The West Memphis Three, Part III (Conclusion)

The three slain children

I had never paid attention to the West Memphis Saga back when it was being played out. I had not yet become the aficionado of true crime that I have since, and at that time I was going through a saga of my own – the Saga of Crack Cocaine (though it wasn’t me that was abusing the drug). It wasn’t until 2002 or ’03 that I ever heard about the case, and by that time the teenagers Damien, Jason, and Jessie had become grown men while serving their life prison sentences, with Damien on Death Row.

Melissa Byers

After watching all parts of the documentary, reading the Devil’s Knot, and examining many articles, essays, blogs, and other writings about the case, I know far more about it than most and have reached the conclusion that an adult had to have been involved in the atrocious murders. Two adults actually were considered suspects in the crime, though not during the Satanic Panic witch hunt that put the three ‘misfits’ behind bars for 18 years of their lives. John Mark Byers was indeed questioned by the cops engaged in the case, but his being such an important bigwig drug informant for them seemed to have allowed more sympathy than suspicion to play a role in his so-called interrogation.

John Mark Byers was and still is a very strange character. A homely man, he appeared in all of the Paradise Lost docs either inebriated from alcohol or some other, more illegal substance. Playing the grieving stepfather, he was at once both religious and sinfully vengeful, ranting and cussing about the three teenagers one moment, singing Gospel hymns in church the next. He allegedly gave one of the filmmakers a bloody knife as a ‘gift’, and that is how he became a suspect, however briefly. Honestly, I cannot believe that Byers, eccentric though his behavior was, could be involved in the deaths of his own stepson and the two other boys. Why would he kill Michael and Stevie? If he hated Christopher so much, he could murdered him at any time, any place. His crimes are being a drug addict, perhaps aiding his depressed and equally drug-addled, plain-faced wife in committing suicide, if that’s what her death was, and acting like a typical redneck ass in several documentaries, for the world to see.

What about Terry Hobbs? A hair that was microscopically similar to one of his hairs was found embedded within one of the knots on the shoelaces used to hogtie the little boys. This by itself does not mean the man is a murderer, and a few years ago he gave an interview in which he stated that the true killers – Damien, Jason, and Jessie – have been set free, even though his ex wife, Pam, and John Byers both stated at the time that they now believed Hobbs to be the true killer. According to Terry, his former wife and Byers were only interested in profiting off the deaths of the boys, which I wholly agree with. Leave it to White people to use the deaths of children as money making machines! I just don’t believe myself that Hobbs had anything to do with the boys’ murders. Why would he include Chris and Michael, for one? He could just as easily have killed Stevie and buried his little body far away, making it seem like the child had been kidnapped and murdered. For another, why would he kill Stevie in the first place? It simply doesn’t make any sense but then murder sometimes does not.

Pam Hobbs

I don’t believe that John Mark Byers had anything to do with it, I don’t believe Terry Hobbs did either and I definitely do not believe that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley committed those violent, demonic acts. Someone else – probably more than one person – did. Whether or not it was ‘Mr. Bojangles’ and an accomplice, or some other bloodthirsty duo, I cannot state for certain. I wish I did know. It’s a tragedy that needs closure, not just for the families but for all who want to see true justice done. There is an individual, maybe more than one, who knows what really happened. If that person, or people, have even an ounce of human compassion in their hearts, they need to speak up and let America know what truly went on in Robin Wood Hills on that horrible night in May 1992.

The West Memphis Three, Part II

The story of the West Memphis Three continues with Vicki Hutcheson, who was being questioned in a theft case by one of the detectives. She took along her 8 year old son, Aaron, and somehow went from an alleged thief to an amateur investigator when her little boy started talking about the murdered children. From the mouths of babes…yet the police in the case started believing this child, even when his tales became more fantastical by the week. He finally admitted to actually witnessing the killings, and he identified Damien, Jason, and Jessie as the perpetrators.

The investigators grow excited. They now have proof that ‘weirdo’ Damien, ‘misfit’ Jason, and ‘street thug’ Jessie have committed these gruesome acts of violence. Aaron saw them. He described in detail what happened. As the weeks progressed, the little boy’s stories would grow more incredible yet these grown men, with their years of law enforcement experience, education, and maturity, would continue to put a great deal of stock in the accounts.

Vicki got herself introduced to Damien and ‘pretended’ to ‘date’ him for the sole purpose of soliciting information from him for the cops. Now if that don’t just beat all! She told detectives that they tried to get her to take part in an orgy, but she got away from them and now was in fear for her life. If these hayseed detectives had any evidence at all other than hearsay that these teenagers had committed such a heinous act as torturing, raping, and killing these innocent boys, why did they feel they needed the lies of an obviously attention-seeking kid and his mother, who had the look of a substance abuser?

What about Jessie’s confessions? Several sites that are anti-WM3 will claim that his confessions are true, and that they do implicate Damien and Jason. Those that are pro-WM3 will state that Jessie’s confessions were coerced. I got my information from unbiased sources and they unequivocally affirm that the confessions were ‘made up’, that one can tell from how Jessie utters ‘uh’ and uses certain words and phrases that he is thinking hard about what to tell the detective(s). Jessie Misskelly does not have an average intelligence. He is actually what used to be termed ‘mentally retarded’ years ago. His confessions should never have been used to obtain arrest warrants for Damien and Jason because he was legally underage and should have had his parents present. What does someone who didn’t even know Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas, know about his Rights and the Miranda Warning?

 Then enters Satan. If nothing else screams guilt in the Bible Belt, it’s the presence of the Devil and when you’ve got a youth who dresses in black clothing and calls himself ‘Damien’ – reputedly after the anti-Christ in The Omen – and another who wears concert T shirts of such bands as Metallica, well folks, you have certainly got some murder suspects there. Put them together with an outcast like Jessie and what have you then? A trio of child killers, what else! Sure, these three teenagers could have manhandled three 8 year old kids, but I never thought it was possible when I read the Blood of Innocents and I really began to doubt the convictions of Damien, Jason, and Jessie after reading the Devils Knot because watching the first two of the Paradise Lost documentaries didn’t sway me – it was too evident how much the filmmakers believed in the teenagers’ innocence.

Now West Memphis is not your typical Southern town like those the size of my city, which has probably eight times the population that West Memphis had in 2010 (26,245) . Lots of White boys wore concert T shirts with the names of heavy metal bands on them during the late 80s/early 90s, and a lot of kids here wore black – hell, I always did because it made me appear slimmer. Why would anyone be considered a devil worshiper for liking Ozzy Osbourne or Motley Crue? Bumpkins. You would think young people wouldn’t be as narrow-minded as their elders but I guess Americans are different in that part of the country.

In the next post I will examine the convictions and two other suspects, John Mark Byers and Terry Wayne Hobbs, stepfather of two of the slain children.

The West Memphis Three, Part I

When I first read the true crime book Blood of Innocents by Guy Reel, Marc Perrusquia, and Bartholomew Sullivan, I thought at that time – which was shortly after the millennium had been ushered in, albeit fearfully, due to the Y2K threat – that three teenage boys couldn’t possibly have murdered, and in such a savage fashion, three little 8 year old kids. In 2004, I saw, for the first time, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills. I was shocked at seeing the brutalized bodies of these small children, but I still thought that an adult or two had to be involved somehow. The police did shoddy work, their investigations into the murders were flawed and biased, and even the prosecution was prejudiced. Hicks, was my snooty conclusion after watching Paradise Lost 2: Revelations and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory. The cops and prosecutors and defense were all hicks.

On 5 May 1993, three 8 year old boys – Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore – were reported missing by their parents. An initial search by police was limited due to the hour and possibly also where they thought the boys may have disappeared – Robin Wood Hills – though family, friends, and neighbors of the boys conducted a search that led them into the wooded area where their bodies were later discovered. Even a ‘shoulder to shoulder’ search carried out the following day did not yield the boys’ bodies. It wasn’t until juvenile PO Steve Jones found a child’s black shoe floating in the creek that a further investigation guided them to the pale, mutilated, hogtied bodies of the children.

They were naked, had all been viciously attacked – particularly Christopher, whose undeveloped male sexual organs had been partially skinned and removed – with bruises, cuts, scratches, and other marks of violence that revealed a torture no little kid should ever have to endure. I knew – and still know – that children and adolescents are fully capable of committing acts of murder. The tragic story of little James Patrick Bulger, the equally pathetic tale of Maddie Clifton, and the mind-boggling sorrows that are visited upon the families of other children killed by their peers proves that kids can and really do kill. It’s rare but it happens, same as with women who murder. Homicide isn’t the exclusive domain of men though I am sure testosterone plays a huge role in their being the main perpetrators.

Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were not the only suspects. They were not even considered suspects in the beginning of the investigation. A pair of teens with drug histories, a Chris Morgan and a Brian Holland, were viewed with suspicion early on after departing suddenly for

Oceanside, California just a few days after the bodies were recovered from the muddy waters. Chris Morgan had driven an ice cream truck for a time in the neighborhood where all three victims lived. According to polygraph results, both men showed deception when asked if they had any involvement in the murders.

During subsequent questioning, Morgan claimed a long history of drug and alcohol use, along with blackouts and memory lapses. He claimed that he “might have” killed the victims but quickly recanted this part of his statement. California police sent blood and urine samples from Morgan and Holland to the WMPD, but there is no indication WMPD investigated Morgan or Holland as suspects following their arrest in California. The relevance of Morgan’s recanted statement would later be debated in trial, but it was eventually barred from admission as evidence. – Wikipedia

Then there is ‘Mr. Bojangles’. I have never understood how the police could overlook a Black male, covered with blood and behaving strangely, going inside a ladies’ restroom in a fast food place, and then leaving abruptly, having smeared blood all over the restroom walls. What police officer only takes a report of such an incident from the drive thru window without going inside to investigate further? Shoddy police work, I tell you. They want to get paid but they will do little to earn their keep at taxpayers’ expense. It’s the same with cops everywhere, I guess. though you will find a few that will work hard to solve crimes though it’s mostly the detectives. Beat cops aren’t worth a the money they waste.

So the police, typical dumb bumbling hayseeds (very bright people never become cops, as you may realize by now), are now stymied. They have totally dropped Morgan and Holland as suspects, Mr. Bojangles never even entered into the equation, and now they have no one else to go after. Gary Gitchell, the lead investigator on the case, had already had the notion that some type of cult might be involved. This is the Bible Belt, remember, and if a crime is bizarre enough, it must have been committed by Satanists or Witches or some other ‘anti-Christian’ element, Right? Lo and behold, Jerry Driver, a PO who has been harassing the Echols family for some time – probably because he had little else to do in such a backwoods place – believes that Damien, this weird high school drop out who dresses all in black, follows a strange belief system known as Wicca, and writes wicked, even ‘demonic’ poetry and essays, could be included in this ‘cult murder’.

Then along comes one Vicki Hutcheson, and the rest, as the cliche goes, is history.

Death Scenes (Warning: Graphic Images)

Since my adolescence, I have been fascinated with death. My ‘bizarre’ interest came about when I first got into true crime, via True Detective, whose lurid murder stories and quite often lewd covers (typically featuring women in fiendishly sexist positions) stared back at me from the same racks as Secrets and True Confessions, among others. The first few magazines of this ilk I got free, from my mother’s boyfriend who got them from someone at a rich kids’ camp where he worked as a cook. I bought a couple of them myself years later because I found the stories horribly intriguing. The first true crime I ever read was, of course, In Cold Blood and after that my reading tastes were never the same. Eventually, I stopped reading those trashy V.C. Andrews books and got more into true crime.

From wanting to read true crime – I even harbored delusions of becoming a homicide detective during my teen years – I began to want to see crime scenes themselves. Since this is not exactly easy to do, I had to settle for viewing revolting photos of dead people on the Internet. Back in the late 90s, when I first got hooked on the ‘Net, there was a website with dozens, maybe hundreds, of such photos that were actually sent to the webmaster, often from CSI photographers, morgue workers, and reporters.

Most of these photos were extremely shocking, particularly one of an impaled woman titled ‘Pole Baby’. I am not sure if all of the photos were real or not, but many of them were and they gave me the heebie jeebies. That didn’t stop me, in 2001, from purchasing Death Scenes: A Homicide Detective’s Scrapbook, This collection of old black & white crime photos disgusted me – especially the children murdered by their cunt mothers who usually got away with it by being ‘adjudged insane’ as the detective put it in his notes. I had nightmares about some of the photos.

Now it’s your time to have the nightmares. I have collected some chilling photos of suicides, famous murders, and other gore for your dark amusement. Don’t have a heart attack, stroke, or whatever cuz I can’t be held responsible. You have been warned in the title of this post. Sweet dreams, dear readers.

 

 

 

 

 

An Atheist in the Bible Belt

I do not believe in God. Once upon a time, I did. I believed so fervently that I actually belonged to a Pentecostal church, where interacting with God through the Holy Spirit (sometimes called the Holy Ghost), the laying on of hands, and speaking in tongues was the norm and woe be unto anyone who did not do or believe in these things.

The members of this church did not believe at all in Evolution. I once asked a member who was a scientist about the dinosaurs, and he really did not know to respond! One could not wear a peace sign, astrological jewelry, or skirts with hems at the knees unless one wanted to be branded ‘worldly’, a sin in the eyes of the church members. I lasted about a year and a half and then I ‘backslid’ back into the world of sin and Satan.

The experiences at this particular church are not what sent me down the road to disbelief. It was my studies at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, and later, my own research into religion and mythology, as well as personal experiences, that sent me from Christianity to Agnosticism to Christianity again, then to Wicca and finally, to Atheism, where I am today.

According to the textbook, atheism is a deviant belief system simply because American society is based upon (supposedly) Christian principles, and atheism is considered ‘unpatriotic’ and atheists are thought of as ‘not morally trustworthy’ by a large percentage of Americans (according to Gallup polls, 80% of US citizens profess to a belief in God. What sadly misguided, brainwashed sheeple). Deviant Behavior, Ninth Edition, Chapter 11, Pg. 252, Erich Goode, © 2011 Pearson Education.

In fact, according to the same polls, only 45% of Americans would consider voting an atheist into the Presidency, compared with 55% for a homosexual candidate (those numbers may have increased since 2007, the last Gallup poll cited), 92% for a Jew, 72% for a Mormon (Romney lost the election in 2012 though I’m not entirely certain his religious beliefs had anything to do with that), 88% for a woman, and 94% for an African American (Obama was actually elected the following year, 2008).

These same polls claim that attitudes towards atheism are becoming less rigid. Atheists did manage to help outlaw prayer in school, ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance – which was not there to begin with – and other victories. However, atheism will never become the ‘normal’ way of life here because religious beliefs are too firmly ingrained within the minds of most Americans. I find it strange and unsettling that educated adults will believe in the stories of Adam & Eve, Noah and the Flood, and Jonah in the belly of a whale, yet consider evolution a truth to be feared – some even refuse to believe that humans are descended from apes, while the DNA evidence speaks otherwise.

I became an atheist a few years ago. I just felt that going from Wicca back to agnosticism was a setback, and I knew I was not going to become a Christian again after all those years of prayer to a ‘sky God’, some great imaginary male being that never got me anywhere. I also know that the main three religions one hears so much about, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, are responsible for most misogyny towards women, and as a devout feminist, I could never agree with any of that. Ditto with all the rest (the reason I became involved with Wicca in the first place; the deity is a Goddess [though there is a male consort] and Mother Nature is revered, held sacred…rather than all that silly stuff about arks and forbidden fruit and people walking on the sea).

Not many in my family know of my belief, or lack of. They would simply not approve and would tell me firmly that I am going to hell when I die, a place I do not believe in, nor have for many years. None of them attend any church, mind you, and they are very judgmental – yet anyone who does not believe as they do is bound for the flames of Hades and the fiery tines of Satan’s pitchfork. I keep my opinions to myself, except when speaking with my brother and a male cousin, as they share some of my thoughts on the Bible and religions in general.

It is not easy being an atheist in a city that is probably half Moravian and half Baptist, but I’m stuck here for the time being. I am a deviant in a Southern state that is also in the Bible Belt. One can’t go a block here without running into a church. Christians definitely outnumber everyone else – there is one mosque, one synagogue, and nothing else for those who may hold with Buddhism, Hinduism or any other religion outside of Christianity. That’s pathetic but what do I expect in the city I live in?

Atheism is my deviance. Apparently, I will always be considered deviant by the majority view because it is not the conventional way of thinking here, and not anywhere else. Even in the former Communist Bloc, where the nations were supposedly atheist states, people still retained their religious beliefs. Once someone has held a certain belief for many years, it is usually difficult to let go of them. For instance, people in my family don’t think it’s healthy to be a vegan or vegetarian!  Imagine what they would say or think, how they would react, if I sat down with them and explained my lack of belief in God. I shudder to think of it.

Religious Greed

Greed in the name of God. It does exist. And because churches are tax exempt, a lot of men – and women – ‘of the cloth’ are rolling in dough, unless they have a small, poor congregation. Then they have to take outside jobs. Mega churches, on the other hand, have religious leaders who can live off the fat of their followers due to the enormous amount of tithes they receive, often more than just once a week for many churches have weeknight services as well and will usually ‘pass the bucket’ then too.

It is sad fact of human nature that greed, one of the 7 Deadly Sins (featured so prominently in the film Se7en), is one that most televangelists suffer from. Remember Jim & the late Tammy Faye Bakker and the sex scandal involving Jessica Hahn, as well as the accounting fraud and the lavish lifestyle the couple glorified in? The PTL Club’s fund-raising activities between 1984–1987 underwent scrutiny by The Charlotte Observer newspaper, eventually leading to criminal charges against Jim Bakker. From 1984 to 1987, Bakker and his PTL associates sold $1,000 “lifetime memberships,” which entitled buyers to a three-night stay annually at a luxury hotel at Heritage USA. According to the prosecution at Bakker’s later fraud trial, tens of thousands of memberships had been sold, but only one 500-room hotel was ever completed. Bakker sold more “exclusive partnerships” than could be accommodated, while raising more than twice the money needed to build the actual hotel. A good deal of the money went into Heritage USA‘s operating expenses, and Bakker kept $3.4 million in bonuses for himself.

Prosperity theology or gospel is what these Masters of Money preach, and it is BIG business. 

Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, or the gospel of success[A] is a religious belief among some Christians, who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth. It is based on interpretations of the Bible that are traditional to Judaism (with respect to the Hebrew Bible),[1] though less so in Christianity. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity. 

These crooks rob the poor to become rich, sort of Robin Hoods in reverse, and they are raking it in.

It has been reported that Osteen stopped taking a $200,000 salary from Lakewood Church in 2005 and that his estimated net worth is $40 million. He also lives in a$10.5 million 17,000 square foot home with six bedrooms, six bathrooms, three elevators, five fireplaces, a guest house and pool house.

I once belonged to an Apostolic church that has since turned into a sort of Megachurch here in my hometown. At each Sunday service – they held two – and every Wednesday evening, they begged for tithes and offerings and sometimes, when I had it which wasn’t often because at the time I had no real income, I would give an offering. I also asked for prayer and well…were my prayers ever answered even though I had become ‘born again’ and ‘baptized in the name of Jesus Christ’ and was giving my all to the Lord? No, not even once. In fact, I never had much luck with Christianity or any other so-called ‘religion’. It wasn’t until I finally decided that I would be responsible for my own life that I had any successes and victories and accomplishments.

Yet there are those who strongly believe that if they give all that they have, and beg these religious leaders to pray for them, that they will receive God’s glory. Some people would donate $5 and write on the envelope, “This is all I have.” Sometimes, when checking off boxes for what the donation was for on the envelope, people would write “praying for debt release” in the “other” category. Whatever was being preached in those services, the people there believed that if they gave away money—all of their money, in some cases—they’d somehow be freed from the financial burdens in their lives. The ideas behind prosperity theology had seeped into sermons of everyday churches. Meanwhile, the ministers who walked into my grandparents’ office for meetings drove incredibly expensive cars and wore elaborate 3-piece suits. – Making Money off Miracles

I couldn’t conclude this post better than Jennifer C. Martin, who wrote: These televangelists do not speak for God. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus stated, “You cannot serve both God and money.” Directly responsible for forcing faithful Christians into increased poverty by squeezing money from them to finance their own extravagant lifestyles, televangelists are in defiance of the very God they proclaim to serve.

The N Word

Nigger (also spelled niggar): a word that is an alteration of the earlier neger, nigger derives from the French negre, from the Spanish and Portuguese negro, from the Latin niger (black). First recorded in 1587 (as negar), the word probably originated with the dialectal pronunciation of negro in northern England and Ireland. – Anti-Bias Study Guide, Anti-Defamation League, 1998

Used rightly or wrongly, ironically or seriously, of necessity for the sake of realism, or impishly for the sake of comedy, it doesn’t matter. Negroes do not like it in any book or play whatsoever, be the book or play ever so sympathetic in its treatment of the basic problems of the race. Even though the book or play is written by a Negro, they still do not like it. The word nigger, you see, sums up for us who are colored all the bitter years of insult and struggle in America.Langston HughesThe Big Sea (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1940)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the present-day English language, the word “nigger” is an ethnic slur, usually directed at black people. The word originated as a neutral term referring to people with black skin,[1] as a variation of the Spanish and Portuguese noun negro, a descendant of the Latin adjective niger (“black”).[2] It was often used derogatorily, and by the mid-twentieth century, particularly in the United States, its usage became unambiguously pejorative, a racist insult. Accordingly, it began to disappear from popular culture, and its continued inclusion in classic works of literature has sparked controversy.

In contemporary English, using the word “nigger” is considered extremely offensive, and it is often replaced with the euphemism “the N-word”. The variant “nigga” has to some extent been reclaimed by African Americans.

I find the N word very insulting. Every time I have heard it used in the past – from the mouths of babes, in fact, little White kids and then White teenagers, when I was in school – and every time I hear it used now, I get this feeling inside me that is not pleasant. I often want to strike back at the ass who uses it, even when said person is a character in a film (a topic I will touch upon in the future). In school, when I was in the eighth grade, I heard little White sixth grade boys using the N word when they spotted a group of Blacks walking towards them in the hallway. Of course, they did not utter the word loudly enough for the Black kids to hear them probably because they knew to do so would result in a butt stomping they would never have felt the likes of again.

White teenagers often used the N word when they got into altercations with Black students. I recall hearing one student admit that he ‘called people nigger all the time’. Stephen King uses it a lot in many of his stories and novels, and not always in association with a disreputable character. Quentin Tarantino, who hails from Tennessee – no surprise there – has come under fire for using the N word so much in his movies, most of which I find to be awful and not due to the inclusion of the word nigger. Paula Deen lost out on millions from endorsements and her once popular TV show, which was pulled from Food Network almost immediately, during the scandal of her use of the N word. Literature on the list of Classics that contain the N word, such as Mark Twain’s, are now being censored, with the word ‘nigger’ being replaced by ‘slave’.

While I don’t agree with censoring classical works which contain the N word, and I wholly believe in freedom of speech, I do understand that ‘nigger’ is an ugly word, possibly the most disparaging of the racial insults, and it’s time for Whites to clean up their speech, stop being so ignorant, and not use it. This goes for other non-Blacks as well. Just as you hate being called ‘honkies’ and ‘spics’ and ‘chinks’ so we loathe being referred to as ‘niggers’. Same goes for Blacks using it in reference to each other too.

There are sites galore that revel in ‘nigger’ jokes, as you can see for yourself from the images within this post. Whites find ‘nigger’ jokes hilarious, but when you tell a ‘cracker’ joke, they get all huffy on you. What hypocrites they are.

You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a ‘nigger’. – James Baldwin