Copyright 1994 Investigative News Group


March 16, 1994, Wednesday 2:50 PM

LENGTH: 7258 words


ANCHORS: Geraldo Rivera

HOST: Geraldo Rivera



GERALDO RIVERA: On May 5th, 1993, three eight-year-old boys were brutally murdered in a small town in eastern Arkansas. There is evidence the killings may have been part of a Satanic ritual. But much about this awful case remains unclear. Today, we'll try to solve the remaining puzzle with the cooperation of experts and family members from both the young victims' side and the side of the teen-aged accused.

Pam and Terry are the parents of Stevie Hobbs; Stevie, one of the eight-year-old boys brutally murdered. Jackie is the victim's grandfather. I know it's difficult, Pam, but can you describe the wounds on Stevie's body?

Mrs. PAM HOBBS (Son Murdered By Alleged Satanic Teens): The left side of his face was cut and mutilated. He was tied hand and foot...

(Photo of Steven Hicks)

Mrs. HOBBS: (Voiceover) ...and he had injuries to his head where they had--his brain had scattered when they hit him.

RIVERA: Essentially, he was beaten to death?

Mrs. HOBBS: Mm-hmm.

RIVERA: Tell us your reaction, Terry, when you heard what had happened to your stepson.

Mr. TERRY HOBBS (Stepson Murdered By Alleged Satanic Teens): I don't know. I just--I couldn't believe it. We've been--went into shock--may be in shock now. And I still can't believe it. We hadn't--it's like a long nightmare that you keep waking--waiting to wake up from. And we're here in the middle of it.

RIVERA: Joining us via satellite from West Memphis, Arkansas, is the father of one of the three teen-aged accused. Actually his son has already been convicted of murdering the three eight-year-olds. This is Jess--Jessie Misskelley Sr. He's joined by some supporters, you can see, in the background.

Before I talk to that side and this--much more deeply about what happened, you should know that this story of the murders of the three young boys has taken many bizarre twists and turns. Indeed, new revelations are emerging every single day. Our team visited West Memphis, Arkansas, to investigate. Here's the story of the three dead young men.

(Begin investigative report; narration by Geraldo Rivera)

RIVERA: Reminiscing over children's photos brings joy to most families. But in the house of Marie Hicks and her daughter, Pam Hobbs, it is a painful and torturous event.

(Photograph of Steven Hicks)

RIVERA: (Voiceover) Pam's eight-year-old son, Steven, was sexually molested and brutally murdered...

(Photos of Michael Moore and Christopher Byers)

RIVERA: (Voiceover) ...along with two other eight-year-old boys, Michael Moore and Christopher Byers. It happened in West Memphis, Arkansas, on May 5th, 1993. Christopher had also been castrated.

(Photos of Jessie Misskelley Jr., Damian Echols, and Jason Baldwin)

RIVERA: (Voiceover) Charged in the brutal murders are three local teen-agers; Jessie Misskelley Jr., 18; Damian Echols, 18; and Jason Baldwin, just 16. The parents of one of the murdered boys yelled at Damian on his way to a court appearance.

Unidentified Man #1: Faggot! What you know about the faggots?

RIVERA: Adding to the parents' horrors...

(Newspaper headline reads, "Misskelley Friend Says They Attended Cult Event")

RIVERA: (Voiceover) ...were reports that the killers had participated in devil worship.

(Footage of Jessie Misskelley Jr. in police custody)

RIVERA: (Voiceover) On February 4th, Jessie Misskelley Jr. was found guilty of the murders. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 40 years. The trials of Damian Echols and Jason Baldwin are scheduled for late February.

(The Commercial Appeal newspaper headline reads, "Cult Experts Gave Warning in 1992")

RIVERA: (Voiceover) In June of last year, 1993, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that cult experts had warned West Memphis officials, back in 1992, that Satanic cult activities were present in the community.

(Photos; Satanic grafitti on wall)

RIVERA: (Voiceover) One of the three defendants told West Memphis police that local cult activities included eating dogs and participating in sex orgies. Acquaintances of Damian Echols told reporters that Echols customarily wore black, killed cats and worshipped the devil.

(Footage of Damian Echols in police custody)

RIVERA: Stephanie Dollar, a West Memphis resident, said there has long been talk about cult activities in West Memphis.

Ms. STEPHANIE DOLLAR (West Memphis, Arkansas, Resident): Yeah. It's just, I mean, all the talk about it. I mean, the symbols that you see wrote everywhere--I mean, which it could be just kids writing things. I don't know. I mean--but there's just too much talk about it for it not to be true.

(Footage of the West Memphis trailer park)

RIVERA: (Voiceover) Jessie Misskelley Jr., like his two co-defendants, lived in a rundown trailer park in the West Memphis area. The teen-ager's room revealed nothing extraordinary.

(Interior of Jessie Misskelley Jr.'s bedroom shown)

RIVERA: (Voiceover) Most of the pictures and posters were fairly typical for an 18-year-old boy's room. Although a jury found his son guilty, Jessie Misskelley Sr. steadfastly professes his son's innocence.

Mr. JESSIE MISSKELLEY Sr. (Son Convicted Of Murder): I've got 15, 20 people that saw him out here in this trailer park that day up until 7:30. Then he went to Dysart and he saw the wrestle. There's no way he could have been up there to kill those boys. He was out here in this trailer park because they have witnesses to prove that he was here. But the police--they say he was not here. They got up there and lied. Jessie was not in on it because--said he ate the hind leg of a dog? Jessie won't even eat fried chicken. What are you talking about?

RIVERA: Jessie Sr.'s story is supported by 15-year-old Susie Brewer, Jessie Jr.'s girl friend.

Miss SUSIE BREWER (Jessie Junior's Girl Friend): I think they're stupid. I don't think he did it. I just tell him I still love him and we're all behind him. Damian's weird looking and--and Jason, he's just quiet.

RIVERA: Police believe the murders occurred in a small grove known by the locals as Robin Hood Woods. It's a popular spot for teen-age beer drinking and parties. Based on police and news reports, we have recreated the boys' final moments.

(Partial re-enactment shown during narration)

RIVERA: (Voiceover) Late afternoon on May 5th, 1993, the boys entered the woods. One was riding a girls' bike, the other a boys' bike, the third child had a skateboard. It is believed the boys spent some time roaming and playing in the woods. At some point, however, after 6:00 PM, the three children and their assailants met. The following day, May 6th, the police spotted a young boy's sneaker and a Cub Scout hat floating in a small creek. The bodies of the three boys were found just yards away.

(End investigative report)

RIVERA: Pam, can you tell us what happened that afternoon? What happened to your son? What was he usually doing at that time?

Mrs. HOBBS: After school, Michael had come over and asked could Stevie go to his house and play. At first I...

RIVERA: Michael Moore, one of the three victims, yeah.

Mrs. HOBBS: Sorry? Yeah. To Michael Moore's house, the other boy. And at first, I told him no. And he kept begging so I went ahead and told him that he could go, and I gave him a time to be home. I told him to be home by 4:30, that if he wasn't home, he would be grounded. And I had to go to work that night. And I left for work around 4:55 and he still wasn't at home. So I went on to work and my husband started searching for him. And we searched all night and just--it come up the next day that he was dead.

RIVERA: Who told you that they found his body?

Mrs. HOBBS: My husband and I went to the school to check, to tell them that we hadn't found the boys. And there, a lady said, I heard they just found three boys.' So we went to the park where they had found them at, and I run up. They already had the police line out and everything, and I run up, and someone said that it was Stevie, that it was the boys.

RIVERA: Grandpa Jackie, do you believe this was a--a devil-worship cult? Do you believe this was a Satanic organization?--or these boys were in some way connected? And how do you respond to that?

Mr. JACKIE HICKS (Grandson Murdered By Alleged Satanic Teens): Yes, I definitely believe that it was. At the time of the murders, Satanic was a world of its own. It--it was something that wasn't even in my mind. But as time progressed and goes on, and we've learned a little more, studied a little more and went along with it; it all points, from what we've read and studied--yes, it was a Satanic-type murder.

RIVERA: What's your reaction? I know you folks are nervous about being on TV. What's your reaction to what happened to your grandson?

Mr. HICKS: Well he--him and a couple of the boys were just beautiful little boys, a-playing. Those little boys still believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunnies.

(Photo of Steven Hicks)

Mr. HICKS: (Voiceover) They were playing in the woods, called Robin Hood Park where all the neighborhood kids play at. And evidently, they run up onto something. And those boys were cruelly beaten to death. They were beaten to death. I saw my grandson at the funeral home before he was taken out of a body bag, just like he came back from the coroner. And it was pitiful.

RIVERA: Tell us. Help us understand that. What did they do to him?

Mr. HICKS: What did they do to him? His jaw was completely tore loose from his face. His eye was busted in the socket. His chest and all was kicked and stomped. His face was kicked and stomped--just pitiful, pitiful. It's something that a decent human being wouldn't even do to a live dog, let alone a human being.

RIVERA: Did a feeling of rage swell up in you?

Mr. HICKS: Well, naturally, you know, the feeling of rage swollen up, yes, it's--it's swollen up. Yeah, it did.

RIVERA: Did you want to go out and find his murderers yourself?

Mr. HICKS: Naturally, you know that, too. Yes, I did want to go out and find these murderers myself at the time.

RIVERA: Do you believe that the right teen-ager was convicted?

Mr. HICKS: Yes, I do.

RIVERA: Jessie Misskelley Sr. can you hear me?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: Yes, sir.

RIVERA: You still, despite the fact that a jury has convicted your son and sentenced him to life plus 40 years, you believe him to be innocent?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: Yes, sir, I sure do.

RIVERA: Isn't it a fact that Jessie Misskelley Jr. was a member of one of these Satanic cults?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: No, he was not.

RIVERA: He didn't attend meetings?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: No, he did not.

RIVERA: There was testimony to that effect at the trial.

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: That's a lie.

RIVERA: Do you think everyone is lying about your son?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: Yes, I do.

RIVERA: And you believe that he had an alibi?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: I know he did.

RIVERA: Then why did he make a 32-minute confession to the cops?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: Because they hounded him, they cussed him, they threatened him. And he just made a statement to get him off his back.

RIVERA: Terry, you want to say something to Mr. Misskelley Sr.?

Mr. HOBBS: I have a lot to say to that man. But I can--I don't want to talk to him. I don't appreciate the actions of your son. He come out of your home, out of your raisings. And, no, I...

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: Sir--but my son did not do it.

Mr. HOBBS: He said he did.

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: But he--he's mistaken. He--they made him say that.

Mr. HOBBS: He had a chance to tell the whole world he didn't do it. And he didn't.

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: What did he say?

Mr. HOBBS: He didn't.

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: We tried.

Mr. HOBBS: He didn't. He had a chance.

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: Well, he tried, but they wouldn't let him.

RIVERA: Paul Morrison is a television reporter who got so close to this case that he became almost obsessed with it; so much so that he was forced to quit his job in a Memphis television station.

Paul, what about the Satanic angle here? Were these boys ritually slaughtered?

Mr. PAUL MORRISON (TV Reporter Fired For Obsession With Satanic Case): So far, we've heard nothing from the police certainly. They did not establish motive in the killings. As you know, you don't need to establish motive for a conviction, but publicly, there's been no mention that the motive of these killings was sa--a--cult-related.

RIVERA: What else could it have been?

Mr. MORRISON: I think in--when you look at a case like this, some of the questions that might go through your mind would be child-sexual abuse or if--if the motivator was indeed sexual as opposed to cult-related. I--I cannot say for sure it was or it wasn't. I do know this much, as you've already indicated, I'm convinced there was a cult of some form or fashion alive and well in West Memphis, Arkansas.

RIVERA: Isn't it a fact that aside from the brutal beating that they administered to these three eight-year-olds, that they also castrated one of the boys?

Mr. MORRISON: Christopher Byers' sexual organs were rather artfully removed. To my knowledge, they've never been found.

RIVERA: Picture this happening in your town. Three eight-year-old boys, wonderful, innocent, Santa Claus-believing, eight-year-old boys, brutally beaten to death, hacked and mutilated. Later, three teen-agers arrested, one of them already convicted, the trials of two others to take place. What impact would it have in your community--particularly if you learned that there was possibly a Satanic cult that these teen-agers belonged to? WHEN KIDS KILL KIDS: DID THE DEVIL MAKE THEM DO IT? the focus of this edition of GERALDO.

(Theme music and applause)


(Theme music and applause)

RIVERA: ....KILL KIDS: DID THE DEVIL MAKE THEM DO IT? I want to go back to West Memphis, Arkansas, back to Jessie Misskelley Sr., surrounded as you can see by other supporters and family members of the--of the youngster--17 years old at the time of the crime, now 18 years old and sentenced to life plus 40 years.

Mr. Misskelley Sr., we have one of the victims' grandfathers here. He's a man, I think, who knows you.

Jackie, do you want to say something to Jessie?

Mr. HICKS: Yes, Mr. Misskelley, I didn't get a chance to say anything to you after the trial. But what I say--and I'm talking personally to you. I see a re--repeat--a repeat of a beer-drinking--all I see is--it--what I'm trying to say is it's his raising. I feel sorrier for him than I do for you. You've never done nothing for him. And that's all he ever knew is what he was done. And brother, that's your fault as much as it's his.


RIVERA: Mr. Misskelley, do you want to respond?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: No. They can run me down all they want to. But I don't care what they say. Just leave me the hell alone.

RIVERA: But, Mr. Misskelley, isn't it possible, now that your son is convicted, can't you look at this thing a little more objectively?--convicted after a confession.

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: A confession...

RIVERA: Isn't it possible that he went astray some place?


RIVERA: Something went wrong with your son?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: No. He was coerced in making that--station. He was kind of scared. He had the mind of a seven, eight-year-old, and he was scared. And he told them anything they could--he could think of to get them off his back.

(Photo of Jessie Misskelley, Jr.)

RIVERA: (Voiceover) And the woman--I believe, Paul, her name was Hutcheson?

Mr. MORRISON: Victoria Hutcheson.

RIVERA: Who--who testified, Jessie, that your son was at one of these cult meetings--at least one?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: She lied.

RIVERA: Why would she lie?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: That I don't know.

RIVERA: Paul, how convincing was her testimony?

Mr. MORRISON: It was rather brief but it--she indicated that she had attended what appeared from the testimony to have been a--a meeting--a Satanic ritual called an Esbat, which in those terms, is more or less a monthly or regular business meeting.

RIVERA: Jessie, is your son going to testify against the other two boys? Against--what's his name?--Damian and Jason?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: That I don't know.

RIVERA: Let me introduce our experts because I want to broaden this beyond West Memphis, to talk more about this whole, very controversial issue of Satanic cults and devil worship. Whenever this is mentioned in polite society, people like to bury their head under the pillow and--and refuse to believe that it exists. And very often, reporters, like Paul Morrison, get an awful lot of heat for staying with these stories. I know when we did our devil worship special, how very controversial that was. But we still stand by that one as well as what you're hearing today.

OK. Dr. Herbert Nieburg, a man who specializes in adolescent Satanism among many other things. He has been counseling victims and ex-cult members for years. Jack Roper is one of the nation's leading authors and experts on Satanic cults. Our old friend, Jack Levin, renowned, certainly well-known professor of criminology at Boston's Northeastern University, a man who says Satanism is used as a cop-out and an excuse by troubled, violent teen-agers. And finally, a man who knows it from the--from the streets, Marcos Quinones. He's an officer with the good old NYPD, New York City Police Department. He says that more Satanic murders occur than we know about.

These four experts, joined by our--our bereaved relatives. On both sides, they are saddened. We'll continue this discussion of WHEN KIDS KILL KIDS: DID THE DEVIL MAKE THEM DO IT; right after this brief intermission.

(Photos of Satanic grafitti)

(Theme music and applause)


(Theme music and applause)

RIVERA: WHEN KIDS KILL KIDS: DID THE DEVIL MAKE THEM DO IT? Our specific focus, this horrible triple homicide just west of Memphis on the Arkansas side of the river. Yes?

Unidentified Man #2: With the cult, I know that there's a history of hallucinogenic use, and was there any such, I guess, tie with that in this murder?

Mr. MORRISON: During Jessie's trial he indicated, or the--the testimony indicated, that he had had some experience with drugs. I do not know the extent of it. It didn't--and the other two, we--we do not know yet because, basically, the case file is sealed.

RIVERA: Jessie? Jessie Sr., was your son a drug user?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: No. Not especially. He smoked a little marijuana every once in awhile.

RIVERA: Uh-huh. Was he a big boozer?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: No. Not a big boozer. He dr--he did drink whiskey though.

RIVERA: Uh-huh.

Unidentified Woman #1: Do you have any more children?



Mrs. HOBBS: Yes. A little girl.

RIVERA: How old is she?

Mrs. HOBBS: She just turned five.

RIVERA: Does she have any understanding of what happened to her brother?

Mrs. HOBBS: No, she doesn't understand it. She misses her brother but she doesn't understand. She knows he's gone and she says she knows he's in heaven. But to really understand it, no she don't.

Unidentified Woman #2: Hi. I would like to know what type of person it is that gets involved with cults?

RIVERA: I--I don't know. Dr. Nieburg, I want to save you for the bigger question of whether you think this is Satanic-related. I want to ask Jack Roper that question. Is there a--is there a typical kid who gets involved?

Mr. JACK ROPER (Satanic Cult Expert): I think you have to look at--just look at the overall view. It can be from all educational perspectives, from those that are real unintelligent to those that are extremely intelligent--valedictorians. So we have to look at where they're coming from, their--their--their background of the family, how the family treats them, have they been abused. So there's a lot of factors you have to consider with each...

RIVERA: One of the defendants stylized himself Damian after the character in "The Omen." It's not his given name, but he calls himself Damian. Is that an indicator of anything to you?

Mr. ROPER: Well, Damian...

(Photo of Damian Echols)

Mr. ROPER: (Voiceover) There's also a well-known church--there's a Satanic organization and the leader of that, his AKA is also Damian. I won't bring up his name.

RIVERA: What's the dagger you're holding?

(Close-up of dagger)

Mr. ROPER: Well, I want to point out that this kind of stuff is available. You can go to warehouses. There are cult warehouses in the country where you can buy this kind of stuff.

RIVERA: See the skull atop with the rubies? OK. What else?

Mr. ROPER: And also now there are--there are cases, active cases, and--and dismissed cases out there. But this is one case of an individual. I have his Satanic diary, his book of shadows. And this individual was--sent threatening letters to President Carter. The US Circuit--Secret Service was involved with this case. I also have another one where an individual, who is in prison right now in Massachusetts, he sent me a letter to get some information on Satanism. But he was also, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, said here that he was involved with a decapitation, a killing and a mutilation.

RIVERA: A decap--oh, brother.

Mr. ROPER: Yes.

RIVERA: Let me--let me go to Dr. Nieburg. Does what happened in West Memphis smack of Satanism to you?

Dr. HERBERT NIEBURG (Ph.D., Specializes In Adolescent Satanism): It's a crime that's associated with Satanism. This is not a typical Satanic crime. Typical Satanic murder, one would expect, is part of a ritual. You would expect a--an altar. You would expect certain kinds of ritualistic functions to have been performed. You would expect vestments. You would expect lots of other signs. I think this is a very tragic case, one that's not terribly atypical or unusual. I think this is a murder that's perpetrated by some very disturbed young men. And I--I agree totally with--with Dr. Levin, that--that these cases are where somebody takes up the identity and wants to be known as a Satanist to condone, to justify what they're doing, which really, antecedes--goes way back before anything about Satan. These are disturbed kids who are murderers. This was a mens rea, a criminal mind, using Satanism as a--as an excuse.


Mr. JACK LEVIN (Criminology Expert): Yeah, I think that's a very good point. And you don't need Satanism as an excuse. There are plenty of others. You can blame pornography, you can blame drugs or alcohol or maybe even a bad childhood. But Satanism is particularly easy in terms of a justification because it ritualizes. And, you know, even something as hideous as--as rape and murder, can seem wonderful when you envelope it in this--this mystery of the Satanic ritual. Also...

RIVERA: I neglected to mention the boys were also--two of the boys were also raped...

Mr. LEVIN: That's right.

RIVERA: these perpetrators.

Mr. LEVIN: And--and--I mean, you know, it's interesting that Satan himself is seen as a--as a powerful figure. And, you know, as Dr. Nieburg points out, these kids probably were very marginal. They probably weren't getting along very well at home, not doing well at school, dropouts, spiritually as well as physically, and felt very, very powerless. Maybe 20 years ago, they would have stolen hub caps. But today in this age of decline of moral responsibility, you know, they'll do a lot worse than that.

RIVERA: Where the hell did they get the idea, though, to do something this brutal?

Mr. LEVIN: You can get the idea in a lot of places nowadays. You can get it in comic books. You can get it by watching television. You can get it from your friends. You can get it from--from attending a meeting of strangers. But I don't think it's the point that Satan per se is the problem. I think--let me point out, in Clifton, New Jersey, not long ago, three guys--teen-agers--brutally strangled their buddy while they recited Hail Marys. And--and--and Jeffrey Lundgren killed five people in 1989. He thought he was a prophet. He talked to--he kind of like had a direct line to God, he thought. He--this was a radical offshoot of the Mormon church. It isn't Mormonism that we blame. And clearly, we don't blame the Catholic church either. We shouldn't. The point is that religion, and also the occult, can be used for good or evil. In this case, it's used to justify something horrific.

RIVERA: Your reaction to the father's alibi? The father saying his son...

Mr. LEVIN: Well, I--you know, I'm going to take issue with everybody here. I have to because, you know, there are a lot of victims of this brutal kind of multiple murder besides just the three eight-year-old boys. Yeah, I'll tell you who else gets victimized. The family of the--as you can see--of--of Stevie and the other boys who were brutally murdered. And, you know, sometimes it's also the family of the perpetrator, who tries to support and protect his youngster. He may know in his heart that his son is guilty, but, you know, he also knows that everybody will blame him for having created a monster, whether he deserves it or not. So maybe we should be a little bit more tolerant and withhold judgement unless we understand all of the facts of the case.

Dr. NIEBURG: Jack, that's a point, though, because nobody--what we forget is that you can lead somebody down a path. The ultimate choice and decision--the ultimate responsibility for this murder was not his father. This boy chose to do that, regardless of what those other antecedent causes are.

Mr. LEVIN: Exactly. Let's blame the killers...

Dr. NIEBURG: Exactly.

Mr. LEVIN: ...for the crime.

Mr. NIEBURG: Right.


RIVERA: All right. We have a reporter standing by now in Arkansas, who will give us the latest on what's going on in the case.

Jim Taylor, are you there?

Mr. JIM TAYLOR (KAIT Reporter, Jonesburo, Arkansas: (By Telephone) Yes, I am, Geraldo.

RIVERA: OK. Let me take a break. We'll come to Jim Taylor from KAIT in just a minute.

Stay tuned. An update on the triple homicide, the trial going on right now.

(Theme music and applause)


(Theme music and applause)


Unidentified Man #3: I want to know, did the children know who their killers were? Like, were they frien--were the--did the children know their killers, so, like, they were friendly?

RIVERA: Did Stevie know Jessie or Damian or--or the other fellow, Jason?

Mr. HOBBS: Not to my knowledge, he didn't.

RIVERA: Now as the case has been reconstructed, Paul, was there a stalking of these particular victims?

Mr. MORRISON: In testimony, the mother of one of the victims told the court that a month or two prior to the killings, that a man dressed in black had taken a picture of her son. And then during the trial, it was still rather uncl--a little bit unclear, but it was--prosecution indicated that there had been a photograph, or photographs of the young boys and implied that there was some stalking going on.

RIVERA: Are you there, Jim Taylor?

Mr. TAYLOR: Yes, I am.


Mr. TAYLOR: Yes, I am.

RIVERA: Well, welcome. What's going on?

Mr. TAYLOR: Today, more jury selection. Five people have been chosen so far. One man and four women. And they're looking for 12 people, plus two alternates. So 14 people have to be chosen. Five have been chosen and more jury selection this afternoon and tomorrow, I'm sure.

RIVERA: What's the buzz about Jessie Jr. testifying against his two co-defendants?

Mr. TAYLOR: If you--and just give you a moment of time, I can tell you that in Arkansas, the judge in this case appointed a separate attorney to meet with Jessie Jr. to explain what benefits Jessie could receive...

(Photo of Jessie Misskelley Jr.)

Mr. TAYLOR: (Voiceover) ...for his testimony. That attorney met with Jessie Jr. on Tuesday night, and I do know for a fact that Jessie Sr. was with Jessie Jr. whenever those discussions were taking place. There is lots of speculation as to what type of year amount Jessie Misskelley Jr. was offered in exchange for his testimony. But that's a question that I think Mr. Misskelley Sr. could answer, and that's something that a lot of people in our area would like to know. What was the year amount that Jessie Jr. was offered from the prosecution in exchange for his testimony?

RIVERA: Let me ask Jessie Sr. They attempted, or are attempting, to make a deal with your son to testify against the other two boys who are accused of this triple homicide. How many years did they say they would take off his life plus 40-year sentence, in exchange for testimony?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: Well, I don't think I should tell you all. I don't think the lawyer would want me to say that.

RIVERA: Is it a substantial reduction in his sentence?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: Yes, sir.

RIVERA: So he would be out when?--by his middle adult years?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: That I don't know.

RIVERA: You don't want to say?--a 20-year sentence?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: No, it's more than that.

Mr. TAYLOR: Geraldo, I think--Geraldo, can you hear me?

RIVERA: Yes. Go ahead, Jim.

Mr. TAYLOR: I think Mr. Misskelley could give us more insight into what his son was thinking, because he was with his son when the decision process was going on. And we can get a better understanding of--of Jessie Misskelley Jr., the defendant, if Mr. Misskelley is allowed to elaborate on what they discussed the other night when the offer was made.

RIVERA: You hear him, Dad? Why don't you tell us? What were they talking about?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: Well, they was talking about telling the truth. And that's what he said he was going to do, cause he was not...

Mr. TAYLOR: Mr. Misskelley, if I may ask you, sir, is your son holding out for a better deal?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: No, he was not. He said that...

Mr. TAYLOR: Do you think...

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: ...that...

Mr. TAYLOR: Do you think your son will change his mind and testify?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: That I don't know. I know one thing. They asked him, up there, if he could walk out the door right now, would he get up and testify, and he said no. He said...

Mr. TAYLOR: Why did he say no?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: He said, because he didn't want to get up there and tell a lie and...

(Photo of Jessie Misskelley Jr.)

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: (Voiceover) ...send somebody to prison, death, if they weren't guilty. He said he don't know if they're guilty or not because he was not there.

RIVERA: He still maintains he was not there?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: Yes, sir.

RIVERA: But he's willing to testify against the--I'm sorry, Grandpa Jackie?

Mr. HICKS: It was proven in the trial that he was there...

Mr. MORRISON: I--I think...

Mr. HICKS: his own testimony.

Mr. MORRISON: ...that they--they--they convicted Jessie Misskelley...

Mr. HICKS: That was a coerced testimony.

Mr. MORRISON: ...convicted Jessie Misskelley Jr. based on one thing: that was the confession. There was no physical evidence--none...


Mr. MORRISON: ...linking him to the crime scene in any way, shape or form.

RIVERA: Well, what physical evidence existed?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: He was...

Mr. MORRISON: Very little. A number of hair fibers--that we know of; that--that the investigators will tell us--a few hair fibers and some microscopic clothing fibers.

Mr. HICKS: Yeah, he...

RIVERA: Jackie, do you have any doubt in your mind that the right guy has been convicted?

Mr. HICKS: Yes, I think the right guy's been convicted. He's had--he had all of his testimony. He had any time to back out on what he was saying. And he didn't back out until it came up before trial, and now he wants to back out. His daddy wants to play him ignorant. And everybody else wants to play him ignorant, and he's not ignorant. A man that is not guilty will stand up. He'll stand up. He won't fall in for the police or nobody and confess guilty.

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: He's not a man, though. He's a seven- or eight-year-old kid.

RIVERA: Is he retarded? Is that what Dad is saying here?

Mr. MORRISON: He functions--he functions at an--at an IQ level of 72--an over all IQ. So in a--in a legal sense, he is not retarded. Jessie Misskelley, though, it was apparent, is a--is a slow thinking teen-ager.

RIVERA: Who is the ringleader allegedly?

Mr. HICKS: Well, he can think fast enough to do and get out and do what he was doing down there at Mem--West Memphis; drinking his beer and carrying on with the other people. So, you know, it's just like Paul said, in the state of Arkansas, mental retardation starts at an IQ of 65. Seventy-two? We've all got some mental ability, you know? If you want to holler that, then I'm a little bit nuts, too.

RIVERA: Me, too.



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RIVERA: DID THE DEVIL MAKE THEM DO IT? We're examining a brutal, triple homicide. Three eight-year-olds hacked to death down in West Memphis, Arkansas. Yes, sir?

Unidentified Man #4: Yeah. I'd like to know, do you feel that your son may have been involved in this Satanic cult himself; because now kids are very impressionable and you never know?

RIVERA: No. These kids were eight years old. There's no...

Mr. HOBBS: Not a child. No.

RIVERA: No, sir. Terry, do you want to say something about your son?

Mr. HOBBS: Well, we had a--you know, an honor roll student, three years. We had an outstanding little boy. And he deserved better than this.

RIVERA: Do you ever, Pam, second guess yourself, as so many survivors of murder--murdered children do? Oh, I shouldn't have let him out. Oh, I shouldn't have let him walk across town. Oh, I should have kept my eye on him?'

Mrs. HOBBS: I blamed myself for awhile.

RIVERA: Oh, you can't do that. You know that's...

Mrs. HOBBS: Well, I did at first. I blamed myself because I let him go, but it's not my fault. I can't take the credit of saying that it's my fault. It's not my fault.

Mr. MORRISON: These three kids did--did exactly what any one of your children did that afternoon. They went out for a bike ride in their neighborhood and they never came back.

RIVERA: Mm-hmm.

Unidentified Woman #3: For the parents, do you think that justice was served? Do you think that this boy deserves the death sentence? Or what would you like to see happen to the one who was convicted?

Mrs. HOBBS: I'm satisfied with the sentence--the sentence that he did get. And I don't want to--them to reduce it to get him to testify. I would rather them, the prosecution and all, to go with whatever information they do got without him.

Unidentified Woman #4: We saw the perfect room of a teen-ager. I'm curious to know, there's got to be other signs of dysfunction that would trigger someone in their mind to say this is someone who's very possible--could get involved in a Satanic cult. One of my--one of my more specific questions is dysfunction, meaning rebellion.

You know, you had boundaries for your son. You knew where you sent him. He knew when he was to be back. But to Misskelley, did your son have boundaries and did he follow his boundaries? Do you know where your son was?

RIVERA: Mr. Misskelley, was Jessie kind of a hell-raiser?

Unidentified Woman #4 (Neighbor Of The Misskelleys): No.

RIVERA: Jessie?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: No, he was--no, he was not a hell-raiser.

Woman #4: I don't think they can hear me.

RIVERA: Who else is speaking? Is that your wife sitting by you?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: No. It's a neighbor.

RIVERA: OK. Hello, neighbor. Do you want to say something?

Mr. MISSKELLEY Sr.: She's the one that baby-sit--Jessie baby-sit for.

RIVERA: You let Jessie baby-sit your children?

Woman #4: Yes, and I would today.

RIVERA: Are you one of the people who claims you saw Jessie the night of the crime?

Woman #4: I don't claim that I saw him, I know I saw him.

RIVERA: Did you offer to testify on his behalf?

Woman #4: I did testify.

RIVERA: Obviously, they didn't believe you. Why?

Woman #4: I don't know why they didn't believe me. I told them the truth and that was the truth. I seen him out here at 6:30 that evening and that's where he was at.

RIVERA: OK. Terry, you want to comment on what she just said?

Mr. HOBBS: I heard a lot of testimony come up there for his defense, that was not convincing even to me. And I wasn't a juror.

RIVERA: Now go back to Paul Morrison there. I want to get to our Satanic experts and broaden this discussion, Paul, but what about what the young lady in the first row asked? What about evidence that Misskelley was in some other way, to use that much-bandied expression, dysfunctional?

Mr. MORRISON: I think you--you could find that. As a matter of fact, his own clinical psychologist and several pretrial hearings said as much on--and this was his defense psychologist. And the other two, Damian and Jason, I think you'd find that they, too, come from what is the politically-correct term, a dysfunctional home, to one degree or another. But so do a lot of teen-agers in this day and age.

RIVERA: OK. Jack Levin?

Mr. LEVIN: I think that's a good point. There are millions of people who've had troubled childhood experiences, and they don't go out and commit these hideous acts. On the other side, I think that we--parents everywhere--have to know that their kids--their teen-age kids, especially--are being supervised. You know, it's--it's not that our--that television is responsible for everything. Because we're always blaming television. It's that our other institutions, our families, our religion, and our schools have become so weak. We've got to invest as much in our teen-agers as we now invest in the stock market.


RIVERA: Let me take a break on that note. Then I'm going to go to Marcos Quinones, the cop here in New York, ask him what the big-city reality is in this regard.

Stay tuned. Be right back.

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RIVERA: Professor Levin was talking about the decline and fall of American civilization with emphasis on family, church and school. But not all kids--I mean, some kids given the same opportunity, they do fine. Like little Stevie, one of the victims, Pam and Terry's boy. This is his homework from the day he was murdered. In math, he got 100. In cursive writing, he got a--a star. And in English, he got a Very Good.' And now he's dead, brutally murdered by--well, one 17-year-old already convicted, two others allegedly also responsible.

I want to go to NYPD's Marcos Quinones. Is any of this relevant to big-city America? Is it relevant to New York?

Office MARCOS QUINONES (Researcher Of Cult Crimes): Yes, I think it is. I think that many children, depending on the lifestyle they have at home and the fellowship with their parents, if they don't have that family structure, will look into something else. I think because of the lack of power that they have, they will turn to Satanism or some other form of the occult. There's so many things out there that will introduce this kind of philosophy. The philosophy is out there. My condolence to the family over, you know, this situation. Fortunately, not--not all kids will, you know, kill or commit suicide with the exposure of Satanic material. But you get that one child out of a thousand--all of a sudden, you have something like this. And I think it's very important for parents, teachers to be on top of these children, giving them what they need. I think the basic home life, the love--I think that's the answer to all of this.

RIVERA: Are there more Satanic or ritual homicides here than we know about?

Officer QUINONES: I think in looking at some cases, a lot of it is labeled as Satanism. I don't think every mutilation crime is a Satanic crime. I think we have to separate fact from fiction. But you get a case like this, and it's my own personal opinion--I think there's an element here. I don't know, Paul, if in your investigation you feel that there are adults involved in this. That--you know, you just don't kill someone or three individuals like this. The training that it took for these people to do this...

Mr. MORRISON: Not only that, but how do three teen-agers, one of them admittedly slow, no matter how diabolically clever, so thoroughly sanitize the crime scene, and the time--and do all of the--all of the--made all of the injuries, committed the crimes and basically, be back home in three hours? To the point there's not one drop of--excuse me--there was some microscopic drops of blood ruled inadmissible. No blood at the crime scene.

RIVERA: How about the semen samples?

Mr. MORRISON: Well, the semen sample--they--a DNA specialist out of Greensboro, North Carolina, did testify that he found what appeared to be semen on one of the young bo--victim's pants, but there was not enough of that material for a proper test to get any match. Questions.

RIVERA: Dr. Nieburg, overview on this?

Dr. NIEBURG: I--I think it's a very perplexing case. I think it's clear that there--there was a--there was a murder perpetrated. I think we--we have not heard enough about the backgrounds, as--as Jack Levin had said. I'm--I'm convinced that if one does what's known as a psychological autopsy; if we really go back--and I think Paul is really doing that, as--as a result of his chronicling and his record-keeping--things are going to come out; and especially after the trial. There's an awful lot sealed here that we don't know about. And...

RIVERA: What about the larger question of is there an epidemic of ritual cwi--crime?--violence?

Dr. NIEBURG: There's not an epidemic. There are more cases reported, it's out in the open. We're educating people. As a matter of fact, one of the things I really wanted to share with both of you is, if there's anything that would--and I don't mean the word justify' in its--in its real sense--the fact that you are here, the three of you, to educate other people to what this is about, in--in one sense says that you're doing your part to help this heal.

Mr. HICKS: Definitely. That's exactly right.

RIVERA: We'll be right back.

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RIVERA: Professor Levin, do you have a 30-second bit of wisdom for us?

Mr. LEVIN: Well, you know, we've already said make sure you know where your kids are. But I would say, make sure you know who your kids' friends are.

Mr. MORRISON: Make sure you know what they're reading, too.

Mr. HICKS: Yeah.


Mr. LEVIN: And make sure that you know what they're seeing in every day life, because we don't want to let the peer groups fill the void in our children's lives, that ought to be filled by our traditional institutions.

(Credits roll)

RIVERA: Jackie, do you want to say something?

Mr. HICKS: Yes, I would. I'd like to say that the only reason that I come to New York to be on this show, I'm--don't want my little grandson's death to go in vain. I don't want to be critical, but I want to very, very much make a plea to all the mothers, fathers, grandmas, granddaddies: please love your children. Believe it. Get your heads out of the sand. It's real. Love them, respect them, show them your love.

RIVERA: DID THE DEVIL MAKE THEM DO IT? We'll keep you updated on this. Thanks for watching, folks. Bye-bye.

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