The Case Against … with Gary Meece
Episode 28: “One of the guys had a devil worshiping book and we would go by it”

Episode 28: “One of the guys had a devil worshiping book and we would go by it”

October 27, 2019







"One of the guys had a devil worshiping book and we would go by it."




Self-confessed Satanists in trouble with the law became a prime source of information.

Alvis Clem Bly, 36,  had been charged with sexual abuse, first degree in March 1993, and was still in the Crittenden County Jail when Detective Allen talked to him on June 29  about his involvement in the cult. Bly at times seemed almost incoherent while nonetheless giving details that concurred with others' statements. 

Bly had lived on East Barton in West Memphis, in the neighborhood of the victims, and in Lakeshore prior to being arrested. He had been involved in the cult for about a  year.  About 20 people, never less than eight, were involved. 

“We always had a certain time to meet out there during the week. ... We always go on Sunday” at  6 o’clock in the evening. “It was in the book that’s what time you’re suppose to start it.”  “Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft,” the go-to text locally for witches, said, “Most covens meet once a week, but there really is no hard and fast rule.” There was little agreement among professed occultists talking to police about meeting times. 

Bly explained: “Well we just go out there and one of the guys had a devil worshiping book and we would go by it, which was sacrificing dogs or chicken. We would drain their blood. Then we would take and cut the heart out and put it in the center of the pentagram and set fire to it and worship the devil.”

He described the pentagram as “a devil symbol” placed “on the floor.”

“They had some chalk, some  white powder chalk and some blue chalk like carpenters chalk and would draw it with it.”

Bly, who had been following the case in the news, named Misskelley and Baldwin as participants.

He said cult members called Baldwin “Davien.”  Allen got out a newspaper with a story about the killings and photos of the three suspects. 

Allen: “Okay is this the one they call Damien?”

Bly: “No sir.”

Allen: “That’s, I’m point to Jason Baldwin?”

Bly: “I see, that’s ... that’s not Davien, the other boy was Damien, I don’t see him on th ... there he is, that’s Davien there.”

Allen: “Okay that’s the one they call Damien there.”

Bly: “Yes sir.”

Allen: “Davien, what ever you know him as.”

Bly: “Davien that’s devil name.”

Allen: “Okay, and this is the person you know as Baldwin?”

Bly: “Yes sir.”

Allen: “Point to a picture of Jason Baldwin and this person here, do you recognize him?”

Bly: “He’s the leader, Misskelley is.” Clearly, Misskelley was not the leader. 

Allen: “Okay, um.”

Bly: “All I know is Jason or Jes or Jessie, something like that.”

Bly named locations for cult activities, such as an old red barn behind Lakeshore, a huge, empty house out on Highway 50 North and a shed behind a house on Rich Road in West Memphis. 

Bly claimed he had had a ski boat and had taken Misskelley down to Hernando Point  in Mississippi the previous summer (though he was uncertain about Misskelley’s first name).

Bly: “I don’t know how we brought it up but I used to not believe in the Bible or the Lord, and he ask me if I was atheist and I told him yes and that’s how I come about getting in it, he told me that devil would give me more than God ever would.”

Allen asked about illegal activities within the group.

Bly: “Killing the dogs was illegal to start with because we would steal the dogs from people and um, that rape where they rape that girl out there I know that was illegal.”

He said the rape of a girl who was a member of the cult occurred at Stonehenge. Ricky Climer had mentioned a rape as part of a hanging ritual. 

Bly: “Well, Misskelley came up with the idea of it and then Baldwin went along with it. Baldwin was the first one that rape her, which she kinda went along with, but when the other guy started doing it, she had a fit about it, said she would tell.”

He named a 16-year-old who lived in Lakeshore as the victim.  She apparently was never interviewed. 

Stonehenge, he said, was “the only place we sacrifice dogs at.”  

“How we do the dogs, we beat them to death first ... with sticks ... and they were alive when they we hung them up. We would beat them to death over the top of the pentagram. ...
  “The pentagram would be drawn on the floor right under where we hung the dog up ... We would hang the dog up above that and then we would cut his throat his thing, and we would catch the blood in a pail. ... And then we drink a cup full apiece of the blood and then we would cut its head off, then we would cut him open and cut his heart out. ... We would put the heart in the middle of this and pour alcohol on it and mixed with baby oil ...

“We had a pie pan that we would set in the center of this, which is the same thing I’m talking you know we got the blood in it and then we would put the baby oil on the heart and you know burn it, it wouldn’t burn it up but it would burn it, and then we would praise to the dev ... devil and stuff.”

The dogs were tied up by the hind legs. “Everybody had to hit the dogs, everybody ... if you didn’t hit him you had to leave.”

  Bly said he would have expected the boys to have been beaten to death with sticks. “They would have raped them, usually. Like I say, I won’t know why they didn’t cut their heads off cause you suppose to, if you’ve done that you’re suppose to cut their heads off, we cut all the dogs’ heads off. ... We would hand the head up and do away, throw the body down it, it big ditch there by Stonehenge.” This was a rare mention of disposing bodies in a ditch. 

Allen asked, “Any other body parts that they might cut off?”

Bly: “Their penis ... bite it off ... that’s what it reads in the book to do ... devil circumcision.”

Allen: “What did they, did they do this dog?”

Bly: “No sir ... wasn’t nobody, wasn’t nobody had the courage to do it to the dogs. ... We would cut, we would cut their penis off ... But they wouldn’t bite off like you were suppose to.”

Bly: “Misskelley always had the knife he carried on his side all the time, it’s a hunter’s knife. ... It uh, had a leather handle wrapped leather handle ... It had a can opener ... It come out and it was swivel down the top ... like a little saw deal.” The blade had “ripples in it ... it called a gut knife.” Bly said the knife was about 11 inches, total length. “It’s called a bleeder, what it is, gut knife.”

Bly couldn’t remember what was said in the ceremony.  “We read it out of book that we got from ... from the library here.” He described the book as “the devil something,”  “black, shiny black,” “about a 100 page book,” “it’s got like a dragon, like a dragon with like a goat’s body” on the cover.

“It was St. Lucifer second son ... it was Satan on the front that’s who it was.”

Allen asked about Echols’ role.
     Bly: “Well we took turns, sometimes he would cut the heart out, sometimes I would, or Misskelley, or any of the other people, we all, we spread it out different times every who didn’t do it the last time would have to do it that time.”

Bly said that when he left the cult, they were discussing the sacrifice of children. “They were trying to pick out, you know wanting to know who we could pick out to do it to ... I was already leaving the cult anyway because they raped that girl. ... This was about a month before the boys got killed. ... They were planning on sacrificing them up here on 50 at that house and leave them there.”

Another Bly, Charlotte Ann Bly Bolois of Parkin, met with Detective Ridge at the First Baptist Church in Parkin on Oct. 13  partially to describe to him the site of a Satanic ritual in Crittenden County.

She said that someone named Chris,  from either Lehi in Crittenden County or Paris, Tenn., and Greg Wilson,  from “somewhere in Alabama,” had set up the ritual site close to Shell Lake, about a mile and and a half out in the woods, south of Earle.  Ridge, who had been to the site, said it was east of 149 Highway. “There’s a bunch of tarpaulin up there now and then was just a old green rag tent,” said Bolois. 

She said they were staying with Amy and Eddie Wilson, relatives of Misskelley confidant Buddy Lucas.

She said she went to the site with Chris and Greg in September of 1992. 

Ridge asked, “OK, what was taking place when you go there?”

“They were doing a bunch of devil worshiping talking silly,” said Bolois.

Bolois: “They was huffing gas and glue and everything else they could find. … They got the glue out Eddie’s shop back there.”

Ridge: “OK, you got upset I understand?”

Bolois: “Yes.”

Ridge: “OK, did anything else occur or was there anything told to you that’s what they were doing devil worshiping?”

Bolois: “I seen Greg turn into something silly, I don’t know what it was but it was some kind of animal.”  Her reference was unclear and Ridge did nothing to clarify;  a reasonable assumption would be that Greg imitated an animal. 

Ridge: “OK, now Greg has told you he has did something with an animal out there is that correct?”

Bolois: “He killed one of Amy’s dogs. … It’s suppose to have been a sacrifice.”

Bolois, who was cousin to Buddy Lucas and knew Damien from school, said about Echols: “He’s a weird person, I know he uses drugs and he’s a devil worshiper I know that much. … He ask me if I was a devil worshiper and I said no, he said well you’re hanging around one, that’s exactly what he said.”

Bolois, who had lived at Lakeshore, never heard of any devil worshipping there. 

Bolois said devil worshiping had continued at Shell Lake since her visit, and that Buddy Lucas had gone to the site with Chris and Greg Wilson on Halloween of 1992.  

 As Ridge observed, “Halloween should be a big night for devil worshiping.” In the Mid-South that time of year is a welcome respite from oppressive summer heat, when lots of community festivals take place, school football games are well-attended and nighttime becomes pleasantly cool. Echols has named Halloween as his favorite holiday. 

Like October, May in the Mid-South is a distinctive time of year, being a relatively warm but pleasant climate before the summer heat arrives in June; along with the end of the school year, there are many outdoor activities and festivals. May is not a month easily mistaken for another in West Memphis and Marion. 

Both months were prime time for witch cults.

The disjointed and otherwise suspect accounts of Alvis Bly and Ricky Climer, despite obvious problems, offered further evidence that witch cults were alive and thriving in Crittenden County in 1992-1993.

Episode 27: “They were in the occult”

Episode 27: “They were in the occult”

October 20, 2019

"THEY WERE IN THE OCCULT" On June 16, 1993, Ricky Don Climer, 16, described life in a gang of Satanists in lurid and unlikely detail. Climer’s statement was full of wild accusations about Baldwin, Misskelley, Echols and others involved in the Crittenden County witch cult. As with stories from Aaron and Vicki Hutcheson, Garrett Schwarting or the Echols family, the truth was difficult to determine. Climer had spent time in the Arkansas State Hospital. He was in state custody at the DeDe Wallace Wilderness Program in Shelbyville, Tenn., after he was taken from his parents due to behavioral problems. He had confessed his involvement in the occult to program counselors. Climer also had been friends with a group of West Memphis youths who had come under scrutiny.
He described one exceedingly unlikely incident in which he and a group of boys had jumped a police officer or security guard and beaten him up, with Climer claiming he used a baseball bat while Misskelley used his fists. They supposedly left the officer unconscious.
Concerning Misskelley, Echols and Baldwin, Climer told Ridge that “they were in the occult ... I knew that they rape some people ... they always made barn fires uh in the woods. Uh, I know that they jumped a cop, they cut, you know, a pig’s head off, you know put it on a porch ... Occult, a satanic type, it’s pretty much the same thing.”
He explained occult symbols, such as a pentagram: “With the symbol being all black, you know it suppose to be an updown cross look like somebody’s hanging from it.”
The pig’s head was placed on the porch “to scare and show people that death is on its way ... to show people that we have power.”
He said parts of cats and dogs were cooked and eaten at ceremonies and a variety of intoxicants used: marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, gasoline sniffing and acid. Climer said drug use sometimes would lead to fights or “you’re be sitting there, you know, the next thing you’ll start thinking of some cartoon character. Let’s say, the little guys in blue ... Smurfs, things like that.”
In contrast to others, Climer didn’t seem to have any idea of special days or times for the Satanic meetings held around Lakeshore and the Marion area.
Climer, with some prodding and leading questions from Ridge, said they discussed plans on how to get away with murder.
He said if they killed someone, they would use “torture, you get a thrill out of torture.”
He claimed that they had killed someone “in the projects” over “Bloods, you know that’s a gang.” He claimed “cult are Crips, you know, some cult people are Crips.”
On June 18, Climer told police in a phone conversation that he had witnessed Baldwin and Echols torture a girl with a rope, hanging her from a tree with a slip knot around her neck. Climer said he didn’t know the girl, who was from Marion and wasn’t a girlfriend. He said he left the scene, which happened in woods toward Marion, after she dropped.
Climer said of the rapes: “I don’t know if you want to call it talking her into it, by getting her doped up and everything, that she would say, yes. ... I don’t know if you would call that talking.” Climer repeated his claim that Baldwin and Misskelley had “jumped” a police officer and “did it because you just hated cops, you know.”
Climer said he had been involved in the occult group since he was 8 or 9, which would have been around 1985, and had left it two years before.
According to Misskelley’s confessions, Misskelley was a relatively recent recruit to the occult scene and only participated in a few ceremonies. There was little evidence to suggest that Baldwin was involved in the occult earlier than 1991. Even Echols may have gotten involved in witchcraft mostly as the result of his relationship with Deanna. Echols claims he first became interested in “magick” around age 12, which would have been around 1987.
Despite the many problems with Climer’s story, his description of certain cult practices —- cooking and eating animal parts, drug abuse, the pentagram, sexual assaults — agreed with other descriptions of the local occult scene.

Meece, Gary. Blood on Black: The Case Against the West Memphis 3, Volume I (The Case Against the West Memphis 3 Killers Book 1) .

Episode 26: Domini Teer, Part 2

Episode 26: Domini Teer, Part 2

October 13, 2019





Domini Alia Teer, pregnant girlfriend of Damien Echols, gave an account of May 5 that placed her safely off the scene from the horror at moonrise. Domini, a slender redhead, first was questioned by police with Jason Baldwin and Echols the Sunday after the killings in the front yard of the Baldwin trailer at 245 W. Lake Drive South. Domini told Shane Grif fin and Bill Durham “that on 5/5/93 she, Damien and Jason Baldwin were at Jason’s uncle’s house somewhere around Dover Road mowing the lawn in the early afternoon. Then stated that she got home around 6:00 pm and was there the rest of the night (verified by mother).” Durham reported: “ … Damien phoned his father to pick them up at the laundrymat at Missouri and N. Worthington. They said they were picked up at 6:00PM and Damien’s father took Jason and Dominic home and Damien went home.” Bryn Ridge interviewed Domini at West Memphis Police Department headquarters on May 10, with Mary Margaret Kesterson of the Arkansas State Police sitting in.. Ridge reported: “Domini claimed that on Wednesday 5-5-93 that she went with Damien, Jason, and Ken to Jason’s uncle’s house to watch as Jason mowed his yard. Domini and Damien went to the laundry where they called for Damien’s mother to pick them up. Domini stated that the time was about dark or just before it got dark. Domini stated that she was dropped off at her house and Damien went home. Domini stated that (she) called Damien and that he told her he was tired and was going to sleep. Domini’s mother stated that Domini came in when Time Trax was on TV on Wednesday evening. “Domini stated that on Thursday she and Damien had an argument and took out stress on each other. Domini claimed that the conflict was to do with Jason Baldwin & his girl friend.” Notes indicated the mowing was around 5:45 and that Damien’s mother picked them up around 7:45 to 8 p.m. Also mentioned were teenagers in the local witch cult, Chris (Littrell), Murray (Farris) and Deanna Holcomb. Discrepancies quickly grew in various accounts of the day. For example, police first were told that Damien’s father picked them up, then Damien’s mother, and finally the whole Echols family was in the car. “Time Trax” started at 7 p.m., well before dark. Sunset was at 7:49 p.m. In a later statement, Domini said she got home even earlier, perhaps as early as 5:30. In later statements, she made no mention of a phone call in which Echols claimed he was tired and going to sleep; her description of that conversation is the single instance in which one of the four girls Damien claims he was talking to on the phone actually said they had a phone conversation with Damien in the late afternoon/ early evening. Echols and his family also claimed to have gone to the home of family friends at varying times that evening and afternoon, but well before 8 p.m. Domini took a nap not long after she got home, and then argued with Damien starting around 10 about Baldwin’s supposed girlfriend calling Echols. Police con fiscated a notebook from Domini that contained dark-themed poems with themes of death and suicide. Full of typical teenage angst, they were much of a piece with her boyfriend’s morbid musings in his “Book of Shadows.” Teer gave an extensive statement to John Fogleman on Sept. 10 under a subpoena. Also in the room were her appointed attorney, Gerald Coleman; her mother, Dian Teer, and Gary Gitchell of the WMPD. She explained she dropped out in the 10th grade because she was pregnant and described how she had moved around among various local addresses, her father’s home in Illinois and California. Fogleman asked Domini about Jennifer’s relationship with Damien. Domini explained: “Jason was going out with a girl named Holly and Holly was Jennifer’s best friend.” Fogleman: “Uh huh. Is that what Damien told you?”
Domini: “Yeah.”
Fogleman asked: “Do you know Heather?”
Domini: “Yeah, that was another one of Jason’s girlfriends.”
Fogleman: “How many girlfriends does Jason have?”
Domini: “Jason started going out with the Holly girl, and then him and her didn’t get along or whatever and they broke up and then he started going out with Heather.”
Holly George had no interest in Baldwin and had never been his girlfriend.
Echols, 18-year-old prospective father of Domini’s child, was talking on the phone to his “other” girlfriend, 12-year-old Jennifer Bearden, every day, and was using supposed phone calls from Holly as cover.
Domini described her day on May 5 for Fogleman, saying Echols had not spent the night previously, and that “a friend of his, Ken,” had skipped school and come over at about 7 a.m. They “sat around and waited for Jason and Damien ... Damien got there around 1, and then me and him and Ken just kind of sat around waiting for Jason to get out of school.”
Fogleman asked: “Alright. Is this something that y’all had planned before, about getting together?”
Domini: “Yeah, we had planned it a day before.”
Fogleman: “Alright, what had y’all planned on doing?”
Domini: “Well, we planned on Jason skipping school, and just us hanging around, like at the mall and stuff. ... And Jason went to school that day so we had to wait for him.”
She said school got out at 3:15, Baldwin arrived about 3:25.
Though Damien went to Lakeshore virtually every day to see Jason and Domini, that particular day was somehow different. They had a plan for May 5, just as Damien, Jason and Jessie had a plan.
Fogleman: “ ... And after he got there, what did y’all do?”
Domini: “We walked back to Jason’s house ...”
She said Jason stopped off at his home before coming to her trailer. His little brothers, Matthew and Terry, were home. “... And he called his mom, and his mom told him he needed to go over to his uncle’s and mow the lawn. ... So, we all got up and we all walked over to his uncle’s.”
Fogleman: “Okay. About what time did y’all get to his uncle’s?”
Domini: “Um ... 4 o’clock ... Something like that. .... We walked, you know on the highway, not the service road, but the highway ... We walked over the interstate, through the Wal-Mart parking lot. ... We walked around the side of the building towards the back ... and straight down to his uncle’s house on those back streets. ... It didn’t take us very long, about 10 or 15 minutes.”
Fogleman: “... You got there about 4 or 4:15, then what did you do?”
Domini: “... Jason mowed the lawn ... We sat there for a while watching him mow the lawn, and then me and Damien got up and walked to the laundromat. ... Damien said he had to call his mom. ... To come pick him up. I don’t know, he just called his mom.”
When they left, Baldwin was still mowing, having circled the yard about three times. They left Ken there as well. They sat on the back porch while Baldwin’s uncle got the lawnmower out of the shed.
They called Echols’ mother “about 5 or 5:30, something like that,” and his mother and his sister picked them up. After seeming uncertainty about whether Joe Hutchison was there, she said he was driving.
Domini: “They took me home ... around like 5:45, 6:00. In between there.”
Fogleman: “Do you remember what was on TV when you came in?”
Domini: “I didn’t look at the TV. I walked the dog. ... I just came in and I sat at the kitchen table just for a couple of minutes, and then I got bored, and then I got up, got the dog’s leash and walked to the store with the dog.” The walk was “probably about 10 minutes.”
When she got back, “‘TimeTrax’ was fixin’ to come on. ... And I took a shower, cause Mom had told me what happened while ‘TimeTrax’ ended. Til the end of ‘TimeTrax’ she had told me what happened. ... Then I got out of the shower, and I laid in bed for a while, and Damien called, and me and him bickered back and forth for almost an hour, and then she made me get off the phone.”
Fogleman: “What time did he call?”
Domini: “About 10.” Domini couldn’t account for Echols’ whereabouts from about 6 to about 10 p.m.
Fogleman: “What were y’all bickering about?”
Domini: “Jason, you know, Jason’s girlfriend Holly, called uh, kept calling Damien, crying about Jason and I didn’t like her calling Damien crying to him about Jason.”
Fogleman followed up: “OK, I thought that Jason and Holly had already broken up and he was dating Heather.”
Domini: “Uh uh. He’d ... No. He was going out with Holly, and just a little bit before y’all arrested him, he had started going out with Heather. But, him and Holly were still ... They weren’t going out, but they were just seeing each other .... Cause she was supposed to be breaking up with some other boyfriend while they was trying to go out.”
Fogleman: “Uh huh. OK. And y’all argue about that?”
Domini: “Uh huh.”
Fogleman: “OK, why?”
Domini: “Because she was crying to him, and ... and he was just like, all poor Holly, and then I come crying to him, it wasn’t all poor Holly. It was, he would get mad because I was having mood swings all the time, and I would just (inaudible) ... and he got mad about it, because he didn’t understand. We kept trying to explain to him that I was (inaudible) to do that. ... And I got mad because he was sympathizing with Holly, and I didn’t want Holly calling him at all.”
Gitchell asked: “How come you weren’t together that afternoon? You’re usually together all the time.”
Domini: “He was just at home. He had to go to the doctor that morning.” That did not explain why they were not together longer that afternoon.
Fogleman: “Did he spend the night that night at your house?”
Domini: “That Wednesday.”
Fogleman: “Uh huh. Did he?”
Domini: “No. He didn’t spend the night that Wednesday.”
Fogleman: “How about Tuesday?”
Domini: “Now, Tuesday, yes. Thursday. Thursday he spent the night because we got into another argument because of the same people and I wanted him to spend the night with me that night cause …”
Fogleman: “Cause you were mad at him?”
Domini: “No, we weren’t mad at each other. We got back. ... We were OK after that. But I still wanted him to stay with me.”
Asked again about Tuesday, she said, “Yeah, he did spend the night Tuesday, cause he went home Wednesday morning ... cause he had a doctor’s appointment.” She said he did not spend the night Friday. Other accounts placed Damien at home on Tuesday.
Domini said Damien spent the night on Thursday. Damien has said he did not spend the night at Domini’s on May 6.
Fogleman backtracked, attempting to clear up confusion about Tuesday night and Wednesday morning: “Now what about Tuesday night, I wasn’t clear on that. I thought you said he did, and then I thought you said he didn’t and so I wasn’t clear on Tuesday night.”
Domini: “On Tuesday? Um … yeah, he did spend the night Tuesday, because he went home Wednesday morning … cause he had a doctor’s appointment.”
Damien would have to have left very early on Wednesday, as Ken showed up around 7 a.m.
She said Echols did not spend the night Friday. Instead, “I spent the night with him Friday.”
Asked about being seen by the Hollingsworth family on the service road, she said, “We never walked on the service road. Ever.”
Fogleman: “Y’all walk on the interstate?”
Domini: “Yeah.”
Fogleman: “Alright, you were not with him. Has he told you that he was with Jason walking around that night?”
Domini fudged again: “I don’t know. Number one he doesn’t walk on the service road, whether he’s with Jason or he’s with me. He just doesn’t walk on the service road because it’s quicker to go over the interstate.”
Fogleman: “OK. Did he tell you that he went walking with Jason anywhere that night?”
Domini paused.
Fogleman: “You quit looking at me. He didn’t tell you that?”
Domini: “No. ... He didn’t tell me he was walking with Jason anywhere at night, cause usually Jason has to be in the house. Cause Jason’s mom is strict. ... Strict about Jason coming in. Because usually she’s at work and she wants him to take care of his little brothers ... So, he usually doesn’t go anywhere at night.”
Fogleman also talked to Dian Teer, Domini’s mother, on Sept. 10. Dian, disabled from a stroke then, has since died.
Age 44 and legally separated from her husband, Dian had lived in Lakeshore since February with her daughter, six cats and a dog in a filthy trailer.
She had known Echols “about two years” and met him “when he started going out with Domini.” He lived with them for several weeks “waiting for his parents to come back from Oregon.”
Fogleman: “Did Damien ever say anything about why he had left Oregon?”
Dian: “No.”
Fogleman: “He never did tell you anything about that?”
Dian: “He came back to be with Domini.” Fogleman: “That’s what he said?”
Dian: “Yes.”
Fogleman: “OK. Did he tell you that?”
Dian: “Yeah.”
Echols left Oregon after being thrown into a mental institution.
Fogleman: “ ... After they came back, has he lived with y’all any?”
Dian: “No. Sometimes he would come over, and they would stay the night, and sometimes she would go over to his parents and stay the night with them.”
Fogleman: “Now, in May, first week in May. Do you remember Damien coming over any?”
Dian: “Yes, just about every day.”
Fogleman: “OK. Was it during that first week in May, would it be morning, afternoon, or would it vary?”
Dian: “It would vary.”
Fogleman: “OK. Uh ... Did Jason ever come over?”
Dian: “Yes, usually he would be with Damien.”
Fogleman: “Alright on the first Wednesday in May, it was May the 5th, uh, did Damien come over that day?”
Dian: “Yes.”
She said he came over about 1 o’clock and stayed “until Jason got out of school.”
Fogleman: “ ... Damien didn’t go get him or anything, Jason just came on over?”
Dian: “Yeah. They had already made plans the day before.”
Fogleman: “OK. So Jason and Damien had already made plans to get together?”
Dian: “Yeah.”
Fogleman: “OK. Did Damien tell you that?”
Dian: “I was there usually when they made the plans ... cause they came over a lot in the afternoon.”
Again, the “plans” came up, but it was not clear how a day with “plans” differed from “just about every day.”
Dian said the teenagers spent 15 or 20 minutes at her trailer after Jason arrived before they left.
Dian: “Later Domini came home ... It was still light, and I think it was around 5:30 or 6:00.” She thought she was watching “A Different World.”
Fogleman: “OK. Earlier, do you remember one of the officers talking to you earlier? Oh, like a few days after this happened. Do you remember that?
Dian: “Yes.”
Fogleman: “Officer Ridge. Do you remember him?”
Dian: “Yes.”
Fogleman: “Um, let’s see ... OK. Do you remember telling him that ‘Time Trax’ was on TV?”
Dian: “Well, that was later. That was around 7. Because Domini took the dog for a walk down to the store, and when she came back, it was around 7, because ‘Time Trax’ had just come on. And she took her shower, and I had to tell her the ending of it ... cause I always watch ‘Time Trax’ and ‘Kung Fu.’”
“And then what did she do?”
Dian: “She laid down on the bed by me and went to sleep.”
Fogleman: “OK, did she talk to anybody on the telephone that night?”
Dian: “Yeah, Damien. ...”
She said Domini did not talk to anyone else.
Fogleman: “You do remember her talking to Damien?”
Dian: “Yes.”
Fogleman: “What time was that?”
Dian: “He called around 10. And they talked for an hour. Cause I had to make her get off the phone. Cause they were just arguing back and forth anyway. …” According to Dian, Domini had no contact with Damien from 5:30-6 to around 10.
Fogleman: “... What were they arguing about, do you know?”
Dian: “Jason’s girlfriend had called Damien up crying to Damien about Jason. ... They weren’t getting along, or had had an argument or something ... so she called Damien up trying to get Damien to talk to Jason for her. ...”
Fogleman: “ ... Why would they argue about that, do you know?”
Dian: “Domini didn’t want Jason’s girlfriend calling Damien ... Kids get very possessive with each other ... and those two were very possessive about each other.”
Fogleman: “OK. Did you know that Damien had a bunch of other girlfriends?”
Dian: “Not to my knowledge.”
Fogleman: “You didn’t know that?”
Dian: “No.”
Fogleman: “How about Jennifer? A girl named Jennifer. You don’t know anything about her?”
Dian: “Jennifer was Jason’s girlfriend.”
Fogleman: “Heather Cliett was Jason’s girlfriend, or Jason had more than one.”
Dian: “I think he had two at the time, I’m not sure. But, I remember hearing both their names.”
She didn’t know who Holly George was and only heard about Vicki Hutcheson after the case broke.
Dian said Echols’ mother had brought Domini home in a blue car. She only saw Pam, Damien and Domini in the car, not Michelle or Joe as described by others, and not Jason.
Fogleman asked: “ ... You’d mentioned that Damien and Jason had made plans. What kind of plans had they made?”
Dian: “Just that they were going to get together and do something that evening. Usually they would go over to Wal-Mart and play video games, or over to Jason’s and play video games.”
They had “plans” to “do something that evening” but Dian gave no specifics.
Fogleman: “What did you do on May the 4th? What did Domini do on May 4th?”
Dian: “Well, she was with Damien and Jason. I think they went to play video games that day?”
Fogleman: “OK. What time did they leave?”
Dian: “I don’t remember.”
Fogleman: “OK, was it morning or afternoon?”
Dian: “It was usually afternoon when they left.”
Fogleman: “Do you know what time Domini go home that day?”
Dian: “No I don’t remember, but it was usually later.”
Fogleman: “How about May the 6th, on Thursday. What did Domini do that day?”
Dian: “She was with Damien. Damien came over that day, and he spent the night with us that night.”
Fogleman: “He spent the night that Thursday night?”
Dian: “Yes.”
Fogleman: “OK. And how long was he over there that day? Was it all day, or did he come at 1 o’clock or 4 o’clock?”
Dian: “Most of the day, I believe.”
Fogleman: “OK. Was he there at lunch time?”
Dian: “Yeah.”
Later, Gitchell asked: “How did Damian and your daughter leave on the 5th? How did they ... did they go anywhere together on the 5th?”
Dian: “That Wednesday?”
Gitchell: “Yeah.”
Dian: “Yeah, they all went over to cut Jason’s uncle’s yard.”
Fogleman: “And they walked.”
Dian: “Yeah.”
Gitchell: “Do you know what time they got back?”
Dian: “Around 5:30 or 6.”
Fogleman: “Now did ... that night, did Damien call Domini or did Domini call Damien?”
Dian: “Damien called Domini ...”
In an affidavit dated May 27, 2008, Domini Teer Ferris, then living in Phoenix, Ariz., stated:
“On the morning of May 5th, I was at my home in Lakeshore. A friend named Ken came over. Damien, who had a doctor’s appointment that morning, arrived at about 1 p.m. Damien, Ken, and I then waited for Jason Baldwin to come over after Jason finished school.
“Jason arrived at about 3:25 p.m. We then walked over to Jason’s home, which was also in the Lakeshore area.
“Jason’s two little brothers, Matthew and Terry, were at his home. Jason called his mother and was told that he had to go to his uncle’s to mow the lawn. We then walked over to the home of Jason’s uncle. We arrived there about 4 p.m.
“We watched Jason mow his uncle’s lawn. Later Damien and I walked to the nearby laundromat and called Damien’s mother. His father, mother, and sisters then arrived in the car to pick us up. They then dropped me off at my home.
“I walked the dog and took a shower. After I laid down for a while, Damien called at about 10 p.m., and we bickered back and forth on the phone for nearly an hour. I was upset because Holly, an ex-girlfriend of Jason, kept calling Damien to discuss her problems with Jason, and I didn’t like that.”
The 2008 statement offered no alibi for Echols and threw his “sisters” into the family car (Echols had only one sister, Michelle); Domini's story otherwise varied little from 1993.
Domini was available to testify for the defense but was not called. While roughly consistent, her statements offered discrepancies such as times and who picked them up at the laundromat.
In a phone interview in October of 2016, Domini Ferris said she was agreeing to talk because “It’s all over now … It was a long time ago.” She was polite and friendly and quick to answer questions, with no hesitation in a voice still high-pitched and soft.
Domini deliberately had withdrawn from any public presence in the case “because it just seemed like it interfered in my life; just because it had put itself in the middle of my life, I did not want to put my life in the middle of it.”
She last talked to Echols “two days after he got out. ‘Hope to see you. I’m fine.’ That’s about all that was.”
Domini said she took their son, Seth, to visit his father in prison from time to time until Lorri Davis moved to Arkansas. The visits stopped because of Davis, who eventually married Damien. “I don’t trust her. She just shows up from out of the blue from New York or wherever she came from.”
Seth still does not talk with Damien. “My son tried to like talk to him. Damien just, you know, kind of blew him off so we just let sleeping dogs lie there.” Domini acknowledged about Echols: “He’s weird. He’s all into this weird magical BS stuff. I never had any interest in that.”
She saw little interest from Jason in magick but she had not known him well. “Not really. We didn’t get along. I didn’t like him and he didn’t like me. He came over to my house sometimes with Damien or I went over to his with Damien. But I didn’t have too much to do with Jason.”
She remembered Jessie as “weird.”
Looking back on the investigation, trial and incarceration of her child’s father, she said, “We would never want anyone to go through that situation. I wouldn’t want to go through it again. Ever. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I wouldn’t want it on my now-16-year-old girl. I keep trying to keep them sheltered because of all that happened then. It changed the way I look at cops and how I view detectives and everything. It just wasn’t right.
“It’s botched, every bit of it. Every bit. They probably handled that about as bad as they handled Jon-Benet.”
Asked if she had any ideas on who committed the crimes, she said, “I guess I do have a lot of them … from just some random bum to maybe the parents were involved in a bad drug deal to just somebody that nobody knows anything about.”
She had no doubts about the innocence of the West Memphis 3. “No matter how weird Damien is, no matter how weird Jessie is, they would never do this. No way. They were the scapegoats no matter what.”

Meece, Gary. Blood on Black: The Case Against the West Memphis 3, Volume I (The Case Against the West Memphis 3 Killers Book 1) . UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.

Episode 25: Domini Teer, Part 1 “We never walked on the service road. Ever.”

Episode 25: Domini Teer, Part 1 “We never walked on the service road. Ever.”

October 1, 2019

From "Blood on Black," available on Amazon. 

Episode 24: “I’VE HEARD FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT HE HAS BEEN POSSESSED”  Blood on Black: The Case Against the West Memphis 3, Volume I .

Episode 24: “I’VE HEARD FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT HE HAS BEEN POSSESSED” Blood on Black: The Case Against the West Memphis 3, Volume I .

September 14, 2019

"I'VE HEARD FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT HE HAS BEEN POSSESSED" Stories originating from Baldwin buddy Garrett Schwarting had almost as much credibility as the “Hobbs family secret” or the later imaginings of Aaron Hutcheson. During his many interviews with investigators, the 15-year-old Schwarting was a font of information, some of it clearly misinformation, some possibly disinformation, often not only at great odds with statements from others but with himself. While attempting to help Echols and Baldwin, Schwarting tended to confirm suspicions about them. He didn’t help out Misskelley either. For instance, he said that his sister’s best friend, Tiffany Allen, had been going out with Jessie, “and she would come to school telling me stories like he beat her and all kind of stuff like that. She had black eyes, busted lip.” Bryn Ridge, acting on a tip that Schwarting knew Echols and Baldwin and might have information on the murders, talked to Schwarting on May 19. Schwarting told Ridge that he had not seen Baldwin in over three weeks. On May 25, Schwarting told juvenile of ficer Steve Jones that Echols was not involved in the murders.
Then, on June 7, the Monday after the arrests, Schwarting ran into Jones at Barfield’s, a local store. Schwarting was looking for a copy of the Commercial Appeal so he could read about the arrests. He explained that Baldwin could not have been a part of the murders. Schwarting claimed that he had gone to the Baldwin residence on May 5 on three occasions, first at 7 p.m., then at 7:30 and finally a third time.
Schwarting had wanted to borrow a long white Ozzy Osbourne T-shirt that the Baldwins could not find at first. So Schwarting returned twice more, bringing along his friend, 13-year-old Kevin Lawrence, the final time. Schwarting claimed he stayed and played Nintendo at Baldwin’s home until 9 or 9:30, when he went to spend the night at Kevin’s.
At first Schwarting’s alibi for Baldwin seemed to have backing (sort of) from Kevin Lawrence.
Even so, Lawrence’s version raised a question about Baldwin’s school attendance that day.
Jones compiled his information from Schwarting in a handwritten report dated June 7 and filed on June 10.
On June 11, just before Ridge held an extensive interview with Schwarting, Lawrence told police that his mother had checked him out of school on May 5 at 12:45 p.m., and that Schwarting dropped by his home.
Lawrence said that around 2 p.m. they went to Jason’s home to retrieve a shirt he had loaned to Jason (over four hours earlier than Schwarting had described). After Mrs. Grinnell opened the door, Jason told them that “he couldn’t find the shirt or that he had to go get it from his friend,” according to Lawrence’s statement, handwritten by Ridge at the boy’s request.
The boys returned to Kevin’s house. About 20 minutes later Schwarting went back over to Jason’s, returned about 15 minutes later without the shirt, and left again for Jason’s about 30 minutes later. That trip took about 30 minutes. Schwarting returned again without a shirt.
Schwarting stayed at Lawrence’s until about 7 or 8, playing Nintendo, before going home, said Lawrence.
No one else had claimed that Jason and his mother were both home at around 2 p.m. that afternoon. Jason’s attendance at school was
documented. Schwarting claimed he was hanging around the Baldwin home until 9:30 while Lawrence claimed Schwarting had been at his home that evening. The timeline from Lawrence provided no alibi for Baldwin.
Ridge then questioned Schwarting, who claimed he had gotten out of school at the usual time on May 5 and that Kevin showed up around 5 or 5:30 and they had gone to Kevin’s home in Lakeshore, arriving about 6 or 6:30. Schwarting said he called his mother to get permission to spend the night with Lawrence.
He claimed he had gone to Baldwin’s home three times, at roughly 30-minute intervals, starting around 6:45, the last time staying and playing Super Nintendo with Matt, little Terry and Ken while Jason looked for the shirt. He said Ken left around 7:30 to 8:30. They began playing Street Fighter around 8.
Schwarting also told Ridge that, after Jason cut his uncle’s lawn, Jason had gone to Wal-Mart and played Street Fighter while a youth named Don Nam watched. (Nam initially gave a statement saying he had seen Baldwin at Walmart around 6 p.m. on May 5. He retracted the statement the next day.)
Schwarting —- who didn’t see Baldwin cutting grass or at Wal-Mart — said Baldwin left Wal-Mart at about 7 p.m. for home. Schwarting claimed that he had run into Nam at Wal-Mart later,. Nam told him about seeing Baldwin. Schwarting said he had learned details about Jason’s lawn mowing earlier on June 11 from the newspaper.
Ridge asked him: “… How do you know that’s the night that occurred?”
Schwarting: “It said in the paper that they came up missing May 5th.”
Ridge then asked him what else he did that afternoon. Schwarting first replied that he shot pool at the Lakeshore store. Ridge pointed out that just prior to the interview that Schwarting told him they went on a picnic. He claimed “we went to little picnic at Hernando Lake. …. somewhere in Tennessee, I think.”
Pressed about the date, Schwarting was sure of May 5.
Ridge told him: “What I’m at is that two weeks after the murders occurred you don’t remember going at Jason’s house, now here it’s a month and a half later and you remember that is the exact date and the exact times and everything exact about.”
Schwarting: “Sir … I have talked to Matthew Baldwin couple of times since then … and I know he said that I was over there that one night. Then it started to come to me slower and slower.”
Ridge pointed out that his story and Kevin’s story “are no where near alike.” Ridge added: “You made a statement a little while ago that Jason didn’t do this and that you’re going to do anything you can to get him out of it.”
Schwarting also gave a handwritten statement: “The night of the murders, I stayed the night with Kevin. I went to Jason’s house 3 times that night. Once at 7:00 (he said he hasn’t had time to find my shirt) again at 7:30 (he said come back in 30 min.) the third time, I brought my friend Kevin. We stayed at Jason’s house until 9:00 p.m. then left. When we was at Jason’s the last time, we played Street Fight II on
SuperNintendo. At about 8:30 Ken’s mom came to pick him up.”
Schwarting agreed to take a polygraph test.
On June 15, Schwarting changed his story: “On Wednesday, May 5th, I was at home because my mom won’t let me stay anywhere unless it’s at Kevin’s house. I didn’t stay at Kevin’s that night but the next night I did. I stayed home, watched TV, played Nintendo and went to sleep at about 10 p.m. I didn’t see Jason Baldwin at all that day or I didn’t talk to him.”
Police noted that Schwarting’s version of going to Baldwin’s home on May 5 actually occurred May 6.
So much for that alibi.
Schwarting had a wealth of other unreliable information to share.
Schwarting passed along stories that Echols allegedly told him and Murray Farris, a leader of a local Wicca coven, while they were cleaning the pool at Farris’ home in mid-May. Schwarting said he didn’t know Farris well. Echols apparently was just hanging out.
“We were trying to trick him,” said Schwarting on June 11, “not really tricking but trying to get him to confess. Just say he did it cause me and Murray both were tired of being questioned and we wanted to find out who had done it.”
Echols didn’t confess but he did boast about how he had poured gasoline on a cat, stuck a bottle rocket up its rear and lit the fuse. Echols told them he once choked a small boy with a noose until he turned blue and passed out.
Earlier, on May 25, Schwarting told Jones that Baldwin and Misskelley were involved in a Satanic cult, along with Jerry Nearns, but that Echols was not involved in any type of cult or Satanic worship.
Schwarting claimed Baldwin had once invited him to a meeting of Satan worshippers in a building behind Lakeshore. Schwarting refused Baldwin’s invitation but Schwarting told acquaintances that he was studying witchcraft.
Later, on June 7, he told Jones that Echols had a demon placed inside him by a man called Lucifier, and that Echols had lived with Lucifier prior to living with his parents. Schwarting said the demon possessing Echols must kill nine people before it becomes a God, with Baldwin being the first person to be killed (Echols would have been doing a poor job of fulfilling the demon’s commands). Schwarting told police that Lucifier was involved in the murders.
Now, he said, Echols’ former girlfriend, Deanna Holcomb, was dating Lucifier, further claiming that she was “very much involved” in Satanic worship. He claimed that “Damien broke up with Deanna and then she met Lucifier and started learning black
magic.” (Deanna had renounced her involvement in black magic and said that Echols practiced black magic).
Schwarting said that Echols was bisexual and that he and Baldwin often argued when Echols spent time with Domini (Schwarting was an “ex, ex, ex-boyfriend” of Echols’ girlfriend).
Among the weird details: Lucifier at one time had a purple streak in his blond hair.
Later, Schwarting claimed that Misskelley was afraid of Lucifier, who made Misskelley turn himself in, and that Misskelley had implicated Echols and Baldwin because he knew they were suspects.
Schwarting said he did not believe that Echols had committed the murders, and named two other possible suspects, Jerry Allen Nearns and Frankie Knight, both of whom were interrogated by police.
Then Schwarting talked further about Nearns, who had lived at Little’s Trailer Park at the same time as Schwarting. Schwarting said Nearns belonged to a cult where they were sacrificing cats and that Misskelley and Baldwin were members. Schwarting said Nearns nailed a cat to a tree with a railroad spike and would stuff cats into jars, throw them into the air and hit them with a board.
On June 11, he gave a statement to Ridge that included another mention of “Lusserfur,“ though he had no details about the alleged magickal mastermind and had never seen “Lusserfur,” helpfully adding that “Damien I’ve heard from a lot of people that he has been possessed.”
Schwarting denied his earlier assertion that Baldwin was in the cult.
Jason Frazier was a 16-year-old acquaintance of Schwarting’s who told police on June 11 that he had talked with Schwarting about two weeks after the murders. A mutual acquaintance, Laura Maxwell, who had dated Echols, said that Schwarting had told Frazier that Echols and Baldwin held their devil worshipping meetings “in that park” — Robin Hood. Schwarting supposedly had heard from Baldwin that Damien had killed the boys because they saw something they weren’t supposed to see.
Frazier told Allen and Ridge about Schwarting: “He said … I know who did it, and all of that ... He told me Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols. ....
“He said … that he was studying to be a psychic …. and him and this guy was studying it, and that … Damien and uh Jason did it, but Jessie’s names was involved, so uh they was practicing their witch craft and, he didn’t say how the boys got there, or anything, he just said, they did it and that’s where they practiced their witch, their Satan stuff.”
Frazier later in the interview gave a confused account of how Schwarting told him that Baldwin had nothing to do with the killings. Frazier said Schwarting told him “it was just Damien” but “he said that Damien didn’t do it.”
Frazier said his cousin, Jeff Hood, 15, had overheard the earlier conversation with Schwarting. Hood gave a handwritten statement June 15: “It had to been on a Saturday it was after the murders, me & my cousin Jason Fraizer were in front of the old belvedere apartments, it was in the morning time about 11 or 12 and Garrett Swarting was on a bike & he pulled up on his bike & asked for a cigeretes & started talking about White Which Craft & said the Jason Baldwin & Damien Echols did the murders. He studied which craft & said it came to him. When he told me I didn't believe him.”
If there was truth in Schwarting’s stories, it was difficult to discern.

Episode 23: The Hollingsworth Sighting “We saw Damien and Domini”

Episode 23: The Hollingsworth Sighting “We saw Damien and Domini”

July 22, 2019


"We saw Damien and Domini .... " 







Those who depended on the “Paradise Lost” movies for information about the West Memphis 3 killers heard little about eyewitnesses who placed Damien Echols near the scene of the murders.

The jury who heard testimony from Narlene Hollingsworth and her son, Anthony Hollingsworth, in the Echols/Baldwin trial labeled their  stories “honest” in jury notes.  

Narlene called the police on May 9, 1993. According to a handwritten note,  she saw "Dominique" and "Damion" “walking from Blue Beacon toward Lakeshore Estates. They looked dirty. L. G. Hollingsworth (age 17) was at the laundromat at 9:30 p.m., it was noted.  

“According to Mrs. Hollingsworth, her nephew L.G. made the statement on Thursday that he knew about what happened before anyone else.

“L.G. has 666 on the side of his boots.

“Damion is mean & evil, according to Mrs. Hollingsworth.”

The next day at 4:05 p.m., Mike Allen took an anonymous tip from “an old white female who stated she had overheard that a Dominick + Damion killed the three little boys + that L.G. last name unknown took and laudered there clothing. Caller stated that Damion had body parts in a box from the children. The called ... didn’t give her name + (stated) that she heard that L.G.’s mother was going to lie about L.G.’s where abouts.”

At 4:20 p.m. that afternoon, Detective Charlie Dabbs and Lt. Diane Hester took a statement  from Narlene Virginia Hollingsworth, a 42-year-old Lakeshore resident. 

Ricky Sr., 37, and Narlene had four children who figured also in the narrative: Anthony Hollingsworth, 21, Ricky Hollingsworth Jr., 14, Tabitha Hollingsworth, 16, and Mary Hollingsworth, 10.

Narlene told police: “What happened was Dixie Hollingsworth had asked me to pick her up at where she works at a laundry mat, she said, will you pick me up, I get off at 10, I said yes I will ... OK, I got ready to go, and my husband went with me and my children were too. And, on our way, coming down like you’re going to Love’s, I saw Dominic and Damian coming down the street ... This was exactly 20 minutes till 10, exactly, cause we had our watches and we knew what time it was. OK they had dark clothing on and they were not cleaned.”

Dabbs: “You said at one time that they were muddy all over.”

Narlene: “They did have dirt on them, yes they did, now. ... They was coming back towards Lakeshore, this way .... They were, it was a yellow uh, sign thing up in, some stick standing up and then they were just before they got to there, where they was. ... OK, as we were driving by, she pointed the stick ... to us, and it’s right there on the off ramp, where ... as you go east down the interstate … the off ramp to the South Service Road … is where the yellow stick or marker was.”

She had turned her brights on “so that I could get a good look at them … to see who they were, yes I did. And I said, that’s Dominic and Damien, no look like, it is and I got a good close look and said, it sure is. ... I really don’t know Damien, cause I don’t go around him from all the bad things I hear about him, but therefore, I don’t let my children go around him and Dominic, I’ve known her all of her life. Cause I use to hold her on my hip when she was six months baby. ...

“...  I was upset about it, for them being out that late and around that area, but you know I was wondering what they were doing out at that time of night. My husband told me to quit worrying about it, cause they are out all the time. He said that he sees them all the time. So, he told me to quit worrying about it. …

“… I don’t know what L.G. is capable of, and I am not saying that he would do it, and I am not saying that he wouldn’t, but I know Damien. Everybody said that Damien, I know that he’s suppose to have 666 on his shoes. …”

Hester: “And your husband and your children saw him and Dominic both.”

Narlene: “Yes, ain’t no way they missed that.”

She repeated the information on May 20: “... I left home about 9:30 I was going down the south service road and I looked to the right and I saw Daymeion Dominique walking they were dirty and muddy go to the laundrymat Dixie said LG just left and I said I just saw Daymeion and she asked was Dominique with him and I said yes.”

Narlene testified in the Baldwin/Echols trial on March 3, 1994: “Well see, we spent most of our day together, Dixie and I did. And we had lunch together. And she asked me that day, would I come back and pick her ... Well, she got off at 10, but we got there a little early.”

She said she left home at exactly 9:30 p.m. and had all her children, along with a young friend, packed into a red 1982 Ford Escort. 

John Fogleman asked: “... As you were approaching Love’s and Blue Beacon, uh - did you see anybody there on the service road?”

Narlene: “Yes, we did. ... We saw Damien and Domini. ... Damien had on a pair of black pants and a dark shirt. Domini had on a pair of tight pants - you know, fit tight. And she had flowers, looked like white flowers to me on her pants. ... Which I know they were her clothes because 2 or 3 days before that, I saw her with those same clothes on.”

Fogleman: “Alright. Uh -- in fact, Domini’s tried to get you to say something different, hasn’t she?”

Val Price, Echols’ attorney, interjected: “Judge, objection! Totally inappropriate, your Honor.”

Narlene was willing to talk: “I’ll answer.”

Judge David Burnett said “Wait just a minute.” This was followed by laughter in the courtroom and a bench conference. 

Price said the testimony would be a hearsay response. The Court agreed.  Fogleman said he might call Domini on the matter but “she might lie.” They moved on.

Fogleman: “Narlene, when you saw these uh -- Damien and Domini on the service road, did you do anything with your lights? ...”

Narlene: “... I put the bright lights on to be sure ... That it was them. ... Because I didn’t realize there for a second how many I really had in the car with me and it was getting late and Domini was only 14. ... So I wanted to give them a ride back home. See, I knew I had a few minutes to get to the laundrymat. ... I looked back and my ex-husband said, ‘Where are you gonna put ‘em?’ I said, ‘Well, I’d put Mary in Domini’s lap.’ And I looked over, he said, ‘Where you gonna put the other one, in Damien’s lap?” and I looked at Damien and said, ‘No, I don’t think so.’”

Under questioning by Echols defense attorney Scott Davidson, she said, “ ... I wanted to stop and pick ‘em up ... Give ‘em a ride so - so Domini wouldn’t be on the street. I’m a real funny person about that and I don’t think young children ought to be on the street after dark.”

She also wanted to stop because “I just started feeling like all of a sudden I wanted to throw up. ... I stopped for a second and then went on ‘cause they kept hollering -- the kids kept hollering ‘Let’s go on, let’s go, you can get sick when we get there.’” 

Laughter broke out in the courtroom again. 

Baldwin attorney Paul Ford correctly predicted that the prosecution ultimately would argue that she had mistaken  Baldwin for Domini that evening. 

On May 25, 1993, Anthony Hollingsworth gave a handwritten statement to police: “Wensday night I was at my mom dads house when the phone rig at 9:15 pm and it was my grandmother she told us to come and get her from wroke. We walk out and get mom car Anthony Ricky Tabitha Matt Narlene Sombra Little Ricky and left to go pick up Dixie we get service road were going est just west of Seventh Street. We saw Damaion and Dominque and they were on south side of the south service road. They were wearing black clothes that were muddy It was about 9:30 pm We went to Flash Market and pick up Dixie and took her home and then we went back to our house and didn’t see Damion and Domique on the road.”

Anthony also testified on March 3, immediately preceding his mother. 

He testified he, his brother, his two sisters, his mom and dad and his little brother’s girlfriend Sombra had gone to pick up his grandmother at a laundromat near Southland Park dog track, next to a Flash Market. He recalled the time as 10:30 but wasn’t sure -- “that was a year ago.” 

He said they saw Damien and “Dominique, his girlfriend” by the side of the road wearing black, dirty clothes. 

Anthony: “She had black pants on with sort of a black shirt -- the shirt was black but the pants had white flowers on ‘em.”

With the May 25 statement as reference under questioning by John Fogleman, he agreed that he had given the time as 9:30 and had stated that the clothes were not merely dirty but muddy. 

Other members of the Hollingsworth family did not testify in the trial but gave statements to police.

Tabitha, 16, told Dabbs on May 20: “Well, first that night, we were going to get my aunt from work, and L.G. seen Damian nem walking, walking back from over there by that place where them kids got killed at. ... They were coming down by Love’s, they right beside the place, cause they were walking back this way, walking back toward Love’s. ... Well, Damien, had, uh, Dominic had black pants on with holes in the knees, and she had on a long black shirt and he was wearing all black, he had black boots on black shirt, black pants on, and they were muddy. ... No doubt n my mind, I seen them, they were all muddy.”

She said they were going to pick up her grandmother at the laundromat at about 9 or 9:30, going down the south service road toward Ingram Boulevard to Flash Market. 

She said she and Domini “use to hang around a lot when we were in school” and that she had been introduced to Damien at Domini’s house (“he just live right around behind us”). 

“I think he’s a devil worshiper, I don’t like him ... He makes signs on the street and all of that, and he go back under the bridge and makes of the devil.”

She said Domini knew Echols was a devil worshipper. “She doesn’t say nothing about, I guess she don’t care.”

She also knew Jason. “I don’t know his last name, I know where he lives though ... Yep, very good friends, they walk around with each other all the time. ... They act strange all the time.”

On Dec. 7, Ricky Sr. gave this statement: “On 5-5-93, I Rick Hollingsworth was in a 1982 Ford Escort Stationwagon with my ex-wife Narlene, Anthony, Tabita, Mary and Little Rick at between 9:00 and 10:00 PM. We were going to get Dixie from where she works on Ingram. We were on the South Service Road between Blue Beacon and Love’s truck stop when Narlene saw two people that she said were Damien and Domini. I did see the two people but I didn’t look close enough to say who they were but I did see that they had long hair. Narlene thought it was strange and asked if she ought to turn around to give them a ride. I told her no that I had seen them walking all over the place and that they are always walking.”

On May 20, Dixie Hufford, 50, said Narlene and Ricky Hollingsworth had picked her up from work at a few minutes before 10 p.m. that night and taken her home. 

As predicted, prosecutors did try to use the sighting to place Baldwin at the scene. 

Fogleman worked it into his closing argument: “Let’s talk about Damien Echols or an accomplice, Jason Baldwin or an accomplice, causing the deaths of these boys. As the court instructs you, some of this evidence is only as to one, some of it as to both. In this case, you’ve got evidence that at about nine thirty -- sometime between nine thirty and ten on May the fifth, this is the area of the crime scene, and somewhere in this area Damien Echols -- who by his own admission dresses very distinctively and stands out in a crowd -- he is seen by somebody who’s seen him hundreds of time, Narlene and Anthony Hollingsworth. And he’s seen with somebody they identify as Damien’s girlfriend. They’re muddy, dirty, and they’re here about nine thirty or ten, which Damien denies. Now, all of y’all -- I don’t think any one of you could forget Anthony and Narlene’s testimony. I got to thinking about it later, and you know -- we laughed, we all laughed. You laughed, we laughed, the defense attorneys laughed, everybody laughed -- they were dead serious.  And, you don’t pick your witnesses -- and because they’re simple, and they’re not highly educated, that should be no reason to discount anything they said. Think about what they said and really how they said it. I submit to you, you’ll find that they were highly credible. And that they did see Damien Echols on this service road between nine thirty and 10 on May the fifth, 1993. Now, who he was with -- draw your own conclusions. Says his girlfriend and they describe her as having red hair and long. You got a picture of Jason Baldwin at the time of his arrest. Nothing wrong with having long hair and the picture in there is not shown to show that he’s a bad person because he got long hair. But think about that. Think about who Damien was with on May the fifth.”

Brent Davis didn’t mention Baldwin in his portion of the closing statement, focusing instead on the credibility of the Hollingsworths’ testimony: “And it’s kindly funny, you know at one point they wanna believe Narlene but they don’t wanna believe Narlene. … I don’t think Narlene lied to you when she said she saw Damien out there. And once you accept that, and why in the world is Damien and the rest of his group lying to cover him -- where he was on the fifth. What difference does it make? Why don’t he get up here and level with us? ‘Why, heck, I was going down to Love’s truck stop on the fifth.’ Put Domini up here, let her tell you what they were doing. But if Anthony and Narlene are telling you the truth, and you know -- you heard her say about getting them in the car but she wasn’t gonna have them in the car, she wouldn’t let her kids sit on his lap. She know who was out there, I mean --- Damien himself admits what a distinctive looking character he is, and you wouldn’t drive by and miss with your bright lights on at night if you knew who he was. And she knew who was out there. And if he’s out there then he’s lying to you. And if he’s lying to you --- his whole family is lying to you, and the question I got for you is, if they’re lying to you about all that, why? Why? Do they got something to hide? I put to you, they do.”
     It’s unlikely that the Hollingsworths would be mistaken in identifying Echols, but how likely is it that they were mistaken about Domini?  Baldwin and Domini were close enough in size, hair color and dress to be mistaken for each other at a glance in poor lighting. But according to Dennis ‘Dink’ Dent, Baldwin showed up at home around 9 or 9:30, which means he couldn’t have been walking along the service road between 9:30 and 10.  

Domini’s alibi wasn’t particularly strong because it was  not corroborated by anyone other than her mother. But the story from the Teers was consistent.  No one other than the Hollingsworths placed Domini anywhere but at home that evening, though Damien at one point claimed she had been over at his parents’ trailer that evening.  

The only evidence of Domini’s possible involvement on any level is in the statements  from the Hollingsworths, who clearly bore her no ill will.  Narlene in particular seemed oblivious to possible implications of the sighting.

Police also talked to Dixie Hufford, 50, on May 20, after a tipster called into the West Memphis Police Department.

The note on the tip said: “-Boone- called stated the woman that works at the Laundromat on Ingram. Her name is Dixie, Dixie told someone? that 2 boys and a girl came into the laundromat about 10:00P.M.-10:30P.M. on Wednesday to clean up. They had mud and blood on their clothes. Dixie is supposed to be related to one of them, only name Boone new was Hollingsworth.”

Ridge and Gitchell conducted the interview that evening at Hufford’s apartment.  The official record gives no indication that the tip was discussed, though perhaps it was cleared up informally. 

Hufford did have much to say about Domini and Damien:

“Dixie stated that she feels that Damien does control Domini and that she is fearful for her.

“Dixie stated that she believed Domini was at home sick that day and that Domini’s mom was home.

“Dixie stated that she does not like Damien ...

 “Dixie knows Jason Baldwin and knows that Damien and Jason are very close friends.

“Dixie feels that Domini’s mom knows some things but won’t tell because of her fear  for Domini. …

“Damien controls Domini.”

In a phone interview in March 2013, Narlene Hollingsworth revisited her story as told in 1993-1994, sticking adamantly to the fact that she had seen Domini walking with Damien.  New details or twists had not been added over time.


Episode 22: The infinitely convoluted saga of the “4th Suspect,” or how LG Hollingsworth Jr. created a world of trouble for himself

Episode 22: The infinitely convoluted saga of the “4th Suspect,” or how LG Hollingsworth Jr. created a world of trouble for himself

July 14, 2019


"L.G. Stated ... that they were talking about him that he was the 4th suspect."



Like Heather Cliett and Vicki Hutcheson, L.G. Hollingsworth Jr. is an oddly ubiquitous character who popped up in the strangest places in the West Memphis 3 story. 

L.G. was listed among possible teenage suspects just days after the killings.  Two lists were compiled by Lt. James Sudbury from information from Steve Jones and Jerry Driver, familiar with the teens as Juvenile Court officers.  One list had Damien Echols at the top, followed by Jason Baldwin, L.G., Domini Teer and, further down, Murray Ferris. A similar list had Echols at the top, followed by Baldwin, L.G., Domini and, further down, Ferris and Chris Littrell.  While  all the others were often listed as members of a Satanic group or witch cult,  there’s little evidence that L.G. was involved in occult activity.  Jessie Misskelley. though well-known to law enforcement, was not on the lists.

Like Jessie, L.G.  was in frequent trouble with the law. Investigators soon discovered he called or visited Domini, his “cousin,” regularly and was well acquainted with Echols. Hollingsworth also had formed a friendship with an older man that officers found questionable. 

L.G.’s aunt, Narlene Hollingsworth, called in a tip on May 9 that added to early suspicions about L.G. Besides stating she had seen Damien and Domini walking away from the murder site on May 5, she said  “L.G. made a statement on Thursday that he knew about what happened before anyone else. L.G. has 666 on the side of his shoes.” Narlene made a similar claim about Echols’ boots. 

In a case loaded with confusing family relations, the Hollingsworth connections were particularly elaborate. When asked on the stand during the Echols/Baldwin trial to identify L.G., Narlene said, “... He’s my ex-husband’s son, which is -”

The attorney asked, “So it’d be your step son -- at one time he was your step son then.”

Narlene: “No.”

Scott Davidson: “No?”

Narlene: “No, I’m - I’m his aunt through marriage. It’s just by marriage.”

Davidson: “You’re his aunt by marriage. But he’s your ex-husband’s son?”

Narlene: “Yes sir. I know it’s confusing.”

Davidson: “I’m confused on that one. Now, L.G. is you -”

Narlene: “- Ex-husband’s -”

Davidson: “-Ex-husband’s son, but you’re his aunt by marriage, how did that happen?”

Judge David Burnett: “Is that really relevant? Let’s don’t try to sort it out,” prompting laughter in the courtroom. 

Narlene wasn’t just L.G.’s aunt. She had once been married to L.G. Sr., divorcing him after he became involved with her best friend. Narlene then married L.G. Sr.’s brother, Ricky Sr. 

Narlene was also related after a fashion to Domini,  whose mother, Dian Teer, had a sister, Dixie Hufford, who was divorced from the father of Ricky Sr. and L.G. Sr.   Domini named Dixie Hollingsworth (Hufford) as one of her relatives in an early interview.  Hufford was tied in with the Echols sighting, as well as reports of the puzzling activities of L.G.

Narlene continually referred to Hufford as Dixie Hollingsworth and described her on the stand as “my ex-husband’s use to be step mother” (Narlene and Ricky divorced between the time of the sighting and the trial). The Teers rented a trailer in Lakeshore from Pamela Hollingsworth, who was Narlene’s sister and had married into the Hollingsworth family. 

L.G. Jr. spent much of May 5 riding around with Narlene and hanging around Domini before showing up late that evening at the Flash Market laundromat on Ingram Boulevard,  managed by his grandfather’s ex-wife, Hufford. 

After Narlene’s tip, West Memphis police made contact with L.G. the next day, Monday, May 10.  Hollingsworth was a  dark-haired 17-year-old ninth-grade dropout recently employed as a sacker at the Big Star West grocery. He had “little gangster” tattooed on his right biceps and a cross on his left first finger.  The use of “little gangster” drew on his name, L.G.; the initials did not stand for anything. 

No record seems available on the May 10 interview, but apparently L.G. said little that would allay suspicions.  At the time that police were talking to L.G., down the hall they were interviewing Echols, who named L.G. as a possible suspect. 

Police promptly searched the Hollingsworth home on McCauley Circle, just around the corner from the murder site, and confiscated a knife in a sheath and four pairs of tennis shoes.

That afternoon, L.G.’s name appeared in a tip from an anonymous caller taken by Mike Allen “who stated she had overheard that a Dominick & a Damion killed the three little boys & that L.G. last name unknown took and laudered there clothes. Caller stated that Damon had body parts in a box from the children. The caller stated that she didn’t want to give her name & that she heard that L.G.’s mother was going to lie about L.G.’s whereabouts.”

Information about “body parts in a box” persisted well into the investigation, though nothing conclusive was determined about the notorious “stinky box.” L.G. said the box contained test papers from a vo-tech class. 

Also on May 10, police interviewed Narlene at her trailer in Lakeshore. She told Detective Charlie Dabbs and Lt. Diane Hester about sighting Damien and Domini walking along the service road near the Blue Beacon about 9:30 p.m. on May 5. She and her family had gone to pick up Hufford.  “… So, then when I talked to Dixie Hollingsworth, I got to the laundry mat, she said that L.G. Hollingsworth had just left from there in some car. And, I said uh, that’s funny, she said that it is and she never did say why, and I thought it was funny, but I thought that he had just left from there and they were coming down the street.” 

“She never did say why, and I thought it was funny” would sum up the episode of L.G. at the laundromat. 

Narlene had found out about the missing boys the day after the killings while driving L.G. to his first day of work at Big Star, describing intuitive suspicions and hunches in her distinctively vivid style. “It was late, well, when I come back over in this area, again Thursday, because I promise L.G. that I would take him to work, cause he didn’t have no way but me, OK, when I come back down the street, I seen a white car that belonged to a policeman or an undercover car, you know and they were two others out there too, and there was a crowd of people gathered around and I said, that’s unusual.”

This occurred at about 10 a.m. at Barton and 14th. “Cause they were all gathered up there and I didn’t know what was going on, so I went down there and L.G. was saying, get me on to work. So, anyway I went on and got him on to work, so then later on that day he got off early ... I know he come to my house about 2:40 or a quarter to three and I thought that he would be working a little later than that on Wednesday, but anyway my kids started hollering about those kids, you know ... and later on that night, he came over there in a yellow car with some boxes in them, now what was in the boxes I don’t know. The kids said that the box was about this big and some thing like this and they didn’t know what was in the box, but he said don’t look at it, don’t touch it, don’t step on it or I’ll hurt you. …"

Narlene had seen L.G. earlier on May 10, much to the surprise of her interrogators.

“…The day I run into L.G. the day at the police department, he begged me to go in there and sit down with his mother and I said, I can’t do that. He said that I wasn’t at no laundry mat Wednesday night, I said, yes you was, he said, naw I wasn’t, I said yes you was, cause Ricky Hollingsworth” — so says the transcript but Narlene was referring to Dixie, not Ricky — “said that I had just missed you. I said, you better stop lying or they are going to get you for murdering these children, and they are going to want to know why you lie,  he said alright, I was there, I said I know you was.”

Narlene told Dabbs and Hester that the encounter had not been on Thursday, as they first assumed, but that day at the police station.

Narlene explained, “I went there to pay my husband’s fine of $25 that he got in trouble and he got a DUI, I think …. Today I went down there to pay on his fine, L.G. come running out of the building where the police department, he said you go in there and tell them that you are mommy and I said, no, I won’t. I said where is your mother and he said, I don’t know but she won’t come up there with me, I said, well, I said, they will ask you some questions and you answer them, I said, they will let you go. And then if you start telling a bunch of lies and they catch you in them, he said well uh, I wasn’t over there in that area that day, I said, yes you was L.G., and then he said, I was, I said, I know you was.

“He said, if you start saying that about Damien, you’re going to get in trouble, I said, well, the mommy is up there saying stating that he was, Damien was with her all the time. I said, well the mommy is a liar ain’t she. …”

Police didn’t take a statement from “the mommy,” apparently referring to the never-credible Pamela Hutchison, until two days later, May 12.

Narlene continued: “He said, you seen him coming down the street, I said, yes L.G. and I am not lying for him. I am not scared of that boy. He said, well don’t you put yourself in that kind of trouble, well I’m going to take care of L.G.”

As Narlene predicted, L.G. remained under suspicion long into the case.  Suspicions still linger. 

The next day, May 11, police got another tip about L.G. from Robin Taylor, a third-grade teacher in Horn Lake, Miss., just south of Memphis.  According to the report on her phone call, “This date a 8 year old student told her that she needed to talk to her about the murders in West Memphis.

“The girl said that her cousin came home that he is 19 and that he had blood on his clothes and himself.

“That her cousin had something concealed in a box and put it in his car and told his family that if they even went near the car he would kill them.

“Her Aunt said she would lie for him if he was involved and tell the police he was with her at the time of the murders.

“That the police had already talked to her cousin.

“Teacher advised that this was a good and usually quiet student and it would be out of character for her to lie.”

Notes indicated the student was Sara Hollingsworth, daughter of Debra Hollingsworth, The cousin was L.G., and two of the aunts were L.G.’s mother Linda and Narlene.  Also, “Sara was afraid her dad would find out she told.”

 The notes also indicated that L.G. was thinking about going to Georgia and that he had arranged children’s clothing on the table at the laundromat. L.G. was talking about getting out of town, but to Kentucky not Georgia.  There was no other mention of L.G. having children’s clothing at the laundromat.  Most of the victims’ clothing was found stuck at the ends of large sticks thrust into the ditch bed.  Police did not contact the Horn Lake Hollingsworths until well after  the arrests.

Detectives made a number of attempts to contact Debra Hollingsworth on June 15 and drove to her home June 16, only to find no one there.  A neighbor said they were at a church camp. Police left a note asking her to call. 

Durham finally talked to Sarah on June 17.  “The interview took place at the Christian church camp near Sardis, Miss. Mrs. Debra Hollingsworth, mother of Sarah, was present. Sarah denied ever seeing L.G. Hollingsworth with blood on his clothes and said she did not see him put anything in his car or threaten anybody. She denied knowing anything about this alleged incident.”

Other than rumors and anonymous tips, there was little evidence that L.G. did more at the laundromat than drop by briefly to get a telephone number.  Questions about the “stinky box” may linger forever. 

The primary evidence, the confessions of Misskelley, made no mention of any involvement of L.G. or anyone other than the West Memphis 3. 

 Questions about Hollingsworth’s involvement remained purely circumstantial for decades. Then a couple of career criminals serving long terms in Arkansas prisons on rape convictions gave sworn statements in 2013  that L.G., Buddy Lucas, Terry Hobbs and David Jacoby killed the boys after being discovered at a sex and drugs orgy in Robin Hood Hills. The story got some play in the news, but investigators did not take the wild story seriously. 

Back in 1993, however, Hollingsworth’s inability to come up with a consistent, corroborated alibi caused serious doubt about his professed innocence.

Soon after his first interview with police on May 10, L.G. was given a polygraph test.  The results of the polygraph show up in a brief report on the Web site: “Didn’t know boys had been killed until Thursday 3 p.m. when his aunt told him”

And “Last time in Robin Hood Hills was Jan. or Feb.”

“Says he suspects Damien.”  The notes indicate deception in the answer about Damien. 

While it seems unlikely that L.G. would gone out of his way to help Echols, L.G. was on friendly terms with Domini.  He told investigators he went to the laundromat to get Domini’s number. Her standing alibi was that she was home all evening with her mother and not on the telephone until 10 p.m., when she and Damien began a long telephone argument. 

On May 20, police had received a tip that Dixie “Hubbard use to be Hollingsworth” had told “someone” that two boys and a girl came in the laundromat where she worked on Ingram at  10-10:30 p.m. on May 5 to clean mud and blood off their clothes.  “Boone,” the tipster, said she was related to one of them, whose name was Hollingsworth. 

Bryn Ridge and Gary Gitchell visited Hufford, 50, on May 20 at her townhouse apartment. 

 Ridge wrote:  “She reported that L.G. Hollingsworth came to the Laundry where she works on 5-5-93 in a small light colored car and asked her for Domini’s number. This occurred at about 9:00 to 9:30PM. Dixie stated that Narlene and Ricky Hollingsworth picked her up from work at a few minutes before 10:00PM that night and took her home.

“Dixie came to work later and Linda Hollingsworth came in asking about where L.G. had been during the evening on 5-5-93. When Dixie told her of him coming in to the laundry in the small car she asked if she was sure that it wasn’t Richard Simpson’s car. Dixie stated that she knew Richard’s car and that it was not his….

“Dixie stated that we need to talk to Linda Hollingsworth but for us to know that she believes she will likely try to protect L.G.

“Dixie believed that L.G. had on a white shirt and tie that night he came to the laundry.”  

Hufford made no mention of L.G.  — or anyone else  — washing mud and blood off clothes.  Linda was L.G.’s mother, and there is no record of the police talking with her. 

 L.G. said he was at Simpson’s home in the evening; Simpson initially denied that. L.G. was driving a car unfamiliar to family members.  Why was he wearing a white shirt and tie to visit a laundromat?  Simpson did remember loaning him a tie, and Hollingsworth was scheduled to start his new job on May 6.

The L.G. story took a brief detour to Kentucky, where L.G.  traveled with Simpson to see L.G.’s “fiancee,” Liza McDaniels. 

West Memphis police received a message from Sgt. Jim Dorrow in Caldwell, Ky., on May 16, concerning Simpson and L.G., who had been riding a yellow 1979 Ford LTD around Princeton, Ky., in a suspicious manner.  

They had rented two rooms in a motel.  

Liza’s uncle and aunt alerted police about the tryst. Liza was found in bed with L.G. 

Simpson produced an ID showing he was a building inspector with the West Memphis Police Department. The car was registered to Tri-State Word Ministries of West Memphis.  Simpson identified himself as a 49-year-old building inspector for the City of West Memphis as well as a nondenominational minister.

 The sheriff’s office there checked out Simpson’s ID with Gitchell and sent L.G. and Simpson back to West Memphis.

Ridge conducted another  interview on May 26 with Hollingsworth, who gave permission for blood and hair samples to be taken.  Said Ridge: “LG stated that he didn’t know  anything about the murders and that on Wednesday he was with Richard Simpson at his house from 05:30 PM until about 9:30 PM. He stated that after that he went home just before his mother arrived home. He stated that he got on the phone with Domini and was talking with her about the problems that she and Damien were having and that is when his mother came in about 10:00 PM. …

“I next interviewed Richard Simpson who stated that L.G. was not with him during that period of time until Thursday evening.” 

L.G. seemed highly interested in Domini’s troubled relationship with Damien; by her own account, she argued with Echols that evening as well as the next day. 

Ridge first talked to Simpson on May 13, following interviews with L.G. on May 10 and 11.  While Simpson’s statements did little to bolster the various stories from L.G.,  Simpson was inconsistent about L.G.’s activities on May 5, other than stating that L.G. had not been at his home that evening.

Simpson gave permission to search his home and his yellow 1979 Ford LTD (which supposedly contained the “smelly box”). Police found nothing suspicious. He denied direct knowledge of the murders. 

Simpson had met L.G. after the teen introduced himself at Blockbuster Video. He felt sorry for the boy.  “His family very hard on him.”

Notes on the interview stated:  “… Believe that LG told of incident on Wednesday month to 6 weeks ago left & came back from someone very strong in satanic belief. Boy apparently hated L.G.” The somewhat  cryptic note made a clear reference to Echols. 

Simpson took a polygraph test May 14 and said  he knew nothing about the killings.  He told police “L.G. thinks Damon may have done it.” No deception was indicated.

Simpson talked to Ridge again on May 26, after another unsatisfactory interview with L.G. Ridge reported: “He advised me that he could not remember for sure but that he did not have L.G. Hollingsworth over at his house on 5-5-93. Wednesday evening, however he stated that L.G. called him at about 6:30 PM and requested that he come and get him. He stated that he thought that L.G. was at his home when he received the phone call. He again stated that he was not with L.G. at that time.

“Richard stated that he was with L.G. on Thursday evening and that L.G. spent the night with him. He further stated that L.G. spent the weekend with him and that on Friday evening he and L.G. went to a restaurant on Poplar in Memphis. He stated that L.G. did drink some beer and a margarita at the restaurant and that he also drank a margarita while at the bar. …

“Richard stated that he did remember L.G. borrowed a tie and shirt from him but that he couldn’t remember when exactly he borrowed the tie. Richard stated that if L.G. stated that he borrowed the tie on that date, 050593 he wouldn’t argue that but that he didn’t think that this occurred on the Wednesday 050593.”

Simpson took another polygraph examination.  Durham’s note on the session said “Wed 5-5-93 said L.G. came over sometime after 5 pm to borrow a white shirt — he loaned L.G. a shirt & a tie and then gave L.G. a ride back home around 9 p.m. or 9:30 p.m.

“Said L.G was at his house from 6:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. — Richard then gave L.G. a ride home. …

“Says not sure of date.”

This time Simpson failed the test. 

Durham noted, however, that “Subject moved during test — yawned and appeared to be attempting counter-measures to distort the test.” Simpson told him he had taken pain pills because he had a kidney stone.

He then changed his story and told police that L.G. had not been at his house May 5 but had come over that  Thursday and spent the weekend. Simpson did not clear up questions about L.G.  

 Ridge interviewed a Simpson house guest, architectural engineer Laszlo Benyo, on May 27. The statement from Benyo, a 45-year-old married architect from Budapest, did not clear up questions about L.G. Ridge reported: “When asked about the date of Wednesday 5-5-93. He stated that he was living with Richard Simpson during that time and that he is certain that he was at home during the evening. He knows L.G. and another young black/male who used to come over. He didn’t remember L.G. coming over on that Wednesday. He stated that he heard of the murder on Thursday evening when he was discussing with Richard his traveling plans and Richard brought up the murder of the three boys. He remembered that on Friday morning Richard took him to the airport for a flight he made to New Orleans. He stated that some days ago Richard became upset about L.G. calling quite late at night. This occurred last week. He stated that Richard sometimes cooked for L.G. He stated again that on the night before the conversation came up about the boys that L.G. didn’t come over.

“On the night before the conversation. He stated that he once … answered the phone and it was L.G.’s mother.”  She asked him to tell L.G. to call her back. So Benyo seemingly remembered L.G.’s mother seeking him on May 5 and not finding him either at home or at Simpson’s.  

In a May 20, 1993, story in the West Memphis Evening Times,  contradicting his account of hearing about the murders from Simpson, Benyo said he had been out of town when he heard about the murders. 

Benyo continues to work in his own firm as an architect in Budapest.

Domini made no mention in any of her statements about talking to L.G. on the evening of May 5. She said she talked to Damien on May 5 starting around 10 p.m. 

Why would Hollingsworth go to the trouble of going to the laundromat to get her phone number if he didn’t call soon after?  He had seen her earlier that day and would see her several times the next day but he apparently was feeling an immediate need to call.  Why would he not act on the information?  While he gave contradictory versions of other events,  there was no contradicting evidence suggesting that he had not sought out Domini’s number. 

On Sept. 2, 1993, L.G. gave another statement, this time to John Fogleman.  L.G. had moved from 724 McCauley Circle and was living with Simpson.

Asked about his job search on May 5 with Narlene,  he said: “Well,  we went, uh, she was supposed to come over to my house, and she never did, so I borrowed Richard’s car, and I went over to her house …. OK, and I come over there too early, so I took her kids to school. … And then, I left there, no that was the day after, I’m sorry. She come over to the house, and got me, and we went over there. She took the kids to school. And then we went job hunting. …”

He got a job at the Big Star West Broadway, near the high school. Then “we got tired and went to Sonic, and then we got tired, so we was going to go home. … And on the way, she took me to my house and there wasn’t nobody there. … So, I told her to take me to my mom’s work … So on the way there, she had a wreck, and we stayed there at the wreck and after we left the wreck, we went to her insurance company … And then I went over to her house. No, I didn’t. I went to my mom’s work and got the key, and then I went home. … Well, I stayed there until my mom got there.”

He said Linda got home about 8:30 p.m., or “7:30 somewhere around there.” He said he had stayed at his aunt’s until around 5 p.m.

He had seen Damien that afternoon. “Well I went over to Domini’s and he was there, and I seen him before I left. … It was about 3 hours before I left my aunt’s. … Yeah, I’d say about 1:00.” He stayed “about 20 minutes.”

He said Domini and Dian Teer and Echols were there, making no mention of Kenneth Watkins.  Dian told  Fogleman that L.G. had been at their trailer on May 5 and May 6. 

Fogleman asked L.G.: “Did you see them again at any time?”

L.G.: “Yes, I was, I said I was going to go ahead and walk home. So I was going over to my old aunt’s to see if she was going to give me a ride.” This “old aunt” was Pam Hollingsworth, Dian’s sister.

L.G.: “And then I seen Damien right there at the corner, and …”

Fogleman: “OK. Was he by himself?”

L.G.: “Yes, uh well, I seen him before that, I was walking over to my aunt’s, and him and Domini was out there arguing. … And Domini went her way, and he was standing on the other street … Like he didn’t know what to do. … And then I left there and went to my aunt’s to talk to her.”

Fogleman: “About what time was that when you saw them arguing?”

L.G.: “I’d say about 4:30. … Anyway then my aunt said that she couldn’t give me a ride, so I walked outside, and I seen Damien standing at the corner, and I asked him where he fixing to go, and he said my mom’s coming to get me, and this was at 5 minutes till 5:00. …”

Fogleman: “Alright, are you sure that it was that day?”

L.G.: “Yes. … Anyway, then my aunt took me home.”

Fogleman: “OK, was Damien, when you saw him, was he out there standing by himself?”

L.G.: “Yes.”  L.G.’s story about seeing Damien at Lakeshore contradicted accounts from the Echols and Teer families and seemed to explain part of what actually happened — Echols being at Lakeshore, instead of going home, for a meeting with Baldwin and Misskelley later that afternoon. 

L.G. said he did not know the name of the street but it was on a corner near where Baldwin lived..

Fogleman continued: “OK, then what happened?”

L.G.: “My aunt come around the corner and she said, well come on, and I said alright. So I got in the car and she took me home.” 

L.G. said his mother and a female friend were home when he arrived, and they were “fixin to go to” the home of Mona Robertson. This contradicted some of his other stories.

Fogleman inserted: “Let me stop here and ask you, how are you able to remember all of this so well? You just ….”

L.G.” “Well everytime you say another word, it becomes clear.”

Fogleman: “But I’m talking about that particular, how do you remember that this happened on that particular day?”

L.G.: “You’re talking about Wednesday. I know what happened.”

Fogleman: “Well, I know but it was …”

L.G.: “A long time ago.”

Fogleman: “Yes, it was a long time ago. How do you remember that so well? Is there anything in particular about that day that makes it stand out?”

L.G.: “No, it was just a day. See I’ve been done with this so many times.”

Fogleman: “With the police.”

L.G.: “Yeah.”

L.G. told Fogleman he had not gone over the story with anyone except the police, and “an investigator.”  Fogleman asked: “Do you remember the guy with the beard, that dresses real fancy?” in reference to Ron Lax. 

L.G.: “If he’s an investigator, that’s who I talked to.” 

Fogleman asked L.G. what happened after his mother and her friend left.

L.G.: “Well, I stayed there for a little while, then I called my buddy Richard. Richard Simpson. …Then I went over to his house …. We sat there for a while, and uh, I don’t really remember. I think he was tripping out or something…. Then, uh, I went over to go to another friend’s house. And, he wasn’t home, so I stopped at my aunt’s work. Anyway, I left Richard’s and he dropped me off home. … I believe, I’m not for sure. I get the days mixed up, but I know what happened.”

So much for L.G.’s incredible memory.

Fogleman: “OK. Let’s talk about, now before you said that you went to Dixie’s place of work. That’s a laundromat.”

L.G.: “Yeah.”

Fogleman: “Alright, which day are you saying that is.”

L.G.: “Uh.”

Fogleman: “Alright, before, you said it was that Wednesday. Now, how did you get there?”

L.G.: “Richard. I had his car. Richard’s car. … Richard was in the car on the other side, and I was driving.”

Fogleman: “Now, L.G., this is where we’re going to start getting into some problems. Um, Richard says, that he saw you that night and it was just  for a few minutes, and that he didn’t go with you to any  laundromat.”

L.G.: “Yeah, he did.”

Fogleman: “And your aunt says that she knows Richard’s car, and the car you came in wasn’t Richard’s.”

L.G. “Yes it was.”

Fogleman: “Why did your aunt say that it wasn’t and Richard said that it wasn’t?”

L.G.: “I don’t know. I have no idea.”

Fogleman: “You’re going to stick with that?”

L.G.; “Yes sir.”

Fogleman, bearing down: “Who was it, L.G.?

L.G.: “It was Richard.”

Fogleman was moving into some of the toughest questioning in the the case, though ultimately to not much effect: “Do you know why he wouldn’t say that it was him?”

L.G.: “I have no idea.”

Fogleman: “Why would he have any motivation not to say yes, I was with him, I took him up there?”

L.G.: “I guess you’ll have to ask him, because all I know is that we was together, and he knew it and I knew it. And we’re still friends, and he didn’t say nothing about it.”

Fogleman: “What about your aunt?”

L.G.: “I couldn’t tell you nothing about that. I don’t know why she said that.”

Fogleman: “You’re digging a hole, L.G.”

After a long pause, L.G. responded: “That’s the truth, man.”

He went on to deny seeing Damien, Jason or Jessie that evening.

Fogleman: “And you’re sure about that?”

L.G.: “Yes sir, cause I left there and I went home.”

Fogleman: “And what did you do there at the laundromat?”

L.G.: “I walked in and asked for Domini’s number.”

Fogleman: “Why?”

L.G.: “Because I forgot her number.”

He explained that Dixie Hufford would have the number because they were all related.    

Fogleman: “OK. What happened the next night? The next day?”

L.G.: “My aunt came over to get me, no … my aunt came over and got me and took me to Big Star, and I went to work.”  He started about 9.  This roughly agreed with Narlene’s account of taking L.G. to work the next day. 

Fogleman continued to express skepticism about L.G.’s story, alluding to Hufford’s account: “I’ve got her saying that you came in there, but weren’t with Richard. You weren’t in his car, it was a different car. And then I’ve got Richard saying, no, it wasn’t me that he was with. Now what would you believe if you were me?”

L.G.: “Well, I don’t know, I have no idea. I don’t know why somebody would say that.”

 Domini told investigators that she and Damien “took out stress on each other” the day after the killings. Multiple statements concurred that the teen couple had a major argument over the phone late in the evening May 5.

Were they arguing that Wednesday afternoon? It doesn’t seem unlikely. 

 One of Damien’s complaints about L.G. was that L.G. had suggested that they swap girlfriends, which presumably would have paired L.G. with Domini.  Despite being “cousins,” they were only loosely related. L.G. showed up at Domini’s house regularly for months and continued to call her after the arrests.

Dian Teer explained to Fogleman about L.G.’s visits: “… He used to come over fairly often because he was going out with Domini’s best girlfriend, Liza McDaniels … and they would come over sometime and if they’d stayed out too late and if  her mother had locked the door on her, they’d come over to our trailer and spend the night.”

Asked about L.G.’s visit on May 5, Dian answered: “I don’t know exactly what time he left , but they was supposed to be going to see about a job. And uh, his Aunt Narlene and his Aunt Pam both live in the trailer park too and he went I believe with Narlene, to see about the job. … He went over to her house. … It was probably about 12, something like that.” She had no recollection of any calls that evening from anyone except Damien around 10 p.m. 

Domini was also questioned about L.G. during Fogleman's interviews with the Teers on Sept. 20.

She did not mention L.G. visiting her trailer either day.

Fogleman: “You confide in the L.G. don’t you?”

Domini: “That’s my cousin.”

Fogleman: “You talk to L.G. don’t you?”

Domini: “Yeah. …”

Fogleman pressed her: “OK. Are you sure there’s not something you want to tell us?”

Domini: “Uh uh. Nope. I’ve told you just about everything I know.”

Fogleman concluded the interview with this cryptic remark: “Alright … Well, I’ll just let you and L.G. work that out.”

In a October 2016 phone interview, Domini Ferris lightly dismissed any significance to her friendship with L.G. “We grew up as cousins and he went out with my best friend. That’s about it. Nothing more to it than that.” She said she did not talk with him the evening of May 5 and had no idea  why he was seeking her phone number that night. 

According to Kenneth Watkins, who spent much of May 5 hanging around with Domini, Damien and Jason after he had skipped school, “We went to Wal-Mart to play some video games, and L.G. came to Wal-Mart then we went back inside Wal-Mart to get away from him.” This description of events on May 5, which agrees with no one else’s account, would have occurred between 3:30, when Baldwin got out of school, and 5:30, when Kenneth went home to babysit.  

According to Watkins, in a Sept. 16, 1993, statement: “L.G. came over earlier that morning to talk … He just talked to Domini, I didn’t really know it, he was just talking to Domini about moving to Kentucky or something like that, with his girlfriend. ...”  He said L.G. gave Domini "a little necklace. A black one, with a little green ball."

Bryn Ridge asked Watkins: “OK, and what happened at Wal-Mart?”

Kenneth: “We started playing games, then L.G. came up. We went inside and looked around at some tapes …”

Ridge: “Alright — you said L.G. came up and y’all went inside to look at some tapes. There a conflict between L.G. and somebody?”

Kenneth: “I think Damien said he didn’t like L.G. They’re always talking about him.”

Ridge: “So, when L.G. came up,  was it Damien’s idea to go in and go somewhere else?”

Kenneth: “Yeah, he didn’t want to talk with him.”

Watkins said he thought L.G. left during the time they were walking about Wal-Mart over a period of about 30 minutes.

Watkins’ account of events at Domini’s trailer earlier on May 5 corroborated closely with other statements; his story  about the late afternoon was largely uncorroborated and contradicted most other witness statements.  

The case records at contain a recorded phone call between L.G. and Domini on Feb. 10, 1994, made after a Commercial Appeal article raised questions about L.G.  During a preliminary hearing, it was revealed that Echols had named L.G. as a potential suspect.  The headline: “Inquiry, trials haunt L.G. Hollingsworth.”

L.G. was concerned because Baldwin and Echols had tried to implicate him, according to the story. 

L.G. complained: “My name’s in the paper.”

Domini: “Oh really, about what?” 

L.G. “What’s, what’s that guy uh with Damien? Michael or somebody … Jason, that’s the name …. Jason, Jason is trying to say I killed them kids.”

Domini: “What?”

L.G. asked: “Now you know I didn’t do it, don’t you?”

Domini: “Little Jason?’

LG.: “Mm-hmmmm.”

Domini: “Don’t worry about it.”

L.G.: “Now you know I didn’t do it, now don’t you?”

Domini: “I don’t know. I ain’t saying nothing. I don’t know who did it. I don’t have an idea what’s going on or what.”

She told L.G. to not worry.  Domini reassured him that she knew nothing about the allegations and that Damien had said nothing to her about L.G.’s alleged involvement. 

Then, in March 1994, with the Echols/Baldwin trial under way,  a prisoner named Tim Cotton, who had been in jail with L.G. in February after L.G.’s arrests on burglary and forgery charges, passed a note to jailers tipping them off about a major break in the case, if it panned out.

Timothy Robert Cotton, 26, was among those questioned in the first days of the investigation after drawing attention during the search.  Like many others, but unlike either Echols or Misskelley, he passed a polygraph examination and was cleared as a suspect.  

   Nonetheless police received a number of tips about Cotton early in the case.

One said:
       “Ref: Tim Cotton


“F/W called advise that M/W first name either Tim or Tom is possibly responsible for the murder of the three 8 year old youths in Arkansas. Called advised that m/w is into self mutilation and has broken bottles and cut himself in the presence of his sister.  His sister advised the called that her brother had killed animals before and that when she heard about the boys she suspect her brothers involvement. Suspect’s sister name is Tamara and she works as a cocktail waitress at the Gulfstream lounge. Caller stated that the reason she believes he is involved is that he works at the Blue Beacon Car Wash (The three youths were found behind the Blue Beacon) Caller advised that Tim has been in an institution and like to play around with 5-8 year old boys.”

Charlie Dabbs took another tip on May 27: “Received a call from Sally Brady and Gina Riccio about the nite the boys were missing Wednesday nite and they were out driving around trying to assist in locating the missing boy. They advised they saw Tim Cotten from Lakeshore riding a bicycle that was green and yellow go into Robin Hood Woods at dead end of McCauley and as they were driving around … about 45 minutes to 1 hour later they saw him again coming from the other end of Robin Hood and was wet & muddy all over and they heard him tell some of the Search & Rescue people he had fallen in the bayou was going home and change clothes. They said he was a weird acting guy and just wanted to check him out. he was seen going in woods around 10 p.m. and coming out around 11 p.m.” 

 Cotton on May 8 told investigators that he did not know anything about the homicides but had helped in the search.  He had just started working at the Blue Beacon  and lived in the same neighborhood as the victims, not at Lakeshore.    

He said he first learned the boys were dead around 3 p.m. Thursday when he overheard Gitchell.  He passed a polygraph test on May 8. Cotton eventually passed along his own tip.

His note from March 4, 1994, pointed to L.G. Hollingsworth as the “4th Suspect.”

The note, as preserved on, is difficult to read: “L.G. Hollyingworth have told me, as Tim R. Cotton Sr., I state that L.G. had told me that was the 4th suspeck in the three 8 yr old killing on or on May of 93, He was getting cooke cane from Mr. Byers, & he, that is L.G. told me that a drug deal went bad & he & the three young men, to get even with Mr. Byers. By put a hit on his family & he told me, that he and Damien made a deal, just to get the Byers boy & hurt him real bad, and he went on for about a week. Telling me, Tim Cotten Sr. I wanted to no if he could trust me & I told him yes, & he said the two other boys was not part of the hit on the Byers family but they were all together that day. Oh yes there are two other people that helped the killers.”  Cotton offered to testify in exchange for getting out of jail. 

Sudbury and Durham interviewed Cotton on March 8:

“Timothy Cotton stated that around May the 5th or 6th he had left his house on Wilson Street and was going to job interview. Along the way he learned of the three boys missing. That someone in the rescue squad asked him to help look for the boys at which time he borrowed a 4 wheeler and helped look, but did not find anything.

“On the 13th of Jan. 1994 he was locked up in the CCSO. That later in February L.G. Hollingsworth was locked up. That he and L.G. had received a subpoena to court in Jonesboro. …”

Their link was that they both were potential (though minor) witnesses in the Echols/Baldwin trial in Jonesboro.

The report continued: 

“That they talking about the subpoenas and L.G. told him: That he and Damien went to cult meeting together and that he and Damien drank beer together at the meetings and killed animals at the meetings. That the meetings were at Lakeshore then moved to the old RR bridge like you are going to Memphis. That L.G. told him, at one of the meeting a older man was there and appeared to the leader. …

 “That later that week something came on the news about a 4th suspect in the killing of the three boys. At this time L.G. stated to him that they were talking about him that he was the 4th suspect. L.G. said he had the knife that belonged to the boys meaning Damien and his friends. …

“That L.G. has stated a contract was out on John Byers for a dope debt owed to him, but who ever was going to beat him up count get to Byers so L.G. decided to get Damien to beat up Byers son. That later Damien told L.G. that he had got him real good and two others boys that were there. …

“That L.G. said Damien told him that after the killing he had someone pick him up and that person was driving a green and white van and that they lived in Lakeshore on the back side near the sewer plant.”

The report repeatedly noted that Hollingsworth denied making these statements and denied that he knew Byers.   

The report added: “It is the opinion of this investigator that Timothy Cotton is under the impression he will receive some type help or his case be dismissed if he can be a witness for the Prosecutors Office. There is nothing to substantiate the statement given by Mr. Cotton.”

Police brought L.G. in yet again on March 8 while the Echols/Baldwin trial was under way.   

Sudbury noted, at 11:25 a.m.: “The  interview consisted of allegations made by Timothy Cotton whereas L.G. Hollingsworth had told him of his knowledge of the killing of the three  boys.

“Mr. Hollingsworth denied having made any statements to Timothy Cotton. “ It seems unlikely  that L.G. never said anything to Cotton while they were locked up in a cell together for days.  Police, reluctant to believe anything from L.G. to that point, took his all-coverage denial at face value. 

Police then tape-recorded a portion of the interview, starting at 12:02 p.m. and ending nine minutes later, at 12:11. The  interview did not delve into Cotton’s allegations. Instead, L.G. told about a conversation he had with Echols about two months, “maybe not that long,” before the murders.

L.G.: “We was coming back from my house, I believe. We was walking, I do know that.…. We was going to Belvedere …. To meet up with my girlfriend and his girlfriend. … OK. Damien asked me could I kill somebody and I says, ‘I don’t think I could kill them unless they did something really bad to me.’ I said, ‘I’d probably hurt them bad first.’ And then I says, ‘Why you ask?’ He says, ‘Cause I’m thinking of killing somebody.’  I says, ‘Why you thinking about killing somebody?’ He says, ‘They’re fucking with me.’ That’s what he told me. I says, ‘If there’s some man, then you just go and you break his ass or you get your ass whooped. If it’s some little teenager, you tell his parents or you call the police.’ I say, ‘You don’t need to do that, because that’s not cool, you know. You’ll go to jail for that.’ And we keep walking and stuff and he says, ‘Just say that you would kill somebody.’ I says, ‘OK, say I would kill somebody.’ He says, ‘How would you do it?’ I says, ‘Well it depends.’ He says, ‘What do you mean it depends?’ I said, ‘It depends on what they did to me to make me kill them.’ I says, ‘I’d probably put a bullet in their head, and if not I’d probably break both of their arms and make them wish they was dead.’ And um I says, ‘Well, What’s up?’ or you know, ‘Would you kill somebody?’ And he says, ‘Yeah.’ He says, ‘I’m thinking of killing somebody’ is what he told me. I said, ‘OK,’ I says, ‘you don’t need to do that. That’s gonna fuck your life up.’ I says, ‘it will mess you up altogether.’ He says, ‘Well’ like that, and we left it at that and we kept walking for a little ways more. And he says, ‘If I was gonna kill somebody I would tie ‘em up, beat ‘em and fuck ‘em. That way they would know that I’m not fucking with nobody. You know, I’m a straight up kind of guy. …

“And alright so I said, ‘Well look, you don’t need to do that, you know.’ Alright. So we walked on. Alright. And then May the 6th, I think it was May the 6th, when I did talk to Damien he was just kind of like sitting there. He was kind of nervous. …. At Domini’s house in Lakeshore.”

L.G. said he remembered the date because he had been riding with Narlene when she was in a car accident the day before.

“That day we sat and I talked to him for a minute and then I left. And I came over there like three times and they were still whatever they was doing, you know, sitting and talking. So I didn’t say too much and I left again. Anyway, he was on the corner, sitting on the corner and my cousin had run away. “  L.G. said Domini ran away from Damien during an argument. 

Sudbury: “This is on the 6th?” L.G. had described a similar scene on the 5th.

L.G. “This is on the 6th.  … I said, ‘Are you still thinking of killing somebody,’ like that. He says, ‘No I ain’t. It’s kind of tooken care of. Don’t worry about it, you know it’s OK.’ He said you know kind of fast, you know, I didn’t catch it at first. I thought about what he said and then that’s when I realized that’s what he said, you know. He said it’s tooken care of.”

L..G  believed he knew that three 8-year-olds were missing at that time, but not that they were dead.  “I don’t watch a lot of the news,” L.G. explained. “My aunt told me either on the 6th or the 5th there was kids missing. You know I didn’t even know where they was missing from.”

L.G. had not mentioned these conversations in his many other interviews with police. Police also found little corroboration from others questioned about L.G.’s activities on May 5 and 6.

Rumors have continued concerning the deaths of the boys as payback for a drug deal gone wrong.  Mark Byers was a longtime smalltime drug dealer as well as a police informant.  Greg Day’s authorized biography of Byers, “Untying the Knot,” detailed a number of Byers drug deals gone wrong, violent threats and retribution and Byers’ knack for bad decisions.     

Also, the Crittenden County Drug Task Force was under investigation in 1993 by the Arkansas State Police over missing confiscated items including $200,  a small amount of drugs and firearms claimed by officers for personal use.  The Drug Task Force had been spectacularly successful in a number of drug busts, as local forces cracked down on drug traffic moving through Interstate 55 and Interstate 40. Critics have seized upon involvement of Drug Task Force members in the murder investigation to suggest that police work was tainted, particularly in dealings with Byers.  

Still, there was no evidence beyond Cotton’s statement that the killers or L.G. had dealings with Byers.

Given the looming size of Byers, it’s hard to imagine a couple of relatively small teenagers planning to beat him up, which would explain why they might target his son.  

The mysterious “leader” of the Lakeshore witch cult was described as an older man.  Other statements have located “Lucifer,” “Lusserfer” or “Lucifier,” with widely varying descriptions, as living on a back lot in Lakeshore or somewhere in Marion.  Did this fabled creature actually exist, and did he drive a green and white van? 

Cotton did not testify. Police apparently did not give his statement a great deal of credence. Similarly, police treated all statements from L.G. with justifiable skepticism, except for denials about Cotton’s story. 

The many contradictions in L.G.’s stories ultimately only confused matters as L.G. never emerged as a clear suspect.    

In a case filled with unreliable potential witnesses, L.G. Hollingsworth was just another kid who seemed to be making up much of the story as he went along.

L.G. Hollingsworth Jr. was killed in a vehicle accident on Oct. 26, 2001.

Questions about the “fourth suspect” remain.


Episode 21: A note on Bob Ruff, Central Park 5,  Skateland, a little on LG Hollingsworth
Episode 20: The physical evidence against the WM3 — “It is Our opinion the crime had taken place where the bodies of the victims were recovered.”

Episode 20: The physical evidence against the WM3 — “It is Our opinion the crime had taken place where the bodies of the victims were recovered.”

June 17, 2019


"It is Our opinion the crime had taken place where the bodies of the victims were recovered." 




Despite fake news that authorities had no evidence against the WM3, investigators found physical evidence at the scene that linked the murders to the murderers.  Other physical evidence pointed to the West Memphis 3. None of the evidence was conclusive, but none offered grounds for exoneration.  

Other evidence, such as inadmissible Luminol testing and a blood-spattered pendant discovered too late to be entered into evidence, didn’t make it to the courtrooms for various reasons.  

The killers did not leave a great number of forensic clues.  Because of submersion in water,  no fingerprints were found of anyone, including the victims. Similarly, clothing items tested negative for traces of blood. Virtually all of the DNA recovered and tested matched the boys.  Several imprints from tennis shoes were found, but none matched the killers and may have been left by searchers or others walking through the woods.  

By the time the bodies were found, a number of searchers had been over the woods, where the gumbo soil  was muddy from several inches of rain earlier in the week.  

The crime scene itself had been cleaned up, with the banks washed and smoothed over.  

The killers had gone to great lengths to obscure the location of the bodies, which were found only when a boy’s tennis shoe (a Scout cap in some versions of the story; two shoes, according to Allen’s testimony in the Misskelley trial) was spotted floating in the water.

The West Memphis case has been influenced by the “CSI effect,” in which the public has come to expect a higher level of forensic evidence than often exists at crime scenes.  As a corollary to the effect, the value of circumstantial evidence has been discounted. 

Television shows focusing on DNA and other forensics in investigations necessarily rely on such evidence to figure into the plot. Consequently the public is largely unaware that DNA from killers is found in a relatively small fraction of all murders, with latent fingerprints or any kind of biological trace found in much fewer than half of cases. Further contributing to the relative lack of forensic evidence in the West Memphis case were the cleanup at the scene, the submersion of the bodies in dirty water over an extended time and their exposure to heat and insects in the open air for about an hour, contamination by search efforts and subsequent recovery of the bodies, etc.  

As a result, for example, two samples of apparent bodily tissues found in the ligatures of the shoelace bindings on Christopher and Michael were too small and degraded to yield DNA results. 

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” the prototype of the forensics-based crime shows, premiered in October 2000, so the series and its many offshoots and imitators would have had no effect on the original juries.  Even the O.J. Simpson murder case in 1994-1995, the breakthrough case for public awareness of DNA testing, followed the WM3 trials.

Even so, forensic science played a role in perceptions about the case from the beginnings. 

The initial “Paradise Lost” film, while leaving out much about evidence against the killers, included the strange episode of a knife that Mark Byers gave one of the “Paradise Lost” cameramen as a gesture of goodwill.  Remnants of blood were found in the knife. Testing revealed the blood could have been a match for either Byers or his stepson — an example of the ambiguous results often obtained from DNA testing.  Byers had told police, “I don’t have any idea how it could be on there.” Byers ended up giving testimony during the defense portion of the Echols/Baldwin trial about his fold-back Kershaw knife.  

Byers testified he could not say for sure that Christopher had never played with the knife.  He testified he had used it to trim his toenails.  He recalled cutting his thumb with the knife while trimming venison for Thanksgiving 1993. During a Jan. 26, 1994, interview, he told Chief Inspector Gitchell that he had not used the knife at all but had said he had used it to cut venison.  He also told Gitchell he might have used it to trim his fingernails.  He told Gitchell he did not remember cutting himself with the knife but recalled during testimony that he cut his thumb. The inconsistencies were mostly the consequences of not answering questions carefully, along with an apparent slip of the memory about cutting his thumb. 

Much of the second film, produced in 2000,  again focused on Byers, with a new angle in supposed bite marks, implying that Byers left the imprint of his teeth in the face of Stevie Branch.  Byers had had his teeth pulled since the murders, a commonplace necessity framed as suspicious.  A check of the supposed bite mark against his dental records found no match;  the state’s medical examiners thought the mark may have left by a belt buckle.  The mark also could have been left by a blow from the end of a survival knife such as the “lake knife,”  a type of knife commonly carried by Echols.

Though long viewed by adamant “supporters” as the primary alternative suspect, with much of the “Devil’s Knot” book casting suspicion, Byers’ place as the imagined “real killer” has been supplanted by Terry Hobbs. 

All that was required for the change was  DNA in a single hair that might have come from Hobbs found in one of the boys’ shoelaces.  

Stevie’s stepfather has acknowledged that the hair could be his, with the commonsense explanation that his stepson or one of the other boys could have picked up the hair during Hobbs’ interactions with the kids. 

That possible DNA match quickly took the heat off Byers and set 2011’s “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” and  2012’s “West of Memphis” on the scent of Hobbs.  

Coupled with a dearth of ironclad DNA evidence linking Echols, Misskelley and Baldwin to the crimes, that hair has been the slender thread holding together the case against Hobbs.

On the other hand, the considerable circumstantial evidence against Echols has been ignored, with an increasing focus on the supposed lack of physical evidence. 

One of the most telling pieces of evidence has been routinely discounted or explained away.  In his May 10 report, Ridge noted about a statement from Echols: “Steve Jones told that testicles had been cut off and someone had urinated in mouths and the bodies had been placed in water to flush out.”

Gitchell did not find out until May 16 that urine was present in the stomachs of two victims. Jones could not have revealed that information to Echols because he did not have that information; only a killer would have known about the urine.  

The urine finding was one of the mostly closely held secrets in the investigation, with references to the stomach liquids deliberately obscured in written communications between Little Rock and West Memphis.  Gitchell had been informed of the findings over the phone, with no mention of the urine in autopsy documentation received long after Echols’ May 10 revelations.  

Further clouding most of the evidence are media misrepresentations, the cult of victimhood surrounding the killers and second and third opinions disputing original investigative findings. 

Experts hired by the defense even claimed the mutilations were the result of animal predators, particularly snapping turtles, though Christopher bled to death before being placed in the water.  While it is possible, even likely, that small fish or turtles left superficial wounds,  it is not possible that a team of highly trained snapping turtles killed Chris.  

The ditch was drained immediately after the bodies were found; there were no snapping turtles.  

Stains found on one of the boys’ jeans were analyzed by Genetic Design.  Michael DeGuglielmo,  the DNA  testing company’s director of forensic analysis, testified they were able to recover a small amount of DNA.   

  DeGuglielmo said the sample was most likely sperm cells, though he could not confirm that. Misskelley in his later confessions described Echols masturbating over the body of a victim and wiping his penis on the boy’s pants.  There has been no other explanation offered for how sperm wound up on jeans owned by a prepubescent boy.   

Some fibers retrieved from the scene were found to be microscopically similar to items taken as evidence from the Baldwin and Echols homes. 

Green fibers found on a pair of blue jeans and on Michael’s Cub Scout hat were microscopically similar to fibers found in a shirt from the Echols home.  One polyester fiber was found on the hat. The fiber found on the pants was cotton and polyester.  The shirt from the Echols home was a child’s shirt.  Lisa Sakevicius, a criminalist with the state crime laboratory,  testified that the presence of the fibers suggested a secondary transfer, as the blue size 6 Garanimals shirt, which belonged to Echols’ half-brother Tim Hutchison, was much too small for Echols.  In an “O.J.” style tactic, defense attorney Val Price asked Echols to attempt to put on the shirt, which he was not able to do.

Three red cotton fibers similar to those found in another  T-shirt from the Echols home were recovered from Michael’s Scout shirt, a pair of blue pants and a bag of items found at the crime scene. The fibers were also a match for a red shirt found at Michael’s home.

Items from the bag recovered from a pipe, where it had been either discarded or cached near the crime scene,  included a pair of Jordache size 33-34 blue jeans, a black medium-size thermal undershirt, a pair of white socks, two Bic razors, a plastic bag and a tan short sleeve shirt.  The items were wet and moldy.  

There was no clear evidence linking the bag and its contents to the crime, other than its presence. Despite a similar red thread potentially linking Michael, Echols and the bag,  investigators were not able to establish a positive link. 

The bag was from Road Runner Petro, where Echols’s father was employed and that shared parking space with Alderson Roofing & Metal. Echols told police he worked as a roofer for Anderson. The businesses were not near the crime scene. 

A red Rayon fiber matched a bathrobe owned by Baldwin’s mother. That fiber was found on a black and white polka dot shirt, which, like the blue pants, was found turned inside out. Sakevicius again suggested secondary transfer, and later explained that such transferences commonly occur when clothes are washed together. 

The polka dot shirt worn by Stevie was the source of residue of blue wax similar to candle wax.  A small blue candle was found on a table in Domini Teer’s bedroom, and similar wax was found on a witchcraft book, “Never on a Broomstick,” from Echols’ bedroom.  Similar wax was also found in a bar of soap from the Baldwin bathroom. Jurors cited the wax as evidence against Echols. Candles are routinely used in occult ceremonies.

Sakevicius also testified that submersion in water was “very detrimental” to the recovery of trace evidence. 

Sakevicius testified that a Negroid hair had been recovered from the sheet covering Christopher.  The presence of that hair was never explained.  One obvious and irresistible theory attributed the hair to “Mr. Bojangles,” the bleeding black man who commandeered the restroom of a local restaurant shortly after the probable time of the killings. 

The hair could have been from a police officer or other searcher, but no hairs from officers were submitted for comparison.

Bolstering the idea that more than one assailant was involved were the varying knots used on the shoelaces  to tie arms to legs.

The text used by local witches, “Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft,” contained a section on knot magic and how knots were used to bind magical spells. The magic number for knots was nine. Michael, Stevie and Christopher were tied with eight, 10 and four knots respectively.    

The knots used on Michael: Square knot on the left wrist and ankle, three half hitches on the right wrist, four half hitches on the right ankle. Only one shoestring was used to bind Michael, by contrast with both shoelaces used on the other boys, in another deviation in the patterns of bindings. In a later confession,  Misskelley described helping pull shoestrings from the shoes; his involvement would explain not only the single strand but the variance in knots used to bind Michael. 

The knots used on Stevie Branch:  three half hitches on both the left ankle and left wrist, three half hitches with the loop tied twice around the right leg, half hitch with figure eight on the right wrist. 

On Chris Byers:  double half hitches on all four knots.

The knots used were square knots, half hitches and double half hitches, with one knot being looped twice and a figure eight thrown on top of a half hitch —- at least three different knots, suggesting that three people tied up the boys.  It is extremely unlikely that one person would have used three different knots to tie up the boys, particularly in a high-stress situation such as a murder scene. The forensic evidence showed that Chris and Stevie struggled against their bindings, while Michael, with deep and traumatic wounds to the head, had no such signs of struggle. 

 Michael also showed few if any signs of sexual molestation, fitting with Misskelley’s description of a quick, violent pounding of the face and head but subsequent protection from further predation by Baldwin and Echols. 

A pagan “ax” necklace belonging to Echols was discovered to be speckled with blood from two DNA sources as the Echols/Baldwin trial neared the end. The prosecution had already rested its case when questions arose about the blood spots. 

The prosecution weighed the implications of entering the necklace as trial evidence. Judge David Burnett made it clear that the prosecution would be dealing with “two basic remedies, either a mistrial or  a continuance.”

At the least,  the new evidence would have resulted in a continuance while the defense was allowed to examine the evidence.  

Besides the possibility of a mistrial, prosecutors were concerned that it could result in a possible severance of the Echols and Baldwin cases.  

One DNA source was compatible with Echols, while the second was compatible with both Stevie and Baldwin.  The prosecution was prepared to argue that Stevie was the source, seeing little benefit from arguing for a match with Baldwin.  

The necklace, taken from Echols at the time of his arrest, prompted a hearing on March 17, 1994, out of the presence of the jury, while the case was on continuance as the result of the discovery.  

 Prosecuting Attorney Brent Davis explained to Judge Burnett that “questionable” red spots had been found as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Fogleman and some police officers were reviewing evidence. Fogleman first noticed the spots. 

A deleted scene from “Paradise Lost” footage available on DVD and YouTube showed a meeting between Fogleman and the Baldwin attorneys concerning the necklace.  Though marked by jovial banter, the conference illuminated the difficulties posed by the “blood necklace” for both defense and prosecution. 

The necklace had been sent to the crime lab, where the red spots were discovered to be blood, and then was sent to Genetic Design in North Carolina.

The prosecution learned late on the afternoon of March 15, just as preparations for closing arguments were under way, about the two DNA sources. The lab attempted an “amplification process” to further differentiate the DNA, which was successful on the larger sample from Echols, to not much effect, but was unsuccessful on differentiating Baldwin and Stevie.  The prosecution learned of that in late afternoon on the 16th. 

The prosecution hoped to present to the jury the DQ-Alpha match with Stevie Branch, consistent with about 11 percent of the white population. 

Because Baldwin was also a match, Echols attorney Val Price explained in a court conference: “Part of our defense in this matter would be that sometime during the time period approximately a month or two before the arrest that besides my client having access to this pendant that also Jason Baldwin had access to this pendant. If that is indeed Jason Baldwin’s blood on this pendant and not Stevie Branch’s then this evidence is of no value at all and not relevant, it should be excluded and not considered by the jury at all.”  

Baldwin attorney Paul Ford argued that the evidence should apply to Echols alone since he wore the necklace and presumably there could be no proof of a link to Baldwin.  

Prosecutor Davis said his understanding was that a mistrial for Baldwin would result from entering the necklace into evidence but the case could proceed against Echols. Without a counter-ruling,  Davis did not plan to enter the new evidence.

Judge Burnett pointed out that among the potential complications was that Echols and Baldwin could cross-implicate each other, rather than engage in a common defense, if the necklace was introduced. 

Because the matches were so common,  the blood spots could not have been definitively linked to either Baldwin or Stevie. The spots did raise the question of why Echols’ necklace would be splattered by two or more sources of blood.  

Years later, Baldwin testified, “The necklace that had been acquired by Damien Echols at the time of his arrest was one that I believe my girlfriend Heather had given me.  … I don’t recall specifically how the necklace had come into Echols’ possession.”

As with all things in the West Memphis 3 case, facts about the necklace were disputed.  

Echols had more than one necklace: Ridge noted in his May 10 report that “Damien was wearing a necklace that he claimed that he had just bought at the Mall of Memphis on the Saturday before the interview. The necklace had a pentagram as a pendant that Damien explained meant some type of good symbol for the Wicca magic that he was in.” The blood-spattered pendant was a tiny axe, not a pentagram. 

Echols had the axe pendant before the trip to the mall on May 8. Echols routinely wore this necklace. For example, Echols was filmed wearing the necklace at Skateland on May 7, two days after the killings.   He continued to wear the axe pendant after purchasing the pentagram pendant. He was photographed wearing the axe necklace on May 9. 

Because testing used up the original sample, retesting was not possible,  giving the defense another possible objection since they would not be able to order tests. 

A blood stain found on a shirt gathered as evidence at the Misskelley home similarly showed a possible match for both Misskelley and Michael.  The HLA-DQ alleles had an expected frequency of 7.9 percent in the general population.  

Misskelley said he gotten the blood on the T-shirt by throwing a Coke bottle into the air and smashing it with his fist, showing off his toughness.

   The shirt was not entered into evidence at trial.   

Besides the hair  commonly linked to Hobbs and the Negroid hair, about four other hairs from the site were determined not to have originated with the victims. Because the DNA sampling from Hobbs was obtained by stealth via three discarded cigarette butts and a Q-tip,  resulting in three variances after DNA testing, the link between Hobbs and the hair was even more questionable.  

Another hair found in a tree trunk was a near-match for David Jacoby, a friend of Hobbs.  There was no conclusive evidence that Jacoby was the source, that the hair dated from the time of the crime or that Jacoby or someone else did not leave a hair during the search.  Jacoby said he was not in the area, but his memory was spotty. 

Other hair included a dyed hair recovered from the sheet used to cover Stevie, a hair recovered from the Cub Scout cap and a hair from beneath Chris’ ligature.  It’s possible, given the imperfections of the testing procedures, that the same person was the source of all three hairs.

There was no DNA testing on a number of items from the site, including other hair and tissues. 

Among the many misconceptions about the case is that no blood was found.  Since Stevie and Chris bled extensively —- Chris bled to death —  the seeming lack of blood generated theories that the crime scene was a dump site, that the boys had been stashed down a manhole before being placed in the water, etc.  

Blood was spotted in the water after the initial discovery but the site, which had been washed down, seemed surprisingly clean.  Subsequent testing with Luminol revealed areas where blood had been spilled.  

There was little testimony about blood. The jury did not hear the results of Luminol testing.  Since such testing was not considered valid as evidence, the defense teams successfully sought motions to suppress Luminol results.

Kermit Channel and Donald Smith of the Arkansas crime lab, in the company of Mike Allen and Bryn Ridge, spent two days studying the effects of spraying Luminol, working in the dark, running a black light over the sprayed area to pick up glowing traces of iron in blood residue. 

Testing May 12 yielded traces of blood on both sides of a tree near the ditch bank with more blood on the right side of the tree, facing the stream bed; in the areas where the bodies were placed;  in a concentrated area on the east side of the ditch in a pile of sticks and a depressed area in the soil,  and  in a large area of concentration near tree roots. Other traces were visible where the victims were placed on the bank. 

The areas with the pile of sticks and the tree roots  were cited as likely locations of attack. 

“There were no visible signs or indication of blood at any of the locations we investigated,” their report said. The testing was begun a full week after the bodies were found. It had rained at least once. The testing was in less than optimal conditions as any light sources, such as stars and ambient light, compromised results. Some evidence would have been compromised in the search, recovery and investigation, the report noted, citing numerous reasons why investigators were unable to document findings with photographs.  

Nonetheless, “It is our opinion the crime had taken place where the bodies of the victims were recovered.”

On May 13, with tenting using plastic over canvas, Luminol was freshly applied, and a “less than perfect” photograph became possible.  “These photographs still documented the areas of interest, showing luminol reaction in respective areas,” reported Smith.

Soil samples were taken May 14; tested four months later, no Luminol reaction was noted, a result considered inconclusive given the age of the sample.

At the time of the Luminol report, investigators did not have the Misskelley confession.  His descriptions of the attacks accord with the blood evidence.

A tree near the crime scene had the initials “ME” carved into it. Echols was sometimes known as “Michael Echols”; while in Oregon, he went by “Michael,” and was in the process of changing his name to Michael Damien Wayne Hutchison.  His family called him “Michael.”   

Much of the second-guessing of investigative findings by defense “experts” began with the hiring of Brent Turvey of Knowledge Solutions LLC  in 1998, as Misskelley attorney Dan Stidham sought a new trial and as the second “Paradise Lost” was filming. 

In his book, “The Unknown Darkness: Profiling the Predators Among Us,”  former FBI profiler Gregg O. McCrary characterized Turvey as a “self-proclaimed profiler.”  

McCrary wrote: “Not only has Turvey never completed any recognized training programs, such as those run by the BFI or the International Criminal Investigative Fellowship (ICIAF), he doesn’t even have the basic qualifications to apply for those programs. As a matter of fact, he has never even completed even a basic policy academy training program anywhere.  He had, however, authored a flawed textbook on ‘profiling.’” 

Turvey,  working pro bono, examined photos of the bodies and other evidence and determined that the ditch was a dump site. He claimed at least four crime sites: abduction site, attack site, dump site and the vehicle used to transport the bodies, based on his contention that the attack would have required light, time and privacy.  

He based this claim on darkness in the woods, lack of blood and the screaming of the boys.  (The attack occurred before sunset in woods well away from any homes and in an irrigation ditch depression that would have muffled sound. The crime scene was not far from busy interstates and service roads. Echols told police how background noise obscured the screaming.  The boys were quickly subdued and gagged.)

Turvey also formulated the “bite marks” theory featured in “Revelations: Paradise Lost 2,” continuing to fuel baseless suspicions about Mark Byers.  Despite how Turvey was presented in the film, he testified he was not an expert on human bite marks. The “new evidence” uncritically presented in the movie consisted of no evidence.

The huge amounts of money pouring into the defense fund  — estimated between $10 million and $20 million  — yielded nothing of value.

The fibers from the crime scene matching items from the killers’ homes, Echols’ statement about urine in the stomachs, the blood necklace, the knots used on the shoelace bindings, the semen stain on the pants, blood traces matching Misskelley’s descriptions of the attack and blue wax residue all pointed to the West Memphis 3.

Episode 19: “Jessie took a knife out of his pocket and put a knife to my throat” The Case Against with Gary Meece

Episode 19: “Jessie took a knife out of his pocket and put a knife to my throat” The Case Against with Gary Meece

June 2, 2019


"Jessie took a knife out of his pocket and put a knife to my throat" 




Even more so than Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr.’s name was linked to a number of violent episodes, often aimed at younger children. 

John Earl Perschke Jr.,  a 14-year-old eighth-grader living at Lakeshore, confirmed to Detective Bill Durham on Sept. 6, 1993, that he had been attacked by Misskelley. 

Perschke said the incident in January 1992 on the  railroad tracks northwest of Lakeshore was witnessed by at least five others.   “We heard someone coming up ...,” said Perschke’s handwritten statement. “We tried to hide. ... Jason, Damien, Jessie, Buddy and four other boys were with them and so Jessie shoved me against the side .... Jessie was first talking to me and then after a while Jessie took a knife out of his pocket and put a knife to my throat and he said would you like to be dead and so he shoved the knife harder and so he put the knife up and then Jessie hit me and Buddy too and ... I couldn’t tell who all was hitting me. Damien and Jason and the other boys were still on the railroad tracks and there he was yelling at me and then they all left. I walked home. I was coughing up blood.” The incident was another example as well of Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley hanging out together.  

A girl at that scene, Tiffany Allen, was a 13-year-old Lakeshore resident when she gave a statement on Oct. 7, 1993, about another violent attack by Misskelley: “We had gotten into an argument and he had been spreading a rumor around that he was having sexual intercourse with me to all these people and I confronted him with it and he kept saying all this stuff so I slapped him ... For a year I didn’t hear anything from him and ... somebody came up to me and said that he had been looking for me and so I just didn’t worry about and one day I was walking through the park and he was at the road and .... he came up to me. He started running at me and my boyfriend stepped in front of me and he hit Carl. … He hit Carl and then he hit me and we started to walk away and he started coming after us again, so we ran ... until one of my friends’ parents came and got us and took me to my house.” She had a busted lip. 

Ridge had a copy of the complaint dated March, 12, 1993, the day after, that gave essentially the same account.  

Her mother, Gayla Allen, was present during the interview along with the child’s grandmother, Vera Hill. Gayla Allen told Ridge she had gone to the Misskelley home after the incident.  Jessie Jr. ran out the front door while she was knocking on the back door.  When she returned later, “OK, I knock on the door. Jessie Sr. was sitting in there and he said that he just could not do anything with his son.”

Tiffany said Susie Brewer, Misskelley’s girlfriend, had made threats: “She just said that if I put Jessie in court or in jail or anything like that I better watch my back because they were all going to be after me, and all this stuff, and um, his cousins confronted me with it, and everything and I never ever, ever heard nothing from Jessie. It was always somebody else.”

Tiffany, identified as a cult member by Misskelley,  denied any direct knowledge of a Satanic cult at Lakeshore but said that if one did exist, it would be meeting at nighttime in a field behind the old sewage plant. Ridge reported: “Tiffany admitted that she was aware that a cult like group did exist in or around the trailer park but she did not know any of the members nor had she attended any of the meetings. She seemed afraid for her safety and reluctant to give any information concerning these activities because of the fears she had for her safety. Tiffany stated that she did not know Jessie to be a member of a Satanic group, however she also stated that she has been with people that she had heard were in the group and she was unaware that they were members as well.”

She also described a fight she had witnessed between Jason Baldwin and John Perschke. “John hit him hard and he started bleeding and then after the fight and everything Damien bends down, put his finger in, dips into the blood and then sticks it in his mouth.” 

Misskelley repeatedly told a similar story, widely told around the trailer parks, that contributed to the belief that Echols was a blood-drinking Satanist. 

Little Jessie had long-term problems with violent acting out.

 Misskelley recently had been involved in an incident in which he threw a rock at a little girl aged about 5 or 6, hitting her in the head, prompting a call to police.  He was on probation on those charges when he was arrested for the murders. 

Years earlier, on May 4, 1988, when he was about 11, Misskelley had been accused of hitting another girl in the head with a rock or brick after Misskelley began beating up her abusive boyfriend; when Misskelley attacked her boyfriend, she had jumped in to defend the boyfriend.  

Even earlier, Misskelley had stabbed a fourth-grade classmate in the mouth with a pencil.  

His problems dated to early childhood; counseling and hospitalization had been recommended but there was never follow-through from his parents.   

“Blood of Innocents” described a June 1987 report from a social worker based on a court-ordered exam.

The social worker quoted Shelbia Misskelley, his stepmother: “He gets so mad, he’s capable of hurting someone.”  She said he had a habit of punching out windows, once requiring several stitches to his left hand.  When blood was found on one of his shirts after his arrest, Misskelley said it was his own, shed after punching out soda bottles. 

According to  “Blood of Innocents,” the social worker’s report stated: “Mrs. Misskelley reported Jessie does not own up to his wrongs, that he always blames someone else. She denies Jessie becomes physical with she or her husband but will clinch his fist and take his anger out on someone else or something like breaking the window.”

Shelbia Misskelley told the social worker: “I don’t think he can control” his temper. “He needs some help.”

Years later, a former FBI profiler, apparently oblivious to the history of violence common to all three killers, weighed in on the case. 

In “Law and Disorder,” John Douglas wrote, “Damien and Jason had no indicative violence in their pasts, and while Jessie was known for a hot temper, he channeled his aggressions into pursuits such as wrestling. … Though the three were raised in a culture in which corporal punishment was common, none were abused … In sum, I found … nothing in the behavioral backgrounds of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin or Jessie Misskelley to suggest that any were guilt of murder.”  

Douglas was hired by the defenders of the killers.  Douglas did not respond to questions about the case.