Family and Law Enforcement Opinions
The families of the three victims are divided in their opinions as to the guilt or innocence of the West Memphis Three. In 2000, the biological father of Christopher Byers, Rick Murray, described his doubts about the guilty verdicts on the West Memphis Three website. In 2007, Pamela Hobbs, the mother of victim Stevie Branch, joined those who have publicly questioned the verdicts, calling for a reopening of the verdicts and further investigation of the evidence. In late 2007, John Mark Byers also announced that he now believes that Echols, Misskelley, and Baldwin are innocent. "I had made the comment if it were ever proven the three were innocent, I'd be the first to lead the charge for their freedom," said Byers. "Every opportunity that I have to voice that the West Memphis Three are innocent and the evidence and proof prove they're innocent." Byers has been speaking to the media on behalf of the convicted and has expressed his desire for justice for the families of both the victims and the three accused.
In 2010, district Judge Brian S. Miller ordered Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of victim Stevie Branch, to pay $17,590 to Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines for legal costs stemming from a defamation lawsuit he filed against the band. Miller dismissed a suit Hobbs filed over Maines's remarks at a 2007 Little Rock rally implying he was involved in killing his stepson. The judge said Hobbs had voluntarily injected himself into a public controversy over whether three teenagers convicted of killing the three 8-year-old boys had been wrongfully condemned.
John E. Douglas, a former longtime FBI agent who has interviewed the country's most prolific serial killers during his years with the FBI and works as a profiler to help police in their searches for violent criminals, said the slayings of the three West Memphis boys weren't the work of three unsophisticated teenage killers, but that of a single person who set out to degrade and punish the victims. Douglas was formerly FBI Unit Chief of the Investigative Support Unit of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime for 25 years. Douglas stated in his report for Echols' legal team that there was no evidence for Satanic ritual involvement in the killings and agreed with the post-mortem animal predation explanation for the alleged knife injuries. Douglas believed that the perpetrator had a violent history and was familiar with the victims and geography. He stated that the victims had died from a combination of blunt force trauma wounds and drowning in a personal cause driven crime.
Read more about this topic: West Memphis Three
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