Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three - Wikipedia
Jun 1, Declaring that “Devil's Knot” is unnecessary simply because four devoted to Lax's characterization to create a connection that manifests only as a One of the end credit texts mentions that John Mark Byers' wife was found. May 8, His latest look at a community torn asunder, Devil's Knot, is a fictional in the movie or what not to keep in the movie, or even where to end it?. A film based on the book, Devil's Knot, was released in Eventually, the police brought in Jessie Misskelley for questioning in relation to the murders.
However, the three boys remained in custody, and both the prosecutor and the defense teams began preparing for trial. Byers had given the knife away shortly after the murders.
However, the police did not pursue this potential lead. The police also failed to pursue a potential lead called in by a local Bojangles restaurant. One of the employees witnessed a disoriented man covered in mud and blood enter the restaurant the night the boys went missing.
The man used the restroom, leaving smears of the blood he was covered in on the walls. Though the police took samples of the blood, they never pursued this lead and later lost the evidence. Prosecutor John Fogleman wanted Misskelley to be able to testify against Baldwin and Echols, but Misskelley refused to repeat the statements that he had previously given and recanted. Baldwin and Echols were tried a month later, beginning on February The other evidence presented to the juries was similarly circumstantial.
At both trials, the juries determined that the defendants were guilty of the crimes they were accused of.
Damien Echols responds to Baldwin | Arkansas Blog
Misskelley and Baldwin were both sentenced to life in prison, with an additional forty years tacked on for Misskelley. Echols was sentenced to death. Outside of the courts, the case continued to fall apart. Vicki Hutcheson claimed that she had committed perjury when she testified against the three and stated that the police had told her what to say. The foreman of the jury was also accused of misconduct after it came to light that during the trial he had discussed the case at length with his own attorney.
The West Memphis Three case has inspired numerous individuals to intervene on their behalf. The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hillsand released it inhoping to encourage the public to remain interested in the fate of the three convicted men.
Sequels to the documentary were released in and The True Story of the West Memphis Three in response to a challenge made by state officials that a true, honest examination of the case would prove the guilt of the three defendants.
After extensive research, Leveritt concluded that the entire situation was a tragedy and a gross miscarriage of justice. Numerous celebrities agreed with Leveritt.
Eddie Vedder of the rock group Pearl Jam visited Echols on death row and used his music and fame to spread the message that Echols and the others were innocent.
On November 4,after numerous failed appeals, the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered that a hearing take place in order to analyze new evidence that had the potential to exonerate the West Memphis Three. Echols hired a new defense team that included Stephen Braga and Patrick Benca.The Story of Christopher Byers, Steve Branch, and Michael Moore
However, as the new lawyers worked to present their case at the hearing, they were dismayed to find that the new evidence did not conclusively point to a different perpetrator. As was typical for this case, the evidence was only circumstantial. Braga and Benca, convinced that the West Memphis Three were innocent and deserved their freedom, decided to take a different approach.
Benca had a working relationship with Arkansas attorney general Dustin McDaniel. The two met to discuss the case. During that meeting, Benca asked McDaniel if his team would consider skipping the hearing in order to move straight to new trials. The judge, Benca argued, would certainly grant new trials after considering the jury misconduct discovered years before.
McDaniel agreed to discuss the idea with his team. As negotiations between the lawyers continued, Benca and Braga suggested that both sides agree to an Alford plea, with time served, in order to avoid the risk to both sides that a new trial would bring. An Alford plea required the three defendants to plead guilty to a series of lesser charges while at the same time stating for the record that they were innocent and only pleading guilty because it was in their best interest.
Both legal teams agreed that the plea would be acceptable provided that all three defendants were willing to cooperate. Despite this hopeful new development, Benca and Braga were still concerned. Jason Baldwin, by this time in his late thirties, had the most to lose by accepting this plea.
News of the boys' deaths and the manner in which it happened soon reached the inhabitants of the small community. The rumor then spread that the nature of Byers' death, in particular hinted that the deaths may have been related to a Satanic ritual. Weeks after the murders, a local woman, Vicki Hutcheson, brought her eight-year-old son Aaron to see the police.
Aaron claimed to have witnessed the kidnapping of his three friends. Vicki volunteered to help the investigation by becoming "involved" with both Jessie and Damien. Hutcheson was a neighbor of Jessie's and coaxed him into setting up a "meeting" with Damien, so Hutcheson and Damien could get to know each other. Vicki would later claim to the police that she had attended an Esbat with both men. Years after the trials, Hutcheson would admit that she had lied about attending the Esbat.
Over the months that led up to the arrests and trials, her son Aaron would also change his account of what happened numerous times; each time the story became more outrageous and unbelievable. Eventually, the police brought in Jessie Misskelley for questioning in relation to the murders.
Misskelley was 17 and considered mildly retarded. Despite this, a simple questioning turned into a heated interrogation by West Memphis Police, which resulted in a confession from Misskelley that was almost immediately recanted. Based on this confession and the story told to police by Aaron Hutcheson, Misskelley, Echols, and Baldwin were all arrested and charged with three counts of Capital Murder.
Each of the three men encountered issues during the course of the trials, including the inability to have the trial moved away from the Arkansas area, lack of the prosecution's required assistance in the delivery of all intended evidence to the defense, and a judge the author perceived was biased. Author Mara Leveritt makes numerous comparisons of the Memphis Three trials to the Salem Witch Trialsstating that the three Memphis defendants were convicted based on the "Satanic Craze" the community was surrounded by after the murders.
Actual evidence used by the prosecution during the trials included pictures of Metallica T-shirts worn by Jason Baldwin and books checked out by Damien Echols at his public library; the prosecutions' cases offered little more than circumstantial evidence.