(post from jivepuppi on yuku--- worth reading!)
The first part of my post is a transcription of Exhibit B of the warrants. It is commented on below.
The following is a summary regarding the investigation of the murders of Steve Edward Branch - age 8, Christopher Byers - age 8, Michael Moore - Age 8.
Branch, Byers, and Moore, were last seen riding two bicycles towards a wooded area known as Robin Hood Hill. This wooded area is located at the dead end of McAuley Street and North of Ten Mile Bayou in West Memphis, Arkansas. The last time of sighting was about 6:00 p.m. 05-05-93.
The victims were reported missing by their parents at approximately 8:10 pm 05-05-93 at which time a search was initiated.
At about 1:30 p.m. 05-06-93, the body of Christopher Byers was located by Sgt. Mike Allen after he sighted a black tennis shoe located in a creek approximately 60 yards south of Interstate 55.
Byers body was submerged in approximately 2-3 feet of water. Byers hands and feet were bound by shoe strings from tennis shoes and he had an obvious trauma wound to his left forehead and other locations on his body.
Branch and Moore's bodies were located submerged in water approximately 5 feet from Byers. Both Branch and Moore were bound in the same manner as Byers. Branch had obvious injuries and gouge wounds to his left cheek. Moore had been obviously castrated and had susstained other injuries. All three victims' were nude when located.
All clothing belonging to the victims including shirts, shoes, pants, and underwear were located in the creek in close proximity to the victims.
On 06-03-93, Jessie Misskelley Jr. was asked to come to the West Memphis Police Department where he was advised of his rights according to the Miranda rule and gave a voluntary statement concerning his involvement in the above noted homicides. A copy of a transcribed statement will be attached hereto. Misskelley gave the police information that only a person who had been involved in the homicides would have known. Misskelley stated that he witnessed the cutting of the penis of Chris Byers by Jason Baldwin, the forcible rape of Chris by Damien Echols, the striking of the heads by Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin including the severe beatings of all three boys, and the act of the victims being placed in
water by Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols. He stated that he did see one of the victims being drug into the water. Misskelley stated that when the beatings of the three victims began that Michael Moore ran from the scene and that he, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., did chase Michael Moore, caught him and returned him to the other two suspects who began beating him. Misskelley stated that he did witness one one the victims to be beaten until unconsciousness and that one of the victims was choked to what he thought was death with a piece of wood. He further stated that Damien had grabbed one of the victims around the head with his hands on either side of the head forcing the boy to perform oral sex on him. Misskelley stated that the victims were being held by their ears while being forced to perform these acts. Misskelley stated that he saw the bicycles that the victims had ridden to the scenes on to be parked on the south bank of the bayou by the victims as they approached the scene where the murders occurred. Misskelly also described the area where the murders occurred very specifically as to the high bank on the west side of the ditch where the bodies were placed and the flat area on the east side of the ditch where the murders actually took place.
This information given has been corroborated through the investigation conducted at the scene of the homicides by the West Memphis Police Department Criminal Investigation Division and the examination of the victims and evidence by the Arkansas State Crime Lab.
Exhibit B of the warrant is illustrative of the biased tone of the investigation and the outright dishonesty of the WMPD. This is the section that is supposed to give the justification for the warrant. It has three parts. The first describes the crime. The second describes the justification for the warrant. The third affirms that this information has been corroborated by the investigation.
The basis for the justification is made explicit. "Misskelley gave the police information that only a person who had been involved in the homicides would have known." Thirteen examples are then provided (the numbering is mine). Then, finally: "This information given has been corroborated through the investigation conducted at the scene of the homicides by the West Memphis Police Department Criminal Investigation Division and the examination of the victims and evidence by the Arkansas State Crime Lab."
This establishes two aspects by which the enumerated points can be assessed. First, that Misskelley gave the police the information. Second, Misskelley's statements can be corroborated by the evidence. This is to assess whether the details included in the warrant matched the facts of the case. In some cases, the police told Misskelley the details. In others, the details provided in the warrant were sheer fabrications by the police; Misskelley made no such comment. And, finally, there were some details that were provided by Misskelley and not the police. For these there was no corroboration or else they simply contradicted the facts of the case. Sometimes a given statement had all of these problems.
The first part is an odd rehashing of the description of the crime. Some facts are corrected (multiple injuries on Chris Byers). Others remain incorrect (Michael Moore was castrated).
The meat of the justification of the warrant begins with this section.
"On 06-03-93, Jessie Misskelley Jr. was asked to come to the West Memphis Police Department where he was advised of his rights according to the Miranda rule and gave a voluntary statement concerning his involvement in the above noted homicides. A copy of a transcribed statement will be attached hereto. Misskelley gave the police information that only a person who had been involved in the homicides would have known."
#1. Misskelley stated that he witnessed the cutting of the penis of Chris Byers by Jason Baldwin.
Facts of the case. Chris Byers did have injuries to his penis and groin area, specifically, the removal of his testicles and the skinning of his penis.
Problems with this statement. Lots of them. First of all, Misskelley never connects this incident to Jason Baldwin. Second of all Misskelley never states who had his penis cut. He points at a picture, the police identify the picture, and Misskelley agrees. (Misskelley had already shown that he could not correctly identify the victims from pictures.) Third, Misskelley only states that a child was cut "on the bottom." The police offer that Misskelley meant groin and then penis. Misskelley relates no specific knowledge in these exchanges until the police say it first. And, finally, Misskelley ends by saying he doesn't know if he saw them cut the penis.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Cutting in the face. Alright, another boy was cut I understand, where was he cut at?
*A63 MISSKELLEY: At the bottom
DETECTIVE RIDGE: On his bottom? Was he face down when he was cutting on him, or
*A64 MISSKELLEY: Mm-hmm.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Now you're talking about bottom, do you mean right here?
*A65 MISSKELLEY: Mm-hmm.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: In his groin area?
*A66 MISSKELLEY: (Note: there is no audio register for an answer here. Is it possible that Misskelley nodded?)
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Okay
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Do you know what his penis is?
*A67 MISSKELLEY: Mm-hmm, that's where he was cut at.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: That's where he was cut.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Which boy was that?
*A68 MISSKELLEY: That right there.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: You're talking about the Byers boy again?
*A69 MISSKELLEY: Mm-hmm.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Okay
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Are you sure that he was the one that was cut?
*A70 MISSKELLEY: That's the one that I seen them cutting on.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Alright, you know what penis is?
*A71 MISSKELLEY: Mm-hmm.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Alright, is that where he was cutting?
*A72 MISSKELLEY: That's where I seen them going down at, and he was on his back. I seen them going down right there real close to his penis and stuff and I saw some blood and that's when I took off.
Interestingly, Misskelley never of his own accord brings up the name of Chris (or Byers) in regards to any act of violence. Each time he is prompted by the police who tell him whose picture he pointed at. Misskelley never brings up Chris (or Byers) at all except in the statements regarding rape.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Which, which boys were raped?
*B44 MISSKELLEY: Uh, Byers and the Branch.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Did anyone have oral sex with the boys?
*B50 MISSKELLEY: Yes, Damien and Jason.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: How many of them did they do that to?
*B51 MISSKELLEY: Just two, Branch and Byers.
In between the above two, Misskelley mentions "Myers" in regards to rape:
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Do you know which one raped which boy, or how did that happen?
*B48 MISSKELLEY: Damien raped the Myers by hisself and and Jason and Damien raped uh the Branch.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Alright, give that to me again now.
*B49 MISSKELLEY: Damien raped uh the Myers by hisself and Jason and Damien raped uh the Branch.
#2. The forcible rape of Chris by Damien Echols.
Facts of the case. None of the children had anal injuries, bruises or trauma, associated with forcible penetration. Ergo, none of them were forcibly sodomized (pretty much stated by the medical examiner at trial). Byers had an "injected anus" with "marked hyperemia." The other two did not have their rectal areas so described.
Problems with this statement. Lots of them. First, it doesn't match the facts of the case. Second of all, Misskelley gave all sorts of contradictory statements related to this. He said, at various times that only Echols raped Chris (B48, above), that only Baldwin did (A135), and that neither of them did (A134). It's hard to get less specific than that.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Okay, and the one that they were cutting the penis off of, did any of them, or cutting the penis or whatever was being done, did they have sex with him at all?
*A134 MISSKELLEY: No
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Did any one of them?
*A135 MISSKELLEY: Jason did
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Jason did?
*A136 MISSKELLEY: Jason was screwing him while Damien stuck his in his mouth and got a blow job.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Okay, how did he have sex with that one?
*A137 MISSKELLEY: Damien, he was holding him down like, and Jason had his legs up in the air and that little boy was kicking, saying, 'don't, no' like that.
#3. The striking of the heads by Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin (sic).
Facts of the case: all three children had injuries to their heads consistent with being struck in the head.
Problems with this statement: lots of them (remarkable for such a short statement). Misskelley does say that Damien hit a child (A30). Misskelley does go on to say that that child was Michael Moore but then points to the picture of Chris Byers (A31). The police correct his identification (A32) and then tell him "Okay, so you saw Damien strike Chris Byers in the head? (after A34)" It is the police not Misskelley who corrects the identity and tells Misskelley that he saw the child struck in the head. Blows to the head are never mentioned again by Misskelley. Misskelley never says Jason hit a child in the head.
*A30 MISSKELLEY: When I was there, I saw Damien hit this one, hit this one boy real bad, and then uh, and then he started screwing them and stuff and then uh,
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Alright, you got in front of you a picture, that was taken out of the newspaper I believe, it's got three boys and these are the three boys that were killed on that date in Robin Hood Woods, okay. Which one of those three boys is it you say Damien hit? The third picture (Jessie seems to be affirming this in the background), which will be
*A31 MISSKELLEY: Michael Moore
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: This boy right here,
*A32 MISSKELLEY: Yeah,
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Alright, that's uh the Byers boy,
#4. Including the severe beatings of all three boys.
Facts of the case: all three boys had multiple bruises consistent with being beaten.
Problems with this statement: Misskelley gets this correct. He does say all three of the boys were severely beaten. A36 continues a discussion regarding Chris Byers and Damien Echols.
*A36 MISSKELLEY: He hit him with his fist and bruised him all up real bad.
*A56 MISSKELLEY: Right after I, they beat up all three of them, beat them up real bad
*A138 MISSKELLEY: They beat them up so bad so they can't hardly move.
#5. The act of the victims being placed in the water by Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols.
Facts of the case: all three victims were found underwater, sunk in the mud at the bottom of a creek.
Problems with this statement: Again, this is not "insider knowledge" on the part of Misskelley. After telling the police twice that the children did not get into the water, the police tell Misskelley that they did. Only then does Misskelley agree with the premise and say they were pulled into the water. "Placed" is an odd choice of words, as it does not coincide with any of Misskelley's statements.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Besides just playing, the little boys, had they been in the water? Did they get into the water with you all?
*A175 MISSKELLEY: No, they didn't get into the water with us
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Did you ever see the boys in the water?
*B33 MISSKELLEY: Uh, yeah, down by the water.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Alright, how did the boys get into the water?
*B34 MISSKELLEY: They pulled them there into the water.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Alright, when you say they who is it that pulled them into the water?
*B35 MISSKELLEY: Jason and uh, Damien.
#6. One of the victims being drug into the water.
Facts of the case: There is no evidence of the manner in which the children were taken into the water.
Problems with this statement: A bizarre statement. Misskelley makes no comment regarding one of the children being "drug" into the water, by that I mean, he never singles out one child. The only statements regarding the children and water are mentioned above.
#7. When the beatings of the three victims began that Michael Moore ran from the scene and that he, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., did chase Michael Moore, caught him and returned him to the other two suspects who began beating him.
Facts of the case: no supporting evidence that this happened and some evidence to the contrary. Misskelley's comments, in their entirety, say that Moore headed off to the south. Moore's body was found to the north, separate from the other two.
Problems with this statement: There is the above problem of the contradicting evidence. Misskelley also says he held Moore until "they" got there, not that Misskelley brought Moore back. Of course, this makes no sense, because this was supposed to have happened at the beginning of the melee and Jason and Damien would have had to have abandoned Chris and Stevie. The police must have picked up on this inconsistency so they correct Misskelley in the following question, telling Misskelley that he brought the children back together (in agreement with what is in the warrant). The police also elaborate that when Michael Moore was returned "the other two suspects. . . began beating him." There is nothing in Misskelley's statement as to that, although Misskelley does state elsewhere that all three were beaten.
*A37 MISSKELLEY: And started doing the same thing, then the other one took off, Michael uh Moore took off running, so I chased him and grabbed him and held him, til they got there and then I left.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Okay. Alright, when you get the boys back together, where you at from the creek?
#8. One one the victims to be beaten until unconsciousness. (sic)
Facts of the case: All three were severely beaten. No specific evidence that supports that they were beaten until unconscious, but neither does this assertion contradict the facts.
Problems with the statement: Misskelley made no such statement especially regarding the odd particular that it is one of the children being beaten until unconscious. The police are the first to bring up the subject of unconsciousness, and then it is after the cutting. Again, the police provide the "inside knowledge." Nothing is mentioned as to how they became unconscious.
*A128 MISSKELLEY: I saw them cutting on them, and then they, they
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: So, what else, what else left is there, after that?
*A129 MISSKELLEY: Then they laid the knife down beside them and I saw them tying them up and then that's when I left.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Were the boys conscience (sic) or were they
*A130 MISSKELLEY: They were unconscious then
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Unconscious
#9. One of the victims was choked to what he thought was death with a piece of wood.
Facts of the case: no evidence that any child was choked. This lack of evidence basically says that no child was choked.
Problems with the statement: it contradicts the facts of the case. Furthermore, Misskelley told the police the child was choked to death with hands, then a stick. The police then correct him, telling him that he just thought the child was dead. This correction was necessary because the means of death did not match Jessie's mention.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: How was he actually killed?
*A208 MISSKELLEY: He did, he choked him real bad like.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Choked him? Okay, what was he choking him with?
*A209 MISSKELLEY: His hands, like a, like a stick, he had a big old stick, and he's kind of holding it over his neck.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Okay, so he was choking him to the point where he actually went unconscious, so at that point, you felt like he was dead?
*A210 MISSKELLEY: Yeah
#10. Damien had grabbed one of the victims around the head with his hands on either side of the head forcing the boy to perform oral sex on him.
#11. The victims were being held by their ears while being forced to perform these acts.
Facts of the case: the bruises on the ear can be argued with being consistent with a perpetrator using them as a means of forcing oral sex. They could also be caused by holding ears for other reasons. No semen was found in the oral cavities, and no bruising was found in the back of the mouth. Peretti indicated that these signs would be expected with forced oral sex.
Problems with this statement. Like in #1, 2, 6 and 7 the warrant is particular, where Misskelley is not particular or else contradictory. Misskelley clearly says both Echols and Baldwin received oral sex (B50). Furthermore, when Misskelley goes into how the children were held during the oral sex, Misskelley refers to both Damien and Jason (the warrant statement only mentions Damien). There are other problems with this statement centering around the 12 exchanges before Jessie finally is led to say that they held the children by their ears. This has been discussed elsewhere, but suffice it to say, Jessie did not spontaneously display insider knowledge in this matter. He was laboriously taken there by the police.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Did anyone have oral sex with the boys?
*B50 MISSKELLEY: Yes, Damien and Jason.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: How did, how did, they force these boys to have oral sex on them? How did they have a hold of them?
*B66 MISSKELLEY: One of them had holding them by the arms while the other one got behind them and stuff.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Did he ever hold him up here or
*B67 MISSKELLEY: Uh, the one that was holding him up there at the front grabbing him by his headlock.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Had him in a headlock? Did he have him any other way?
*B68 MISSKELLEY: He was holding him like this by his head like this and stuff (Note: was indicating the victims being held by their ears)
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Could he have been holding him up here like that?
*B69 MISSKELLEY: I was too far away he was holding him up here by his head like this (Note: showed the same as above)
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: So, so
*B70 MISSKELLEY: And he was pulling him.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Ok, so who was one of them doing that or both of them was doing it? Was Jason?
*B71 MISSKELLEY: Jason was holding him while Damien did it and then they took turns.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: So, they both did it to all three of these boys?
*B72 MISSKELLEY: Just them two as far as I know.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Just the two of them?
*B73 MISSKELLEY: Yeah.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: But they, they both Jason and Damien did it to two of the boys and they took turns?
*B74 MISSKELLEY: Uh huh.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: And they would hold, tell me again about their hands on, I mean I know you're, you're holding it up here.
*B75 MISSKELLEY: It was up here by their heads and stuff and was just pulling and stuff.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Alright, so they are up here, had their hands
*B76 MISSKELLEY: By their ears and pulling them and stuff.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Alright, Ok, say, say that again for me now.
*B77 MISSKELLEY: Hold them by their head, by ears and pulling
#12. He saw the bicycles that the victims had ridden to the scenes on to be parked on the south bank of the bayou by the victims as they approached the scene where the murders occurred. (sic)
Facts of the case: the children on the bicycles were last seen about a quarter mile from the above described place. The bicycles were found on the north half of the bayou, under water, about thirty to forty feet from the south bank.
Problems with this statement. Jessie makes no such comment. Jessie's comments regarding the bicycles are:
*A88 MISSKELLEY: They skipped school
DETECTIVE RIDGE: They skipped school?
*A89 MISSKELLEY: They's going to catch their bus and stuff, and they's on their bikes and so, (interrupted)
The children didn't skip school, they didn't take their bikes to school, and they didn't take a bus to school. Furthermore, there is no indication that Jessie knows that there were two bikes for the three kids.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Alright, they were on their bikes, where were the bikes at?
*A90 MISSKELLEY: They, they laid their bikes down when they come out to the, I mean, when they hollered for them to come, come out there
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Where did they lay their bikes down at, that's what I'm asking?
*A91 MISSKELLEY: I don't know where they laid their bikes down at, cause I was, I was behind Damien and nem, way, way behind them.
Here Jessie clearly says he doesn't know. Furthermore, this statement does match the geography when taken with his other statements, particularly that Damien and Jason were in the creek when they saw the kids and hollered to them to come over. But the police ask Jessie again:
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Did they call them by name?
*A182 MISSKELLEY: Un-uh, they just hollered at them, and they, they slowed up.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Where did the boys put their bikes?
*A183 MISSKELLEY: Close to right where there before you come in and they laid them down right there, and I don't know, after I left I don't know what they done with the bikes.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: You didn't do anything to the bikes at all?
*A184 MISSKELLEY: No.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Are you sure?
*A185 MISSKELLEY: Positive.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: You didn't touch the bikes?
*A186 MISSKELLEY: I didn't touch them.
"Close to right where there before you come in" is Jessie's definitive statement on where the bicycles were left and sufficient to put in the search warrant Jessie's inside knowledge regarding the bicycles that the bicycles were left on the south side of the bayou (for which there was no evidence, anyhow).
#13. Described the area where the murders occurred very specifically as to the high bank on the west side of the ditch where the bodies were placed and the flat area on the east side of the ditch where the murders actually took place.
Facts of the case: the flat area on the east side of the ditch was alongside where Michael Moore's body was found and about 10 yards from where the other two bodies were found. Too long an argument to go into whether this was the murder scene. According to the police's own case summary, the lack of blood at the site where the bodies were found indicates that it was not where the murders took place.
Problems with this statement: I have gone into this statement at length elsewhere. There is no evidence that Misskelley knew anything about the area around which the bodies were found. The police supplied him with these details on tape.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Alright, and you know where the little creek is that goes out to the expressway, and it doesn't have a lot of water in it, but it's got some water in it, and it's flowing through there, which side of that creek were you on, were you on the Memphis side of the creek or were you on the Blue Beacon side of that creek?
*A76 MISSKELLEY: Blue Beacon.
DETECTIVE RIDGE: On the Blue Beacon
*A77 MISSKELLEY: Yes
DETECTIVE RIDGE: So, there is like a tall bank, were you, where were you at on that bank?
DETECTIVE RIDGE: Alright, we're going to correct that even further, that's the east side, Memphis side is the east side and you were standing at the top of the bank on the west side, were you looking down at what was going on?
*A82 MISSKELLEY: I was looking down, and after I seen all of that, I took off
In summary, of the 13 statements made regarding Jessie's inside knowledge of events that were also corroborated by evidence, only number 4 was correct. Jessie correctly stated that all three were beaten up badly. The other statements were provided by the police, unsubstantiated, or simply invented when composing the search warrant.
To quote Misskelley and myself:
" *A91 MISSKELLEY: I don't know where they laid their bikes down at, cause I was, I was behind Damien and nem, way, way behind them.
Here Jessie clearly says he doesn't know. Furthermore, this statement does match the geography when taken with his other statements, particularly that Damien and Jason were in the creek when they saw the kids and hollered to them to come over."
I meant to say this statement doesn't match the geography. This statement by itself goes a long way to pointing out how Jessie invented this whole confession on the fly and with a short attention span.
Previously he had Damien and Jason in the water taking turns going under water when they called for the kids to come over. Now he seems to be saying that he was way behind Damien so he couldn't see where the kids laid down their bikes. If they were on their bikes and he could see them on their bikes, he could certainly see where they were no longer on their bikes. If he was way behind he is either referring to them all getting there together at the same time and Jessie tailing behind or somehow positioned in the Blue Beacon Woods in a manner that he was a distance from Jason and Damien and further away from the kids. From the density of the woods, this makes no sense. Nor does it make any sense that Jason and Damien could have seen the kids riding on the bikes (here left on the South Bank of the bayou) and called them over.