Analysis of the West Memphis Three

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  • Topic: West Memphis 3, Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols
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Philosophy 110
11 October 2009
Analysis of the Case of the West Memphis three One would believe that justice is found in every law and in every courtroom, and judges and jurors are the perfect tools to demonstrate such fairness on every situation. However, not all people receive fair trials regardless of gender, race, ethnic background or religion as established by the American judicial system. For example, throughout decades millions of innocent people have been accused, arrested, tortured, put to trial, and persecuted for the practice of witchcraft and Satanism. In her book Devil’s Knot: The true story of the West Memphis three, Mara Leveritt recounts the story of three eight year old boys that disappear on one night and are found dead on near by stream the following day. In her book she describes the atrocities done to this kids and gives an accurate account of all the things found in the scene and how three teenagers are accused of the crime. Although there was little evidence left at the crime scene, the investigators were able to find sufficient reasons to charge the defendants with the crime. The inspectors and investigators negligence is one of the factors that leads them to form speculations. For example, in the exposition of the case investigator Gitchell decides to interrogate all of the families. When the Byers are called to testify, Ryan ,the brother of one of the victims, recounts the story of what happened that night. In his narration of the events he tells the police that when his family did not find Christopher, they went to search for him and on that evening he went to the woods with his friends to search for his brother, and when he returned home at midnight his father had sent him to bed. Furthermore, the police interviews Mark Byers ,Christopher’s stepfather. In his interrogation he gives the same details that Ryan gave except for one thing: he told the police that when Ryan returned home they both went to search for Christopher. The officers obviously noticed the difference between the two accounts but they seemed to ignored it. Also he told the police that he went to search the woods without a flash light. The question is why would someone go search without a flash light knowing that is really dark outside, however this is not as important as noting the difference between the two testimonies. Despite of Byers’ past violent records, the police and investigators still decided to ignore Byers’ discrepancy in his testimony. By setting aside this important discrepancy, the police discards someone that might actually played a role in the crime as later leads prove so. Another discrepancy that the police was contemplating was the idea that Michael Moore had been kidnapped by a black man as Aaron Hutcheson said, but the idea was later discarded since Moore lived next to the school. However on the day of the crime, a manager from a restaurant reported a black men that had his hands covered in blood, and maybe this suspect was the same guy that Aaron reported seeing at school, but the police ignored it. Since the investigation was leading no where, Gitchell started to base his case on the assumption that a satanic cult might have been involved. Assumptions that heightened when Jerry Driver make him aware of the suspicions he had on a teenager named Damien Echols. Damien was a teen that indeed had psychological problems and was diagnosed with major depression. The psychiatrists that treated him told the police that he indeed was involved with witchcraft but not Satanism. However, the police still believed he was involved in the murders. They base all of their assumptions in the way he dresses and the things he reads. As Driver saw it, Damien was part of a dangerous satanic cult that was dragging a lot of teens along. Prejudice is indeed present in here, because they had no actual evidence that Damien was involved in a cult, nor that he played...
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