Recently, on Larry King Live, Larry did an interview with a death row inmate named Damien Echols. Fifteen years ago, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were convicted of the murder of three Arkansas boys. At the time of their arrest Damien was 18, Jason was 16 and Jessie was 18. They were not convicted on any physical evidence basically; they were all convicted on the confession of 18 year old Jessie Misskelley and satanic panic (the three were fans of the rock band Metallica).
You may be wondering what this has to do with a personal medical blog? Well, there are a few reasons why I am posting this. Jessie Misskelley, the boy who confessed to the crime, is mentally challenged has an IQ of around 72. Anything below 70 is considered mentally retarded. As readers of my blog may know, I have a child with Autism. Anyone familiar with Autism knows that you don’t get an accurate IQ with people with autism no matter how functioning the autistic. My child has an IQ test around 74 and is quite verbal and high functioning. Yet, several years ago we were watching a movie and eating popcorn and Twizzlers. When we ran out of the Twizzlers, my oldest child (jokingly) asked my autistic child “why did you eat all of the Twizzlers?” His reply was “I didn’t mean to.” This was a child just trying to give his sister an answer to a question. Many mentally challenged people have been wrongfully convicted on their own confessions.
If you are not familiar with this case “The West Memphis Three” it is very interesting. I first learned of the case several years ago from watching the HBO documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills. The first time that my husband and I watched the movie, we caught it in the middle and thought that it was a “docudrama.” The story was so off the wall, we thought that for sure that it had to have been made up. At the end of the movie, we hit the info button on the remote to find out the name of the movie and when it was on again to watch the entire movie. To our surprise, it was a documentary and not a docudrama. After only watching the second half of the movie, we were convinced that Damien, Jason and Jessie did not commit the murders and could not have committed them. When we watched the entire movie, we were just incensed in the injustice and left thinking that it was one of the parents who committed the murders. The entire case is a bit strange. Later they came out with a second movie called “Paradise Lost 2: Revelations” I highly recommend that you watch both movies. They will make you think twice about the death penalty.
Back to the Larry King interview, finally they have come up with new evidence. DNA that is not linked to any of the three young men convicted of the murders. Hopefully, they will find the true killer or killer’s of the three little boys who did not disserve to die is such a horrific way and Damien, Jason and Jessie can regain their freedom.
Here are some ways that you can help and information on the case:West Memphis Three on YouTube