After the documentary crew returned to New York, Berlinger and Sinofsky were reported to have discovered what appeared to be blood on the knife. Echols testified that Detective Ridge's description of their earlier conversation (which was not recorded) regarding those particular details was inaccurate (and indeed that some other claims by Ridge were "lies"). There was a small amount of blood found at the scene that was never tested. They were at Damien's house watching TV and attempted to hide in his bedroom, turning the lights off in hopes that the cops would go away. , The day after the victims' bodies were found, Bojangles' manager Marty King, thinking there was a possible connection to the bloody man found in the bathroom, reported the incident to police officers who then inspected the ladies' room. , Misskelley was tried separately, and Echols and Baldwin were tried together in 1994. A hair identified as belonging to a black male was later recovered from a sheet wrapped around one of the victims. On November 4, 2010, the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a lower judge to consider whether newly analyzed DNA evidence might exonerate the three. On September 17, 2011, 48 Hours re-aired the episode with the update of their release and interviews from Echols and his wife, and Baldwin. Faith is nothing more than a watered-down attempt to accept someone else's insight as your own. Byers initially claimed the knife had never been used.  The justices also instructed the lower court to examine claims of misconduct by the jurors who sentenced Damien Echols to death and Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin to life in prison. To assist in the appeals process, Echols' appellate legal team retained a Berkeley, California-based forensic psychiatrist, Dr. George Woods, to make their case.  Byers later stated that he may have cut his thumb. , On February 5, 1994, Misskelley was convicted by a jury of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder. News. In 2017 he moved to Texas, where he co-founded Proclaim Justice—a nonprofit dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions—in Austin. He stated in his report for Echols's legal team that there was no evidence the murders were linked to satanic rituals and that post-mortem animal predation could explain the alleged knife injuries. Byers was the only victim with drugs in his system; he was prescribed Ritalin (methylphenidate) in January 1993 as part of treatment of an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.  Under the "Bruton rule", his confession could not be admitted against his co-defendants and thus he was tried separately. HBO executives ordered them to return the knife to the West Memphis Police Department. In 2005, Damien Echols completed his memoir, Almost Home, Vol 1, offering his perspective of the case. Misskelley came in for questioning and police talked to him for 12 hours without his parents in the room, despite him being a minor and having, as was later reported, an IQ of 72, which would lead to questions about his ability to fully process what was happening. His father said Byers may not have taken his prescription on May 5, 1993. They became pop culture icons, especially Echols, who was on death row and was the one who had the most to say about why he felt that he and his friends had been scapegoated. Aaron, a playmate of the murdered boys', mentioned to Bray that the boys had been killed at "the playhouse."  Prosecutor Scott Ellington said the Arkansas state crime laboratory would help seek other suspects by running searches on any DNA evidence produced in private laboratory tests during the defense team's investigation. They lived in Massachusetts for awhile—in Salem, land of the notorious 17th-century witch trials—before ending up in New York. , In October 2003, Vicki Hutcheson, who had played a part in the arrests of Misskelley, Echols, and Baldwin, gave an interview to the Arkansas Times in which she stated that every word she had given to the police was a fabrication. , Baldwin and Echols had been previously arrested for vandalism and shoplifting, respectively, and Misskelley had a reputation for his temper and for engaging in fistfights with other teenagers at school. The prosecution accused the three young men of committing a Satanic murder. Also, my sister Jo Lynn told me that she saw Terry wash clothes, bed linens and curtains from Stevie's room at an odd time around the time of the Murders.  Echols's mental state while in prison awaiting trial was also called into question by his appellate team.  The defense team objected when the prosecution attempted to question Echols about his past violent behaviors, but the defense objections were overruled.. He claimed that he "might have" killed the victims but quickly recanted this part of his statement. Well, Damian Seth grew up. Asked by the judge if there was a reason the sentence shouldn't be handed down, Baldwin replied, "Because I'm innocent.". 19. The knife was a folding hunting knife manufactured by Kershaw. However, these potential bite marks were first noticed in photographs years after the trials and were not inspected by a board-certified medical examiner until four years after the murders. , Three films, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, have documented this case and are strongly critical of the verdict. (He also had a pregnant girlfriend, Domini Teer, who gave birth to their son when he was in jail.) , In May 1994, the three defendants appealed their convictions; the convictions were upheld on direct appeal.  In June 1996, Misskelley's lawyer, Dan Stidham, was preparing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. They were released with 10-year suspended sentences, having served 18 years. Three Cub Scouts who liked swimming and karate, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-style. , At his death penalty sentencing hearing, Echols' psychologist reported that months before the murders, Echols had claimed that he obtained super powers by drinking human blood. , John E. Douglas, a former longtime FBI agent and current criminal profiler, said that the murders were more indicative of a single murderer intent on degrading and punishing the victims, than of a trio of "unsophisticated" teenagers. Damien Wayne Echols Wiki: Salary, Married, Wedding, Spouse, Family Damien Wayne Echols was born on December 11, 1974 in West Memphis, Arkansas, USA as Michael Wayne Hutchison. In 2007, the defense teams presented new forensic evidence and, when DNA tests couldn't place the convicted young men at the scene, prosecutors were open to negotiating. Echols spent several months in a mental institution in Arkansas and afterward received "full disability" status from the Social Security Administration. Misskelley, 17, knew them, but they weren't as close with him. Stidham made similar comments during a radio show interview in May 2010. In 2000, the biological father of Christopher Byers, Rick Murray, expressed his doubts about the guilty verdicts on the West Memphis Three website. A reading grove that was dedicated to them at Weaver Elementary School remains, almost three decades later. The plea deal did not technically result in a full exoneration; some of the convictions would stand, but the men would not admit guilt. Chris Morgan and Brian Holland, both with drug offense histories, had abruptly departed for Oceanside, California, four days after the bodies were discovered. Viewers will see something "entirely different" as far as the approach to the investigation into who killed Steve, Michael and Chris, and they will learn new details and hear from witnesses they'd never heard of before. During their conversation, Hutcheson reported that Echols made no incriminating statements. ", On March 23, 2016, Echols gave a presentation about his art processes at the, The transcript of Echols' spoken word performance in. In an interview with Piers Morgan, he said that he would like to have a career in writing and visual arts..  On August 19, 2011, they entered Alford pleas, which allowed them to assert their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them. He is an actor and producer, known for Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000), Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) and Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996).  His conviction was appealed, but the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the conviction. A police officer leaked portions of Aaron's statements to the press contributing to the growing belief that the murders were part of a Satanic rite.