The Memphis Three

2020-11-12 18:47:10 Written by Zaryab Wasli

7-years-old Christopher Byers, 7-years-old Steve Branch, and 6-years-old Michael Moore went missing on May 5th of 1993. 

Authorities and units of the community completed searches that night and a “shoulder to shoulder” search the next day and found a black shoe in a drainage ditch. Not far from the shoe, Police discovered the corpses of all three boys. They had been stripped nude and hogtied.

 

Christopher Byers had injuries on his corpse and his genitals had been mutilated.

 

The perversity of the crime stunned the West Memphis, AR community and they shortly recognized three victims as suspects, young men who had difficulties and who few would likely defend.

 

17-years-old Jessie Misskelley, 16-years-old Jr., Jason Baldwin, and 18-years-old Damien Echols all had difficulties.

 Echols was mentally weak and receiving full disability from the government. He’d been institutionalized at one point. Both Baldwin and Misskelley had rap sheets full of destruction and shoplifting. Both had dropped out of school. Misskelley was recorded as having an IQ of only 72.

 

At trial, Misskelley was convicted and sentenced to life in jail plus 40 years despite no physical proof being present engaging him to the crime. In their trials, Baldwin and Echols were accused of murdering the three boys in a satanic ritual, and both were sentenced to life in jail. Echols mainly was singled out for understanding about the mutilation of Byers's genitals despite that fact being largely reported on the TV news at the time.

 

By 2003, the case started to fall apart as one witness rejected her entire testimony and claimed police had threatened to take her kids if she didn’t do as they told. DNA testing in 2007 failed to link any of the three to the physical proof collected at the scene of the killings.

 

Finally, under huge public pressure, the state arrived at a shocking plea deal with the three clearly to save face over the careless investigation that had resulted in their convictions in the first place. All three were released in 2011.

 

The murder case of these innocent three boys remains a mystery.

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