I am so glad that Natalie Maines has decided to use her big mouth for a good cause. I was reading the news section of cmt.com when I came across a story that I haven't thought about in a while. Natalie Maines is encouraging donations for legal fees to free the West Memphis Three. She believes they were wrongly accused of murder and I have to say that I completely agree. I'm not sure how many of you have heard the story so I'll do my best to recap.
In 1993, three eight-year-old boys were found mutilated in West Memphis, Arkansas. The police quickly took three teenagers who were considered outcasts into custody: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley. And after the police coerced a "confession" out of Jessie, whom I might add is mentally handicapped, after 12 hours of questioning without counsel or parental consent, all three were arrested and convicted of murder in 1994. There was no physical evidence or motive presented in the case.
I first heard about this case after watching the HBO documentary "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills." What intrigued me about it was the fact that they found all three guilty without any hard evidence at all, just because they were linked to the Wiccan religion. Instead of presenting physical evidence in the case, they used the fact that Damien had black hair, listened to heavy metal, and read Wicca books as so called proof that they had murdered these boys for a satanic cult ritual. The sad thing is that it worked.
Now what really shocked me was after I watched the second HBO documentary "Paradise Lost 2: Revelations." If anybody watches it and still thinks that these men are guilty, they are insane. It was revealed in this documentary that John Mark Byers, the father of one of the boys that was murdered, had a knife that had the boy's and his DNA on it. The man at first told the police that the knife had never been used, and then he changed his story and said that he cleaned a deer and cut himself in the process. He wasn't sure how the boy's blood was on it. And if you don't find that odd..when the three boys were found mutilated, there was marks found on them that were possible teeth imprints. Echols, Misskelley and Baldwin all submitted their teeth imprints to be compared (after their imprisonment) and no matches were found. John Mark Byers had all of his teeth removed after the first trail. Hmmm..makes you think. And it still doesn't end there. More evidence was found that linked two new suspects, Terry Wayne Hobbs, the step father of one of the boys, and his friend David Jacoby (who has a history of sexual offenses and violence.)
Even after all the new revelations that have been found, 14 years later Damien Echols is still in prison, awaiting death by lethal injection. Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin are also still serving out their sentences to life in prison. I didn't mean to turn into Anne Rule here, but I just find the entire case shocking. It's like I said. I agree 100% with Natalie Maines. I do not believe that Damien or his friends had anything to do with the three boys deaths.
If anyone would like to read more about the facts surrounding the case go to: