My name is Trench Reynolds and I used to be a West Memphis 3 supporter.
For those of you not familiar with the West Memphis 3 I’ll give you a little recap.
In 1993 Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin were convicted in the ritualistic murders of eight-year-olds Steve Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore. The murders went beyond brutality. From Wikipedia…
Three eight-year-old boys — Steve Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore — were reported missing on May 5, 1993 by Christopher Byers’ adoptive father, Mark Byers. An intensive police search for the children was undertaken the morning after they were reported missing. Later that day, their bodies were found shoved down in a muddy creek near Robin Hood Hills. The boys were stripped naked and had been hog-tied with their own shoelaces. All of the boys had been severely beaten and abused, Byers was considered to be the most injured, having suffered a fractured skull, stab wounds to his groin, and castration, yet all three boys were inflicted with lethal wounds.
were inconclusive as to time of death, but stated that, while Byers died of blood loss, the other two boys showed evidence of drowning. During the subsequent trial of Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin the medical examiner stated that the estimated time of death was early morning the day the bodies were found. The forensic evidence showed uncertainty whether the boys had been sodomized, although expert testimony confirmed injury to their anal area.
Fast forward to 2001 when I first saw the film Paradise Lost. It’s a 1996 documentary that portrays the suspects as being wrongly accused because they were different from the rest of the West Memphis community. They were metalheads with long hair and didn’t practice Christianity. It also points out the flaws in the prosecution’s case making a compelling argument that the WM3 are innocent. At the time I did not consider myself a crime blogger. Back then I was more like a champion for the underdog and I understood what it was like to be an outsider because you dressed differently and didn’t follow the norm. So I bought into the propaganda and the movie’s message.
As the years go by I gain more insight into the mind of teen killers as I write about school shootings. With each one that happens, I see more and more the telltale signs that led up to each shooting. The predispositions between school shooters and the West Memphis 3, especially Damien Echols, were uncanny yet I couldn’t put two and two together. I still believed they were innocent. Then a blogging friend of mine pointed me in the direction of some documents that were worth looking at.
The first one was witness statement from one of Echols’ former friends that told the story about how Damien Echols’ killed a dog…
On 10-27-92 I was at Lakeshore Trailer Park with Damien Echols when he killed a Black Great Dane. The dog was already sick and he hit the dog in the back of the head. He pulled the intestines out of the dog and started stomping the dog until blood came out of his mouth. He was going to come back later with battery acid so that he could burn the hair and skin off of the dog’s head. He had two cat skulls, a dog skull and a rat skull that I already knew about. He kept these skulls in his bedroom at Jack Echols house in Lakeshore. He was trying to make the eyeballs of the dog he killed pop out when he was stomping. Damien had a camoflouge survival knife to cut the guts out of the dog with. This statement was written by Det. Ridge at my request.
It’s been said that animal killings are a precursor to serial killings.
Another was testimony from Echols’ himself about how he would have done it if he was the killer. I’ve lost that document to the ages but part of it can be found here.
During the trial Damien took to sparring with the prosecution and stated his opinion of what he thought the alleged killer might or might not have done. He said the killer would enjoy hearing the victims scream and would have thought the murders were funny.
After seeing those I felt that they were guilty however I felt that they did deserve a new trial. I based that on the fact that one of the prosecution’s witnesses who was portrayed as an “occult expert” received his degree from a correspondence school that was no longer accredited.
That was until yesterday when I read this article from an Ohio newspaper about the witness, Dale Griffis. Yes, he did receive a degree from a correspondence school that is now defunct. However, what the documentary fails to tell you is that Griffis is a well-studied former police officer who specialized in ritual killings. He is also the author of several cult related books. He also has some more information about Damien Echols’…
“When he got done testifying, what you didn’t see on television, what you didn’t see in the movie ‘Paradise Lost,’ was the fact that Damien Echols said, ‘I got three, I had 10 more to go for my coven, but that damn cop from Ohio stopped me,’” he says. “What bothers me is people aren’t told the truth of what happened.”
Dale Griffis is not just some guy off the street who considers himself a cult expert, he’s got the background to prove it.
So now I think that the West Memphis 3 are unequivocally guilty and justice has been served. No new trial is necessary. I should have been tipped off when I saw what a cause celebre that the West Memphis 3 are. Celebrity causes when it comes to crime are usually misguided.