JONESBORO, ARKANSAS, MARCH 18, 1994, AT 9:30 A. M.
(JURY ENTERING JURY ROOM AT 9:30 A. M.)
(JURY ENTERING COURTROOM AT 3:30 P. M.)
The Bailiff: Court will be in session. Be seated.
The Court: Alright, ladies and gentlemen, the bailiff informs me that you've arrived at verdicts. If you have, pass them to the bailiff, please -- or the Sheriff.
The Court: Alright, your verdicts are in good form and reads as follows. And before I announce the verdict, ladies and gentlemen, I understand that thereís a great deal of emotion from everyone involved. The courtroom is not a place to display that emotion and I will not tolerate and cannot tolerate a display of emotion, so if you feel the need to express yourselves you need to get up and go outside the courtroom to do so. And, again, I understand any emotion that you might feel.
The first verdict reads as follows:
We, the jury, find Damien Echols guilty of capital murder in the death of Stevie Branch.
We, the jury, find Damien Echols guilty of capital murder in the death of Chris Byers.
We, the jury, find Damien Echols guilty of capital murder in the death of Michael Moore.
We, the jury, find Jason Baldwin guilty of capital murder in the death of Chris Byers.
We, the jury, find Jason Baldwin guilty of capital murder in the death of Stevie Branch.
We, the jury, find Jason Baldwin guilty of capital murder in the death of Michael Moore.
All the verdicts are signed by the foreman. Ladies and gentlemen, itís necessary at this time that the Court poll the jury as to all six verdicts. So, when your name is called, if these six verdicts represent your individual verdict then answer "yes" as your name is called.
The Clerk: Peggy Roebuck?
Juror number 1: Yes.
The Foreman: Judge---
The Court: Pardon?
The Foreman: Do you have to use names?
Mr. Price: Numbers? Initials?
The Court: You wonít know your number, will you?
The Foreman: I'm one, two, three, four.
The Court: Alright, call them in that fashion. Thatíll be alright.
The Clerk: Juror number 1?
The Court: Juror number 1?
Juror number 1: Yes.
The Clerk: Juror number 2?
Juror number 2: Yes.
The Clerk: Juror number 3?
Juror number 3: Yes.
The Clerk: Juror number 4?
Juror number 4: Yes.
The Clerk: Juror number 5?
Juror number 5: Yes.
The Clerk: Juror number 6?
Juror number 6: Yes.
The Clerk: Juror number 7?
Juror number 7: Yes.
The Clerk: Juror number 8?
Juror number 8: Yes, your Honor.
The Clerk: Juror number 9?
The Court: Whoís that? Remember who number 9 is? Hold up your hand if you haven't answered.
Juror number 11: Iím 11, yes.
Juror number 12: Iím 12, yes.
The Court: Whoís 10? Yes?
Juror number 10: I'm number 10. Yes.
The Court: Thatís everyone. Alright, any further questions gentlemen regarding that verdict?
Mr. Ford: I didn't hear Mr. Billingsley.
The Court: Mr. -- well everybody knows your name.
Juror number 9: Yes.
The Court: Your verdict, these are, do represent your verdicts?
Juror number 9: Yes.
The Court: Alright gentlemen, if there are no further questions then the Courtís ready -- Mr. Foreman, I understand that you have expressed a desire not to be questioned by the media whatsoever or to be contacted about your decision in this case at this point. Ofcourse each of you understand that it will be necessary for the court to read you additional jury instructions and for the State and the defendants to produce any aggravation or mitigation that that they care to. That probably is going to take us a few minutes to get it together. Gentlemen, do you have any idea?
Mr. Price: Judge, if we could approach the bench.
The Court: Alright.
Mr. Wadley: Your Honor, you told us this morning we could -- you told us today if they hadn't reached a verdict by twelve-thirty we could do it in the morning.
The Court: Yes, but theyíve expressed an interest through the foreman of wanting to do it today.
Mr. Price: Our witnesses are not here today, Judge.
The Court: Is there no way you can get them here?
Mr. Price: Not in four hours from Pine Bluff, no sir.
Fogleman: Can you -- and Iím just asking --
Mr. Price: Sure.
Fogleman: Do you have some you could put on this afternoon?
Mr. Wadley: Judge, I'd rather do it all together in the morning.
The Court: Well, I understand the dilemma.
(Return to open court)
The Court: Alright ladies and gentlemen, and Mr. foreman you expressed a desire to continue today and course itís fifteen to four, thereís a sufficient period of time for you to work and deliberate and I recognize that. However, the mechanics of the rest of the proceeding on punishment will allow the defendants to put on mitigation, which means they can call witnesses. Those witnesses are simply not available today. Some are away, some are in Little Rock, did you indicate Little Rock?
Mr. Price: Yes sir, we need to check to see when he can get here.
The Court: Other locations, itís just -- as much as I hate to have to come back tomorrow, thatís what weíre gonna have to do. Or -- (pause) I donít know any other choice gentlemen, do you?
Mr. Price: We would need to make a phone call, judge.
The Court: Pardon?
Mr. Price: We would need to make a phone call to make sure one particular witness would be available tomorrow.
The Court: You mean thereís a possibility they couldnít be available tomorrow morning?
Mr. Price: Thatís -- thatís correct, thereís a possibility that we need to check on.
The Court: Well, make your phone call. Weíll recess for a few minutes here and then -- Iím planning on proceeding tomorrow morning. Gentlemen, do yíall have any problem with tomorrow morning? Are you all ready?
Unidentified: Yes we are, your Honor.
The Court: Well, I would prefer going ahead today myself, itís physically going to be impossible. I recognize that todayís another day and that you probably -- youíve worked 12 or so hours on it and youíd like to finish it, but it might be best that you get a good nights sleep and come back tomorrow and finish this. So Mr. Foreman, I think thatís what weíre gonna have to do. As much as I regret it, but thatís what will have to be done.
The Court: Well, I donít think they could get them from Little Rock here. Do yíall have any witnesses that are available today? Are you all going to have to put on any additional proof?
Mr. Fogleman: Your Honor, not --
Mr. Davis: I donít think it will be testimony.
Mr. Fogleman: We might be --
The Court: Paper, paper proof, not testimony. And youíll have testimony?
Mr. Price: Yes.
The Court: How many witnesses?
Mr. Price: Three to five, your Honor
The Court: Length of time?
Mr. Price: One witness -- one witness would be probably an hour to an hour and a half of our testimony, with room for cross examination. The others would not be as long. There would be also some, some other evidence.
The Court: Gentlemen, how many witnesses do you anticipate?
Mr. Ford: We donít know at this time, your Honor
The Court: Alright well, Iím gonna let the jury go until in the morning then. Alright ladies and gentlemen, again, since youíve concluded, and the Court will accept your verdicts in the case as the verdict as to the guilt or innocence, youíll need to be further instructed on punishment and hear -- I imagine a couple of hours of additional, maybe 3 hours of additional testimony. And then retire to consider the punishment. The Court will have to give you detailed instructions in that regard so. Youíre again reminded that youíre still not to discuss this case with anyone and youíre free to go until in the morning at 9:30. I donít want anybody to even attempt to talk to or interfere with any of the jurors whatsoever. In fact Iím gonna have you have officers escort to your vehicles. But weíll simply have to come back tomorrow morning. I want everybody to remain in the courtroom while the jury departs.