In , after almost two decades in prison, the West Memphis Three agreed to an Alford plea, which allowed them to proclaim their innocence. The "West Memphis Three", from left, Jessie Misskelley Jr., Damien. A new series on Investigation Discovery will focus on one of the more high-. At P.M. on May 5, the West Memphis Police Department received a call which meant the continued incarceration of three almost certainly innocent.
Are the west memphis three innocent -
HOBBS A documentary film about the killings, West of Memphis a film paid for and produced by well-known director Peter Jackson , suggests without making a direct accusation that Terry Hobbs, stepfather of victim Stevie Branch, participated in the murders of the three boys. The filmmakers note that the most significant piece of DNA evidence found at the crime scene, DNA in a hair found in one of the shoelaces used to tie up the boys, matched the DNA of Terry Hobbs as well as 1.
A second hair found on a tree stump near where the bodies were found matched that of David Jacoby, a friend of Terry Hobbs, whom Hobbs visited roughly an hour before the boys disappeared. They also question the alibi given by Hobbs, that he spent the evening of the murders with his friend, David Jacoby. In the film, Jacoby doubts whether he spent as much time with Hobbs that night as Hobbs suggests. The filmmakers also stress that Terry Hobbs had a long history of abuse, including an admitted assault on his wife and accusations of child beating and assaults on neighbors.
An aunt of Stevie Branch, Judy Sadler, accuses Hobbs in the film of forcing his young son to watch him masturbate and of sexually molesting Stevie's sister, Amanda. Amanda, incidentally, says she cannot recall any sexual abuse by her stepfather.
They also managed to find a neighbor who claimed to have seen Hobbs with the three boys on the night of the murder, something Hobbs strongly denied. To this mix of circumstantial evidence, the filmmakers add the fact that another of Stevie's aunts, Jo Lynn McAughey, alleges she saw Terry Hobbs doing laundry the night of the murders, presumably to clean the mud off of his clothes after killing the boys in the woods, and the fact that a prized pocket knife owned by Stevie, one he almost always carried with him, was later found among Terry Hobbs's possessions.
Finally, and perhaps most damningly, the filmmakers produced three young men who now claim to have been told by a nephew of Terry Hobbs that the fact that Terry killed the three boys was a closely guarded "family secret. Terry Hobbs, however, was not without his defenders. Todd Moore, father of victim Michael Moore, found the evidence against Hobbs unpersuasive. He noted that his son spent a lot of time in the home of Terry Hobbs and could easily have picked up the hair with DNA matching that of Terry Hobbs found in his shoelaces on one of those occasions.
Todd Moore asserted, "Terry Hobbs did not murder my son. No credible law enforcement official believes so. Hamish McKenzie, writing in The Atlantic, was critical of the decision of filmmakers in West of Memphis to place the blame for the murders on Terry Hobbs, calling Jackson a"self-appointed producer-prosecutor" and the charges made in the movie "reckless.
In , what seems likely to be close to the true story of the West Memphis murders finally emerged in separate affidavits signed by Billy Wayne Stewart and Bennie Guy.
The level of detail and overall plausibility of the stories told in the affidavits make it seem highly credible, even if they do come from an admitted drug dealer and a convicted felon. Hollingsworth and Buddy Lucas, showed up at his West Memphis home looking to buy some pot, which Stewart provided.
While Stewart sold the two boys the pot, he noticed Hobbs and Jacoby kissing in a pick-up truck across the street. According to Stewart, Hobbs was a bisexual with a preference for sex with young boys. Hobbs, he stated, had invited his own ten-year-old son, "Bill Bil," to pool parties--invitations which Stewart insisted his son decline. Getting back in the pick-up, Hobbs, Jacoby, and the two boys drove around town, smoking pot and drinking whiskey, before heading down a dirt road by the Blue Beacon Wood.
At that point, according to Lucas's account, Terry Hobbs asked the two teenagers to get out and "wrestle" while he and Jacoby watched. While Lucas does not specifically say the wrestling soon turned into sexual activity involving him, L. Hollingworth and the two men, Stewart has no doubt that is what happened, asserting that the lowered head and shame evident on the boy's face as he told the story made it clear there was "more going on between the boys and the men than what Buddy had just told me.
Stewart says Lucas told him that Terry Hobbs screamed, "Get them little fuckers! According to the Stewart affidavit, "Mr. Hobbs walked over to the boy that Mr. Jacoby had been beating and repeatedly bit the boy's penis and scrotum," then "cut the boy's genitals. The boys' clothes and bodies were gathered and dragged to the water, and their bikes thrown into the bayou. Shockingly, according to Stewart, when he tried to call West Memphis Police investigator Bill Sanders to tell him the story he had heard from Buddy Lucas, Sanders never even bothered to return his phone calls.
If this allegation is true--and it certainly rings so--readers can debate whether that decision, which meant the continued incarceration of three almost certainly innocent young men for another sixteen years, or the murders in the Blue Beacon Wood, was the greater tragedy. Bennie Guy's affidavit tells a similar story.
Guy stated that while Buddy who Guy describes as "pretty bad slow' was staying in his home in he confessed his involvement in the killings. Guy stated in his affidavit that L. Hollingsworth also confessed to participating in the murders while both were incarcerated in the Crittenden County Jail in Hollingsworth's confession adds a few new details to that of Buddy's.
According to Guy's account of Hollingsworth's confession, Terry Hobbs became enraged after one of the boys began kicking him. Hobbs hit the boy in the head and shouted, "I am going to teach your fucking ass. Guy stated that he sent a detailed letter to Prosecutor Scott Ellington in February describing the details of the two confessions, but that Ellington never responded.
The West Memphis Three? Todd Moore, father of victim Michael Moore, prosecutor John Fogleman, most detectives involved in the case, and many others continue to contend that the murders were committed by Jesse Misskelley, Jason Baldwin, and Damien Echols.
They begin by pointing out that two juries in , after listening to all the evidence, found the three guilty. They neglect to point out, however, that much of the most potentially persuasive evidence that defense attorneys hoped to introduce in those trials was excluded by Judge Burnett. They argue that Jesse Misskelley confessed no less than five times to the killings after his arrest and in the year following the trials.
They note that Damien Echols had a long history of mental health problems before the murders and described himself at one point as homicidal, suicidal, and schizophrenic. They also contend that the fact that three different knots were used to hogtie the young victims points to the involvement of three killers, not one or two. Others who continue to believe in the guilt of the West Memphis Three point to an interview given to police on May 18, by Laura Maxwell another third-hand story, admittedly , in which she was told by a friend that Damien killed the boys after they "saw something they weren't supposed to have seen"--presumably Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley engaged in "devil-worshipping meetings in that park.Amanda, incidentally, says she cannot recall any sexual abuse by her stepfather. Victims memorial Ina memorial was erected for the three murder victims. Under the terms of the Alford guilty plea, Echols and his co-defendants accepted the sufficiency of evidence supporting the three counts of first degree murder while maintaining their innocence. During that meeting, Benca asked McDaniel if his team would consider skipping the hearing in order to move straight to new trials. Another hair found on a tree stump near the crime scene was found to be consistent with the DNA are the west memphis three innocent David Jacoby, a friend of Hobbs, according to court documents. Outside of the courts, the case continued to fall apart.