Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) Movie Script

Tony brooks: cameras are rolling
on every word and movement
Of the west Memphis
murder trials
As reporters scurry
to get the story.
But as Deirdre Koon
The crew behind one camera
isn't chasing a story.
They're creating
a comment on society.
Deirdre Koon: this is the
scene at the corning courthouse-
The defense, the prosecution,
and this film crew
Getting ready
for the day ahead.
These New York filmmakers
spent the last eight months
Getting to intimately know the
people involved in the case.
The filmmakers are considering
calling the documentary
"Paradise lost. " They expect
it to air on HBO in about a year.
is it fair to say
That following
the HBO documentaries,
- The "paradise lost" documentaries...
- Yes.
- ... There became sort
of a public- - That's-
Let me finish my question,
Im sorry-
There became
sort of a public debate
Or controversy about whether
the west Memphis three
- Had been wrongfully convicted?
- Yes.
And that public
And I understand
your position
That it was caused
by the documentaries,
But that public
Really did expand to be
a national controversy?
It's almost a cause.
Mark byers:
last time we saw them,
The three boys were
riding bikes together,
And they headed down towards a
wooded area at the end of the street,
Which was about 6:30
yesterday evening.
And they're always
in the house before dark.
None of the three
have ever been missing
Or taken off
ever before.
Male reporter: what's going
through your mind as a parent?
I'm scared to death.
That's, you know,
plain and simple.
I'm scared for the safety
and welfare of all three boys
And would appreciate any
help that anyone would give us
In recovering
our three sons.
welcome to where time
stands still
no one leaves
and no one will...
Green one
on the left side there,
Red one on
the right side.
dream the same thing
every night
I see our freedom
in my sights...
Man over radio: don't
let nobody come up here.
Don't let nobody
in here.
my brain
seem scarred
sleep, my friend,
and you will see
the dream is
my reality
they keep me locked up
in this cage
can't they see
it's why my brain says
leave me be
just leave me alone...
( wailing )
build my fear
of what's out there
cannot breathe
the open air...
Jenna newton:
west Memphis investigators
Continue to track down
leads in the case,
But they still have
no suspects.
We've got 28,000-30,000
people in west Memphis.
And as far as Im concerned,
everybody's a suspect.
Diana Davis: instead of letting
their kids walk home from school,
Parents started
picking them up.
Jenna newton: and in this
middle-Class neighborhood,
People wonder why no one has
been arrested for the murders.
Diana Davis: the reward for
information leading to the conviction
Of the killer or killers
has skyrocketed
And is now at $25,000.
All of west Memphis-
All of west Memphis
is just torn up.
( Child crying )
Get out of the way
of the van.
Male reporter: people in west
Memphis gathered in church today
To count
their blessings
After an emotional week
capped by the arrests.
For more than a month,
the savage murders
Of Steve Branch, Chris Byers,
and Michael Moore
Had nagged
people's conscience.
Jenna newton: at a press conference,
inspector Gary Gitchell said
The case against the accused
teens is very strong.
Man: on the scale from one to 10,
how solid do you think the case is?
( Laughter, applause )
Jessie Miskelly, Damien
Echols, and Jason Baldwin
Are now
convicted killers.
Judge Burnett: do you
have any legal reason
To show the court or give
the court at this time
As to why sentence
should not be imposed?
- Because Im innocent.
- Pardon?
Because Im innocent.
( Crossing bells
ringing )
Michael was
kind of like-
Kind of like
Bart Simpson.
He had a great
sense of humor.
He could make you laugh no
matter how depressed you was,
No matter how bad
things were going.
He always wanted everybody
to be in a good mood.
And he- He could make
anybody laugh.
He'd come up with
the silliest things.
I damn sure miss him.
Terry Hobbs: Stevie
was a fine boy. He was.
We gave him a nice home,
we felt like.
And, you know,
we're sad
That this- You know,
this has happened.
We're sad
that he's gone.
I always said that
Christopher was a gift,
That Christopher was
my gift.
I have asked god "why?"
You know?
"If you were going to
take him,
Why didn't you take him
when he was tiny?"
You know?
"Why did it-?"
You know,
"Why did you let me love
him for eight years?"
Damien Echols,
Jason Baldwin,
Jessie Miskelly Jr,
I hope you all
burn in hell
And are tormented
for eternity and a day.
I couldn't ever put into
words how much I hate you.
Damien Echols: I know, no
matter what I say or do,
There are still
going to be people
Who won't believe it,
no matter what.
But I did not
Kill those children
or anybody else.
I had nothing
to do with it,
And I know
nothing about it.
Jason Baldwin: if I could talk to
the families of the victims right now,
They were led to believe by
the police that we'd done it,
And so I understand
if they hate us,
You know, hate me.
But I didn't do it,
you know?
I didn't have anything
to do with it.
And Im sorry that
your kids are dead.
I'm sorry
about that.
But all I ask is
That y'all go back
and look at the evidence.
Just- Just stop
and think
And don't let your
emotions about it all
Get to your head
And just stop and think and
look back at the evidence.
And look where
the evidence does point.
And ask yourself,
"Now who do you think
really done it?"
Jessie Miskelly: they know that
they got three innocent people
Locked up for a crime
they didn't commit.
I didn't kill nobody.
But, you know, to me,
I think it's wrong,
Because, you know,
it ain't about us.
It's about the victims theirselves,
you know what Im saying?
They need peace. The
victim's family needs peace.
And I think the police
owes that to 'em.
The facts of the crime scene
are actually
A pretty interesting
part of the case,
Because this crime
Took place
in a wooded area.
It was near
two major freeways.
It happened right near
a truck stop,
Which is now closed.
But it was a major
truck stop.
People would be in and out
of that truck stop
24 hours a day.
It was open 24 hours
a day.
And it also adjoined
A 24-Hour-A-Day
truck wash place.
So there was- There was
traffic in that area.
Don Horgan:
there was so much hysteria
Around the nature
of the crimes.
There was a lot of fear
in the community.
And naturally there was an
incredible amount of pressure
On the police
to find who's responsible.
But as days go by,
there isn't-
The evidence doesn't
obviously point
To any particular
individual, again,
Because there's very little
left at the scene.
At about 6:00
on may the 5th,
Chris byers, Stevie branch,
and Michael Moore
Were last seen headed
toward robin hood hills.
Mike Allen: the pipe
crosses 10-Mile bayou.
This is the trail that
goes across the area
Which is known
as turtle hill.
The trail will either
split and go that way,
Which leads into the area
of the crime scene,
Which lays
right in this area,
Or the trail continues
straight forward
And goes into the back end
of blue beacon.
I was directed by an officer
that they had-
Had found
a tennis shoe
Floating in a ditch.
I had to go down
to cross
To get on the other side
to get closer
And fell into
the water here
And came up the bank
And around,
over to the area
Where the tennis
shoe was.
I walked
around a tree
And stepped off
into the water
And was reaching
for the tennis shoe.
And with my feet
I could feel
An object.
And I raised up
And I discovered
this body.
John Fogelman: detective ridge, I
believe that you'd indicated earlier
Something about a stick in
the water stuck in the water?
- Yes, sir.
- Tell me about that again.
Ridge: there was a stick in the water
That had a shirt
around the end of it,
And that shirt was jobbed down
into the mud with the stick.
Exhibit number 22.
You know, the ligature
- The way that Michael Moore was tied
And Stevie branch was
tied with ligatures,
Right hand to right foot,
left hand to left foot.
And Christopher Byerss
penis had been removed.
I found him tied as the
other victims had been tied.
Man: was there any visible
blood found at the crime scene?
Any visible blood?
Not on the ground.
If you really look
at the crime scene
And the condition of
the bodies and so forth,
It's almost a blank
crime scene.
The bodies are concealed,
and then they're brought up,
And the kids are hogtied
with shoelaces,
And there's not a lot
of blood at the scene.
So it's almost like
a projection screen
On which you can create
any kind of theory
About how and why
the crime was done.
Well, right down here would
be the house, 1400 east Barton.
It makes you kind of think
what life might have been
If this crime
hadn't have happened.
Fears of satanic cults
in Crittenden county
Reached their peak last week
when the teenagers were arrested.
Male reporter: names of several
suspects appear on railroad trestles
Along with what appear to be
satanic symbols.
People from school
that don't even know him
Said that he was
a devil worshipper.
And he doesn't
worship the devil
And he's not
in any cult.
So many unanswered
All from
a senseless act.
Jenna newton: in the
neighborhood, rumors begin.
Well, Ive heard things
before about cults
And I really didn't
believe it,
But some of the kids in the
neighborhood Ive talked to
Say there is
- They had found some animals back there
When they played back there. It
looks like they've been cut up.
Boy, it sure looks rough-
Windows boarded up,
Man, the yard boarded up.
Doesn't look good.
David Steinhart: at some
time, all three suspects
In the west Memphis
murder case
Have lived in the lakeshore
trailer park.
Residents here
claim to have seen
Strange, ritualistic meetings
at the park prior to the murders.
Jenna newton: Joni Dwyer lives
next door to Jason Baldwin.
Her three boys
often played with Jason.
But that all changed
after her husband
Found some drawings
Jason had done.
My husband just didn't like
what he saw in them drawings.
He said - You know, he told my son,
"this is devil worshipping,"
That, you know, he had snakes,
and the sayings they had.
Some of them were
in Latin and stuff.
( Door alarm ringing )
A lot of memories.
A lot of memories.
Christopher's room
right there
Where you see the set
of three windows.
This house and the Moores' house
- I would say,
The majority of the past 17 years,
they appear to have been empty.
You could have people - They're gonna go,
"oh, the house is cursed,"
Or "that's where
the little boy lived
That the devil worshippers
killed. "
The people that bought
into the propaganda
That the west Memphis
police department
And the media
put forth-
Devil worshippers-
Because of some
graffiti around.
They got on
that bandwagon
And everybody jumped
onboard. And it was hysteria.
People wouldn't let
their children out.
Joe Berlinger: you jumped
on that bandwagon, too.
Oh, I led the bandwagon.
"Yea, though I walk
through the valley
Of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil. "
And Im not scared
of the devil.
I know
who my comforter is.
These three animals
worshipping the devil
Made a sacrifice
Of three babies
to Satan,
To think that it would
empower them to fly,
Walk through walls.
You know,
what insanity.
We did a little graffiti,
Like spray-Paint
on underpasses,
But there was nothing satanic,
anything like that.
It was just like
our names,
Our favorite bands,
things like that.
And they seem to place
Some big importance on it
or something.
Some experts have said that
the main three driving forces
Of Satan worship
among teenagers
Is sex, drugs,
and rock 'n' roll.
And that's probably true.
When you're talking
about rock 'n' roll,
You're probably talking about
the heavy metal groups.
Most people don't
The situation
as it was then.
The area had had
A rumored history
Of devil worshipping
and that type of thing.
That was something
that people were saying
Around the country
at this time.
In Damiens case,
it was the kids
That came in and said
that they saw him
Eating the hindquarter
of a dog.
But the rumors
were rampant.
The police department
asked me
To come up with
a list of people
That we had had
dealings with
In the juvenile
That- That might have had
something to do with this.
Damien's name
was mentioned
Very early on
by a lot of people.
He- He- He does
act strange.
He wears
the black clothing,
Which creates
attention to him.
We were totally
That there was a satanic
cult in west Memphis,
That there were Satan
worshippers in west Memphis.
I didn't hear
anything about this
Until my child
was sacrificed to Satan.
Then I heard
about it.
Why is it that I didn't
know this before?
I'm all for burning them
at the stake
Just like they did
in Salem.
I don't have
a problem with it.
After what they
have done to us,
That still would not be
good enough.
Good evening.
I'm Diana Davis.
And Im tony brooks. In a
statement given to the police,
Jessie Miskelly
Allegedly confesses to
watching two other suspects
Choke, rape,
and sexually mutilate
Three west Memphis
Jenna newton: Miskelly
told police he watched
18-Year-Old Damien Echols
and 16-Year-Old Jason Baldwin
Brutalize the children
as part of a cult ritual.
Can you just say again how
strong you feel this case is?
Someone asked me
on a scale from one to 10.
And I told them, "11."
So that's how strong it is.
Jenna newton: graphic details
have already been printed
In today's "commercial appeal. "
Jessie Miskelly Jr,
Is one of three
of the murder suspects.
I don't believe it.
He's not
that type of boy.
Miskelly Sr,
disputes a confession
Allegedly made by his son and
quoted in today's newspaper.
The paper doesn't mention how it
obtained young Miskelly's statement.
An unidentified woman called
action news 5 last Friday
Offering to sell us the transcript
for several hundred dollars.
We declined because we do
not pay for news stories.
the Miskelly confession
Got leaked
to the press.
- You didn't leak it, did you?
- No.
And was that
an item of concern
To you at the time?
Not really.
Jenna newton: Echols,
Baldwin, and Miskelly
Plead not guilty to three
counts each of capital murder.
David Steinhart: Miskelly will
be the first of three defendants
Tried for the murders of three
west Memphis boys earlier this year.
Jenna newton: the judge sets
one trial date for late February
And rules Echols and Baldwin
will be tried together.
can you describe for me
What the press coverage
was like?
Oh, it was anything
You would see today
Dealing with
A major celebrity.
I mean, it-
Look at the Michael Jackson
That's the kind of coverage
we were getting.
Woman: and that sort of coverage
was at the time of the murders,
- But also continuing through the trials?
- Yes.
Male reporter: reporters have
written thousands of stories
About these two trials.
On k. A.I.T. Alone,
Our viewers have seen
More than 130 stories
about the three defendants.
Female reporter: the attorneys
will be looking for jurors
Who can put aside the things
they've heard in the media
And make a decision
based on the facts
As they are presented
in the trial.
This case poses a
difficult balancing act:
On one side
- The defendant's right to a fair trial;
The other side-
The public's right to know.
I do recall
being asked
A specific question
by the media once
Of how I felt
this case was
Between a one
and a 10,
And I made a dumb remark
of "11."
And you've got to
keep in mind
The atmosphere
at that time.
We were 30 days
into the case
When an arrest
was made.
There was a lot
of burden
Taken off of everyone
That was involved
in that case.
We felt like we had
a very solid case.
Woman: if you had it
to do all over again,
Would you have made
the comment
About 11
on a one-Out-Of-10 scale?
I probably would not have.
In six months from now,
when the trial's all over,
I'll be with my parents
again and my family.
And everything will be
happy, the way it was.
But Im scared about
what could happen
If they did
find me guilty.
But I know they can't.
But then again,
they might.
I just don't like
to think about that.
The day he got arrested,
no one called me.
And I got home
and there were police
Going all through
my house.
And I kept asking
where my son was.
They gave me that
testimony of Jessies
That said that it happened
during the day
And that Jason
had skipped school.
I had proof that Jason was in
school and that it was a lie.
But that didn't matter
to Gitchell.
They already had him
in the courtroom
Before I could get up there
with his school records.
And I had to fight my way
through a crowd.
Ma'am, what do you think
about the reports this morning
Of your son's involvement
in this thing?
He didn't have anything
to do with it.
- Was he at school?
- Mr. Grinnell: he was at school.
- The whole day?
- The whole day.
Gail Grinnell: he was not
there. And I was in shock-
Total shock.
I first met Jason
The morning of his
very first appearance
At the west Memphis
municipal court.
Paul ford:
my impressions of Jason are
That he appeared
very shy and very timid.
He does not appear to be
an angry young man.
He does not appear
to be a violent young man.
He does not appear
to be a man
Who is capable
of a heinous act
For which
he's charged.
Joe Berlinger:
how did you guys meet?
- At school.
- Yeah, I think so.
In a study hall. I had, like,
a book bag full of tapes.
I used to try to steal them. ( Laughs )
We did about
everything together
Before we got arrested,
Used to go to places
on the weekends.
To malls.
John Philipsborn:
my client Jason Baldwin
Was essentially
Mainly on the basis
That he hung out
around Damien Echols
And was known to be
a good friend of his.
Jason was Damiens
constant shadow.
Wherever Damien went,
Jason went.
Guilt by association.
It's a scary thing
To be accused of something
because of your friends.
Why everybody thought
it was Jason
Was because he hung out
with Damien.
And why did everybody
think it was Damien?
'Cause he was the-
He was the guy
who had the weird suit.
My son wore black.
They weren't prosecuted
because they-
They wore
black t-Shirts
Or liked
heavy metal music.
Joe Berlinger: can you talk
a little bit about, you know,
That day when they
brought you in for-
You know, for questioning,
and then, you know,
Later on
everybody was arrested?
Can you talk to us
what it was like?
They just asked me
who did it.
And I didn't know
who did it, you know.
They kept
- The police kept on asking me who did it
And I told them I didn't
know, which I didn't know.
You know, I told
- I told the police where I was at that day.
I was in Dyess, Arkansas,
wrestling, which I was.
I don't like people to keep on
asking me questions
And I done
told them once.
You know,
I don't like people
Asking me and asking me
and asking me.
You know, Im gonna
tell you one time.
And, you know,
if you just egg it on,
Then Im gonna just say
something just to leave me alone.
You know, and that's what I
did. And, you know, I just-
They just egged it on. And
finally I just told the cops,
"Look, you know, all
right, I did it, you know.
I killed them
and everything. "
- ( Phone rings )
- Man: hello.
Woman: operator. I have a
collect call. Your name, please?
- Jessie: Jessie.
- Woman: will you pay?
- Yes, ma'am.
- Thank you.
- Hey, son.
- Hey.
How are you doing?
That's good.
Oh, hell, yes.
It snowed like hell up here.
Got about 3 inches of snow
out here on the ground now.
It didn't?
Well, it is here,
I guarantee you.
Woman over radio:
go ahead.
Jessie: you know, I talk
to my dad every Friday.
I call him
every Friday.
"I want you
to come home, son. "
You know, he tells me
that all the time.
He tells me he loves me.
Of course I know that.
You know, I love him. I
love him to death, you know.
I'm trying to get home
to be with him.
Jessie SR: So do you ever think about that
- That happened,
The way the police treated you
up here in that questioning?
Yeah, I know.
Mike Allen asked my dad,
could he talk to me?
And my dad said, "well,
sure, you can talk to him. "
So I got in the cop car with
him and we rode to west Memphis.
Mike Allen asked me, wouldn't
it be nice if I knew who done it?
That way I could buy
my dad a truck.
'Cause at the time, I think,
the reward was like $30,000.
I said yes, I could use that- You
know, that money- The reward money,
But I- You know,
But I didn't know
who done it, though.
Younger Gitchell: our intentions for
wanting to talk to Jessie Miskelly
Were for the purpose
of giving us some names
Of individuals that
he may know firsthand of
Or ever heard of
who were involved
In the cult activity
or Satanism.
In the course of
What was a very long day
of interviewing,
Jessie Miskelly
goes from being
A source
of information
To being a suspect
who has,
According to the tape-Recorded
Confessed to involvement
in this crime.
( Recorder clicks )
Ladies and gentlemen
of the jury,
This statement that
Mr. Miskelly gave
To the west Memphis
police department
Is a false story.
Dan Stidham:
no one in 1993 understood
The phenomenon
of false confessions.
We now know we're not
gonna let the police
Take a kid
off the street,
Interrogate him
for 12 hours,
And yet only have
41 minutes of audiotape
To support this
so-Called confession.
well, in a year from now,
Hopefully I can be out
and be with my family.
I'll hopefully be
married to Susie.
Hopefully Ill have
a kid.
You know,
I love kids a lot.
I think
Ill have some.
Younger Dan Stidham:
Jessie is mildly retarded.
It's much easier
To get a confession
out of someone
Who is 17
and operating
At maybe a five-
Or six-Year-Old level
Of intellectual
Than it is someone
who graduated from Harvard.
The police, you know-
They questioned me
For, like,
11 or 12 hours.
And finally I just got
tired, you know?
My mind was,
you know,
Draining me out.
You know what Im saying?
I couldn't- I couldn't
focus no more.
My body was draining.
I wanted to go home
and be with my dad.
You can tell
the difference
Between a real,
bona fide,
Valuable confession
and a false confession
By looking at
How well do the things
the suspect tells you
Stack up with the objective
facts of the crime?
And what Jessie Miskelly
talked about
Doesn't stack up to
what the evidence shows.
Don Horgan: with, you know, persistent
police follow-Up questioning,
He keeps moving the time of the
offenses later and later in the day
Until finally,
with leading questions,
The police get them-
Get Jessie to place
the time of the crimes
After the time
the kids disappeared.
Jessie: it was my voice that you heard.
I was saying what the
police wanted me to say.
Everything that I said
really came from the police
Like, "well,
you told me earlier
Something about this
and this and that. "
That's when I said,
"okay. "
That's when I repeated
what they said.
A lot of good cops
are gonna press hard
To try to get
an answer to
Who's responsible
for a terrible crime.
So, certainly, you know,
pushing hard-
There's nothing wrong
with pushing hard.
It's having your end
in mind so fixed
And you're so determined to
ensure that a particular person
Be held responsible
for a crime,
That you
lose sight of-
Of, you know, how
coercive your tactics are.
That's where you-
You step over the line.
And I think it's clear they
overreached with Jessie Miskelly.
The presence
of false confessions
And how frequently
they play a key role
In securing convictions
for the prosecution-
It's been very
well-Documented now.
And that's what happened
in this case.
And it continues to happen all over the
country, and it's gone on for decades.
But it's only now
that people are beginning
To really, you know, understand
the scope of that problem.
I said what the police
wanted me to say.
That's the reason
why I said that.
Was it true?
No, it was not true.
Did I run anybody down?
No, I did not.
I didn't kill nobody.
I have nothing to hide.
I have nothing
to be ashamed of.
All right, your verdicts
are in good form
And read as follows:
"We the jury, having found
Jessie Lloyd Miskelly JR,
Guilty of first-Degree murder
in the death of Michael Moore,
Fix his sentence
at a term of life
In the Arkansas
department of corrections.
Count two - We the jury, having found
Jessie Lloyd Miskelly
Guilty of second-Degree murder
in the death of Steven Branch,
Fix his sentence
at a term of 20 years
In the Arkansas
department of corrections.
Count three - We the jury, having found
Jessie Lloyd Miskelly Jr,
Guilty of second-Degree murder
in the death of Christopher byers,
Fix his sentence
at a term of 20 years
In the Arkansas
department of corrections. "
Is this your unanimous
verdict, ladies and gentlemen?
- Yes.
- All right,
You will receive a life
sentence plus 40 years.
And that will be
the judgment of the court.
Prison's not
a safe place,
Jessie, sweetie.
I'm gonna mail him
a skirt.
One down, two to go.
Hopefully the same thing
will happen to the next two
And we'll get
the same verdict.
All right, gentlemen, if you'd
have your clients stand, please.
Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Echols,
if you'd stand.
In your case,
Mr. Baldwin,
You'll be
adjudicated guilty
Of three counts
of capital murder.
You'll be sentenced
To the Arkansas
department of corrections
To a term of life without
possibility of parole
On each
of the three counts.
Damien Echols shall be sentenced
to death by lethal injection.
You'll be administered
a continuous intravenous
Injection of
a lethal quantity
Of an ultra short-Acting
In combination with a
chemical paralytic agent
- Into your body until you are dead.
- ( Woman sobbing )
It's my obligation
to let you know
You do have
a right to appeal,
And you need to consider
that with your attorneys.
He'll be in your custody,
Mr. Sheriff,
For immediate transportation
to the department of corrections
To carry out the orders
of this court.
Male reporter: questions about
whether justice was served
Has loomed in this case
since the verdicts.
The HBO documentary
"paradise lost"
Gave the case
worldwide attention.
Since the films, thousands are
questioning the convictions.
16 years ago,
I believe,
I saw the documentary
"paradise lost. "
It was on HBO.
I got involved in the case
thinking that
There was maybe some way
I could make a difference.
Is there something
about the way
Damien Echols was
treated as a teenager
That you can
relate to?
I can remember being
kind of looked upon
As a freak or,
you know, different,
Because I didn't dress
like everybody else.
So I can empathize
with being judged
By how you look
as opposed to who you are.
- I'd like to say something,
if you don't mind. - Woman: sure.
I would love to sit down
with some people
That I have heard
make statements,
That are
in the public eye,
And actually talk
to them and say,
"This is what
really happened
That was not shown
on the documentary. "
And I think they'd have a
whole different understanding.
- But all that evidence has been
made public. - Yes, it has.
It may not have shown up
in the documentaries
Or in a particular
news report
Or a speech by someone,
but it is public record.
Most anyone can make
the proper contacts
And view that-
That information.
My understanding is that any
citizen of the united states
Can come down and sit in the
west Memphis police department
And look through most of
that evidence. Am I correct?
that's what I understand.
So there's not
a secret bag
Or pocket
of information
That the west Memphis
police department
Or the prosecutors have
that convinces them
That the west Memphis three
are guilty,
But that the rest
of the public can't know.
Right, there's no-
There's no secret
in there whatsoever.
It's just-
As I mentioned before,
It's the perception
people received
From the media
and HBO.
I saw the movie.
I got an advance screener
Because I work for
an advertising agency.
We saw the film together, Kathy
and I, and we immediately saw it
And said, "oh, gosh, Burk
would probably like this. "
( Laughter )
Actually not
like it, but-
He called us up and he says,
"these guys are innocent. "
We start contacting the lawyers,
'cause you just want to know more.
And we're shocked to find out
that nothing was getting done,
They were just languishing
there. It was horrible.
And so we were like,
"well, what can we do?
We work in the entertainment
We can design things. "
And then you say, "well,
what can you do with that?"
We're like,
"we can make a website. "
Male reporter:
Echols has his backers.
A website is now online
to raise money
For the three men
convicted of killing
The west Memphis
We're not experts
But we've hired
To look into the case
for us
Because there was
just so much doubt.
Burk Sauls: one of the saddest
things that I can remember
About this
whole thing
And about our trips
out here
Is I remember being
in a rental car like this,
Heading out
to the prison.
And I remember saying,
"can you believe
That these guys
have been locked up
In prison
for three whole years?"
And here we are,
17 years later,
Heading to
pine bluff
To visit our friends again
in 2011.
All right.
Kathy Bakken:
here we are.
I don't like
being here again,
But it's good
to see these guys.
( Gate buzzes )
- Sauls: whenever you're ready.
- Bakken: just thank everybody.
this will be short.
Jason: there's not like
an "action" or nothing?
- Sauls: action.
- Bakken: go.
Hi. My name is-
Hi. My name is
Jason Baldwin.
And I want to thank
all of the supporters,
All of the people out there who
have written me over the years,
Who've researched
the case,
Did their- You know, whatever
it is in your means-
That did your best,
you know,
To let me, Damien and
Jessie and our families know
That, you know,
what's happened to us
Will not be forgotten
and it'll be made right.
Younger Jason: Americas
supposed to be based on
"Innocent until
proven guilty,"
But in this case,
it's the other way around-
You're guilty
until proven innocent.
I never
would have dreamed
That anything like this
could have happened to me.
Announcer: now live from
the mid-South news leader...
male reporter: convicted west
Memphis child murderer Damien Echols
Gives an exclusive interview
to action news 5.
I think if it was-
If they were capable,
The public would probably form
a lynch mob and come get me.
Male reporter: Damien
Echols says he was railroaded
By the police, prosecutors,
and the judge.
Judge Burnett: Mr. Echols, you
are remanded to the custody...
male reporter: it's been painful
for the mother and stepfather
Of Stevie branch
to watch Damien Echols.
They'd prefer
he get no attention.
I'm glad he's in pain
and miserable and all that.
I'm glad he's just
so messed up and-
And I would like
to see prison kill him.
I was a step-Parent
back in 1993
When this happened.
I was a good
And to watch it all
go away
On account of this,
You lose your life
to a degree.
You can say I sort of
like died myself
Because I shut out
Steve's death was so
difficult for pam to accept
That other problems
She separated from her
husband and moved here
To her parents' home
in Blytheville.
A crime
of this nature
Will take a toll
on anybody.
And I have seen this
happen to our home.
Tomorrow, 19-Year-Old
Damien Echols's attorneys
Will file
with the court
The transcripts
from Echolss trial-
More than 4,000 pages
of testimony.
That will set in motion
the appeals process
That Echols believes
will lead
To the overturning of his
conviction and sentence.
Male reporter: convicted
murderer Damien Echols
Appeared in
Craighead county court
For the latest hearing
since his 1994 conviction.
Female reporter:
Dan Stidham, who represented
Jessie Miskelly
in the original trial,
Says many questions
remain unanswered.
I firmly believe that this
is a miscarriage of justice
And we're gonna keep going
and keep going,
Doesn't matter
how many years it takes.
Female reporter: it was
also an emotional day,
Especially for
the victims' families.
Pam Hobbs: Damiens not going anywhere.
Justice prevailed
the first time.
I have all the faith
in the world
That justice will
prevail again
And someday Ill get to
watch Damien Echols die.
Female reporter: but they're not the
only ones who want justice to prevail.
Gail Grinnell: anybody
with a set of eyes can see
That these boys are
innocent. They did not do it.
And if she wants
justice done,
She needs to be trying
to get this case reopened
And find the real murderers
of those three children.
Every appeal
that has come up
Has caused grief
And caused problems
in the home.
It brings back anger
still today
To see their pictures
or faces on the media.
Reliving it
is a nightmare at times.
Female reporter:
Damien Echols still walks,
Even though four years ago
he was sentenced to die.
Man: are you hoping this works?
Yeah, but I don't
think it will.
- Why don't you think it will work?
- Same judge.
His appeals
have been denied
Time and time
and time again.
Now today defense
attorneys did make a request
That judge David Burnett be
recused from hearing these cases.
But that motion was
quickly denied by the judge.
Female reporter:
the Arkansas supreme court
Has denied every appeal
by Damien Echols,
And defense is counting
on d. N.A. Testing
To shed new light
on the case.
Terry Hobbs: this case
was solved in 1994.
And one day
in Arkansas
They're going to inject
Damien Echols,
And he will pay
with his life
For what he has done
To three little
eight-Year-Old boys.
A forensic pathologist,
a bite mark expert,
A criminal profiler,
Even a human blood and
body fluid stain specialist
Brought their expertise
here to the law school
At the university of Arkansas
in little rock
In hopes of proving
why the defense team
For convicted killer
Damien Echols says
He is innocent.
Good morning,
ladies and gentlemen.
My name is
Dennis Riordan.
We represent petitioner
Damien Echols
In the eastern district
of Arkansas
Here in little rock,
Arising out of
the 1994 trial-
Trials really-
Of three teenagers
who were tried and convicted
For the murders of three
eight-Year-Old boys.
And we are here today
to discuss the evidence
That establishes
that no reasonable juror
Would convict
Damien Echols
Essentially knowing
what we know today.
The heart
of this presentation
Is four experts who we
will be calling today,
Who provided
the core
Of the new evidence
before the district court.
They are:
Werner Spitz,
Probably the country's
leading forensic pathologist,
Certainly the author of the
bible of forensic pathology;
Richard Souviron, renowned
forensic odontologist
Who was the key witness
for the prosecution
In convicting
Ted Bundy;
Tom Fedor,
who is a d. N.A. Expert
To discuss
the new d. N.A. Evidence;
And John Douglas,
who headed
The criminal analysis unit
of the f. B.I. For 25 years.
But what is
the new evidence
That proves not merely
that this was an unfair trial,
But that innocent men
were convicted?
And with that, Ill turn
to my partner don Horgan.
Good morning.
I'm gonna take
a minute or two here
Just to review some of
the d. N.A. Evidence
That has recently
surfaced in the case.
First with
a little background-
In 2001, Arkansas,
like a lot of other states,
Passed a statute
that allows
Convicted criminal
To challenge their convictions
with new d. N.A. Evidence
That shows them to be
actually innocent.
Under that
state statute,
Relevant items from the
crime scene in this case
Were tested at the laboratory
chosen by the prosecution,
And that's bode
laboratories in Virginia.
In late 2005, bode issued
its first report
Showing d. N.A. Profiles
of genetic material
Found on the victims
and on other
Pieces of evidence
from the crime scene.
In the end,
none of the bode reports
Could link any of the d. N.A.
Provided by the defendants
To the victims
or to the crime scene.
New evidence has emerged
in west Memphis, Arkansas.
Male reporter: new evidence
released today claims
Testing unavailable
in 1993
Shows no d. N.A. From
the three imprisoned defendants
Was found on the bodies
of the murdered boys.
For 14 years,
john mark byers
Was convinced he knew
who tied up and killed
His eight-Year-Old son
and two other cub scouts
In a brutal
mutilation murder.
Now byers and
the state of Arkansas
Have been shown
new evidence
That the father tells
a. B.C. News
Has changed his mind
about the guilt
Of the three boys known as
the west Memphis three.
I hated you.
I believed with all my heart
you killed my son.
And Im sorry
for that.
The question is
Why am I
so different now
Than years back?
coming to deal
with things,
Coming to deal with
That I know
I did all I could
To keep Christopher safe,
that it wasn't my fault.
No, I wasn't
a perfect dad,
But I- I did
the best I could.
I'm just a country boy
from marked tree.
That you kill my son,
You made me
madder than hell
And I wanted
to kick somebody's ass.
Male reporter: Damien Echols
quit talking to reporters
After getting warnings
from his attorneys.
Last week, Echols said mark
byers committed the murders.
Does it come
as a surprise, mark?
Mark byers:
we don't have any comment.
He's got knowledge
about the area.
He knows when the search
is over with.
He's big enough
that he can
Carry the boys there
and throw them in.
His son was
the only one mutilated.
The other two
weren't mutilated.
All of the pieces
fit together
With a person
like byers.
Male reporter:
after the sentencing,
The mother and stepfather
of Christopher byers
Moved out of
west Memphis.
Echols claims
byers is the real killer.
I think basically in a fit
of anger he killed them.
He's got to be the biggest
pathological liar.
I hope he rots and burns
in hell for eternity.
I hate his guts
More than anything
on the face of the earth.
Mark and Melissa Byers
moved to Cherokee village
To get away
from the memories
Of their son's murder
in west Memphis.
But the trouble
followed them.
Jenna newton:
they're accused of taking
$20,000 worth of property
from a neighbor's house.
But that's only the beginning
of their legal problems.
According to
court documents,
Mark byers was
with a juvenile
Who allegedly assaulted
another young man.
Byers says he let the
boys fight in his presence
Because he wanted to make
sure it was a fair fight.
All I could
think about is
Thinking about my son
getting beat to death.
Byers stood by watching
the fight holding a gun.
Now a few of the byers'
neighbors say
They now have questions
about mark byers
And the west Memphis
These are for you,
Male reporter: Byerss
wife did die recently.
An autopsy showed small
amounts of drugs in her body,
But nothing that should
have caused her death.
So that death
remains a mystery.
I made
a good scapegoat.
I made a good target.
But I didn't care.
You know, there was
no one left but me.
- Burn, you son of a bitch, burn.
- And I really didn't care.
- Burn. Go to hell. Burn.
- I mean, deep down inside
- I knew I didn't kill anybody.
- I'll stomp on your grave.
- I felt like the state had...
- I'll stomp on your grave.
...who they're supposed
to have.
Burn and go to hell!
But what's right
and what's wrong
Are two different
And the right thing is
That these three men
are innocent.
That's the right thing.
And, yes, it was hard
for me
To stand up and admit
that I was wrong,
But wrong is wrong.
This is a letter
From Damien Echols,
Varner unit,
p. O. Box 400,
Grady, Arkansas.
"Dear john,
first I want to start off
By apologizing to you.
I know how it feels
to be accused
Of something
you didn't do.
Now, all these
years later,
I see just
how wrong I was
And Im sorry.
I did the same thing
to you
That everyone else
did to me.
The second thing
I want to say
Is thank you.
I know it can't
have been easy
To put aside
all of your emotions
And look
at the evidence
With cold, hard logic,
But you did.
I can't help
but believe
There's a reason
for all of this
For both of us.
Take care
And know that my thoughts
are with you.
Damien Echols. "
Bruce Sinofsky:
how are you doing?
I'm doing good.
Glad you came back.
How long has it been since
the last time you were here?
We were talking
about that in the car.
- 10 years.
- 10 years.
It's been a long time.
Damien Echols: time is
very, very strange in here.
I'm surprised by things
sometimes, I guess.
Like being told
that I have arthritis
Or looking
in the mirror
And realizing
my hairline is receding,
That my hair
is getting thin.
And it's hard
to accept that
Because in a way
My life
Just sort of
stopped abruptly
Whenever I came here.
December the 11th
It will be
my 35th birthday.
It will be the 17th
That Ive spent
in this prison.
I have a son who is now
almost the same age I was
Whenever I was
locked up.
We were absolutely
white trash.
I really do believe
these people
Would have gotten away
with murdering me
If it would not have been
for what you guys did,
For being there
in the very beginning
And getting this whole
thing on tape
So that the rest of the world
sees what was happening.
If not for that, these
people would have murdered me,
Swept this
under the rug,
And I wouldn't be anything
but a memory right now.
Male reporter:
a growing number of people
Are now standing behind
the west Memphis three
Saying the men convicted
of murder are innocent:
From Johnny Depp
to the Dixie Chicks,
Even a new York
Who quit her job,
moved to little rock,
And married death row
inmate Damien Echols.
I've been working
on this case-
Actually Ive been
And known Damien
for nine years.
But Ive been really
actively working
On the case
for about seven.
I am in love
And very loved
by a woman- Lorri,
Who lived in Brooklyn,
new York,
At the time that
"paradise lost" came out.
And it had a very powerful
impact on her.
I had to sort of think
about things overnight.
And I woke up the next
morning just knowing
Those kids-
They didn't do it.
And then trying to-
It just plagued me.
She couldn't stop
thinking about it,
So she started
to write to me
And I responded
to the letters.
In the course of writing
to Damien, I think we-
That's when we fell in
love with each other.
It was-
Because initially,
I think, we- We-
We fell in love
with each other's minds.
Because he didn't even
know what I looked like
Or, you know-
It was just really-
It was just
what we were thinking,
And later on, of course,
when we talked to each other.
So that was-
It was already a done deal
By the time
I got to Arkansas
Or went to visit him
in Arkansas.
And then I stayed
in new York
For another, I think, year
and a half after I met him
Before I made
the decision to move.
She lives now here
in little rock,
45 minutes away
from the prison,
Just so that she can
come here more often.
And now we are set
to be married
November the 1st.
And that'll be a Buddhist wedding
ceremony on November the 1st.
Oh, I think we're gonna
get him out.
I think
it's going to-
I think things are
happening much quicker,
But I think we're gonna
get him out.
Inasmuch as the state
has the burden...
( clears throat )
of proof in this case
And inasmuch as-
For a good portion of
the case is circumstantial,
It is necessary
and appropriate
That the state
prove motive if it can.
Call your next witness.
I call Dale Griffis.
In looking at young people
involved in the occult,
Do you see any particular
type of dress?
I have personally
People wearing
black fingernails,
Having their hair
painted black,
Wearing black t-Shirts.
Does the number three-
Three victims-
Have any significance?
One of the most
powerful numbers
In- In the practice
Of satanic belief
was 666.
And some believe the
base root of six is three.
Don Horgan: the whole idea
of this being a satanic ritual
Was a key element of the
state's case at the trial,
Because they called
Dale Griffis,
Who had almost
no qualifications whatsoever.
But nonetheless
he maintained that
All those blank spaces,
you know,
That attached
to the crime scene
Were themselves evidence
of a satanic connection.
Every one
of these files
Is jam-Packed
full of cases or data
On particular groups
and so forth-
The things
that I could use
To educate other peop-
You know, therapists
And educators
and policemen.
It was in the start
of my career
Into occultism-
About 1985, I believe.
And there was
an explosion of cases.
Male reporter: tonight, the
startling, sobering results
Of a "20/20"
devil worship
Is being practiced
all across the country.
We have all types
of perversion
Going on,
and it's affecting America.
Male reporter: perverse,
hideous acts that defy belief.
All of them were
investigated by police,
But usually
without much result.
Paul ford:
between 1982 and 1984,
When you became a ph. D.,
what classes did you take?
- None.
- None.
Val price: judge, Id just
like to make an argument
At this point
on behalf of my client.
It's our position that,
based on a mail-Order ph. D.
In which a person doesn't
have to take classes,
Doesn't have to take
any resident courses
From a non-Accredited
Does not qualify him
as an expert in Arkansas.
And we object
to the court
Qualifying dr. Griffis
as an expert.
I'm not sure in Arkansas
or any other state
That you have to have
any kind of degree
To be an expert
in a particular field.
- That's true-
- If you can demonstrate
Knowledge, education,
And training
in the field,
You could have
a third-Grade education,
If you have other education,
experience, and training
That qualifies you
as an expert.
So Im not
persuaded at all
About your argument
about a mail-Order ph. D.
So is there
anything else?
In the early 1970s
and '80s,
We began to see
at the f. B.I. Academy
Police officers coming in
from around the world,
And the cops were kind of
throwing around words like "ritual"
And using it interchangeably
with satanic crimes.
We did a close evaluation
and we didn't see one.
We didn't-
We didn't see one case.
if you can paint these guys
As involved in Satanism,
anything is possible.
And the apparent castration
of Christopher byers
Fit into the satanic theory
for Griffis as well.
they used knives to cut up
The three boys
that were killed,
The eight-Year-Old
Do the types of injuries
have significance?
The removal of sex-
Sex organs-
In some books
on occultism,
They will talk about
Removing of the testicles
for the semen.
A lot of the early
understandings of this case
Were really premised on a
misunderstanding of what was there.
And the information,
by and large,
Was there to be seen
and interpreted.
It just wasn't looked at
by the right people
And it wasn't
interpreted correctly.
State's exhibit 68a
Is a photograph
of an abrasion
That's patterned
And has, like, a serrated
appearance to it.
And that's 68a.
Brent Davis: have you had a
chance to look at that knife
And examine
that knife, sir?
You referred
in your testimony
To wound patterns
on the three victims
That were serrated
in nature.
That's correct.
Did you find wound patterns
on the three victims
That would be
With having been caused
by a knife
With that kind of
serrated pattern?
There are injuries consistent
with this type of serrated pattern.
As some of you know,
a critical prosecution theory
At the 1994 trials
Was that the defendants
used a survival knife
To inflict most of the
injuries on these victims
And that they
used the knife
the children died.
Is it a coincidence
This knife
is found behind-
In the lake, hidden,
Behind Jason Baldwins
the knife was critical
Because if it looked like one
that Damien Echols had once owned
And if the injuries to these
kids were caused by a knife,
It tied Damien Echols to-
To the crime itself.
So it was a key link
if it was to be believed
That it had been involved
in mutilating these kids
And had been used in,
you know,
Probably castrating
Christopher byers.
But now we know
that's just not the case.
Good morning.
I analyzed
a lot of pictures.
I analyzed a lot of
written material.
It is my opinion-
Or the following are
my opinions:
Injuries on
the body surface
Of all the three victims,
three boys,
Including the emasculation
of Chris byers,
Were produced by animals
after death.
When a dog or other
carnivorous animal
Attacks a body
after death,
Or before death
They scrape
the body.
They move their claws
on the body
And try to bring the body
closer to them.
They do this
several times.
And you have here
two of the victims
That have the same
identical injury.
They were obvious
claw marks.
The spacing and the
configuration of those injuries
Is not compatible with a
serrated knife such as this
Or, for that matter,
any knife.
Over a period of time,
Our understanding
of what actually happened
Has changed.
What we know now is that
the lawyers on the case
Hadn't gone
to the crime laboratory
And looked
Through all of
the laboratory's notebooks
Of what was done
out at the crime scene.
The crime scene techs
A bunch of
animal hair.
Dr. Richard Souviron: there's no
possible way this could have been done
With this knife.
Animals do this.
This is what happens
to a body that's dumped
In a wooded area,
in the woods,
In a creek,
in a swamp.
This is what
you're going to get.
Dog, coyote,
fox, possum-
I've seen
all of those.
It's a carnivore.
Could it be turtles
that had done this,
Aquatic crabs,
for instance? Sure.
Anything that would
eat flesh
Is what did this.
Joe Berlinger: can you talk
about the original case,
I mean,
just in general terms?
I mean do you think
it was a solid case?
Do you think
it was a case- I mean,
Do you think Damien got
a fair trial?
Oh, I don't-
In my mind,
There's no question that all
three received a fair trial.
The jury heard
the evidence
And were convinced
of guilt.
So that speaks for itself,
I think.
A jury takes an oath
to base their verdicts
Only on the evidence
that comes before 'em.
And they're
not to consider anything
Other than the evidence that
comes from the witness stand,
The exhibits that are
introduced in the evidence.
And if they violate
that oath,
It's a very, very
serious matter.
Female reporter: Lorri
Davis, wife of Damien Echols,
Spoke for the first time
about a new
Defense allegation
of jury misconduct
In the trial
of the west Memphis three.
Davis says the jury foreman
contacted an attorney
During the trial
15 years ago.
we know from a lawyer
Who has now submitted
some paperwork to the court
Who talked to that
jury foreman
And who became aware
that the jury foreman
Was considering
some information
That the jury foreman
Shouldn't have been
Lloyd Warford: anytime
you're caught in a situation
Where you know
That calls
into question
A judgment that's been
made by a court,
When you're sitting at home
in your easy chair
And you read an article about
somebody's facing the death penalty
And you feel like there's something
you might, could have done,
It's- It's troubling.
You know, Im getting
dangerously close
To the whole issue about what
happened in the jury room.
As an officer of the court,
Im not permitted
To talk about certain things
with regard to this case.
Gina Reynolds: I had started
working for Lloyd Warford
At that point in time
as a law clerk.
I met the jury foreman
Kent Arnold.
The first time
I encountered Kent
at Lloyds office
Was when he hired Lloyd
to represent his brother
On a different case.
But at that time,
Kent already knew
He was being called
for jury duty
For Baldwin
and Echols trial.
During Miskellys trial,
he talked about
All of the things that had
been printed in the newspaper.
Kent Arnold was passionate
about what he thought he knew.
He- He believed
That they were guilty
and they had been caught
And they should be
I was sitting
in Lloyds office
And he was talking to
Kent on speakerphone.
And he was saying, "well,
Ive gotten my jury summons.
How do I make sure
I get on this jury?"
And Lloyd was going, "you know,
you've got some pretty strong ideas
About whether these guys
are guilty or not.
You know, you'll never get on
the jury. Don't worry about it. "
After Kent was on the jury,
Lloyd specifically said,
"How did you
get on this jury?"
And he basically said, "dumb
judges and dumb lawyers-
They don't ask
specific questions. "
During the trial, Kent
was still calling Lloyd
On a regular basis
about what was going on.
He really wanted Lloyd
to tell him things about
How to get this jury
to convict these boys.
And Lloyd would just kind
of brush him off and say,
"Oh, you know, that's not
something I can talk to you about. "
He also asked Lloyd
on that phone call,
When were they gonna play
the confession?
Mr. Arnold would be
saying stuff like-
One particular phone call
- "The state hasn't proven their case.
They're supposed to
rest tomorrow.
If anybody's gonna be able
to get these boys convicted,
It's gonna have to be me
in that jury room. "
The next thing we know,
he's foreman of the jury.
He's foreman
of the jury,
Which is exactly
where he wanted to be,
Because he wanted
these boys convicted.
Kent Arnold believed
That what he knew
was the truth
And that it was gonna be
up to him
To make sure his idea
of justice happened.
He had to introduce the
confession to the jury room.
He had already basically
told us he was going to.
In the last couple of years,
quite fortuitously-
And this is the sort of fortune
that can save a man's life-
We have found that the jury
put up big sheets
Of factors that they considered
in convicting Echols and Baldwin.
And they've been
kept in evidence.
And here
the Echols' one is.
No one has really asked
what that might be.
Why was it crossed out?
Who crossed it out?
One of the jurors
had copied
A facsimile of that list
into her notebook.
The crossed-Out item is
The Jessie Miskelly
What we now know
is that in fact
Jessie Miskellys
Played a pretty
major part
In the way
that the jury
In the Echols
and Baldwin case
Came to understand
the case
And came to have confidence
in the notion
That they should
Which is wrong.
Griffis: Id like to show you something.
Approximately a year
Before the Echols case,
I lectured in little rock,
One of the people
who attended that course-
I believe his name was
jerry driver-
Had contacted me
about kids
That were active
in the west Memphis area.
So the year prior,
I started seeing
some of the materials.
These were drawings
from the area.
That's how
it came to me. And...
you could see...
Death symbols
and use of a-
What was called a ceremonial
sword or an athame.
And all of a sudden
you start to see
Symbols, this symbology
Often used
as a satanic symbol.
A year ahead of time, they knew
they had a problem in the area.
They knew that it was
getting worse.
You had some good police
officers down there
Concerned what the heck
next is going to happen.
John Fogelman: anything
wrong with wearing black
In and of itself?
Anything wrong with
the heavy metal stuff
In and of itself?
But when you
look at it together
And you begin to see
inside Damien Echols,
You see inside
that person,
And there's not a soul
in there.
Echols: when I was that
age- I was a kid basically-
In court, hearing the things
that people were saying,
I don't think
I registered
The full importance
of what was going on then,
Because I always felt-
I knew I didn't do it.
So therefore
it's impossible for them
To prove you've done
something you haven't done
With no evidence,
Nothing but a bunch
of rumors
And ghost stories
and smoke screens.
I didn't think there was
any way in hell
They were gonna be able
to get away with that.
Lorri Davis: we're
heading to Grady, Arkansas,
Where the Varner unit is.
It's Damiens birthday
today, yeah.
Time has been an odd thing
in this situation,
Because it seems like
it just drags on forever
And then, when you think back
on it, it's been fleeting.
In the past 17 years,
I've made friends
That have stuck with me
through thick and thin,
That have been here
Beyond what even my blood family
members have been with me beyond.
I met Lorri.
We've been together
for about 14 years now.
We just had our 10th wedding
anniversary last week.
I'm sure it's different
from everyone else's marriage.
But then I don't know what
everyone else's marriage is.
I just know that ours is
a good one.
In the very beginning,
I would wake up
In the middle
of the night sometimes,
Cursing her, literally
cursing her out loud
For making me feel
the way she made me feel,
Especially in here,
you know.
It's one of those things
that whenever you really,
Really love somebody,
It's not all, you know,
flowers and poetry,
Like the songs
try to make you think.
It hurts.
It gets its claws
into you
And it just rips.
And I felt like
that was the last thing
I needed to be
dealing with
On top of trying to deal
with all of this.
But it turned out
to be
The absolute
best thing
That has ever happened
to me in my life.
Terry Hobbs:
what kind of person
Would come
from across the country
To a death row inmate
And marry this man?
This is a known
convicted child killer
Right here.
He killed three little
eight-Year-Old boys
In west Memphis, Arkansas,
in 1993.
What kind of mind
Does this
young lady have
Who would come down here
and marry somebody like that?
This whole thing
has gone from
What happened
to three little boys
To more like a circus
of some kind.
Our investigators
were obtaining
D.N.A. Samples in the form
of hairs, cigarette butts,
Oral swabs
from people who had
Some connection
to the events.
These included samples
from several people,
Including Steven branch's
stepfather terry Hobbs.
We gave all these samples to
Thomas Fedor, who's here today.
He's an independent
forensic serologist.
The result of that analysis
in May 2007
Showed that a hair
from a ligature
Used to tie up
Michael Moore
Could be associated
with terry Hobbs.
The biggest bombshell of
the new defense investigation
Is that an unexplained hair that could
be from another victim's stepfather
Was found on shoelaces
at the crime scene.
Lorri Davis:
over the last
Three weeks
or four weeks,
A group of people
From here in Arkansas
Have formed a campaign
Called "Arkansas
take action. "
Capi Peck: we're on our way to
the state capitol for a rally.
There's been such
an outpouring of support
For a decade,
the west Memphis three.
But Arkansas has been
relatively quiet.
We hope that with our
grassroots movement
"Arkansas take action,"
That Arkansans from across
the state will speak out,
Asking our elected
To take a look
at this new evidence
And to get these guys
out of prison.
None of the d. N.A. From any
of the crime scene evidence
Could be associated
with Mr. Echols
Or Mr. Baldwin
or Mr. Miskelly.
Terry Hobbs could be
the source
Of that hair
on the ligature.
Approximately 11/2%
of the population at large
Could be the source
of that hair.
None of the defendants
could be
The source of that hair
on the ligature.
Female reporter: take a look at
just how much support they have-
Thousands of postcards,
Some as far away
as Los Angeles, California,
And Europe, all supporting
the west Memphis three.
Woman: did you murder the little boys?
Well, Id have to
laugh at that and say
There's something wrong with
someone who would think that.
Male reporter: that stepfather
denies having anything to do
With the murders. And the
Arkansas attorney general's office
Said in the statement
it will review and respond,
But warns "the legal process
could take months
And possibly years. "
Female reporter: do you feel
that you're as close as ever
To actually getting
a new trial?
Lorri Davis:
we get closer every day.
Yeah, so with the work
that we're doing
And the evidence that
we're finally uncovering,
I think we're getting
closer all the time.
It's sad to see that
there's people out here
Trying to get some
killers out of prison
That deserve, every one,
to be hung by a rope.
Natalie Maines: I just wanted to
say thanks for being here today,
And I think it's important
for all elected officials
To know that we are
watching them.
It's not about
opinion anymore.
It's not about debate.
It's about science.
And I urge you all
to go to wm3.Org
And donate
to the defense fund.
The donations is
what has paid
For the forensic tests
And the d. N.A. Testing
That's going to
set these men free.
I just want to say
Im honored to be here.
Lorri's a wonderful,
wonderful person.
And she's what has kept
this going for 14 years
And made people not forget
about the west Memphis three.
So thank you
very much.
( Cheering, applause )
Well, Kellys court
is back in session.
On the docket today-
Meet terry Hobbs.
This man sued the Dixie chicks
for defamation.
Natalie Maines has been
very vocal about this case,
Saying that new d. N.A.
Testing would prove
Hobbs was involved
in his own stepson's death.
raise your right hand.
Do you swear to tell
the truth, the whole truth,
- And nothing but the truth,
so help you god? - I do.
Man: Mr. Hobbs,
could you tell
The ladies and gentlemen of
the jury why you sued my client?
For her statements
against me
That she made
on the internet.
What do you hope to get
out of the lawsuit?
- How do you define justice?
- In a court of law.
- You want money, don't you?
- I don't want-
I want justice
as the courts deem.
An apology?
Is that enough?
Whatever the courts
No, Im not asking what-
I'm asking what you want
To get out of this
lawsuit, Mr. Hobbs.
If I would sit here,
to be honest-
That's what I want. I want
you to be totally honest.
I would sit here and say
Id like to see
The Dixie chicks
Like they have
caused me.
I think that's
a little bit fair.
Woman: Mr. Hobbs,
Im gonna have to
Go into some
material now
That may be
And I want you to know
that Im not trying
To make you uncomfortable
or embarrass you.
It's just the fact that you've
placed your reputation in issue
By bringing
this lawsuit.
It is your testimony that
you are not a violent man.
- And you do not fly into rages.
- Correct.
Female reporter:
pam Hobbs says last weekend
Her husband terry
beat her up
At their home
in Memphis.
When pam's father and brother
heard she'd been beaten,
They went
to check on her.
He started telling me
it was none of my business,
And then naturally
I just got more upset
And started
hitting him.
And I took him
to the ground.
And the next thing I know,
he shot me.
Female reporter: terry
Hobbs faces assault charges
And he is now
in a Memphis jail.
Woman: you did backhand pam Hobbs
The night that you ended up
shooting her brother, correct?
- Okay.
- Is that correct?
( Laughs )
yeah, all right.
- Is that funny?
- Well, it's-
You get tired of talking
about it after a while.
Well, she had been
provoking me
For three days
over one simple woman.
- She was asking for it?
- You might ask her.
Did you ever vow to get revenge
on pam for kissing another man?
Did pam kiss another man a
few weeks before Stevie died?
I'm not sure when,
but something happened.
Tell me what you mean
by that.
She was kissing that Mexican
in our house.
And that happened a few
weeks before Stevie died?
I'm not sure when.
How would we best determine
when that occurred?
Ask the Mexican.
Let me direct your attention
to paragraph 14
Of Pam Hobbss
"Two weeks after Stevie died,
terry left town.
He said I was
too much to handle
And that he could not
stay around me anymore. "
- Did I read that correctly?
- You did.
And is that
a true paragraph?
I'm not sure about
the time frame,
But, yeah,
I had to get away.
Are you all gonna be able
to get back together
Or is the marriage over?
It's- It's over.
Do you think you'd be
still together
If Stevie
hadn't been murdered?
we had trouble anyway,
You know, to be honest with
you, before this happened.
And he always told me
That he don't get mad;
he gets even.
You know, that's what
he had always said to me.
Man: pam sure as heck thinks
that you did it, doesn't she?
Thinks who did what?
She thinks
you killed Stevie.
She thinks
who killed Stevie?
- You.
- No.
- She doesn't think that?
- No.
- She doesn't think you were involved?
- No.
A sickening feeling,
I still think, you know, he
- He could have been capable.
Woman: you've told
many different versions
Of what you did after
dropping pam Hobbs off at work
Around 5:00 p. M.
On May 5th of 1993.
But in all those
You were always
searching for Stevie
The whole time.
Now David Jacobi
is saying
That you came over
to his house
At 5:00-Something
and played guitar
For about an hour.
I don't recall that.
You've repeatedly said
that you were
With mark byers
and Dana Moore
At 6:00 p. M.,
But Dana Moore and mark
byers say you weren't.
You say you were not
ever alone
On the night of May 5th
and the morning of May 6th,
And yet David Jacobi says
you left his house
Twice alone.
That's correct,
isn't it, sir?
I don't know.
No one can corroborate
being with you
Or your whereabouts
For the time period
from 6:00 p. M.
To 8:00 or 8:30 p. M.
Isn't that true, sir?
So my point is
there's not any witness-
Not any of your
alibi witnesses
Can confirm
your whereabouts
From 6:00 p. M.
To 8:30 p. M.
- Isn't that true, sir?
- And you're saying what?
I'm saying that you don't
have an alibi witness
For two to 21/2 hours on
the evening of the murders.
I don't know.
- Does that concern you?
- No.
Man: did you see Stevie at
all that day, may the 5th?
No, I did not.
You didn't see Stevie
or Michael Moore
Or Christopher byers
at all
- On May 5th of 1993?
- I didn't.
if somebody testifies
That they saw you with
the boys that night-?
Do what?
If somebody testified that
they saw you and the boys,
Would they be lying?
Mm-Hmm, they would
be lying.
- 'Cause you never found the boys?
- No, I never found them.
- Never found them alive?
- Never found them at all.
Man #2: so if someone were to testify
That they saw
the three little boys
Standing behind you
On the evening
of may the 5th...
man #1: prior to the time
that you went to pick up pam,
They'd be mistaken?
Most definitely.
I can't wait
to hear that one.
( Chuckles )
Steven branch lived three
houses down from our house.
And they came through
right here.
They zoomed through. There used
to be a bunch of bushes right here,
And they all zoomed through
and went down the sidewalk.
We came outside
to go to church at 6:30.
And I yelled at Christopher to go home,
And he said, "I don't have to
do what you tell me to do. "
I said, "okay, whatever,"
you know.
And we got in the car
to go to church.
But I saw terry coming down
the sidewalk here,
Coming this direction.
And he was calling
for Steven
To come back down
to their house.
And we got in the car
and left,
But they were-
They were together
When we went
past them.
As we were
driving by,
Steven was
on his bike riding
And Christopher and Michael
were running behind him.
They were laughing.
They were having fun
Like every time Ive
ever seen them before.
They were just having fun
like any other regular day.
And we drove by.
They were-
They were right here
near terry's house.
He was sitting outside,
calling for Steven.
And they were
still laughing.
They were laughing
right here.
And I will never
forget that.
As we drove by, that was
the last time we saw them.
The police or no one
ever came by our house.
We kind of thought
they might,
Because we live three doors
down, but no one ever came by.
This past year,
They were making
a big deal
About the tip line
on our news.
And I think I heard
a long time ago
That they went missing
at, like, 6:00.
I said to myself, "I think
that they need to know
That they were around
our house playing at 6:30.
They were over here
in this neighborhood.
I thought that terry
would tell them
That he was
with the boys that day.
I never knew
until this year
That he was saying that
he didn't see them at all.
He's not
telling the truth.
He was out there
with them.
Terry Hobbs: I didn't know
I was being investigated.
Nothing about what
they're saying is true.
And it's just-
The only thing really
that's ever bothered me
Is knowing that
they've taken my name
And said what they've said
about me.
I learned a lot
about depositions.
You know,
stay out of that.
( Laughs )
Woman: this next question Im asking
With all due respect
to you
And to the west Memphis
police department,
And Im not being
facetious at all,
But it appears that the west
Memphis police department
And the prosecutors
Have never looked
at terry Hobbs-
One of the stepfathers of one of the victims
- Seriously
As being a person
of interest
Or even a possible suspect
in this case.
And I know you've been
gone for a long time.
Do you have
Any understanding
of why that is
Or any explanation
of why that would be?
Uh, I really can't
comment on it.
You're uncomfortable
talking about
What actually transpired in
that investigation. Why is that?
And the reason
I am uncomfortable is...
there is a wealth
of money
the west Memphis three
In getting them
out of jail.
Now I believe-
I believe personally
They're guilty
of the crime.
Two juries said
they were guilty of it.
I'm afraid I could say
something inappropriately.
I could be wrong.
I could be forgetful.
And I don't want
to say anything
That would cause them
to get a new trial
Just based on
a comment I make.
Don't put that monkey
on my back-
That Ive said
something incorrectly
Over 16 years that I may
or may not remember,
That they're going to be
entitled to a new trial
For something I said?
That's why Im not going
to discuss the case.
- Fair enough.
- If they have new evidence,
Hey, Im all for it.
Go for it.
John Douglas: I looked at all
the different categories.
I looked and reviewed
the information
Relative to the case
And pretty-
Pretty clearly,
And it's pretty easy
to me
To define this case as
a personal cause homicide.
This is not a homicide either
perpetrated by a stranger.
The person responsible for
this crime knew these victims
And knew these victims
relatively well.
The question Id ask myself
is, if the motivation is murder,
If the initial intent is
murder, go ahead and kill.
Why did the subject
decide to tie up the victims
After stripping
them down naked?
I believe the initial
intent, in my analysis,
Was not to kill,
but was to taunt
And to punish-
Punish these individuals.
I saw criminal sophistication
at the crime scene.
The tying of the wrists
to the ankles-
I searched cases
all over the world.
I couldn't come up
with similar types of cases.
When I saw the offender
decide to get into the water
And to secrete the clothing
by pushing down the sticks-
The sticks in the clothing,
hiding the clothing
Along with
the three victims,
Using that kind of
concerted effort-
We're not looking at teenagers
committing crimes like this.
We're looking at somebody who's
relatively criminally sophisticated.
We're looking at somebody who
has been violent in the past,
Who's violent now and at the
time this crime was perpetrated,
And would also be violent
in the future.
The person responsible
for this crime
Can look at you right in the eye
- Can look at a camera
And say that
"I didn't do it. "
Because it's the
psychopathic personality.
There is no remorse. Anyone who
perpetrates a crime like this
And leaves the victims
like this in this condition
Is only concerned
about himself.
You could put him on the polygraph
- He'll pass the polygraph,
Particularly if it's
14 years later.
When john Douglas
told me
That terry Hobbs'
record and background
Made me look like
a boy scout,
I almost fell out.
And he was
dead serious.
Here's a world-Renowned,
Probably the finest profiler
in f. B.I. History.
I was nervous
just being around him,
Thinking he's
profiling me.
He told me he had done
that a long time ago.
He knew I had nothing
to do with it.
I've been asked,
"do you think
You're doing to terry
Hobbs what was done to you?"
No, no, no.
I'm talking
about facts.
I'm talking about d. N.A.
I'm talking about no alibi.
I'm talking about lies
after lies after lies.
( Tuning )
Why don't you hold this
and let me hold that?
And Ill tune it
real quick.
Don't make me reach over
and slap somebody.
( Muttering )
Tina Hobbs: god knows all
things and why they happen.
We don't, but he does.
And we have to trust in him.
So I can tell you,
there's always gonna be talk.
You know, even for us, we
don't like some of the stuff
That is on the TV
and this and that
That has been said,
because we know, you know,
That, no, you know,
terry could not have been-
That, you know,
he didn't do this thing.
This is not terry.
I mean, you've seen,
you know.
Michael Hobbs: I have
never changed my mind
From the conviction.
I don't care what all them other
people put on that internet,
I have never
changed my mind.
I'm just like
the state of Arkansas
And Im just like
the legal system.
I believe in justice
and I believe it was served.
They, you know, went
through trial and everything.
They did what they did.
They arrested three boys.
Until we get told otherwise,
we still believe
That's the ones that
should have been there-
Until we get told
I had something made-
Just the pros and cons
of terry Hobbs.
This pretty well
speaks for itself.
Two items that would be
on the innocent side-
That he needed to try
to restrain three victims.
Some say that might be a
little difficult. Not really.
Once he hit one child,
the other two
Probably froze like
a deer in headlights.
According to
the medical reports,
All three children
From blows to the head
would have died.
And then possible
secondary transfer-
That's referring
to his hair
That was found
in a ligature
Tied to one
of the children.
That's about all on the
pro side you could find.
Let's look
at the guilty.
Motive, means,
and opportunity.
He had a violent past.
He worked
in a slaughterhouse.
And he admits being
in the woods at 6:30.
Terry Hobbs admits it.
No one else puts him there.
He puts himself there.
No alibi.
Can't account
for the crucial times
From 6:30 to 8:00,
8:30 to 9:00,
10:00 to 11:15
and from 2:30 to 5:00 a. M.
That's a lot of gap
in time of,
What were you doing, Mr.
Hobbs? Where were you?
Claims to have been
with Jacobi
At times, Jacobi denies.
Now here's your own witness
denying what you said.
To me, that doesn't
look too good.
Not interviewed or cleared
by the police.
Now there,
the west Memphis p. D., 101,
Totally fell
on their face.
They didn't go talk
to terry Hobbs
And question him about
what he did that night.
They didn't treat him
the way they treated me.
Inconsistent statement-
He never saw
any of the boys that day.
We know
that's wrong.
He was seen by three
witnesses that were neighbors.
That could have
come out
Back on May 5th or 6th
if the west Memphis p. D.
Would have canvassed
that neighborhood.
They just canvassed
this neighborhood,
Never went around and asked
any of Hobbs' neighbors a word.
They'd have told them
that back then.
He would have been caught
in his lie then.
He would have been the last
person to have seen them.
The police would have zeroed
in on him instead of Damien
And they would have got
the real killer
And we would not be here
talking today.
I believe that if this was
presented to a jury,
They would find
terry Hobbs guilty.
This is more evidence
and facts
Than against
the west Memphis three
Or me or anyone else.
Man: Im gonna direct this, I
guess, to the d. N.A. Experts.
Over the course of time, it
seems that over and over again
It's been different family
members who have popped up
As kind of being
suspects in this case.
And I have to ask, is there
really significant enough
D.N.A. Evidence that
could point to terry Hobbs?
My personal opinion is I don't
think that that hair evidence
Would be enough
to convict Mr. Hobbs
Or anybody
in a similar situation,
Because it's simply not
strong enough.
The percentages
that I gave of people
Who could be the source
of those hairs
Are 11/2%
of the population.
That's not particularly
strong evidence,
And especially
in the context of
What most people are accustomed
to with d. N.A. Testing.
Woman: so just to clarify,
the d. N.A. Evidence-
The point of bringing it up
isn't to say that Hobbs did it,
But it's just to say, one could
think it might be more likely
That Hobbs would have
done it versus Damien,
Because there's no
evidence there at all?
The last thing
as defense lawyers
We would
intend to do
Is indict
and convict someone
Beyond a reasonable doubt
of this case.
The evidence
as to Hobbs-
I don't think that it
should be viewed that way.
But is it evidence that would
lead any reasonable juror
To acquit Damien Echols?
Yes, it would.
Male reporter: defense
attorneys announced
They had new DNA evidence
that shows no trace of Echols
Or the other defendants
at the crime scene.
Even some of
the victims' relatives
Who initially agreed
with the verdicts...
That's what all three of 'em are
- Punks. Punks. think the men
in jail are innocent.
I would like to see
another trial.
Give 'em a fair trial.
Present the evidence
That really wasn't presented
in the other trials.
And if they're guilty, so be
it. That's where they stay.
But if they're not, god,
don't put somebody to death,
Because, you know,
As Damiens lawyers,
we are not taking on
The burden of proving who
actually committed these crimes.
The question for the court
should be and will be,
Would a reasonable juror,
looking at the entire picture now-
All the evidence of guilt,
all the evidence of innocence,
Everything that was admitted at trial,
everything that surfaced thereafter-
Looking at that
And throwing into the mix
the DNA. Results,
Would a reasonable juror
convict these people today?
And the answer
to that is no.
Female reporter: judge David
Burnett tentatively set up hearings
For next month to determine
if there is enough evidence
To overturn the convictions
of the west Memphis three.
Defense attorneys want to
present new DNA. Evidence
They hope will lead
to a new trial.
Judge Burnett
made it clear
He could follow
prosecutors' suggestions
That the DNA. Evidence
isn't enough for a new trial
Or to overturn
the convictions.
If judge Burnett rules in
favor of the state's opinion
On Echolss DNA. Pleading,
this very well could be
The end of the road
for his defense.
In the newsroom,
will carter, region 8 news.
In September,
judge David Burnett,
Who presided over
both trials,
Ruled he would not hear any
new evidence in the case.
So Damien Echols is now
appealing his case
To the Arkansas
supreme court,
Which has previously upheld
the conviction.
This is the first time that
the Arkansas supreme court
Is going to interpret
the DNA. Statute.
So it's going to have
enormous implications
For everybody who
comes in their wake.
I'm thinking about
when we argue this
In the Arkansas
supreme court,
The approach
we want to take is,
"Justices, you may be aware
that this specific case
Has garnered
a lot of interest,
But the interests at stake
here are a lot broader
Than the three individuals
before the court,
Even though one of those literally
has his life on the line. "
Riordan: good morning, your
honors. If it please the court,
Obviously, since my client
is sentenced to death,
The resolution
of this case
Is of paramount
importance to him.
But the interests at
stake here are far broader.
And that is because
we are dealing with
Pure questions of law
about the interpretation
Of what Ill call
"the DNA. Statutes. "
What is the meaning of
this Arkansas statute?
There's language
in that statute
That says that
if the DNA. Evidence
Excludes the defendant
As the source
of the DNA.,
Which it did
in our case,
Then the trial court has to
consider all the evidence,
Whether it was admitted
at trial or not,
To see what a reasonable
juror would do today.
This statute was passed
to exonerate the innocent.
The state has
really proposed
An Orwellian interpretation
of the term "all. "
"All" simply means all.
Horgan: the state took the position
That in weighing
all the evidence,
What the statute
meant to say was
That the court consider only
all the evidence of guilt,
But not the evidence
of innocence,
Which is nonsensical,
Because, of course,
If a trial court were to
look at the DNA. Evidence,
But then only consider
all the evidence of guilt,
The court wouldn't be
considering everything
That makes a compelling
case for innocence.
Judge: let me ask you
a question, Mr. Riordan.
Let's focus on
the evidence situation
And let's say that
I agree with you
That maybe the trial judge
was in error
With respect to just limiting
the evidence to evidence of guilt.
What evidence then
would be considered?
Would it be the evidence that
was presented at the trial
Or everything that's occurred
over the last 17 years?
I don't think that it can
be rationally read
Other than to say
the court must consider-
That is,
place in the scale-
Not only
the evidence of guilt
But also all other
Whether or not admitted
at the first trial.
The court will recognize
the counselor.
Good morning.
May it please the court,
Mr. Echols has been
to this court
Several times
in the last decade
Challenging his
Directly and
And this statute does not
call for a retrial.
It's not about
trying somebody again
For the state
to prove guilt twice.
Counselor, what harm
is there in allowing him
To present the evidence
from the last 17 years?
I'm sorry?
What harm is there
in allowing him
To present
all evidence?
Well, the harm is in the
finality of a criminal judgment
That is not
demonstrated to have
Any constitutional
or procedural defect
And just
to try it again.
I mean, you're suggesting,
it sounds to me, justice,
As though every
15 or 17 years or so,
We really ought to try cases
again to re-Establish guilt.
I think it's-
I think it's clear
That the animating purpose
here is not to retry.
So the harm is-
Is to the criminal justice
system's interest in finality
And the work
that gets done
In evaluating
Whether or not
justice has been served
In each of the forums that Mr.
Echols has been through already.
It sounds as if
your argument is
That all evidence of
guilt will be considered,
But it's going to be
extremely difficult
To admit
all other evidence
That may have been
I think that's-
That is the argument.
It's the second
alternative reason
The circuit court concluded
that relief should be denied.
And to me, that's-
That's a reasonable statute.
But where does it say, "all
other evidence of guilt"?
I understand that it
doesn't expressly say that.
But you have to
interpret the statute
In light of its
animating purpose.
And you have to interpret it
in light of rules of grammar.
I mean, I think that's
a very fair construction.
I'm having trouble
If the testing has to prove you're
innocent, why would you even need a hearing?
Well, again, I think you have to
go back to context, your honor.
We have to deal with the
clear meaning of the statute.
I understand your
context argument,
But we still have to deal with
the clear language of the statute.
Riordan: it comes out
of a mind set that says,
"Our job as prosecutors
is just to make sure
That everybody we prosecute
is convicted,
Everybody who's sentenced
to death is killed.
This is a wrestling match
to the death,
And we've got to
make sure
That we come out on top
in each instance. "
The legislature,
in its wisdom, recognized
That the criminal
justice system,
Like all human endeavors,
sometimes is flawed.
But the attorney general
has taken the position
That the criminal justice
system is free of error
And therefore is
effectively divine.
I quote from their brief
in the circuit court:
"The state does not shrink
from Echols' charge
That relief may
never be granted
Under this view of
the statute"- Its view-
"But embraces it
out of confidence
That the Arkansas
criminal justice system
Does not convict
the innocent. "
The state
has taken a position
That's directed not only
about denying relief
To Mr. Echols, Mr. Baldwin,
Mr. Miskelly,
But ensuring that no one will
ever be able to get relief
Under the Arkansas
DNA. Statutes.
Riordan, your time has
expired. Thank you very much.
Riordan: I thank the
court for its attention
And recognize the court may
feel that the appropriate remedy
Is a remand to the trial court
for an evidentiary hearing.
- Thank you, your honor.
- Thank you very much.
The clock on my head
- It ain't got no hands on it for a reason.
To me, it means
time is standing still.
My time is
standing still.
Everybody else's time
is moving forward.
But here it is, what,
almost 18 years later?
Whatever time it is
When, you know, the
police finally let me out,
That's what time
Im gonna put up there.
I've spent nearly 60% of
my life incarcerated now.
And Ive learned
along the way
That no matter
where you're at,
You've got to make the
most of it, enjoy it.
No matter how bad
you may perceive it to be
Or how good you may
perceive it to be,
You've got to make
the most of it,
Because this is
where you're at right now.
You know, I just try
to do my best every day,
You know, regardless of
the situation.
We take the hands we're dealt.
We make the most of it.
That's the way
we make it through life.
Damien: you never, ever get sunlight.
I haven't been
exposed to sunlight
In almost
seven years now.
You're in a cell
Pretty much,
For all intents
and purposes,
24 hours a day,
seven days a week.
If I focused on the
things I can't change,
The things that have hurt me,
what people have done to me,
Then they would've
already broken me.
They would've have
killed me inside and out.
I get up
in the morning
And I don't feel sorry
for myself.
I don't hate my life.
You have a lot
of people in here that
All they can think about
is what they don't have
And how much
they want out
And how much they want
something else.
But for some reason
this situation has helped me
To see more
of what I do have
And to be thankful
for that.
You know, I have-
In a lot of ways
I have a truly
incredible life.
Darrell Greene: in less than 17
hours, the fates of Damien Echols
Jason Baldwin, and Jessie
Miskelly could be decided.
A special hearing
in Jonesboro
Will bring together
families of the victims
And the three
convicted murderers
Known as
the west Memphis three
For what could be an explosive
resolution in this infamous case.
( Police siren whooping )
( Police radio chatter )
Male reporter: now judge David Burnett
- He was the judge
Who rejected that the new DNA.
Testing should get them a new trial-
He was elected to the
state senate last year,
So a new judge, judge
David laser, was appointed.
That's a major change
in the case.
Also the supreme court disagreed
with former judge Burnett
And said the DNA. Testing
did warrant at least a hearing
To consider the
possibility of a new trial.
Now that hearing
was set for December,
But yesterday judge laser
and the attorneys involved
Surprised everybody by
calling this hearing today.
Male reporter #2:
it could all come to an end
Or just mark the beginning
for even more of the same.
Male reporter: so what's gonna
happen? Are they just literal-
I mean, they've been convicted
of killing these kids.
Are they just going to
walk out of jail?
Female reporter: well, what we
have heard, what could happen today
Is that they could enter something that's
very unusual called "Alford Pleas. "
And the three men will say,
"look, we are innocent,
But in order to get out of
jail, we will plead guilty. "
I am David laser,
Circuit judge,
division nine,
The second
judicial district
Of the state
of Arkansas.
Subject to the court's
Certain dispositive agreements
have been reached
By and between the state and
the defendants in this case.
The Alford plea-
It's a guilty plea with
a profession of innocence.
If you would, please,
Mr. Echols,
Mr. Baldwin,
Mr. Miskelly,
If you would stand,
Mr. Echols, how do you
wish to plead in this case?
Mr. Baldwin, how do you
choose to plead in this case?
The same as relates
to you, Mr. Miskelly,
How do you wish
to plead?
All right, thank you. The court
finds each of the defendants
Guilty of first degree murder
and the modified charges...
( voice fades )
At this moment the west
Memphis three are free.
Female anchor: okay, so just
for clarity, then, David,
It's not that these
convictions were overturned.
They are still guilty,
but they were freed.
Now this- At the root
of this change
Is DNA. Evidence
Or lack thereof.
Is that correct?
Male reporter: that was
one of the last things
That came to the court's
attention this year.
Now, if they did not go
through with this deal today,
Those three would have been
probably granted
A new trial
later this year.
But that trial could have
taken years to complete.
So the judge-
Again, reiterating,
"This was in the best interests,"
he said, "for everyone. "
This is not right.
And the people of Arkansas
need to stand up and raise hell,
Because three
innocent men
Are gonna have to
claim today
That they're guilty
for a crime they didn't know,
And that's bullshit.
- Woman: amen.
- ( Crowd cheering )
They're innocent.
They did not kill my son.
And this is wrong
What the state of Arkansas
is doing
To cover their ass.
And Im sick of it.
Because the real killer
is walking around free.
Some are happy, some are angry,
and some are perplexed.
And that's the case
at the end of every trial.
And this one is
no different.
Guilt or innocence
was never on the table.
Today's proceedings
allows the defendants
To have the freedom to say
that they're not guilty,
But in fact
they just pled guilty.
The legal tangle
that has become known
As the west Memphis three
case is now finished.
Woman: Damien, with the Alford plea,
You had to say,
for the court's purpose,
That you're guilty
of a crime
That you professed to the judge
that you did not commit.
- Right.
- Is this justice?
Is this what
you've been looking for?
Is it bittersweet?
It's not perfect. It's
not perfect by any means.
But at least
it brings closure
To some areas
and some aspects.
You know, we can still
bring up new evidence.
We can still continue the
investigations we've been doing.
We can still try
to clear our names.
The only difference is now
we can do it from the outside
Instead of having to
sit in prison and do it.
You know, this has been
going on for over 18 years,
And it's-
It's been an absolute
living hell.
Joe Berlinger: were you concerned
about the evidence that the defense
Was going to present at the
upcoming evidentiary hearing,
Including juror misconduct-
Allegations of juror misconduct?
Scott Ellington: when the supreme
court handed down this decision
On November the 4th
of last year,
Reopening issues
of juror misconduct
And everything-
And all these other matters
On the basis
of new DNA,
Then that caused some-
Some troubles.
And this judge was most likely
going to grant a new trial.
And if this judge
granted a new trial,
The defendants
most likely-
I mean, we would do the best we
could to prevail on the evidence,
But most likely
these defendants,
The state believes,
Could very easily
have been acquitted.
- Yes, ma'am.
- Woman: will the state continue
To investigate this case if
additional information's brought forth
Or is the case closed?
I have no reason to believe
that there was anyone else
Involved in the homicide
of these three children
But the three defendants
who pled guilty today.
Let me just point out one
aspect of what happened today:
These men
not only walked out,
They created today,
by this plea, to me,
Proof positive
of their innocence
And the state's
recognition of it.
Because does anyone
That if the state had
even the slightest
Continuing conviction
that they were guilty,
That they would let
these men free today?
It would've never
But to me, the state's
acceptance of an Alford plea,
In which they maintain
their innocence,
And releasing them,
is evidence
Of the state's recognition
of their innocence.
Woman: what does this mean for
the state of Arkansas today?
The significance
of this case
And that this is over today
- What does this mean?
Well, I think
for the benefit
Of the state
of Arkansas
And the office
that I represent,
It means that
we have terminated
Prolonged litigation;
We have terminated additional
appeals and appeal hearings.
We've also,
as part of the-
I mean, with their entry
of a plea of guilty,
We have removed
the question
Of them filing a civil
lawsuit against the state
That could result in
many millions of dollars.
I can't say that that
wasn't part of my thinking
In resolving this case
for the best of this state
And for trying to move this
case forward and end it.
This was not justice,
you know.
In the beginning we told nothing
but the truth- That we were innocent-
And they sent us to prison for
the rest of our lives for it.
And then we had to
come here,
And the only thing that the
state would do for us was to say,
"Hey, we'll let you go
only if you admit guilt. "
And that's not justice,
no matter how you look at it.
They're not out there
trying to find
Who really murdered
those boys.
And I did not want to take
the deal from the get-Go.
They're trying
to kill Damien.
And sometimes you just gotta
bite the gun to save somebody.
I want to publicly
thank Jason, too,
Just to let him know that I
do acknowledge what he did,
That he did want
to keep fighting.
He didn't want to take
this deal in the beginning.
And I recognize
and acknowledge
That he did do it
almost entirely for me.
Thank you.
( Cheering )
Jason: there's something very wrong
With our
judicial system today.
People have prejudices.
People have fears.
People have hates.
These things cloud
our ability to reason.
We also have
Love, mercy.
But what makes it
so difficult
In the judicial system
Is that the people who are
there to protect and serve-
They get
so desensitized
And they lose
the ability to reason.
There's gotta be a way
to reawaken the compassion
In the people who run
our justice system.
Under the state seal
of Arkansas,
On the banner,
it says
"Justice" on one hand
And "mercy"
on the other.
Justice is lost.
It's broken.
My case in point: I told
the truth that Im innocent-
They refused to let me go
during my trial.
I take an Alford plea today,
Say Im guilty
when really Im innocent,
But just say Im guilty
and take this time-
And what do they do?
They let me go.
That's not justice.
It's up to us as a people
to change it.
It starts
with all of us.
We've got to make
the decision
To take each person
on their merit
And not just lump everybody
into something
That we hate, mistrust,
don't know about.
These are the very principles
our country is built upon,
But it's so hard
to practice.
Hang onto that.
Grab it.
It's ours.
We need it.
It's what keeps us going,
keeps us alive.
It's what prevents
things like
What's going on with me, Damien,
and Jessie from happening.
just keep them closed,
keep praying
just keep waiting
waiting for the one
the day
that never comes
when you stand up
and feel the warmth
but the sunshine
never comes, no
no, the sunshine
never comes
push you across that line
just stay down this time
hide in yourself
crawl in yourself
you'll have your time
god, Ill make them pay
take it back one day
Ill end this day
Ill splatter color
on this gray
waiting for the one
the day that never comes
when you stand up
and feel the warmth
but the sunshine
never comes
love is
a four-Letter word
and never spoken here
love is
a four-Letter word
here in this prison
I suffer this no longer
I put an end to
this I swear,
this I swear
the sun will shine,
this I swear, this I swear
this I swear.