October 30, 2007

The appliance of science

United States: Progress in forensic science has cast serious doubts on the convictions of three men for satanic murders when they are teenagers. The bodies of three 8-year-old boys, Steve Branch, Michael Moore and Chris Byers, were found hog-tied in a drainage ditch in Arkansas in 1993, and they appeared to to have been mutilated.

A young mentally reatrded man, Jessie Misskelley, made a confession to the police, implicating two of his friends. He told police the boys had been sodomised, forced to perform oral sex, and mutilated. He also mentioned occult rituals and orgies, which led to satanic cult rumours spreading round the local area. But even at the time, Misskelley's testimony was known to be suspect. Many things didn't add up. He initially claimed he attacked the children at a time they were known to be in school, then came up with four other alternatives after prompting from the police. He got the colour and type of cord used to tie the children up dramatically wrong.

Despite the judge deeming this statement to be inadmissible as evidence, a witness made reference to it, and it was considered by the jury. And there were other problems with the evidence, questionable witnesses and prejudicial closing arguments. The main expert witness was a self-styled occult expert with degrees that did not require class attendance.

The new forensic evidence, the work of half a dozen scientists, has failed to link DNA evidence to any of the men convicted of the murders, but it has uncovered a link with the stepfather of one of the dead boys. The scientists also came to a different conclusion about how the bodies came to be mutilated: it was clearly the work of animals and fish in the ditch where they were found.

The oldest of the men convicted was sentenced to death, but fortunately has not been ritually sacrificed yet.

More information on this miscarriage of justice can be found at Free West Memphis 3.

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This page contains a single entry by Feòrag published on October 30, 2007 7:41 PM.

Creationism Will Turn You Into a Serial Killer? was the previous entry in this blog.

Government body listens to scientists shocker! is the next entry in this blog.

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