some 16 years to realize that they had information “pertinent” about the case. However, at the very time Jamie Ballard says she saw the three boys with Hobbs, Robert and Betty Martins told police they saw the boys on Goodwin Street. Other witnesses saw the boys between 5:00 and 6:30 p.m. and none placed them with Terry Hobbs. That’s why I placed as much credence in these so-called Ballard “affidavits” as I do the rumor that Lindsay Lohan is a virgin.

            I have also read Terry Hobbs’ June 21, 2007 interview with West Memphis Police Lt. Ken Mitchell and Detective Chuck Noles which was conducted in response to the results of the DNA tests. No one has refuted the facts presented by Hobbs during that interview; namely, that he got home from work between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m. on the day the boys went missing. Pam was at home at the time with their 4-year-old daughter Amanda. A little later, just before 5:00 p.m., Hobbs drove Pam to her place of employment at Catfish Island. The couple took Amanda with them. After Hobbs dropped Pam off at work, he drove around looking for Stevie because it was past time for him to be at home. He had Amanda with him. He picked Pam up at her job at around 9:00 p.m. Stevie was still missing.

            A number of witnesses, including Jamie Ballard, saw the three boys alive and well all the way up to 6:30 p.m. To accept the Hobbs-as-the-killer theory, one would have to conclude he picked up David Jacoby sometime after 6:30 p.m., found the boys, took them into the Robin Hood Hills, stripped them naked, strangled and/or drowned them. There’s no way the two adults could have planned the murders. No one would have known on that date, May 5, 1993, and at that time, the boys would all be together riding around on their bikes. So you would have to surmise that Hobbs drove by Jacoby’s house, picked him up, and said, “hey, let’s go kill some boys for being late coming home.” Keep in mind that Jacoby was not an “old friend” of Hobbs—to the contrary, he was a family friend of Pam Hobbs. Terry Hobbs simply helped Jacoby get a job where he worked at a local ice cream place.

            Now, why in God’s name would two grown men—neither of whom have any history of sexually molesting or physically abusing kids—hunt down three helpless eight-year-old boys and brutally murder them? Not one West Memphis Three supporter has offered a logical reason why Hobbs and Jacoby would want to kill the boys, much less that Jacoby would even join Hobbs in such a murderous venture. There was no evidence of sexual abuse, and the two men were certainly not part of some satanic cult.

            Beyond the lack of motive, there is the timeline. There’s no way Hobbs (with or without Jacoby’s assistance) could have hunted the boys down between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., take them to the Robin Hood Hills, strip them, kill them, and get rid of his bloody clothes before picking Pam up at around 9:00 p.m. at Catfish Island. Couldn’t happen; didn’t happen. And all this would have been done with his 4-year-old daughter sitting in the car. No way. Two strands of hair, which could easily been on the boys through transference, is not enough evidence to even warrant probable cause for an arrest, as concluded by the local law enforcement authorities, much less evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

            As for the West Memphis Three, I will say this loud and clear: Damien Echols is an unmitigated liar. In the second part of the four-part series in the Jonesboro Sun, Echols told reporter George Jared that he had been “repeatedly raped after family visitations and forced to perform sex acts with guards.”

            I didn’t need an investigation by the Arkansas corrections department to know this alleged sexual abuse did not happen. No way, Jose. Echols is lying through his teeth, and for no other reason than to enhance the public perception that he is being continuously abused by the Arkansas criminal justice system. This condemned inmate is apparently following the lead of former famed prison journalist Wilbert Rideau who was, and remains, a master at making himself a “victim.” Celebrity-type inmates who lie about events or distort issues in order to create a false “victim” persona have absolutely no credibility with me. The old adage, “you may fool the fans but not the players,” applies here. Thus, I take Echols exhortations about his “actual innocence” with the same grain of salt I attach to Wilbert Rideau’s credibility.

           There’s are a couple other points made by Echols in the Jonesboro Sun series that don’t jive under close scrutiny. He said he and his family lived in “abject poverty” yet they could afford pharmacy prescriptions, landline telephone service, and television. He told Jared that as a kid he looked forward to watching “’It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown’ or Christmas specials aired once a year.” Yet he grew up playing with the occult and, in fact, was watching the horror flick “Leprechaun” with Baldwin and two girls when he was arrested on June 3, 1993. To this day, he maintains a fascination in the occult. He told Jared one of the first trips he wants to make after his release from prison is to Salem, Massachusetts where he can celebrate Halloween. A strange aspiration for a 35-year-old condemned inmate sitting on death row convicted of three murders with possible occult implications.

           Then there is the Jessie MissKelley confession. Standing alone, it could be reasonably dismissed as the product of a borderline mental retardate who succumbed to police pressure and influence. But then we have Echols own admission that he probably made statements at a local softball game several weeks after the murders that he killed the boys. Two witnesses, Jodee Medford and Christy Van Vickle who were not retardate or under no police pressure, said they overheard Echols make the statements.

           “I might have said it, but it wasn’t because I did it,” Echols told Jared. “I was a teen-ager. People were saying a lot of stuff about me. I might have said it joking around.”

           I was a teenager once also. Normal, right-thinking teenagers don’t “joke around” about killing three 8-year-old boys. Echols may feel his admissions of guilt can casually be dismissed as a “teen-ager … joking around” but I don’t. Those public admissions, made outside of the police setting, are as credible as confessions given in a police setting—and when the admissions are considered against the backdrop of MissKelley’s confessions, they must be considered as part of the “totality of circumstances” in deciding whether to believe the claims of innocence by Echols and his supporters..

           So, after additional research in this case, I remain basically uncertain about the guilt of the West Memphis Three. I do believe that all the evidence, in its totality, is more incriminating against them than it is against Terry Hobbs and David Jacoby. But I remain firmly convinced that the convictions of the West Memphis Three should be set aside and that each defendant  given a new (although separate) trial. Echols and Jason Baldwin are entitled to a new trial because the jury foreman in their case used MissKelley’s confession against them without him testifying at trial, and MissKelley is entitled to a new trial based on the new DNA evidence.

31 Responses to “WEST MEMPHIS THREE: ANOTHER LOOK”

  1. Kirbyjay Says:

    Once again, a sceptic who does not fully educate himself about the case.

    1. The Ballards came forward AFTER the 6/21/07 interview with Hobbs saying that he hadn’t seen the boys that night. Before that, the Ballards didn’t know it was relevent that they had seen him with the boys

    2. Terry Hobbs was never interviewed and his house was never searched after the murders. This is the FIRST thing you do in a murder investigation, investigate the families.

    3. Evidence shows that the boys were not killed at Robin Hood Hills but moved from the murder site. Supporters have long stated that Hobbs may have accidently killed Branch in the process of beating him and then killed the other two to leave no witnesses.

    4. Damien does not study the occult. He has researched many religions and theorys over the years because he is an intelligent person. He happens to enjoy scary movies and Halloween as millions of other people in the world do.

    5. Were you in the jail cell when he was raped and beaten? I didn’t think so. So stop saying it never happened. It has been documented in the Arkansas Corrections System.

    6. Many witnesses for the prosecution, including Vicki Hutchinson have stated that they were threatened by the WMPD with prosecution for other criminal behavior if they didn’t testify for the prosecution.

    7. I’m sure many people living in trailer parks across the US have a telephone, television, and prescription medications. That statement was just inane.

    8. Damien was admittedly a troubled teenager. I knew many teenagers when I was growing up that would say sensational and crazy things. He was probably just scaring those girls, never dreaming that he would be charged with the crime.
    He has also admitted that he did some stupid things as a teenager, but murdering three innocent 8 year olds was not one of them.

    9. Pam Hobbs suspected Terry Hobbs because she found Stevie’s pocketknife in Terry’s posession after the murder. She said Stevie always had his knife with him. She has also stated that Hobbs acted suspiciously and didn’t have answers for some of her questions.

    10. Hobbs does have a history of sexual abuse. He allegedly molested his daughter

  2. John Allen Says:

    Thanks for the nice shoutout, Billy.

    I too feel we are of like minds, not necessarily on specific cases, but certainly on the fundamental issues of following evidence whereever it may lead, of being willing to admit and correct errors (our own in particular), and of respecting but hoping to improve our criminal justice system.

  3. Laird Williams Says:

    Mr. Sinclair:

    In paragraph one you state you’ve read the Hobbs Depositions and related documents.

    In paragraph eleven you claim that Hobbs has no “history of sexually molesting or physically abusing kids [and that] not one West Memphis Three supporter has offered a logical reason why Hobbs . . . would want to kill the boys…”

    You have NOT read those documents, sir. You talk about veracity. But it’s a stranger to you.

    Below is not one but a multitude of people talking about the motive one psychopathic stepfather might have to silence his stepson (and his friends):
    http://www.wm3blackboard.com/forum/index.php?topic=3376.0

    Read the declarations of Judy Sadler, Mildred French, Sheila Hicks Muse, and Hobbs’ own daughter, all here:
    http://www.wm3blackboard.com/board/pdfs/HvsP/19199298-exhibits4348.pdf

    You talk about these so called confessions. (he girls at the softball long ago admitted they new Damien was responding to people’s taunts with sarcasm; and here’s an educated analysis of Miskelley’s “confession”–
    http://www.jivepuppi.com/jivepuppi_slide_presentation.html — it’s been online for years.

    You propagate anachronistic hysterics about Satan and cults that have long ago been revealed to have been near criminal distortions (http://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/not-a-soul-in-there/Content?oid=1013168)

    You claim Hobbs would not have had the time. Here:
    http://www.wm3blackboard.com/forum/index.php?topic=2552.0

    But that somehow Jessie, Jason and Damien would have. Here:
    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&t=h&msa=0&msid=111143430846772008072.00049519f230a38a7d347&ll=35.180193,-90.182734&spn=0.045038,0.090895&z=14

    You cite a newspaper article from the small home town paper catering to the community where those original verdicts were handed down. Wow.

    When you’re ready for some legitimate sources regarding this case, here you go:

    http://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/not-a-soul-in-there/Content?oid=1013168
    http://freewestmemphis3.org/download/EcholsMemoFinal-01.pdf
    http://freewestmemphis3.org/download/EcholsMemoFinal-02.pdf
    http://callahan.8k.com/pdf/jm_habeas_petition.PDF
    http://callahan.8k.com/pdf/jb_habeas_petition.PDF
    http://www.wm3blackboard.com/forum/index.php?board=47.0

    Otherwise, you can no longer be taken seriously.

    Regards,

    Laird Williams
    p.s. Mr Allen, in the comment above, should be read with over and over again.

  4. Billy Sinclair Says:

    Laird Williams: whether or not I am taken “seriously” by you is immaterial to me. I said that Terry Hobbs had no “history” of child sexual molestation. That means he has never been convicted of those crimes. You suggest he is a “psychopathic” stepfather without any credible evidence. I work for a criminal defense attorney. Sexual assault allegations and insinuations are often false. You and others have a very specific agenda in casting Hobbs as the killer just as you did with Mr. Bojangles and John Byers.
    As for the occult implications, Damien Echols is a 35-year-old condemned inmate talking about Halloween and witchcraft. His own mouth is his worse enemy–not me.
    His rape and sexual abuse by prison guards did not happen. I spent 40 years in prison. I know the culture. Death row inmates are not escorted anywhere without a security detail. There would have been no opportunity to guards to rape or sexual abuse Echols.
    Echols would have us believe that the trial judge, prosecutors, and the state’s attorney general are in a “conspiracy” to kill him. And he wants us to believe that prison guards are involved in a conspiracy to fuck him in the ass or force him to perform fellatio on them. You have every right to believe this crap. I do not!
    As I said, I am still not certain about the guilt of the West Memphis Three – but I am certain that the innocence campaign being waged by many of their supporters clouds and hides the truth as much as the conduct of the prosecutors, and, yes, the trial judge.
    Mr. Williams, I am a death penalty opponent but I don’t follow the rest of the sheep over the cliff. I am a free thinker, and, quite frankly, I don’t much care what others think about my thought processes. I speak my mind, and if it’s contrary to what you believe, then we both can get on down the road with our beliefs.
    You have a good day. Billy Sinclair

  5. Billy Sinclair Says:

    Kirbyjay: You make spurious points in defense of West Memphis Three. Point 3: you suggest Hoobs killed Stevie while beating him and then killed the other two boys to keep them quiet; that he killed them some other place besides Robn Hood Hills. The boys were seen alive at 6:30. That would have given Hobbs two hours to kill them, haul their bodies to Robin Hood Hills, clean up, and pick Pam Hobbs up at work just before 9:00 p.m. The time frame does not support your theory.
    Point 5: You state that Echols’ rape and sexual abuse by prison guards has been documented by Arkansas prison authorities. Not true. They investigated allegations and found no substance to them. I didn’t have to be in the cell with Echols to know the rape/sexual abuse did not happen. You obviously don’t know anything about prison or prison guards. Please think about what you are saying: why would prison guards, first, risk their jobs and personal well-being, and, second, have the sexual desire to fuck Damien Echols in his ass? What planet did you escape from?
    Point 9: Why didn’t Pam immediately tell the police about Hobbs having Stevie’s knife? Hobbs said Pam stated she knew Stevie was dead when he picked her up at work. And Hobbs supposedly acted suspicious? Pam Hobbs had an ax to grind against her hubby. If Stevie and the other boys had been killed at the Hobbs house, she would have seen some residual evidence of those killings.
    Point 10: You say Hobbs has a “history” of child sexual molestation because he “allegedly” molested his daughter. An allegation does not constitute a “history.” The man has never been convicted of molesting his daughter.
    I hope the convictions of the West Memphis Three are reversed. Let jurors decide this case with all the evidence. In the meantime, I will not subscribe to unsubstaniated allegations by their supporters and Echols own “conspiracy theories” to formulate my opinions about the case. Please have a good day. Billy Sinclair

  6. Laird Williams Says:

    Mr Sinclair,

    I understand I’ve touched a nerve with you, but, you’re statements were (and remain) if not egregious then certainly infuriating. Apologies.

    You suggest I did not offer credible evidence as to Mr Hobbs history, but it’s pointed to in my post.

    If one wants to assert that these sources—multiple people that lived with or experienced the man first hand—are not credible, then one must assert that the ONLY truth teller among all the people germane to the discussion is Hobbs himself, and that all these other people that were proximal to him are in league against him. What would their unified motivation be? Simply that they didn’t like him?

    You suggest I have “a very specific agenda.” I do. But you lump me with “others” erroneously and it’s flat out wrong and it’s offensive: for the record, I have never stated that “Bojangles,” or Mark Byers, or even David Jacoby was complicit in this crime. They were all (and in at least one case are) worthy of investigation though, even Mr Byers will tell you that.

    I didn’t bother to challenge you on Mr Echol’s experiences or statements (by the way, suggesting someone’s affection for Halloween is cause to suspect them of murder is like suggesting a preference for black t-shirts is also), because, like you, I don’t really know; you can claim to know, but you don’t, in fact, know—unless of course you spent time on death row, in isolation, at Varner. Did you? And even then you wouldn’t really know what someone else may have experienced unless you witnessed it. (I don’t have to link you to where you can go to read about prisoner experiences in Varner.)

    You talk down a “conspiracy” in this case, yet assert one—all the way to Louisiana’s Governor—in your own (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk6yRrdaLrg). Can we at least call that contradictory?

    You dismiss timelines without, it appears (since you a assume one single engagement), serious study of the case and the ongoing investigation (yes, I understand there is not a formal ongoing Police investigation—at them moment—what could possibly be achieved without the West Memphis Police? Please: It’s a rhetorical question.)

    Even your post back to Mr Kirbyjay distorts: he never said that the boys were killed in Hobbs’ or anyone else’s house.

    So many distortions . . . .

    Mr. Sinclair, my agenda is a simple one: to work to free innocent men. I also hope (and pray) that the party responsible for this crime will be arrested, found guilty and convicted.

    Here’s a point we can agree on: I’m not a death penalty advocate.

    I know you know where one can go if one wishes to swim in myths 17-years-old, where folks who simply LIKE to hold on to the belief that a satanic ritual was orchestrated in a muddy ditch, in daylight, in a tiny patch of woods while crowds of concerned citizens searched those same woods (that’s Hobbs sworn testimony, anyway), but for any of your readers who don’t, that place is here:
    http://wm3hoax.downonthefarm.org/board/index.php The tenor of the conversations there should illuminate the thinking found there.

    But for people looking for the truth, you might start with—

    A case for Jason Baldwin’s innocence:
    http://www.jivepuppi.com/case_for_innocence_baldwin.html

    A case for Jessie Misskelley’s innocence:
    http://www.jivepuppi.com/case_for_innocence_misskelley.html

    And a former FBI agent’s argument that someone much more intimate with the victims was the real perpetrator of these horrific murders:

    If that embed didn’t work then at the link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DezJ0SUFgc

    Again, my apologies for the tone of last night’s post to you. I wish you’d read some materials worthy of your degree and stated mission here. People worked hard to free you, I imagine, Mr Sinclair. I imagine there were some who worked hard to keep you locked away. This case, as I believe I suggested in an earlier post, will be written about for the next hundred years, probably multiple centuries, if Salem, MA is any guide. Which side of these truths are you going to be documented to have been on, Mr. Sinclair? It’s a earnest question.

    Best,

    Laird

  7. Billy Sinclair Says:

    Laird: I will check every link you sent. Promise. And let me clarify a couple things. First, like many people, I think Terry Hobbs as a human being is a piece of crap. But the timeline for him being a suspect does not fit. It was still daylight between 6:30 p.m. (when the boys were last seen) and roughly 8:30 p.m. when Hobbs had to leave to go pick up Pam at Catfish Island. I did not say in response to another post that the killings occurred at the Hobbs’ residence. I simply commented that it was unlikely the crime occurred there. It’s difficult for me to see this crime as having been committed by one person considering that the boys were murdered elsewhere and their bodies transferred to the Robin Hood Hills area.
    As for Echols’ penchant for Halloween, my criticism is not that it indicates he’s a killer (or more likely to kill than anyone else). It’s a strange subject-matter for a condemned inmate to profess such an abiding interest in to the point that it’s one of the first things he wants to celebrate upon release.
    As for the “conspiracy” issue, I am more than aware that state authorities at the highest levels will engage in conspiracies to coverup a “bad” conviction. I’m sure there has been some of that in the West Memphis Three case. But this legitimate conspiracy theory is undermined by Echols statement that was raped by prison guards after visits. Had he alleged an isolated sexual assault by a rogue prison guard, I may have given it some credence. But to allege that prison guards constantly rape and sexually assault him is absurd. That did not happen, Laird. Now, perhaps Echols has become addicted to celebrity and feels a need to exaggerate his death row existence (which is bad enough) in order to perpetuate the “victim” of a rogue criminal justice system issue. I don’t know, but I do know he is lying about the rape/sexual abuse issue–and when a person in Echols position is given a chance to make his case to the public and adds lies to the public debate about that case, I am skeptical about anything he says.
    And this brings me to another point: Echols claims he was at home at the time of the killings and had several telephone calls with a girlfriend who, I believe, verified those calls. The implication is that if he was talking to his girlfriend on a landline home phone, he could not have physically carried out the murders since he didn’t drive or have transportation. My question is this: has anyone ever verified those telephone calls with records from the telephone company? Those records could provide a fairly certain alibi defense. I haven’t seen anything about those records.
    Laird, I do admire your concern and effort in this case. I admire anyone willing to protect and improve the integrity of our justice system. Guilt or innocence aside, the West Memphis Three case is an embarrasment to our justice system–and I hope that is one day corrected with a new trial for all three defendants.
    Have a good day. Billy Sinclair

  8. Layered Says:

    Mr. Sinclair:

    A most excellent response, sir. It’s good to be back in calmer waters here. Thank you. If you’ll allow, I’ll get back with you on a couple of key points you’ve raised when I can, sooner rather than later. Your voice and opinions are powerful ones.

    Until then, my best wishes to you and yours,

    Laird

  9. Laird Williams Says:

    Mr. Sinclair:

    Sorry to be slow getting back to you. (Life in the fast lane, I suppose.)

    Regarding the phone records the story is this: The (very young) public defenders asked the West Memphis Police to secure them. The WMP came back saying there were no records. The young public defenders did not attempt to verify if that was true. There was apparently one phone company handling Marion, Ar, another handling West Memphis, neither, as telephony was entering a revolution in technology, exist today. If there were records at one time, there are none to be had anymore.

    As for timelines: Here’s a great place to research those (at least from a supporter’s point of view): http://www.wm3blackboard.com/forum/index.php?board=56.0

    All the best and Happy Holidays to you and yours, Mr. Sinclair,

    Laird

  10. WEST MEMPHIS THREE: LINGERING QUESTIONS Says:

    […] Steve Branch’s biological mother, Pamela, according to what Hobbs told police investigators in June 2007 interview. Yet she continued to live with Hobbs until 2002 at which time their marriage began to unravel. It […]

  11. Rena Says:

    I have been following this case for years. There is much more to this case than what you have covered above. You have stated that you have read and watched the interviews with Terry Hobbs from the 2007 WMPD interview and read the transcripts. Have you also watched and read the transcripts from the Pasdur suit? Have you also read the delarations of Jacoby as well? If you have than you have misquoted yourself above by saying that Hobbs and Jacoby were together the whole time and Amanda was with him/them as well. It is a fact that Mr. Hobbs was alone during significant periods of time that day. Read Jacoby’s declaration and then read Hobbs. Amanda was left at the Jacoby’s home with Jacoby and his wife for a significant amount of time that afternoon.
    Also, it should be noted that Pam had thought for years that Stevie’s knife was taken from him by whoever had commited the crime. She never saw it again until she was going through items of Mr. Hobbs and saw the knife in his belongings. This is a knife that was given to him by his grandfather and he carried it with him all the time per her statements. You make the assumption that Pam Hobbs was suspicious of her husband from the onset of the murder. I believe that to be untrue. She may have had some doubts but she wasn’t screaming them to everyone who would listen. I believe someone in her situation would be in denial. She was quite vocal on the guilt of the wm3 for years. Hobbs did have a violent past and I am not just talking about his alleged abuse of his daughter. Fact remains he did assult a Mildred Finch (read her declartion from the pasdur suit), He hit is second wife, alleged to have hit his first wife and son ( I am not sure if there is a record so allegedly) He shot his brother in law Jackie Hicks Jr (not long after the murders) also, why would he leave his wife so soon after the murders? I know it is nothing that points directly to guilt but it is suspect to me anyway. Why did he confer with a criminal attorney in 93 after the murder of his stepson? Why would he do that? He never explained that.

    Now, some facts, Stevie had partially digested green vegetable material in stomache contents. According to lunch menu that day they had Hamburgers and fries (eventhough if he ate at say 11:00 AM and 1:00 pm) Lunch would have been already digested. (also no green vegetable in menu that day, unless he ate lettuce) So Stevie ate sometime that evening. Pam had cooked green beans that night for dinner, so taking in account that a green food matter was in his stomache leads a person to believe he probably came by home and at least ate some dinner. Also the food would have had time to at least partially digest. I am not an expert would like someone to at least study this aspect of the case a little more closlely (maybe it will be brought up at the hearing/trial) May help pin point a time of death, unless he was hit and lay unconscious for a extended period of time before death thus slowing down digestion)

    Now as far as Robin Hood Hills being the crime scene. Yes, I believe it is the crime scene and may others will agree. What you will find is that most people believe and it is pretty convincing when you consider the lack of physical evidence at the scene of the drainage ditch that it is a dump sight, There were at least three manholes inside the wooded area of robin hood hills all in a 200 foot radius of the drainage ditch. (there are pictures available at various websites, but most notiably you will find them easily at the http://www.wm3blackboard.com) This of course is not fact but a very plausible theory if one takes the time to read the autopsy reports and the reports from the forenesic pathologist that have studied and offered opinions on this case. Also of note on one of your essays about the wildlife of west memphis you left out turtles. Pretty large ones to be exact. If you have a chance read up on those “critters” they are remarkable. Did you know police use them at times to help locate bodies? I didn’t either until I did some research. Seems those turtles are attracted to corspes… Takes huge bites out of them… Yikes. Also, documented that a swimmer lost his privates while swimming… Yep Turtle took them clean off. Yeah, I know hard to believe but it is documented. Also some fasicinating research by forensic pathologist on animal activity on a body in many published medical journals. Also, studied extensively by the body farm in Knoxville, TN. But I digress…

    The fact still remains amid all the speculation and theories there is still not one. Not ONE single bit of physical evidence linking Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin or Jessie Miskelley to the victims or the crime scene.
    There is DNA evidence under the fingernails of Michael Moore, there is DNA hair evidence in the binding of the lace that bound Michael Moore that may be a beard or facial hair, There is DNA evidence of another hair sample found at the crime scene on a tree root of a person who Hobbs was with that day at least an hour before the boys went missing, and a foot print/partial hand print that clears all three)

    There is so much more that could be brought up and debated but there is simply so much information out there. This what I covered above and what has been brought up in this whole essay and comments are really just a tip of an iceburg.

    It truely is a facinating case and tragic. I truely feel like there was so much incompetence from the primary investigation,(evidence lost, crime scene not secured, details of victims leaked to news media, victims bodies removed before medical examiner arrived at scene) the medical examiner, (significant tissue sample not taken, no liver temp noted, fluid in sinus not compared to water in ditch etc…..) I could go on and on,,, But it is all out there and available to public.

    I am looking forward to the hearing. I will really like to know the results of the fiber testing on the samples taken from Echols, and Baldwins home and compared with the fibers found at the scene. Now since technology has advanced so much since 1993-1994. I know Baldwin really wants those tested. It seems to me that someone who is guilty would not want those items retested so badly (but that’s just me :)

    To anyone that is interested in this case, please read, become informed. There is so much misinformation out there.

  12. Billy Sinclair Says:

    Rena: Thank you for your detailed analysis. I am an outside observer. I am not a West Memphis Three supporter or follower. It is not my “cause.” Most of the information in my last post came from West Memphis Three websites. For example, I did not say that Pam Hobbs accused her husband of being involved in the murders. I attributed this assertion to the 2007 interview Hobbs gave to the West Memphis police. He told the police that Pam started the rumors. My only point is that his credibility is as good as hers. I will put up another post in the near future examining what I believe is the “evidence” against the West Memphis Three and whether it is credible. Thank you. Billy Sinclair

  13. Dawn Says:

    I have to say the more I read, the more I am confused on this case. The only thing I know for sure is this case did not by any means get the “fair” trial it deserved. I think police work was sloppy and the trial was even worse. I do not know if these 3 boys, well men now, are innocent or guilty. I think it lacks evidence period either which way, but I do agree with them getting a new trial. I don’t think we will ever know what really happened or who really commited this horrendous crime. It has turned into a media blitz at the cost of three innocent children. There are good points or evidence if you call it that on both sides of the fence and I agree this is a very interesting case to keep track of and study. I hope one day we will know, but I don’t think that will happen. It has been too much of a mess since the beginning. God bless those kids and condemn the one who is sitting back laughing at what a media circus this has become. It will be interesting to see what the new trials bring our way.

  14. THE CASE AGAINST THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE Says:

    […] which have garnered significant interest, and criticism, from West Memphis Three supporters (here, here, here and […]

  15. Sheila Hicks Muse Says:

    I am Stevie’s aunt, Pam’ s sisiter. I have so much information about Terry Hobbs, that it is astronomical. Can’t wait to testify and reveal all the lies he has told and inform the public of information they have never heard before!!!

  16. Courage Says:

    Sheila Hicks Muse is a liar, she hates Terry because her sister Pam was screwing around with a mexican dude, and Terry started beating her, Pam called her brother who was twice as big as Terry, Terry shot him ever since then Sheila has a vendetta against Terry Hobbs. If he was so guilty Sheila why did your sister stay with him so long. Your just as bad as Mark Byers trying to make a buck off the case, I know how much you and your family were paid.

    You are a joke.

  17. Caulutbarly Says:

    _________________
    [i]If a woman were about to proceed to her execution, she would demand a little time to perfect her toilet.[/i]
    http://www.chung-sim.com/siemens.gigaset.a165.html

  18. Caulutbarly Says:

    _________________
    [i]By giving children lots of affection, you can help fill them with love and acceptance of themselves. Then that’s what they will have to give away.[/i]
    http://www.chung-sim.com/fujifilm.a170.html

  19. jacksonhunted Says:

    I have to disagree a new trial is warranted. I originally thought this to be a miscarriage of justice, but the more I delved into the actual facts the less I felt that way. What is being claimed as new evidence, specifically the DNA, is not probative. Further, the Misskelley confession with his attorneys present constituted more than flimsy evidence. It rings true.

    I must second your point about celebrity defendant projects. They really do diminish the numerous cases that warrant a second look because they so quickly degenerate into cults.

    Other than these criticisms, solid work.

  20. west memphis 3 murder Says:

    […] WEST MEMPHIS THREE: ANOTHER LOOK Dec 6, 2010 … Following my last post about the West Memphis Three case, … Pam never offered any logical motive as to why Terry Hobbs would brutally murder the three boys or any reasonable … […]

  21. k Says:

    “you may fool the fans but not the players”

    Great writing.

    Wow…man…..I’ve been debating this case since they got out nonstop. I did a lot of time as well and got out about the time they went in. At the time I was THE only person that listened to metal in the whole prison. (AC/DC didn’t count IMO) Nobody I knew there was into the occult.

    I researched the case after the first movie and let it go. After years of seeing people come & go out the gates, you kind of get a nose for bs stories. I would have loved to taken up the cause and been on their side but I’m with you.

    For one…I’ve been around plenty of asshole cops and Gitchell just didn’t strike me as one of them. Tough? yes. Arrogant to the point of framing? no. The whole case sucked, I’ll give supporters that. Evidence gathering, presentation (I knew that witness against Jason was bs the minute I heard it…..new guys meeting in jail don’t talk about putting balls in their mouth unless they want more of the same ifyouknowwhatimsayin…it doesn’t happen) Satanic ritual killing? joked about….planned maybe….but not that day. Did they deserve new trials? absolutely

    The many confessions by Misskelley are the most compelling to me. Especially the one in the car after the conviction & the “bible” one. I’ve read them and (even with the inconsistencies) they ring true. If the cops were after Damien why would Misskelley (without hesitation) point the finger at Jason as the one who performed the genital mutilation? That’s the star gore to this case. Shouldn’t that have been pinned on Damien, the Satanic ringleader?

    It’s the little things. We’re also privy to seeing things that aren’t admissible in court.

    Thank you for the article. At least somebody gets it. It’ll be interesting to see what happens from here. I expect the worst….but hope for the best.

  22. k Says:

    Billy….fyi….

    Check out the WM3 facebook page & scroll down to the post by Kami Bouscher

    http://www.facebook.com/krayonc#!/pages/The-West-Memphis-3/6317424554

    Kami Bouscher
    I worked at Varner Supermax where Damien stayed on death row, he was one of the sweetest and kindest ones there. So proud for him.
    Tuesday at 10:10am

    Phil Jester
    thats great/ but is it not true that some of the guards tortured and raped him a couple of times in the past?
    Tuesday at 1:57pm

    Tina Amerson
    Why post things like this? That is one of those things we all know but do not speak of especially at a time like this.

    Kami Bouscher
    @ phil I was the ADON, during my time there, there was no report or mention of such things, nor did Damien Voice any c/o to the infirmary. I hope that is just a horrific rumor.

  23. Billy Sinclair Says:

    I don’t doubt that to some guards Echols was the “sweetest and kindest” inmate on death row – only a female guard could describe any condemned inmate in such terms (mother instincts, perhaps). Another Facebook post pointed out that Echols was not raped by prison guards while on death row. I have pointed that out previously. He’s lying when he says he was raped by guards. There is an occasional male guard/male inmate sexual contact in prison, always consensual. More often it is female guards (the ones who see inmates as “sweet and cute” or just plain brutes) who have sexual contact with male inmates. I cannot even fathom prison guards assigned to death row conspiring or agreeing to enter Echols cell and rape him orally or anally. Just did not happen. But it does prove one thing: Echols is a liar who will say anthing to his supporters to arouse their sympathy.

  24. kma367 Says:

    Just wanted to correct a few things:

    Regarding the phone records. The poster above is incorrect about the attorneys asking the police for phone records and being told they weren’t available. I don’t know where this person came up with that scenario, but it certainly doesn’t surprise me that such a biased excuse would surface.

    The phone calls in question were between one telephone located in Bartlett, TN and one telephone located in West Memphis, AR. At the time, BellSouth was the carrier for Bartlett and Southwestern Bell was the carrier for West Memphis. In spite of the fact that the calls were state-to-state, they were considered local area. The same applied to certain areas of Desoto County, Mississippi, just south of Memphis.

    Echols had a licensed and experienced private investigator by the name of Ron Lax working for him. Lax’ office was located in Memphis and, therefore, he was familiar with the procedure for obtaining telephone records from BellSouth, or any other carrier.

    One of the WMPD officers did testify that they had attempted to obtain the records for their own investigation, but were told they were not available. This may have been because they were considered local calls and not long distance.

    At any rate, the phone records would only have proved that Phone A made a call that was completed to Phone B and that the call lasted X minutes. As I stated above, the defense was free to obtain these records and had an experienced private investigator working with them who would know exactly how to do so.

    I guess no one has ever considered the possibility that the defense did obtain the records and they weren’t helpful to the defense because they corroborated the various statements.

    As for the sexual assault allegations, Mr. Sinclair is right. Echols is a pathological liar who is now claiming sexual assault by guards to gain more sympathy for himself and because it plays into the naivete of most supporters.

    Shortly after his arrival on Death Row, Echols claimed that another death row inmate, Mark Garnder, was entering his cell and sexually assaulting him. This accusation was investigated and, while it was discovered that a brick had been removed from a wall, it was determined that Gardner could not fit through the space. Echols then briefly changed the story, claiming that Gardner forced him to craw through the wall to be sexually assaulted. ALL of Echols’ claims were found to be false by the ADC investigation.

    Following his usual M.O., Echols is changing his story, just as he did regarding the admission to having killed Chris, Michael and Steve. In 1994, Echols testified that he was never at the ball field and never made the statement. He was proven to be lying. Later, he claimed the date the girls claimed he made the statement was after June 3, 1993, in spite of the fact that the girls had never reported a date. Now, he claims he said it because people were being mean to him.

    If they were truly innocent, they wouldn’t have to change their stories so many times and in so many ways. Had they not had the celebrity support and the PR firm, not to mention the “investigative journalists” parroting defense team handouts, they’d still be in prison where they belong.

  25. Doe Says:

    Terry Hobbs did have a histroy of physically abusing his step son and was arrested for physcially abusing his wife.

  26. Doe Says:

    You have made the repeated claim that Echols said he was raped by guards. He never said that and claimed he was raped by a fellow inmate.

  27. THE ALLGED RAPE OF DAMIEN ECHOLS Says:

    […] In a December 2010 post, I mentioned this issue and made it clear that I believe Echols is an “unmitigated liar.” My […]

  28. Indy Says:

    About the prison rape issue, when I saw video footage of Echols & Baldwin in their first years in prison (I think it was) and they both seemed to have grown longer hair, and Baldwin in particular seemed to have a more effeminate style, I really felt kinda disturbed, as to why on earth would they choose to grow their hair longer like that?? Not knowing anything really about prison realities, I’m curious does that not indicate something?

  29. Allen Ryther Says:

    Billy Sinclair, you are what is wrong with society. You, sir, are an oaf, an idiot, a fool. I have just read two of your “columns” and you are the most disingenuous clown I have had the misfortune of stumbling across in quite some time. Do everyone a favor and place your fiction in the proper category. You remind me of 9/11 conspiracy theorists (neither of you have a clue.).

  30. Billy Sinclair Says:

    ALLEN RYTHER: Thank you for your input – always nice to receive such complements. And it is truly amazing to see that you have a monopoly on intellectual thought. The public discourse is so much better for it. And, now, I would suggest that just as you “stumbled” upon this website, you stumble on down the road. God forbid, you would waste your precious time dwelling on “what is wrong with society” reading posts from this site.

  31. 2kd Says:

    Byers and Hobbs both were stepfathers of 2 boys who had been sexualized; their private parts showed scaring. One theory is that, on the evening the boys “ran away” from home, one of the stepfathers went after them, overheard them and M. Moore discussing their homelife and molestation. That parent became enraged, took them to another location, and together with the other step parent, lost it. They dehumanized them, ripped the clothes from their bodies, bit them, beat them and then dumped them in the ditch. Michael and Stevie were alive, but knocked out, then they drowned. Chris was already dead. There was no animal predation. Pooled blood beneath the skin of Chris Byers proves this as his heart had to be still beating when he received the cuts and stabs to his groin area. There is a huge block of time missing in the stories of both Hobbs and Byers. Both are violent men.

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