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  #1  
Old 10-19-2004, 10:46 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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West Memphis Three Witness Recants Testimony

Not that it helps a helluva lot now, but Vicki Hutcheson has recanted the testimony used to convict Echols, Miskelley and Baldwin of the 1993 murders. (Link). She also accuses the WM police of deliberately losing tape recordings in which Echols denies any role in the killings.

Of course the WM Police now says "Well she admits she's a liar... why should you believe her?". By saying this they're admitting that they knew she was a liar all along, in which case why did they use her?

This trial is just a fucking nightmare that really really really bothers me. I want to know that the three in prison or guilty or see them released, but when you're dealing with lying religious fanatics and cities full of dumbasses justice isn't likely to ever happen.
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2004, 11:30 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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The WM3 case is one of the worst and most obvious miscarriages of justice since the Emmit Till case.

They were lynched by hillbillies because they wore black T-shirts and listened to Metallica.

I can't understand why no governor there has yet had the balls to pardon these guys who are obviously innocent and have had their lives stolen from them by a truly broken system.
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  #3  
Old 10-20-2004, 02:57 AM
Snooooopy Snooooopy is offline
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Henry Rollins is a huge supporter of freeing the West Memphis Three. Maybe he paid Vicki a visit and gave her a really nasty look.
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  #4  
Old 10-20-2004, 03:35 AM
Odesio Odesio is offline
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Why's this in The Pit?

I don't know if the WM3 are innocent or guilty. At the very least they should get a fair trial and somebody needs to take a look at the West Memphis Police Department and clean some house. I live in Arkansas and W. Memphis has a reputation for being the absolute ass end of the state.

Marc
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  #5  
Old 10-20-2004, 11:33 AM
neuroman neuroman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MGibson
Why's this in The Pit?
It's probably in the pit in anticipation of vitriol and foul language, which I predict will be forthcoming if this thread gets many responses.


Quote:
I don't know if the WM3 are innocent or guilty. At the very least they should get a fair trial and somebody needs to take a look at the West Memphis Police Department and clean some house. I live in Arkansas and W. Memphis has a reputation for being the absolute ass end of the state.
Well, the WM3 already got their "fair" trial, and were convicted.

I strongly recommend you watch the HBO documentary "Paradise Lost" (and it's sequel, Paradise Lost 2.) It's the most frightening, compelling documentary I've ever seen.
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  #6  
Old 10-20-2004, 11:46 AM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is offline
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For those not familiar with the case, here's the previous thread on the subject.
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  #7  
Old 10-20-2004, 12:48 PM
Strainger Strainger is offline
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They've started DNA testing. Any idea how long that should take and what would be the following course of action, particularly if the DNA points to someone not currently in prison?
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  #8  
Old 10-20-2004, 05:14 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MGibson
Why's this in The Pit?

I don't know if the WM3 are innocent or guilty. At the very least they should get a fair trial and somebody needs to take a look at the West Memphis Police Department and clean some house. I live in Arkansas and W. Memphis has a reputation for being the absolute ass end of the state.

Marc
I'm also fortunate enough to be an Arkansan. I will vouch for WM not being the most highly regarded part of the state. Even people from Mayflower think themselves above WM.
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  #9  
Old 10-20-2004, 06:15 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Originally Posted by Strainger
They've started DNA testing. Any idea how long that should take and what would be the following course of action, particularly if the DNA points to someone not currently in prison?
Longer than was claimed by participants in the linked thread, apparently. Diane had claimed an encyclopedic knowledge of the case, and said that DNA testing was almost complete. This was in January. Apparently it did not start until last June.

I mention it because she got pretty fucking snotty about how I should shut up because I didn't know all the facts. Then she posted as above.

There was a reference to the testing on the WM3 website, which has since been removed. Searches of the website have found no references to it.

I suspect the testing is still underway, or is complete and the results not what the defenders of the three wanted.

Regards,
Shodan
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  #10  
Old 10-20-2004, 06:44 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Originally Posted by Shodan
There was a reference to the testing on the WM3 website, which has since been removed. Searches of the website have found no references to it.

google of wm3.org + DNA
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  #11  
Old 10-20-2004, 06:52 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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83 instances of DNA by Google's count. Apparently, they began pressing for DNA testing in 2000 and only were allowed to go about the testing this year.

Legal Updates
However, in 2000, work began on developing evidence that would support an "actual innocence" claim. After visiting the WMPD with an evidence analyst in November and discovering there was potential for DNA testing to exonerate his client, Stidham filed a motion with Judge Burnett. He asked for permission to have the evidence properly preserved and to test/retest certain items.

In March of 2001, the State filed a response to Stidham's motion. While Brent Davis apparently had no objection to evidence being preserved, he did object to having the evidence tested. In May 2001, Stidham wrote and reminded Judge Burnett about the new state law allowing inmates to seek testing/retesting of evidence, regardless of the prosecutor's wishes. He asked for a hearing on his motion. Judge Burnett did not respond.

In February of 2002, Dan finally asked Judge Burnett to have the hearing set in front of a different judge. After all, his original motion -- so far essentially ignored by the Court -- was filed in November of 2000. In March, the Judge responded and offered a few potential hearing dates. But because Stidham's initial motion was filed prior to the new post-conviction DNA testing statutes came into effect, he wanted to file an amended Petition. Stidham asked for time to file and agreed to allow opportunity for the prosecution to respond before a hearing was finally scheduled. In late 2002, Misskelley filed the amended Petition.

In 2003, Judge Burnett entered an Order for Preservation of Evidence, without holding a hearing. At this time, the requested DNA testing is proceeding. Judge Burnett finally signed the Order for DNA Testing, which was filed June 2, 2004. Getting all parties to agree on what specifically would be tested, where it would be tested, etc., was a time consuming process. As soon as we have an update to report, it will be posted on our News page.
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  #12  
Old 10-20-2004, 07:20 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan
Longer than was claimed by participants in the linked thread, apparently. Diane had claimed an encyclopedic knowledge of the case, and said that DNA testing was almost complete. This was in January. Apparently it did not start until last June.

I mention it because she got pretty fucking snotty about how I should shut up because I didn't know all the facts. Then she posted as above.

There was a reference to the testing on the WM3 website, which has since been removed. Searches of the website have found no references to it.

I suspect the testing is still underway, or is complete and the results not what the defenders of the three wanted.

Regards,
Shodan
You know, you've been obscenely eager to kill these kids despite the fact that there is not a single piece of evidence against them.

Please tell me what you know that no one else knows. What do you actually know about the case? What convinces you that they're guilty? Can you do anything besides point tautologically at their convictions? I didn't think so.

The DNA isn't back yet because the state kept blocking the tests so your nasty little insinuation is completely unwarranted.

Do yourself a favor and watch the Paradise Lost movies.
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  #13  
Old 10-20-2004, 07:54 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic
You know, you've been obscenely eager to kill these kids despite the fact that there is not a single piece of evidence against them.

Please tell me what you know that no one else knows.
That you are a liar. OK, that is something everyone knows.

Not a single piece of evidence, right? No blood match, no fiber evidence, no confession, nothing, right? They just picked out three kids, completely at random.

You are such a fucking idiot.
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  #14  
Old 10-20-2004, 07:58 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan
That you are a liar. OK, that is something everyone knows.

Not a single piece of evidence, right? No blood match, no fiber evidence, no confession, nothing, right? They just picked out three kids, completely at random.

You are such a fucking idiot.
That's right, asshole, trhere is NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE. No blood, no fibers, nothing. The ENTIRE case for the prosecution was based on a coerced confession from a mentally retarded teenager. In the tape of the confession he keeps getting facts wrong and the cops have to keep leading him and correcting him on what to say. That's all there is. There is nothing else, Dracula.
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  #15  
Old 10-20-2004, 09:25 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan
That you are a liar. OK, that is something everyone knows.

Not a single piece of evidence, right? No blood match, no fiber evidence, no confession, nothing, right? They just picked out three kids, completely at random.

You are such a fucking idiot.
Blood match: None. There might have been a blood match with the psychotic black man covered in blood who walked into the Women's room of a Bojangles fried chicken outlet that night, but the police didn't take a blood sample from the wall until two days later, then they LOST it. (Repeat... they LOST the blood sample from a deranged blood covered person who walked into a restaurant on the night three boys were brutally murdered- and that's not even the worst case of legal or investigative incompetence associated with the case.)

Fiber evidence: Some fibers found at the crime scene were "microscopically similar" to- get this- fibers found on a blouse belonging to Damien Echols's mother. The official theory: the fibers got onto his clothing in the dryer and it happened to be those fibers, not any of the far more numerous fibers of his own clothing, that wiped off at the crime scene. (Incidentally, the blouse was identical to millions of others sold at Wal-Marts across the nation.)

Confession: Watch the movie. Read the book (Devil's Knot, Mara Leveritt). The "confession" came from a retarded teenager who was questioned for twelve hours without a lawyer present, without his legal guardian present, with a baseball bat inexplicably present in the room, AND in his "confession" he got numerous- not one or two but several very key facts wrong (the time the murders happened, the order of the killings, whether the bodies had been sexually molested, etc.). False confessions are not uncommon when the victim is weak willed, feels intimidated and believes that (or is told that) he will be released if he confessed, and Miskelley is a textbook case of the type of person likely to give a false confession. (And, repeat, he contradicted himself and the known facts of the case many times in the confession.)

COMPLETELY AT RANDOM: No. Echols had been on the list of the WM police for years because he was rumored to be a devil worshiper.
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  #16  
Old 10-21-2004, 12:32 AM
Bricker Bricker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic
That's right, asshole, trhere is NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE. No blood, no fibers, nothing. The ENTIRE case for the prosecution was based on a coerced confession from a mentally retarded teenager. In the tape of the confession he keeps getting facts wrong and the cops have to keep leading him and correcting him on what to say. That's all there is. There is nothing else, Dracula.
That's simply not true. A criminalist from the State Crime Laboratory and a State Medical Examiner testified concerning the similarity of fibers found on the victim's clothes with clothing found in Echols's home and the serrated wound patterns on the three victims that were consistent with, and could have been caused by, a knife found in a lake behind appellant Baldwin's parents' residence.

Now, this is weak evidence, to be sure: as Sampiro points out, the fiber evidence is hardly conclusive, and the knife wounds don't prove it was a particular knife.

But these objections are to the WEIGHT of the evidence. It's wrong to say there is no evidence.
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  #17  
Old 10-21-2004, 12:44 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker
That's simply not true. A criminalist from the State Crime Laboratory and a State Medical Examiner testified concerning the similarity of fibers found on the victim's clothes with clothing found in Echols's home and the serrated wound patterns on the three victims that were consistent with, and could have been caused by, a knife found in a lake behind appellant Baldwin's parents' residence.

Now, this is weak evidence, to be sure: as Sampiro points out, the fiber evidence is hardly conclusive, and the knife wounds don't prove it was a particular knife.

But these objections are to the WEIGHT of the evidence. It's wrong to say there is no evidence.
Would you be willing to kill somebody based on the strength of this "evidence?"

Are you at all disturbed by the "confession" which was wrung from a retarded teenager with no lawyer, with multiple factual errors and with a baseball bat visible on a desk?

You admit yourself that ythe fibers mean nothing. The fact that a knife was found in lake in the general proximity of one of the defendants' houses is hardly compelling evidence seeing as how it vcannot be connected to the defendant and it cannot even be proven to be the murder weapon.

You're an attorney, Rick. You know this is bullshit evidence. You know this goes beyond reasonable doubt.

From the evidence you've listed would you be willing decide that these kids were guility beyond a reasonable doubt?

Are you aware that one of the kids' had a stepfather who virtually confessed to the murders on camera? Did you jnow he gave the producers of Paradise Lost a knife with human blood on it (they had it tested, it was human. They did not or could not do a DNA test but I don't remember why).

These kids had their lives stolen from them because a town wanted a scapegoat and they decided these kids were devil worshippers.

Have you ever seen the Paradise Lost documentaries?
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(In my opinion)
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  #18  
Old 10-21-2004, 01:05 AM
erislover erislover is offline
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Well, good thing none of them were on death row!

Oh, wait...
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  #19  
Old 10-21-2004, 01:52 AM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is online now
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Diogenes, you're amazing. First, you say that there is no evidence.

Quote:
You know, you've been obscenely eager to kill these kids despite the fact that there is not a single piece of evidence against them.
Bolding mine

Then, when Bricker calls you on it, you say this:

Quote:
Would you be willing to kill somebody based on the strength of this "evidence?"
That is an entirely different argument.

Let me know when you get your story straight so that I can make an informed decision about this, OK? It seems to me that whether you're informed or not you're incapable of informing others of the truth, preferring to leave certain facts aside in favor of your whitewashed version of events.
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  #20  
Old 10-21-2004, 02:02 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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There ISN'T any evidence. There was bullshit presented at trial but that bullshit was not really evidence.

Look at it again. Look as Sampiro's post to get the scoop on the so-called "fiber evidence." The only other thing was a knife found in a lake in the general neighborhood of one of the defendants. The knife was never shown to be connected to the defendant or to have anything to do with the crime?

How is that evidence? There is absolutely nothing fucking probative about either exhibit. I repeat, there is not a motherfucking shred of motherfucking physical evidence connecting these kids to the motherfucking crime.


My story is perfectly straight. Learn to read with some fucking comprehension.
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  #21  
Old 10-21-2004, 02:09 AM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is online now
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I comprehend what I read just fine, thank you. Whether or not you think it's bullshit, you denied that it ever existed. Suddenly I find out from elsewhere that there was something. And your retort? Oh, well, that was bullshit.

You could have addressed that from the outset. Instead you chose to ignore it, casting doubt upon your comments when it was brought up. You, sir, are not being entirely forthright here.

"Liar" is far too strong a word, because I don't believe that you are lying, and I certainly don't doubt your sincerity, but c'mon. You can't just say your side of the story and expect everyone to believe every word of what you say.
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  #22  
Old 10-21-2004, 02:20 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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I still deny that any evidence exists. I haven't changed my story. Yes some things were technically presented as "evidence" at trial, but those things are not real, probative physical connections between the defendants and the crime. They are mere suggestions- props- hat pegs designed to give a jury an excuse to convict.

I have no wish to get into a pissing contest with you, Airman. I have nothing against you and I'm sorry I was brusque. This case just pushes all my buttons.
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  #23  
Old 10-21-2004, 08:42 AM
Bricker Bricker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic
Would you be willing to kill somebody based on the strength of this "evidence?"
Absolutely not.

Quote:
Are you at all disturbed by the "confession" which was wrung from a retarded teenager with no lawyer, with multiple factual errors and with a baseball bat visible on a desk?
Yes, but not overly so. Similar confessions are extracted all the time, all over the country. I am, as I've said elsewhere, much more disturbed at the poor quality of defense representation that permitted the confession to be used.

Quote:
You admit yourself that ythe fibers mean nothing. The fact that a knife was found in lake in the general proximity of one of the defendants' houses is hardly compelling evidence seeing as how it vcannot be connected to the defendant and it cannot even be proven to be the murder weapon.
The knife was found in a lake behind one of the accused's homes, which certainly would allow the jury to infer that the accused was responsible for it being there. While it can't be said to a scientific certainty to BE the murder weapon, it's completely consistent with the murder weapon. And it's quite a coincidence that the only knife found in the lake behind the defendant's house is exactly the same kind of blade that was used in the killing.

This is evidence. It is a set of information which tends to make the facts under dispute seem true. It is WEAK evidence. It is not non-existant evidence.

Quote:
You're an attorney, Rick. You know this is bullshit evidence. You know this goes beyond reasonable doubt.
If the physical evidence had been the only evidence, then I agree that the case could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. But that doesn't make it "not evidence." It just makes it WEAK evidence.

Quote:
From the evidence you've listed would you be willing decide that these kids were guility beyond a reasonable doubt?
No, because I am not confident that they received a fair trial, one in which they were represented bya zealous advocate. Their defense was (figuratively) asleep at the table, and the result does not leave me with the confidence of a verdict following a fair trial.

Quote:
Are you aware that one of the kids' had a stepfather who virtually confessed to the murders on camera? Did you jnow he gave the producers of Paradise Lost a knife with human blood on it (they had it tested, it was human. They did not or could not do a DNA test but I don't remember why).

These kids had their lives stolen from them because a town wanted a scapegoat and they decided these kids were devil worshippers.
Maybe. I'm not ready to proclaim actual innocence. But they didn't get a fair trial.

Quote:
Have you ever seen the Paradise Lost documentaries?
Yup.

- Rick
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  #24  
Old 10-21-2004, 08:49 AM
Bricker Bricker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic
I still deny that any evidence exists. I haven't changed my story. Yes some things were technically presented as "evidence" at trial, but those things are not real, probative physical connections between the defendants and the crime. They are mere suggestions- props- hat pegs designed to give a jury an excuse to convict.
Fallacy of equivocation. You're changing the meaning of the word evidence in what seems like a desperate attempt to take your understandable hyperbole and defend it as literal.

Consider this: the fiber and knife evidence, along with the dead body, would CERTAINLY support a finding of probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant. Similar evidence is used every day all over the country to obtain warrants. Now, the standard for a warrant is "probable cause" - a relatively weak standard when compared to the "beyond a reasonable doubt" needed for a guilty verdict in a criminal case. "Probable cause" simply says that there is enough evidence to believe a crime was probably committed, and the area to be searched probably will yield evidence relevant to the case.

You can hardly claim that the fiber and knife information is evidence in a warrant application, but magically loses its status as evidence at trial.

All your arguments go to the WEIGHT of the evidence, not its existence.

I really think this would be a good issue on which to back off a bit, take a deep breath, and say, "Yeah, miscarriages of justice make me angry. OK, ok - it was VERY VERY WEAK evidence."

- Rick
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  #25  
Old 10-21-2004, 08:54 AM
catsix catsix is offline
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Quote:
Diogenes said:
Are you aware that one of the kids' had a stepfather who virtually confessed to the murders on camera? Did you jnow he gave the producers of Paradise Lost a knife with human blood on it (they had it tested, it was human. They did not or could not do a DNA test but I don't remember why).
Didn't the step-father also have all of his teeth pulled within a relatively short period after the murders, making an eerie 'coincidence' (if it is one) with the bite wound evidence on the victims? Is that this case or is it another one that I saw?

Quote:
Airman Doors said:
I comprehend what I read just fine, thank you. Whether or not you think it's bullshit, you denied that it ever existed. Suddenly I find out from elsewhere that there was something. And your retort? Oh, well, that was bullshit.
Dave, you know that I like and respect you very much, but I'm with Diogenes on this one. Red fibers from a very common bathrobe sold at the local Wal-Mart is evidence of the fact that Echols's mom shops at Wal-Mart. A knife in a lake in the same neighborhood as Jason Baldwin proves what? Where's the link of the knife to Baldwin? The link of the knife to the murders? How many other people could've thrown a knife into that lake?

And they you have Mr. Creepy himself, Byers, recounting the murders in the Paradise Lost documentary as if he did it, and of course the knife that he produced that had human blood on it. DNA tests at the time were 'inconclusive', but what would they say now that DNA fingerprinting exists?

This is the kind of shit you read about, or that they make movies about, set in countries where people have no rights. Finding a retarded kid who will testify that himself and the town scapegoat committed some Satanic murder with a third person, has to be told what to say in his confession because he doesn't know the facts of the crime he supposedly committed, and then they get thrown away for life while everyone who is supposed to care about the law and justice lets them rot.

I'd wonder how the prosecutors ever got the fiber and the knife into the trial as 'evidence' of anything, but I figure I already know. The judge was just as damned biased against those heavy-metal listening Satanic freaks as the rest of the town.

Whether you think they're innocent or not, at the very least these three deserve the fair trial they never got.
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  #26  
Old 10-21-2004, 08:58 AM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker
The knife was found in a lake behind one of the accused's homes, which certainly would allow the jury to infer that the accused was responsible for it being there.

Not really. The "home" in question was a large trailer park- several dozen people had access to the lake. Also, the fact that the serrations on the deceased matched this knife is not particularly compelling; in the first place this was a massed produced knife available at any number of stores in the WM area, and in the second place there were different styles of knife also consistent with the same serrations (one of which was the bloodstained knife John Mark Byers gave to the film crew).

Quote:
Their defense was (figuratively) asleep at the table, and the result does not leave me with the confidence of a verdict following a fair trial.
Their defense wasn't as incompetent as it was undefunded (in fact they didn't even get paid for several months and their budget for research and scientific evidence was $1000). The judge refused to allow them to present the experts who volunteered their time and services yet allowed a self-published quack who received a "Ph.D." from a correspondence school (that has since been closed by the federal government) to testify as "an expert on the occult" and to tell the jury that the presence of Stephen King novels in Echols's house was evidence he was a devil worshiper (and, as we all know, devil worshipers kill little boys).
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  #27  
Old 10-21-2004, 09:09 AM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic
I still deny that any evidence exists.
Thus demonstrating that you are, in fact, a liar. As if any further demonstration were necessary.

Most people, past the age of three or so, get past the stage where they think that temper tantrums change reality. Others join the Straight Dope and continue the screaming.

Oh well. If the DNA tests come back and give evidence of guilt, maybe you can close your eyes and wish on a star and the Evidence Fairy will make that go away too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic
Do yourself a favor and watch the Paradise Lost movies.
I think I will try out the Diogenes the Cynic line of argument.

There are no such movies.

Regards,
Shodan
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  #28  
Old 10-21-2004, 09:12 AM
NurseCarmen NurseCarmen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WM3.org
that if she did not testify as instructed they could take her child away from her and implicate her in the slayings.
<snip>
Aaron, now 18
<snip>
Assistant Police Chief Mike Allen dismisses Hutcheson's account. "It appears that Vicki Hutcheson is trying to get her 15 minutes of fame," he said.

Allen noted that she'd testified under oath in the trial of one of the three - Jessie Misskelly Jr. - and that the defense had a chance to cross-examine her. "I don't know anything about Vicki Hutcheson or her motives for over 11 years later coming out and lying about the events of 1993, but I can say that the case gets more bizarre everyday."
Could the timing be that since her child in now 18, the threats they made no longer hold water for her, and she could recant without fear of CPS taking her son away?
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  #29  
Old 10-21-2004, 09:17 AM
Bricker Bricker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampiro
Their defense wasn't as incompetent as it was undefunded (in fact they didn't even get paid for several months and their budget for research and scientific evidence was $1000). The judge refused to allow them to present the experts who volunteered their time and services yet allowed a self-published quack who received a "Ph.D." from a correspondence school (that has since been closed by the federal government) to testify as "an expert on the occult" and to tell the jury that the presence of Stephen King novels in Echols's house was evidence he was a devil worshiper (and, as we all know, devil worshipers kill little boys).
You know the problem with this case? Advocates for the boys stretch the truth, either out of ignorance or out of a genuine desire to help the situation, and end up having all their claims, valid and otherwise, dismissed.

The admission of an expert is within the discretion of the trial court. The trial court noted that Dr. Griffis had testified as an expert witness in state courts in Georgia, Ohio, and Michigan; in federal court in Ohio; and in two foreign countries, as well as lecturing on the occult in twenty- eight states and two foreign countries. Dr. Griffis had much more than ordinary, layman's knowledge of nontraditional groups, the occult, and satanism, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing him to testify as an expert witness.

Now, your beef is with his CONCLUSIONS. That's fine - experts disagree about conclusions all the time. Some expert credentials are better than others. But you cannot dismiss the guy as an out-an-out fraud, put on the stand with the connivance of a corrupt or ignorant judge -- if that were that case, how do you explain the Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, and federal judges who also let him get on the stand? A conspiracy that started years ago? Rank incompetence on the benches of many different tribunals?

How about just saying that the guy was wrong? Qualified as an expert, yes, properly testifying, yes, but simply wrong?

- Rick

(And the failure of the defense to get their experts on the stand to refute Griffis was not "underfunding." The experts were willing. The defense failed to foundationally qualify them.)
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Old 10-21-2004, 09:29 AM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker
The trial court noted that Dr. Griffis had testified as an expert witness in state courts in Georgia, Ohio, and Michigan; in federal court in Ohio; and in two foreign countries, as well as lecturing on the occult in twenty- eight states and two foreign countries. Dr. Griffis had much more than ordinary, layman's knowledge of nontraditional groups, the occult, and satanism, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing him to testify as an expert witness.
That is not demonstrated. The fact that he had appeared in other courts I never once disputed, but the man's "expertise" I do- again, ALL of his books and articles are self-published, his degree is from an unaccredited-by-any-agency institution, and his "Satanic panic" theories have been discredited again and again and again by reputable experts (i.e. people whose Ph.D.s came from schools that actually have a campus in addition to a P.O. box) and by law enforcement personnel (particularly after the Wenatchee, Washington horrors).

Another man who has testified as an expert in numerous cases is Dr. Paul Cameron. He states that gay men are far more likely to molest children than straight men are, that gay men have an average life expectancy of 42, and that gay men orally severed the genitalia of a boy in a Nebraska shopping mall just prior to one of his lectures; all of these statements are demonstrably false. Unlike Griffis, his Ph.D. is from an actual accredited university (albeit one that denounced him), but like Griffis his publications are almost all self-published or published through vanity presses and the research he cites the most is his own. He has been expelled from the APA specifically for fraudulent research on the subject of gays and child molestation, is forbidden to practice psychology in some states, and he has been censured by every secular professional organization of which he was ever a part (and even by Focus on the Family and William Bennett), yet he still testifies on matters relating to gay parentage and foster children of gay couples have even been removed on his "expert" testimony. Would you consider him an "expert" based solely on the fact he has testified in other cases?
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Old 10-21-2004, 09:30 AM
catsix catsix is offline
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In principle, I've always believed that the death penalty is fitting punishment for some crimes. I still believe that to this day.

Cases like this one, however, make me seriously question the use of it in any legal system. There's no way to give these guys back the lives they've lost if in fact, they are innocent of these awful crimes. Nothing on earth can give them back the last eleven years of their lives, yet at the very least, a living man can be freed. If Echols is executed, there will never be justice. Not for the family of the victim, not for the victim, and certainly not for Baldwin, Misskelley and Echols.

I wouldn't go so far out onto the limb and say that I can tell for 100% certain that they are innocent, but I don't have to either. It's obvious as all hell that they didn't get a fair trial. Reasonable doubt exists by the ton for all of them. I think the most stupefying part of all of this is that twelve people sat in the jury box and not a single one of them could muster a reasonable doubt. Of course, then there's the judge who keeps denying every appeal. I don't even understand why that is. Maybe it's because I'm not a lawyer that I don't understand it. Could somebody explain to me how the judge keeps denying appeals? Because right now, it looks like a total apathy for justice and a hard-on for executing Echols.
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Old 10-21-2004, 09:32 AM
catsix catsix is offline
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Bricker said:
But you cannot dismiss the guy as an out-an-out fraud, put on the stand with the connivance of a corrupt or ignorant judge -- if that were that case, how do you explain the Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, and federal judges who also let him get on the stand?
Was this the same guy who couldn't remember the specifics of a single other case in which he testified, or was that another so-called expert with a Ph.D. from a mail-order school?
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  #33  
Old 10-21-2004, 09:43 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Originally Posted by Shodan
Thus demonstrating that you are, in fact, a liar. As if any further demonstration were necessary.

Most people, past the age of three or so, get past the stage where they think that temper tantrums change reality. Others join the Straight Dope and continue the screaming.

Oh well. If the DNA tests come back and give evidence of guilt, maybe you can close your eyes and wish on a star and the Evidence Fairy will make that go away too.
I think I will try out the Diogenes the Cynic line of argument.

There are no such movies.

Regards,
Shodan
What did I say that was a lie?

I repeat, there is not a single piece of physical evidence connecting the WM3 with the crime. Not a fucking thing.

The DNA will come back negative. Not that I believe you really care.

I don't suppose you're ready to make your case for guilt yet?

I didn't think so.
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Old 10-21-2004, 09:48 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker
You know the problem with this case? Advocates for the boys stretch the truth, either out of ignorance or out of a genuine desire to help the situation, and end up having all their claims, valid and otherwise, dismissed.

The admission of an expert is within the discretion of the trial court. The trial court noted that Dr. Griffis had testified as an expert witness in state courts in Georgia, Ohio, and Michigan; in federal court in Ohio; and in two foreign countries, as well as lecturing on the occult in twenty- eight states and two foreign countries. Dr. Griffis had much more than ordinary, layman's knowledge of nontraditional groups, the occult, and satanism, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing him to testify as an expert witness.

Now, your beef is with his CONCLUSIONS. That's fine - experts disagree about conclusions all the time. Some expert credentials are better than others. But you cannot dismiss the guy as an out-an-out fraud, put on the stand with the connivance of a corrupt or ignorant judge -- if that were that case, how do you explain the Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, and federal judges who also let him get on the stand? A conspiracy that started years ago? Rank incompetence on the benches of many different tribunals?

How about just saying that the guy was wrong? Qualified as an expert, yes, properly testifying, yes, but simply wrong?

- Rick

(And the failure of the defense to get their experts on the stand to refute Griffis was not "underfunding." The experts were willing. The defense failed to foundationally qualify them.)
The guy was neither a doctor nor an expert. There is no such thing as an expert on "the occult." It's a field which does not exist. The fact that he was allowed to testify as an expert does not mean that he was an expert. A person can not have "expertise" in something which does not exist. You might as well call an expert on the Loch Ness Monster or Klingon anthropology.

He was absolutely not qualified as an expert.
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Old 10-21-2004, 09:58 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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BTW, I am personally more qualified, with an education more legitimate and more specific from a real university in the subjects of cults and Satanism (there is simply no such field of study as "the occult." It's an utterly meaningless word with no academic definition) than the "expert" who testified in the WM3 trial. Does that mean I could get qualified as an expert witness in a murder trial?
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  #36  
Old 10-21-2004, 10:01 AM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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Specifically, Griffis was an "expert" on the subject of "occult murders", which is a particularly rare specialty since the FBI and DOJ have never recorded a single instance of an "occult murder".
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  #37  
Old 10-21-2004, 10:04 AM
robertliguori robertliguori is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic
I repeat, there is not a single piece of physical evidence connecting the WM3 with the crime. Not a fucking thing.
Here comes Definition Man to head off a crisis!
ev∑i∑dence
Quote:
Originally Posted by www.m-w.com
1 a : an outward sign : INDICATION b : something that furnishes proof : TESTIMONY; specifically : something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter
Anyway, by this definition, evidence was presented during the trial, but it wasn't evidence. The statement "There's no evidence," is true, because nothing that furnished proof, or even reasonable suspicion, was brought forth. Actually, even the statement "No evidence was presented," is true, because things were submitted to a tribunal can be fairly easily shown to not have been done so to ascertain the truth of a matter.

Therefore, the knife and the fibers aren't evidence.
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  #38  
Old 10-21-2004, 10:36 AM
tdn tdn is offline
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Originally Posted by Bricker
All your arguments go to the WEIGHT of the evidence, not its existence.
Is it possible that to a lawyer, anything legally presented as evidence is, by definition, evidence? And that to a layman, really fucking weak and lame evidence is the same as no evidence?

Are we playing at word games here?
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  #39  
Old 10-21-2004, 10:44 AM
Bricker Bricker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertliguori
Here comes Definition Man to head off a crisis!
ev∑i∑dence


Anyway, by this definition, evidence was presented during the trial, but it wasn't evidence. The statement "There's no evidence," is true, because nothing that furnished proof, or even reasonable suspicion, was brought forth. Actually, even the statement "No evidence was presented," is true, because things were submitted to a tribunal can be fairly easily shown to not have been done so to ascertain the truth of a matter.

Therefore, the knife and the fibers aren't evidence.
I have been reasonably calm up until this point.

But this claim is beginning to try my Job-like patience.

"Evidence was presented during the trial, but it wasn't evidence."

Uh huh.

Look, refute my probable cause argument, above. Are you saying the fiber and knife had absolutely ZERO probative value?

If so, I'm afraid you have shaken the very foundations of criminal procedure in this country. Similar evidence is used to support the issuance of search warrants EVERY SINGLE DAY somewhere in the United States. Are all those search warrants facially invalid?

Your argument seems to be - when it approaches coherence, that is - that the evidence was INSUFFICIENT, as a matter of law, to permit a finding of guilty. That's a perfectly reasonable argument to make. But it's not the same as claiming there was no evidence at all.

There are many standards of proof in the judicial system: reasonable suspicion, probable cause, preponderance, clear and convincing, beyond a reasonable doubt. You can attack the strength of evidence, and argue it does not meet the requisite standard of proof, without claiming that it has literally a zero value of probity.

- Rick
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  #40  
Old 10-21-2004, 11:03 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker
Are you saying the fiber and knife had absolutely ZERO probative value?
Yes.
Quote:
If so, I'm afraid you have shaken the very foundations of criminal procedure in this country. Similar evidence is used to support the issuance of search warrants EVERY SINGLE DAY somewhere in the United States. Are all those search warrants facially invalid?
Let's just say they can be unbelievably weak.

But there is still vast chasm of difference between what constitutes probably cause for a serach warrant amd what constitutes proof beyond a reasonable doubt at a trial. The knife and fiber in the WM3 case would be exceptionally weak even as probable cause and does not even pass a basic laugh test as proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Quote:
Your argument seems to be - when it approaches coherence, that is - that the evidence was INSUFFICIENT, as a matter of law, to permit a finding of guilty. That's a perfectly reasonable argument to make. But it's not the same as claiming there was no evidence at all.

There are many standards of proof in the judicial system: reasonable suspicion, probable cause, preponderance, clear and convincing, beyond a reasonable doubt. You can attack the strength of evidence, and argue it does not meet the requisite standard of proof, without claiming that it has literally a zero value of probity.

- Rick
I agree that we are talking about semantics here. Technically this crap was presented as "evidence" in a trial but some of us are only talking about a real world, practical definition of "evidence," not a technical. legal definition.
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  #41  
Old 10-21-2004, 11:04 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Originally Posted by tdn
Is it possible that to a lawyer, anything legally presented as evidence is, by definition, evidence? And that to a layman, really fucking weak and lame evidence is the same as no evidence?

Are we playing at word games here?
Exactly.
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  #42  
Old 10-21-2004, 11:17 AM
Weirddave Weirddave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic

I agree that we are talking about semantics here. Technically this crap was presented as "evidence" in a trial but some of us are only talking about a real world, practical definition of "evidence," not a technical. legal definition.
When one is talking to Rick about legal matters, this is almost always what happens. I suspect it makes him a very good lawyer, but on forums like this it's frustrating for all involved. He's always going to hold forth the most rigid interpretation of the absolute letter of the law. My advice is give it to him. Admit that the knife and fibers were admitted as evidence, and thus meet the definition of the term "evidence", but argue that they were so weak as "evidence" as to be practically speaking no evidence that the three murdered anyone at all. From what he's said so far I suspect he'd agree with you.


Rick, I have a question for you. If this had happened in, say, Arlington, do you know of a single DA who would even go to trial seeking a murder conviction against the three with the evidence that the West Memphis DA had? I bet not.
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  #43  
Old 10-21-2004, 11:30 AM
neuroman neuroman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn
Is it possible that to a lawyer, anything legally presented as evidence is, by definition, evidence? And that to a layman, really fucking weak and lame evidence is the same as no evidence?

Are we playing at word games here?
I think Bricker's argument is that the knife and fiber matches were admitted by the court as evidence to be used at trial, and therefore must be considered as legal evidence by its very definition. If a court admits something as evidence, then it is legally considered to be evidence (even if we think it's weak and lame.)

The layman and lawyer's definition of evidence are not necessarily the same.
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  #44  
Old 10-21-2004, 11:39 AM
Bricker Bricker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn
Is it possible that to a lawyer, anything legally presented as evidence is, by definition, evidence? And that to a layman, really fucking weak and lame evidence is the same as no evidence?

Are we playing at word games here?
It's not a word game. Anything legally presented as evidence *IS* evidence. All relevant evidence is admissble, if the probative value exceeds its prejudicial value. If it was admitted, and if the admission is upheld on appeal, then, by definition, it's evidence.

This isn't a legal thing. It's a common-sense thing.

Now, I grant you that in laymen's terms, we may say something like, "There's no chance they'll get a first down on this play - it's fourth and twenty-eight, and the punting team is on the field!"

But of course what we mean when is there's a really small, but admittedly non-zero, chance. If we're talking in laymen's terms, there's no reason we can't be accurate, and say: really fucking weak and lame evidence. But not 'no' evidence.
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  #45  
Old 10-21-2004, 11:44 AM
catsix catsix is offline
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Bricker, how is it that what looks to be so glaringly not a fair trial is still being upheld as appeal after appeal has been denied?

It just seems so scary that here in the US we can have a trial with the little evidence that does exist being so incredibly weak, such a horrifically inaccurate confession that couldn't even have been possible without the confessor being fed his lines, and end up with the result that happened here.

I don't understand the legal reasons why this has stood for so long as a 'fair trial' and a (legally?) unquestionable verdict.
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  #46  
Old 10-21-2004, 11:51 AM
Weirddave Weirddave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catsix
Bricker, how is it that what looks to be so glaringly not a fair trial is still being upheld as appeal after appeal has been denied?

It just seems so scary that here in the US we can have a trial with the little evidence that does exist being so incredibly weak, such a horrifically inaccurate confession that couldn't even have been possible without the confessor being fed his lines, and end up with the result that happened here.

I don't understand the legal reasons why this has stood for so long as a 'fair trial' and a (legally?) unquestionable verdict.
As long as we're piling on Bricker with legal questions (I asked one in my last post, see?) I wanted to add what I've always wondered: How come there was never a Federal investigation into weather or not these kids had their civil rights violated? Agree with the conviction or not, I don't think most people would call the travesty that occurred a "fair" trial.
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  #47  
Old 10-21-2004, 11:57 AM
tdn tdn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker
Now, I grant you that in laymen's terms, we may say something like, "There's no chance they'll get a first down on this play - it's fourth and twenty-eight, and the punting team is on the field!"

But of course what we mean when is there's a really small, but admittedly non-zero, chance. If we're talking in laymen's terms, there's no reason we can't be accurate, and say: really fucking weak and lame evidence. But not 'no' evidence.
I suppose, but only if you want to be deliberately anal and obtuse. It was clear what Dio meant, and there was absolutely no reason for you to take him to task for it. And by "absolutely no", I mean "Unlikely but non-zero, not a guarantee, void where prohibited, some restrictions may apply."
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  #48  
Old 10-21-2004, 12:38 PM
Diane Diane is offline
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Shodan -
Quote:
Longer than was claimed by participants in the linked thread, apparently. Diane had claimed an encyclopedic knowledge of the case, and said that DNA testing was almost complete. This was in January. Apparently it did not start until last June.
I do not have time to go back and read the old thread, but if I actually said that ďtesting was almost completeĒ I was obviously wrong. Since my post, DNA testing was stopped by the courts.

Iíve asked you before and I will ask you again Ė Have you watched both Paradise Lost documentaries? Have you read Devilís Knot? Have you read all court documents and histories?

What exactly do you know of the case?

I remain of the opinion that you are in this argument with little knowledge of what you are arguing. You want to oppose something that has been stated about this case? Fine Iíll listen, but at least have something to bring to the table besides covering your ears and yelling ďliar liar liarĒ. Show us why you donít agree.


Shodan -
Quote:
I think I will try out the Diogenes the Cynic line of argument.

There are no such movies.

Regards,
Shodan
This is why I donít give your arguments any credence or respect. You continue to flap your lips without making any effort to actually obtain any knowledge of what you are arguing against.

I have concluded you are only here to see yourself yammer and to toss insults.


AirmanDoors -

Quote:
You can't just say your side of the story and expect everyone to believe every word of what you say.
Speaking for myself, I donít expect anyone to believe every word I say or to jump on the cause just because I feel it is worthy. That is why I recommend sources for people to watch and read so they can make their own conclusions just as I did.

www.wm3.org which includes court documentation
Paradise Lost, The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (video)
Paradise Lost 2, Revelations (video - both available at most rental stories like Blockbusters)
Devilís Know by Mara Leveritt (book)
The Blood of Innocents by *Guy Reel, Marc Perrusquia, and Bartholomew Sullivan (book)

* Authors who believe the WM3 are guilty and will give you a larger array of views on the case wrote the Blood of Innocents. It will give you an opposing view of the case.


Catsix-

Quote:
Didn't the step-father also have all of his teeth pulled within a relatively short period after the murders, making an eerie 'coincidence' (if it is one) with the bite wound evidence on the victims? Is that this case or is it another one that I saw?
Yes. Depending on which version of the story he tells, Byers lost his teeth in a barroom fight or they all fell out due to the medication he was taking for a brain tumor (Carbamezapine, which interestingly was found in his stepsonís blood).

Either way, the timing was uncanny.


catsix -

Quote:
Was this the same guy who couldn't remember the specifics of a single other case in which he testified, or was that another so-called expert with a Ph.D. from a mail-order school?
Same guy.

This link will give you a lot of information surrounding the so-called ďexpertĒ.

http://www.wm3.org/live/faq/faq_cate...5&page=2#faq58


Diogenes the Cynic -

Quote:
Are you aware that one of the kids' had a stepfather who virtually confessed to the murders on camera? Did you jnow he gave the producers of Paradise Lost a knife with human blood on it (they had it tested, it was human. They did not or could not do a DNA test but I don't remember why).
From the website:

http://www.wm3.org/live/faq/faq_cate...5&page=2#faq70

Q: What about the DNA testing done on the blood on the John Mark Byers knife? How could a DNA test be inconclusive?

A: The test done on the knife was not the type of DNA testing that most people think of these days - like a DNA "fingerprint." The HLA-DQA test used in 1994 was more useful in discriminating between individuals than a simple ABO blood typing test, but not by much. It was determined that the blood found on the knife could have belonged to Chris Byers, John Mark Byers or both of them. Despite not being related, they happened to share the same HLA-DQA profile (as does approximately 9.2% of the North American Caucasian population).

Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley have filed motions for newer, more sophisticated DNA testing to be performed on all of the evidence. At the time of this writing, tests are not complete. Information will be posted to the News page as it becomes available.



Sampiro -

Quote:
Specifically, Griffis was an "expert" on the subject of "occult murders", which is a particularly rare specialty since the FBI and DOJ have never recorded a single instance of an "occult murder".
Interesting article.

http://www.answers.org/satan/sra.html

Supervisory Special Agent Kenneth Lanning, of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, has investigated over 300 SRA reports and has yet to find corroborative evidence. While still affirming his willingness to look for and find such hypothetical evidence, Lanning points out the problems inherent in the SRA conspiracy theory:
Any professional evaluating victims' allegations of ritualistic abuse cannot ignore the lack of physical evidence (no bodies or physical evidence left by violent murders), the difficulty in successfully committing a large-scale conspiracy crime (the more people involved in any crime conspiracy, the harder it is to get away with it), and human nature (intragroup conflicts resulting in individual self-serving disclosures are likely to occur in any group involved in organized kidnapping, baby breeding, and human sacrifice).[25]



Bricker -

Quote:
Maybe. I'm not ready to proclaim actual innocence. But they didn't get a fair trial.
Exactly. I canít say with 100 percent of my being and bet my life that they are innocent, but with all the information surround this case, I feel that they are. Innocent or not, they did not get a fair trial. My involvement and dedication to this case is to help get them a new trial.

If DNA evidence and a new verdict finds them guilty, then that is something that I will accept. What I refuse to ignore is the fact that a man is sitting on death row as a result of the abomination of justice.
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  #49  
Old 10-21-2004, 12:56 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Just to state what should be the obvious- the question is not whether we can declare absolute innocence but if we can declare absolute guilt.

Even Bricker has conceded that the evidence is weak, that the defendants did not get a fair trial and that he personally would not be willing pass a death sentence based on the evidence.

The only person in this thread (and from what I remember, the other thread as well) who is convinced that the WM3 is guilty and that Damien Echols should die is [b]Shodan[/i], a person who, not uncoincidentally, seems to be the least informed about the actual facts of the case.

Unfortunately, that kind of callous, unreasoning and indifferent desire to see an execution is all too common in this country.
__________________
(In my opinion)
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  #50  
Old 10-21-2004, 01:06 PM
catsix catsix is offline
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Quote:
Weirddave said:
As long as we're piling on Bricker with legal questions (I asked one in my last post, see?)
I don't mean to pile on Bricker, it's just that this seems to have been so obviously not a fair trial and I don't understand how with all the appeals and everything it's still holding up for all this time.
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