Confessions of a former West Memphis 3 supporter

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 mid 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.

5 Comments

  1. Mr. Reynolds,

    I respectfully suggest you spend less time blogging and more time researching. Your comments demonstrate your ignorance of documented facts in this case.

    Let’s just start with Dale Griffis. It’s very telling that you have hitched your wagon to that dark star. Ever wonder why he’s a *former* police officer? The fact that he’s written several books about satanic cults means nothing. Anybody can write a book and a lot of them are as worthless as his. Do your research. Other than Griffis, no one has purported to unequivocally declare a crime as satanic. Griffis is laughable in his conclusions and came across as a moron at trial.

    As for Griffis’ claim, “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.”

    This is total rubbish. I was THERE. I was in earshot of Echols the entire time. He never said such a thing and it’s funny only Griffis heard him, even though Echols was surrouded by officers of the court and scads of others at all times.

    Where have you been? The crime has been determined not to have included mutilation (a key earmark of a satanic ritual). The whole satanic panic was deliberately whipped up by the prosecution because they could find no motive for the crime, assuming the WM3 committed it. Numerous, unbias experts (google it) are unanimous in their opinions 1) There was no mutilation, it was done by animal predation 2) There were no stab wounds (see #1) 3) There is no evidence to even hint at any sexual activity. I suppose you would argue these findings have been paid for by the defense. True, but is Dr. Michael Baden one of the “Echols cultists”?

    Let’s see . . . next there’s Pam Hobbs. She admits her anger at Terry Hobbs and admits it could be influencing her opinion BUT, she began suspecting Terry when, in 2001, she discovered a large collection of knives including one belonging to her son, a cherished possession which he ALWAYS carried, given to him my his grandfather, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN IN HER SON’S POCKET WHEN HE WAS MURDERED. It is well documented she forwarded these knives to investigators in 2001. This was YEARS before there was any connection between Terry Hobbs and the crime scene.

    Now, Echols’ mysterious, unnamed former friend and the dog-killing incident. This was long ago discounted even by the prosecutor as crap. It wasn’t presented at trial, nor did they even attempt to admit it into evidence. Don’t you think the rabid, satanic thumping prosecutor would have made this guy the star witness?

    To the casual observer, Echols’ statement to police about his speculation about the real killers is irrelevant. I mean, PLEASE! I would have said pretty much the same if asked.

    Please explain how “WRITING” about school shootings in any way qualifies you to claim any special insight or expertise into the “minds of teen killers.” As I stated before, it’s obvious you spend much to much time writing and far too little time researching.

    I’m sure the WM3 supporters are relieved you are no longer counted among their vast numbers. Clearly 99% of the people who have an opinion of the case are wrong and just you, Griffis, and the Arkansas police and prosecutors are right.

    Oh, and as for your comments about celebrity causes, I was tipped off of the possibility of the WM3’s innocence when I learned of all the Arkansas police and prosecutors drooling at the chance to advance their careers using this case. Who were the cultists then?

    If you’re unable or unwilling to review ALL the documentation, then keep your opinions to yourself. It’s distracting and annoying.

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  2. Excellent response to this ignorant post. People can convince themselves of anything, apparently — facts need not get in the way. Griffis recently retired, thank god, so at least one menace is hopefully off the street.

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  3. I count myself as a WM3 supporter. I’ve met Griffis (before the WM3 murders) and my opinion of him then was less than favorable. It’s only gotten worse. It’s odd how a man that’s so accomplished can’t seem to document his claims. Any doctoral program would teach students the importance of citations, documentation and verification of research and published claims.

    FYI – His “4 books” include only one not self-published. And that, “Secret Weapons”, (laughable at best) was co-authored with three others. On his own, Griffis seems to max out somewhere around 30 type-written pages. “Secret Weapons” was published by New Horizon Press. They have a PO Box and everything.

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  4. you decided once and for all they are guilty because you read a quote in a newspaper from DALE GRIFFIS??? the man who testified that this was probably a satanic ritual murder because the victims were young, there were 3 of them, and the time of month was kinda somehow vaguely important to witches…or something….i mean, really?

    you seriously think that if damien had turned around IN COURT and said that, that there would be thousands of people all over the world lending support?

    as for damien speculating about how the killers would feel. he speculated about a few other things too, not just that. but it wasn’t like he marched into the wmpd rubbing his hands with glee and announced this information.
    he was questioned repeatedly by police from the day after the bodies were discovered onwards. and he continued to deny any involvement – according to damien(and it rings true if comparing stories to just about every other teenager that was questioned) THEY kept asking the same questions over and over until he answered. and THAT is how the speculation over how the killer would feel came about.

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