The Media and the West Memphis Three

Friday, August 26, 2011


In 1994, three teenagers were convicted of killing three second graders in a supposed Satanic ritual. Last week, the men now known as the West Memphis three made a plea deal that secured their release. Brooke talks to Mara Leveritt, author of the book The Devil's Knot about the "Satanic Panic" that precipitated the case, and the media's involvement after their conviction.

Song: Dial

Artist: Deaf City

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    Artist: Deaf City

Comments [21]

Doc from So Cal

I have strong mixed feeling on this. If the convicted boys are innocent, then they ought to cleared of the crime. They are free, but they'll be under a cloud forever. Comparing the cloud to prison, its easy to see why they agreed to the Alford plea.

On the other hand if the W Memphis 3 are innocent, who is guilty? Some interesting suspects, but nothing worthy of an arrest. Is this fair to the 3 sets of parents who lost children is such a vile way?

Releasing the boys railroaded is step 1. Come on Arkansas, get with it and find the real killers.

The rush to "justice" in this case ought to be a lesson for all police officers and district attorneys who feel pressured to make an arrest.

Sep. 18 2011 02:30 AM
cristina from 5


Sep. 09 2011 12:03 PM
Christina Al-Qaifi from Gadsden,TN

1: there are NO knife wounds
2: there is NO dna linking Damien Jason and Jesse it does link TERRY HOBBS
3: the mutalation and bite marks ARE from animals
4: there was NO defensive wounds on Damien Jason or Jesse (fyi Jason bruises easily)
5: Damien WAS on 3way when boys disappeared
6: Jesse WAS out of town at wrestling when
boys disappeared
7: the black man covered in blood at bojangles was never searched for
8: the blood evidence from bojangles was MAGICALLY LOST
9: Damien WAS studying to be a Catholic Priest NOT satan worshipper
10: MILLIONS of people wear black DAILY doesnt mean they are into the occult
11: the kid nicknamed lucifer who favors Damien was NEVER questioned
12: back in 98 when i was attacked and beaten while living in west memphis cause i asked around about the case the cops didnt care
13: terry hobbs LIED bout seeing the kids that day

Aug. 29 2011 07:51 PM
tracy basinger from maumelle, arkansas

were fingerprints ever taken from the bikes?

Aug. 29 2011 05:30 PM
Kika from Los Angeles

I know about the fibers and the stepfather and his friend etc....But, I have a strong nasty feeling about John Mark Byers (and his dead wife Melissa as well!!!) since I saw Paradise Lost on HBO. My feeling is that it's not Byers first time and that drug fueled Melissa helped him cover it up. The boys weren't killed in the woods, just dumped there...Maybe I'm wrong, who will ever know really?...

Aug. 29 2011 05:18 PM
FishmongerDave from Hopewell, NJ

Stan - Terry Hobbs.

If you're really interested in knowing why people say this, check out the site run by one of the parents of the murdered children - and review the evidence yourself.

Aug. 29 2011 05:09 PM
Trek from PMW

Whats another 1-2 yrs? I don't know I have never been in prison 18 years thinking I would never get out...especially for a crime you didn't commit. You all would stay in prison another 1-2 years in order to help the crooks that put you there in the first place?

Aug. 29 2011 04:58 PM
wendy odum from Mt.Airy , NC

Human nature never ceases to amaze me. Now the WM3 have been freed (and thank GOD for it), haters are complaining about the celebrity support that was instrumental in keeping this case at the forefront of media and social awareness. Something tells me that if their involvement could help bring closure, healing , truth and justice th bear in this case, both Eddie and Johnny would do their part....without question. People complain when celebrities live only for themselves....then complain when the work EFFECTIVELY and passionately for righteous causes. Let's look in our mirrors! Start changing the world from there!

Aug. 29 2011 04:54 PM
Angela from Mississippi

Ok does anyone ACTUALLY watch the news coverage on this case?? The fibers that were found on the rope that was tied onto one of the boys wrists belong to steve branch's STEPFATHER and another fiber belonged to the stepfathers FRIEND. Also the stepfather & friend amitted to being in the woods the same night the boys were murdered and the stepfather LIED to police saying he never saw the 3 boys the day they died but more then one neighbor said that was a lie cause he was outside yelling at the boys telling them to get back to the house. Even 2 of the parents of the victims have switched to the defense side & said they believe the WM3 did not commit these murders due to the evidence that now has come forth! So read your facts before you start hollering that the WM3 is guilty. You are going based on OLD facts that was given by corrupted cops, a corrupted judge and jurors that wanted to sterotype the WM3 just cause they wore black & listened to bands such as Metallica. Damien has done said he will not give up until the murders have been brought to justice and are punsihed for these crimes. Also about the 2 teenage girls that said Damien "told" them that he killed the boys they have even said they LIED. Another thing is that Misskelly was railroaded into admitting these murders by cops that kept him in a room questioning him over and over and over again for 12 hours with no lawyers and no parents and he was MINOR so he should have been alone in that room with them, also it has been stated that Misskelly had a very low IQ so see there again cops used that to their advantage. They knew they could pin it on these 3 boys and they did whatever it took to do it just cause they were DIFFERENT!!!!

Aug. 29 2011 04:47 PM
Christy from None of your business

So first off ,wasn't it proven this was not a satanic killing?Second I don't think a few fibers that can be found in any household home in America can include that of Echols,Baldwin,or Misskelley.However DNA has put a match to one of the step fathers and his close friend.Tell me the link to where they positively link all three to these murders with"DNA" and I will buy it.I don't feed into this satanic garbage you all are spewing.

Aug. 29 2011 04:43 PM
whodidn'tdoit from uranus

i'm pretty much tired of all of this being in the news. they're out from a crap plea. the state is no longer pursuing suspects to find the killers because of the plea. maybe its just me but you would think they would have stayed till december got the new trial and had their convictions overturned. 18 yrs in prison..whats another 1 to 2 more to be completely free and have the police forced to find the real killers.

Aug. 29 2011 04:42 PM
Denise from Minneapolis

Oh my God, seriously...??? Some of the comments made above are ridiculous and anyone who has followed this case even in the slightest knows that much of what is written above in the comments is UNTRUE...idiots. Why don't you get your facts straight before you write your stupidity down for the world to see...Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelly are innocent...

Aug. 29 2011 04:37 PM
Trek from PNW

If any of you were to read actual facts in the case you will find that the DNA at the crime scene was that of one of the children's step father and the step father's friend. Of course since the WM3 are still "guilty" the case is close by the state and they will not go after anyone else, no matter what the DNA says. Yes there is a coverup and my guess its someone else covering up and finding whomever to blame it on. And who better than 3 teens that were really not all that smart to begin with and likely illiterate at the time.

Also one of the girls that testified claimed a week or so ago that she lied in court. Google people its a great tool.

Aug. 29 2011 04:35 PM
patty from milwaukee,wisconsin

hey stan do you know that the two girls that said those things all so said that what they said was a lie but they still used it in the trail.So get ur facts right

Aug. 29 2011 04:34 PM
Evidence from Buffalo, NY

Fibers on the murdered victims’ clothing were found to microscopically similar to things in the Baldwin and Echols homes (two of the West Memphis Three). The serrated wound patterns on the three victims that were consistent with, and could have been caused by, a knife found in a lake behind appellant Baldwin’s parents’ residence.

Twelve-year-old Christy VanVickle testified that she heard Echols (one of the three) say he “killed the three boys.” Fifteen-year-old Jackie Medford testified that she heard Echols say, “I killed the three little boys and before I turn myself in, I’m going to kill two more, and I already have one of them picked out.”

Aug. 29 2011 08:48 AM
West Memphis Three case evidence from New Haven, CT

This case was a very interesting one.

There was no "satanic panic." But there were special interests covering up ritual crimes.

Misskelley confessed three separate times. Baldwin told someone else he committed the crimes. Echols was seen in muddy clothes near the crime scene. He bragged about the murder to two other teenagers, stating he killed the three boys. This was presented as evidence at the trial. Echols also had a history of psychiatric treatment. His reported actions included brutally killing a dog, starting fires at his school, threatening to kill his teachers and parents and stating he liked to drink blood.

Echols' stated under cross-examination that he was interested in the occult. A funeral register found in his room with hand-drawn pentagrams and upside-down crosses. Echols' journal contained morbid images and references to dead children.

Aug. 28 2011 11:56 PM
Michelle from Demorest, GA

All proceeds made from benefits, rallies, concerts and such have been used to further the investigation. Which b/c of these celebrities a lot has been accomplished and I do believe the answer as to who killed these boys will come about. They are fighting to clear the names of the West Memphis Three and for the victims Stevie, Michael, and Christopher.

Aug. 28 2011 09:50 PM
ray koone from little rock

The writer you interviewed is noted for not letting the facts get in the way of one of her projects. Example the prosecutor was not defeated in the Supreme Court election due to his involvement in the WMT case, it was never mentiomed in the campaign. You could have found much better sources to interview.

Aug. 28 2011 08:41 PM

Stan, you write, "Satanic or not, sometimes teen dress and behavior is an indication of problems to come. See: Columbine."

The indications of "problems to come" with Columbine had nothing to do with dress. I'm not sure what you mean by behavior. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had a pattern of criminal behavior (stealing, building pipe bombs) and were documenting their plans to take out their high school. Those were the warning signs.

Aug. 28 2011 08:34 PM
Stan from Haddonfield, NJ

And why would the OTM piece be about the "satanic" angle. It came off as a little smug and lazy.

Why wouldn't OTM question the media and celebrity involvement in the whole case? Or even ask who actually murdered the boys or if there is a continuing investigation? The victims seem to have gotten lost in the shuffle of benefit concerts, HBO docs and celeb endorsements.

btw: Satanic or not, sometimes teen dress and behavior is an indication of problems to come. See: Columbine.

Aug. 28 2011 11:35 AM
Stan from Haddonfield, NJ

So then if the "West Memphis 3" are innocent, who actually killed the boys?

Can "the media" work on that one? Is there a documentary film maker willing to work to find the truth? How about Eddie Vedder and Johnny Depp---expert crime analysts that they are---can they gather evidence or throw a concert to help the victims families? I guess that would take more work than self-righteous posturing.

Aug. 28 2011 11:24 AM

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