West Memphis, Arkansas: The Case
Tragedy strikes the small quaint town of West Memphis, Arkansas. Three young boys, Steve Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers are found dead in a creek. Suspects were quickly narrowed to three teenage boys, Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols. These three teenage boys are the namesake for the West Memphis Three.
When the trial came to an end, the prosecution had convinced the jury that the teenagers were guilty of this triple homicide, that these three high school students sacrificed three young boys in a satanic ritual. After conviction the West Memphis Three claimed they were innocent and eventually their case picked up momentum, gaining the attention of celebrities and people all over the United States. As time went on they were able to disprove all of the prosecutions evidence and offer new suspects.
Arkansas Supreme Court ruled for a new trial but when the trial was set to start the boys signed an Alford deal, meaning they agreed to a guilty verdict even though they were innocent. They were released from prison and placed on probation.
This case is interesting because it shows the singular focus the prosecution had on their chosen suspects and the police and prosecutions mishandling of the case. This case also has a significant post trial fame where celebrities’ got involved and evidence got overturned and new evidence popped up. Our question is, did they ever catch the actual murderers, or did these three teenagers actually perform this horrific crime?
“My baby was murdered and butchered like an animal and his two friends were too, so whatever punishment they get they deserve.”– John Mark Byers (West of Memphis 2012)