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Injustice For All: The West Memphis Three

3409 words - 14 pages

The justice system present in the United States is one of fairness, equality, and human rights. In a court of law, all men are created equal and have certain unalienable rights that nothing or no one can take away. What is to happen when these rights are denied, abused, or ignored? It is a frightening outcome when unruly factors destroy the basis of this system. As a victim of injustice once said, “People have prejudices, people have fears, people have hates. These things cloud our ability to reason.” Injustice has a tendency to overshadow reason. How can one feel safe in this country, when no one is totally safe from the sometimes unjust scrutiny of the law? If justice rests on one being innocent until proven guilty, what is to happen when one is to be guilty until proven innocent?
Imagine the most heinous act, a human sacrifice, Satanic cult, or devil worshipers. Now imagine a shadowy forest, several busy freeways, a murky stream, and three lifeless young bodies. One parent describes the act; “Imagine all the evil that you could think of, of how someone could be murdered, and that’s how these three children died.” The fear of such things quickly spread through the town of West Memphis, Arkansas on May 6, 1993. The scene at Robin Hood Hills was a gruesome one on that hot afternoon. The discovery of three bodies, each an eight-year-old boy, sent shock across the community instantly. Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers were last seen riding their bicycles into the woods, a popular playground for the cub scouts, around six o’clock on the evening of May 5, 1993. At approximately eight o’clock that evening, the three frightened parents phoned the West Memphis Police Department.
Search parties assembled the following morning on May 6, 1993. John Mark Byers told news crews that morning, “I’m scared to death.” Chief Inspector for the West Memphis Police Department, Gary Gitchell, headed the investigation and search. The search spanned throughout the small town and countryside, however, “the most intensive search… remained focused on the woods.” As the woods were scrutinized by the many volunteers, their persistence resulted with no trace of the three small boys. Just as the search groups had left to continue on elsewhere, one Crittenden County juvenile officer, Steve Jones, stayed. Looking down into the small stream of water in the diversion ditch, he spotted something and radioed his findings. Sergeant Mike Allen came quickly and as the two looked down at the water, there floated a small black tennis shoe with the laces removed.
It was around one-thirty in the afternoon when police assembled on the spot. Sergeant Allen entered the muddy water before the others. He slowly raised his feet from the muck and discovered what everyone feared; “a child’s naked body, arched grotesquely backward, rose to the surface.” Detective Bryn Ridge offered himself for the horrid job of searching the stream for the other two submerged bodies....

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