Modern Day Witch Hunts

Topics: West Memphis 3, Murder, Damien Echols Pages: 3 (1120 words) Published: January 27, 2013
Katie Chance
Essay 2

When the words "witch hunt" are heard, most people think back to the Salem witch trials, where religion governed the lives of people. They were searching for people who they believed practiced malificium. However, witch hunts are not just a thing of the past, as modern day witch hunts are happening right now. In 1993, West Memphis was shaken up after three eight year old's were found dead in a drainage ditch. The deaths of the three young boys caused an uproar. The police were rushed to find the murderer, and in the eyes of the policemen, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin were the only people capable of committing this heinous crime. Discourse played a major role in what ended up happening throughout the case. Boundary maintenance also helped in separating Damien, Jessie, and Jason from the rest of the population in West Memphis.

Stevie Branch, Michael Moor, and Christopher Byers went missing on the night of May 5, 1993. The next day searchers found a show floating down a creek, which lead them to the three boys. The boys had been tied up and the autopsy revealed that Christopher had passed away due to "multiple injuries" and Michael and Stevie had passed from "multiple injuries and drowning". Two days after the bodies were discovered, police officers brought in Damien Echols for questioning because they believed that the crime had cult overtones and Damien had an interest in occultism. Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin were dragged into the case as well. One month after the murdered boys were found, Damien, Jason, and Jessie were arrested. Jessie Misskelley was tried separately from Damien and Jason. Jessie was borderline mentally retarded. Misskelley was being interrogated for twelve hours by police, even though he was a minor and there was no parental consent. Jessie ended up confessing to being a part of the murders. The police seemed to focus on Jessie because he was en easy target and they thought they...
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