The West Memphis 3, were three teenagers who were accused of the brutal murder of 3 eight-year old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The boys were believed to have been killed as part of a satanic ritual. By the next day, the police had already found their first suspect Damien Echols and were questioning him.
Echols was considered a suspect because of his interest in the Wicca religion and officers investigating the case both thought that the “murders had strong overtones of a cultic sacrifice.” One of the officers said the only person he thought could be capable of committing such a horrible crime was Echols. He was a loner, who had long hair, wore all black and listened to heavy metal music such as Metallica. He had changed religions several times, converting from Buddhism to Hinduism to Islam and finally to Paganism. When he was first interviewed, the police sergeant noticed he had a tattoo of a five-pointed star on his chest and some other unidentified symbol, which may be associated with Wicca religions or cults, and took Polaroid pictures to document it. His friends Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were suspects by association.
Investigators decided they would focus their efforts on finding evidence that would point to Echols as a suspect so they could arrest him. They offered a reward for anyone who knew any information about Echols and the murders. A young man Aaron Hutcheson and his mother Vicki came forward and said Aaron may have been a witness to the crime. Aaron said he had seen the suspects at a playhouse near the location of where the boys bodies were found. They took Aaron to the crime scene and they appeared to be no playhouse found there. Aaron later retracted his statement and said he had seen three men in the woods near the crime scene, speaking Spanish. And he changed his story again, actually naming the person he saw commit the crime, John Mark Byers. (John Mark Byers, whom Aaron had claimed he had seen at the scene and was related to one of the victims, was never investigated or considered a suspect. Byers was actually in regular contact with the police department and worked as a drug informant for them. ) Because of the inconsistencies in his story, the police tossed out his statements. But the media soon released the story that there was a possible witness to the crime.
Vicki Hutcheson was disappointed she wouldn’t be receiving an award, so she allowed the police to...