Written By: Billy Sinclair
The one thing that never ceases to amaze me about West Memphis Three supporters is their hypocrisy in trying to shift blame for the horrific murders of the three 8-year-old Cub Scouts—Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore—to other people. First, there was the bloody black man dubbed “Mr. Bojanles” reportedly seen near the crime scene on the evening of the murders. Second, there was John Mark Byers, the father of Christopher and the first person to report the boys missing, who became a suspect after he gave a bloody knife to Paradise Lost filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. Byers was ultimately ruled out as a suspect by most WM3 supporters after he joined their ranks in calling for the release of the WM3 while pointing an accusatory finger of guilt at Terry Hobbs.
That’s why WM3 supporters finally settled on Hobbs as the prime suspect in the murder of the three boys. Hobbs was the stepfather of Stevie Branch. The finger-pointing charge against him was led by his disgruntled ex-wife, Pam Hicks. Her suspicions against Hobbs was fueled by the alleged discovery of a knife in Hobbs’ nightstand. The knife belonged to Stevie and was always carried by the child, according to Hicks. The knife was discovered by Hicks and her sister, Jo Lynn McCauhey. Apparently at some point after the knife discovery, McCauhey told her sister that she had seen Hobbs washing clothes, bed linens and curtains from Stevie’s room at “around the time of the murders.” There is no explanation (1) as to why McCauhey was alone with Hobbs in his residence at “around the time of the murders” or (2) why McCauhey did not question Hobbs about the “odd” clothes washing and/or (3) why she did not immediately report her suspicions to her sister. But this “evidence” was sufficient for WM3 supporters like the disenfranchised country music star, Natalie Maines, who flatly accused Hobbs of murdering the three boys before she became a virtual recluse.
The trumped-up case against Hobbs escalated after the WM3 defense team had two strains of hair found at the crime scene DNA tested. The hairs did not match any of the WM3. Test results of one of the hairs confined it to 1.5% of the population. Hobbs’ hair is in that population group. Test results of the second hair confined it to 7% of the population. David Jacoby’s hair is in that population group. Although not close friends, Hobbs and Jacoby worked together and sometimes socialized together. Law enforcement has ruled both men out as suspects in the murders.
The suspicions against Hobbs reached a crescendo of hysteria earlier this year after New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson released his documentary, “West of Memphis.” Jackson, a longtime WM3 supporter, presented “three new witnesses” who claim that Terry Hobbs’ nephew, Michael Hobbs Jr., told them “my uncle Terry murdered those three little boys.” One WM3 attorney, Stephen Braga, disgracefully charged that the double hearsay statements by the three witnesses pointed to Hobbs as the real killer. The basis for Braga’s unsupportable assertion is that the three “so-called” witnesses passed polygraph tests.
First, polygraph tests are notoriously unreliable. Courts, for very good reasons, rarely allow the admission of such tests results into evidence. Second, what is so outrageous about attaching credibility to the positive polygraph results of the three witnesses is that Damien Echols failed a polygraph test after his arrest for the murder of the three boys. Thus, WM3 supporters want the public to accept the preposterous notion that the polygraph results of the three witnesses are credible while the negative result of Echols is not. Finally, assuming Michael Hobbs Jr. told the three witnesses that his “Uncle Terry murdered those three boys” does not make it a “fact” and would be inadmissible in any court in the land. That’s because the statement came from Michael Hobbs Jr.’s father, Michael Hobbs, the brother of Terry, who reportedly told his son that “Uncle Terry murdered those three boys.” It should be pointed out that the three witnesses, as admitted by Braga, did not come forward with their assertion until after Michael Hobbs Jr. “snitched” on them to the police about some matter.
Peter Jackson apparently got so consumed producing the fantasy “Lord of the Rings” that he can no longer separate reality from fantasy, fact from fiction. Braga, of course, has self-serving reasons for doing a Tiny Tim “tiptoeing through the tulips” jig in the public square because he would love to see the WM3 exonerated for the horrific murders they in fact committed. It is shameful, shocking that any criminal defense attorney would attach public credibility to such flimsy, unsupportable evidence that Terry Hobbs killed those three boys based on the statements of three vindictive, self-serving witnesses.
Terry Hobbs is a bad person. He has few, if any, redeemable qualities. But he did not kill Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers on May 5, 1993 in West Memphis, Arkansas. Those boys were murdered by Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelly. They all confessed to the murders under various circumstances and finally pled guilty to the crimes. Any objective analysis of the evidence indicates overwhelming evidence of guilt against the WM3 when compared to the flimsy evidence against Terry Hobbs.