Joint Status and Case Management Memorandum submitted by lawyers for all three and Brent Davis (to Judge Burnett) last week -- click here
The West Memphis 3 are three men tried and convicted for the murders of three children in the Robin Hood Hills area of West Memphis, Arkansas, United States in 1993. Damien Echols - the alleged ringleader - was sentenced to death. Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin were sentenced to life in prison. Many believe the arrests and convictions were a miscarriage of justice and that the defendants were wrongfully convicted during a period of intense media scrutiny and so-called "Satanic panic".
Among the topics are plans for an upcoming benefit CD featuring cover tracks of originals from Quincy Punx. All proceeds from the sale of this future double record will be donated to the defense fund for the West Memphis Three.
You can check out the podcast here at Independent Stream.
Eddie Vedder will embark on a small, west coast, solo tour beginning April 2nd in Vancouver, BC and ending April 15th in San Diego, CA (full list of tour dates below).
Ten Club pre-sale tickets will go up for purchase on here beginning at 10am PST on Monday, February 18,
2008. There are a very limited amount of tickets, so once sold out through
the Ten Club, your next available chance to purchase tickets will be during the public on-sale.
Tickets for the general public will go on sale on Friday, February 22nd at 10am* PST through www.ticketmaster.com and all Ticketmaster outlets. (*Note: Santa Barbara goes on sale Friday, February 29th at 10am PST).
Fan Club members active as of Feb. 14th will qualify for the 10c pre-sale.
Due to the limited amount of fan club tickets available only US and Canadian
members will qualify for the pre-sale. We apologize to our overseas members!
Two (2) tickets per member only. No single tickets. Ten Club tickets for the
EV tour will NOT be seniority based. Tickets will be held in priority
locations, but seat allocation will be chosen at random. The base ticket
price for all shows is $65 per ticket, plus additional venue and handling
fees. Tickets for the pre-sale will be sold only on tenclub.net with a Visa or Mastercard. No phone or mail orders.
Tickets will be distributed at will call on the evening of the performance.
Only the Ten Club member who purchased the tickets will be allowed to
collect the tickets. No exceptions.
Tickets are non-refundable. No exchanges or transfers will be allowed.
Reselling of Ten Club tickets will result in revocation of all future Ten
Club ticket benefits.
All dates are subject to change.
New Zealand singer-songwriter Liam Finn will open these shows.
DATE VENUE CITY PRE-SALE
Apr-02 The Centre Vancouver, BC Feb-18, 10am PST
Apr-05 SC Civic Aud. Santa Cruz, CA Feb-18, 10am PST
Apr-07 Zellerbach Th. Berkeley, CA Feb-18, 10am PST
Apr-10 Arlington Th. Santa Barb, CA Feb-18, 10am PST
Apr-12 Wiltern Th. Los Angeles, CA Feb-18, 10am PST
Apr-13 Wiltern Th. Los Angeles, CA Feb-18, 10am PST
Apr-15 Spreckels Th. San Diego, CA Feb-18, 10am PST
Five special prime-seat ticket packages per show will be auctioned off
online along with an autographed limited-edition tour poster. An additional
auction package for the Santa Barbara concert * consisting of two pair of
premier seats and two hotel rooms will also be auctioned off. These auctions
will begin on Friday, February 22nd at 10am PST in conjunction with the
public on sale. (More details regarding the auctions to be announced next
week). Proceeds from auction packages will support legal defense efforts for
the West Memphis Three via the Damien Echols Legal Defense Fund. Damien
Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Miskelley (the WM3) have been in prison for
12 years for a crime they didn¹t commit. After years of waiting for the
chance to demonstrate their innocence, the West Memphis Three will finally
have hearings this Spring to introduce new DNA evidence proving they could
not have committed the crimes for which they were convicted. More info at:
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
By Cathy Frye
The pieces appeared to be falling into place.
The DNA testing.
The discovery of previously unknown details about the night of May 5, 1993.
A potential new suspect.
So on Oct. 29, 2007, defense attorneys felt confident filing new federal court documents contending that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley had been wrongly convicted of killing three 8-year-old boys.
The attorneys revealed the results of ongoing DNA testing, turning their spotlight on Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the West Memphis boys.
Two days later, a panel of forensics experts and a former FBI agent again pointed at Hobbs, saying he should have been questioned by police at the time of the slayings.
Hobbs, 49, is angry, saying that in the past year, defense investigators have ruined his reputation and caused him to have a nervous breakdown.
“I want people to know I haven’t done nothing wrong,” he said in a Friday night interview at a Memphis barbecue restaurant. “I want them to hear it from me.” The defense contends that DNA results are irrefutable and that an evolving timeline of that night shows Hobbs had motive and opportunity.
Former FBI profiler John Douglas, who has investigated Hobbs for the defense over the past year, says his subject has a dark side. He says two separate interviews revealed very different versions of Terry Hobbs.
“You’re talking to a saint — the all-American father, a great husband. And then there’s the rest of the story. We are talking about two different people.” It’s been nearly 15 years since the nude, hogtied bodies of Stevie Branch, Michael Moore and Chris Byers were discovered in a drainage ditch that runs through West Memphis’ Robin Hood Hills area, where the children often played.
All three of the boys had suffered numerous abrasions and puncture wounds. Most disturbing, however, were Chris Byers’ injuries. There were cuts on his inner thighs and a portion of his genitalia had been mutilated and removed.
A month later, police arrested three locals: Echols, 18; Baldwin, 16; and Misskelley, 17. In two trials that focused heavily on allegations of Satanism, all three were convicted. Echols was sentenced to death, while Misskelley and Baldwin received life sentences.
Spurred by HBO documentaries on the case, skeptics from across the nation formed a grassroots movement that eventually came to be known as Free the West Memphis 3. Money collected by supporters eventually secured a high-profile team of attorneys and forensics experts, who, in recent months have revitalized interest and publicity in the case.
The crux of the defense rests on DNA testing that wasn’t available in 1993.
In the court documents filed Oct. 29, 2007, defense attorneys said testing thus far hasn’t linked any of the three men to the crime scene. And six forensics experts contend that animals — not satanic rituals — caused the boys’ wounds. These injuries, they added, occurred after death.
Lawyers for Echols plan to take their new appeal to a state judge this month. The decision comes after U. S. District Judge William Wilson Jr. asked Echols to present parts of his appeal to state courts before turning to federal courts. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said last month that he’s frustrated by “a misleading press campaign” suggesting that there is new DNA evidence exonerating the three men. And he stood by a state medical examiner’s conclusion that Chris’ scrotum was cut off by a knife.
A YEAR OF SCRUTINY Defense investigators arrived on Hobbs’ doorstep in late February 2007. Hobbs was leery but invited them inside. “It was raining,” he explained. The investigators, both from a private Memphis firm, had two questions: Can you account for your whereabouts on May 5, 1993 ?
Why didn’t the West Memphis Police Department ever question you about the boys’ murders ?
Before leaving, unbeknownst to Hobbs, the pair took cigarette butts from an ashtray in his living room and the front yard.
“They used to call that stealing,” Hobbs said, thumping the table for emphasis.
Over the next few months, investigators talked to Hobbs ’ neighbors and family. They also were in frequent contact with Hobbs’ ex-wife, Pam, who has long accused Hobbs — to his face and in the media — of killing Stevie, he said. “She hurt so bad, she would lash out. She didn’t think I was hurting and wanted me to feel her pain.” During such arguments, he said, Pam would yell — “You killed my son !” Meanwhile, investigators continued to dig, tracking down a video from a neighborhood bar he used to visit with his ex-wife. The tape shows the couple involved in a lengthy fight, Hobbs said.
On March 7, Hobbs suffered an emotional breakdown, he said. He staked a sign in his front yard, putting the contents of his rental house up for sale. “I walked away. I put myself out on the street.” He spent the next few months living in a yellow Ford pickup with his teenage daughter.
He can’t explain why the investigators’ visit prompted this reaction. “These are things men don’t like to talk about,” Hobbs said.
He also blames frequent media attention over the past 15 years. “None of us families have had a chance to go through the healing process,” he said. “But I never let this thing take a toll on me until last year.” Maybe it was because he was writing a book about the case, Hobbs said, adding, “You relive it.” Meanwhile, the defense’s investigation intensified, especially after forensics experts said a hair found in Michael’s ligatures matched mitochondrial DNA on the cigarette butts taken from Hobbs’ home.
In May, Hobbs met again with the defense investigators at their request. He stayed awhile but didn’t cooperate, he said. Around this time, he began attending church and got a job in sales at a lumber company.
In June, he was summoned to the West Memphis Police Department for questioning. His ex-wife had been talking to officers about some pocketknives he once owned, Hobbs said, adding, “It wasn’t nothing.” On Oct. 9, Hobbs began attending support group meetings to deal with his stepson’s death, he said.
A few weeks later, in the Oct. 29 filing, defense attorneys said further DNA evidence linked Hobbs to the crime scene. A second hair, found on a tree stump, belonged to a man Hobbs had visited the evening the boys disappeared, they said, adding that they didn’t believe the man had been at the crime scene.
A few days later, Hobbs received a note from the support group he had just joined. It asked that he not return until “all the uncertainties are cleared up.” Members of a second group have remained supportive, he said, as has the congregation of his current church and his coworkers.
THE DEFENSE’S THEORY Twice during the late summer, Hobbs met with former FBI profiler Douglas, once at a mall and again at the downtown Holiday Inn. The first interview was pleasant, he said. Douglas agreed, saying Hobbs presented himself well, making the retired agent wonder if he was investigating the wrong man. “After about two hours, I told the person I’m with — ‘Jesus, I don’t know about this guy. ’” Over the next few days, however, Douglas interviewed others. By the time he was done, he knew Hobbs had lied repeatedly to him in the previous interview, Douglas said.
Douglas contends that: Hobbs beat his first wife and his second wife, Pam; he was abused by his own parents; he abused Stevie and his younger daughter.
The second interview didn’t go so well. “He was rattled when we confronted him,” Douglas said.
Douglas said he believes the killings occurred after Hobbs set out to taunt and punish Stevie and his friends. The killings happened, he said, when Hobbs realized things had gone beyond “teaching a lesson.” The defense questions why Hobbs reportedly ventured near the crime scene during a search for the boys but then turned back, saying he had a creepy feeling.
“I know you’ve all heard the lowdown about me,” Hobbs says in response during the interview at the Memphis restaurant. “But it ain’t all lowdown.” He’s always been a good husband, he said, and while he and Pam once got into an altercation during which he slapped her and shot her brother, the abuse she suffered for many years was inflicted by others. That 1994 shooting, he said, happened in self-defense after the man jumped him. “Yeah, I shot the dude. He was a big guy.” The brother survived the shooting.
Hobbs scoffed at investigators’ assertions that he was abused by his own parents, alternately describing his dad as a man with a redhead’s temper and as an upstanding Pentecostal minister.
He was reluctant to discuss the subject further, however, saying again that it’s a “man thing.” “They’ve gone around to my family and have put together things they said. I’ve heard some things I didn’t know or care about. I had a good dad and mom.” Asked about allegations that he disliked or abused Stevie, Hobbs said, “He called me Dad. We had a blast. We didn’t have a hostile relationship.” On the night the boys disappeared, Hobbs said, he did go down the path that led to the crime scene.
“I couldn’t breathe. I froze. The hair started standing up.” He described the odor of blood, saying he knows the scent because of the time he worked with his dad, a butcher, but said he didn’t smell it on the path. “I had to get out of there. Something just wasn’t right. I don’t know what came over me. I don’t remember if I told police.” He’s glad he wasn’t the one to discover the bodies, Hobbs said, adding, “They were buried underwater.” He finds it a strange twist to watch Chris Byers’ stepdad, Mark Byers, go from being an implied suspect in two HBO documentaries to one of Hobbs’ accusers. “They were bashing him, and I kept saying, ‘ He didn’t do this. ’” He thinks Byers and his exwife have turned on him because of attention and the promise of money.
“It shames you, something like this. That’s the biggest thing I’ve had to deal with — shame.”