1. My name is John P. Slater. I am over eighteen years of age and otherwise competent to make this statement. I have personal knowledge of the matters set forth herein.
2. I have extensive experience as a law enforcement officer. In addition to serving as a police officer in West Memphis, and among other law enforcement positions I have held, I have served as Assistant Chief of Police in Swifton, Arkansas; a deputy sheriff with Ozark Acres SID in Middleford, Arkansas; a special agent with the Tenth Judicial Drug Task Force in Hamburg, Arkansas; and as a K-9 deputy sheriff with the Chicot County sheriff’s department in Lake Village, Arkansas.
3. I was a police officer in West Memphis, Arkansas, in May, 1993. At that time, I already had five years’ experience as a law enforcement officer. I had already received a substantial amount of law enforcement training prior to 1993. Prior to May, 1993, I had received eight commendations for my performance in the line of duty; in 1991 I was named “Officer of the Year” for me department.
4. Although I began my employment with the West Memphis Police Department as a patrol officer, by May 5, 1993, I had moved into the criminal division. My direct supervisor at that time was Lt. Fred Boskey.
5. I was on duty on my regular shift from approximately 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5, 1993, to approximately 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 6, 1993.
6. Around 5 or 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 6, 1993, I was radioed by Lt. Boskey. Lt. Boskey directed me and two other officers to meet him at a parking lot in east West Memphis.
7. At that location, I was advised by Lt. Boskey that due to some miscommunication, word had not been passed to us that there were three young boys who had been missing since early in the evening of May 5 and that a search was underway in which we were needed to assist.
8. Lt. Boskey and I then drove to the end of McAuley Drive West, to the point at which the street ends and a footpath leads to a pipeline crossing of the diversion of Ten Mile Bayou.
9. Lt. Boskey and I followed the footpath to the pipe and crossed the diversion of Ten Mile Bayou on the pipe itself. We walked around the wooded area on the other side of Ten Mile Bayou and searched it thoroughly for approximately 30 minutes.
10. Lt. Boskey and I specifically searched the area of the large ditch running into the bayou. I am aware that this is the location where the bodies of the three victims were found later in the day on May 6, the same day we thoroughly searched the area.
11. At the time Lt. Boskey and I searched that area, the bodies of the victims were not present in the ditch.
12. If the bodies had been present at the time we searched the area, I am confident that we would have located them. We were thoroughly examining every part of the area, including every part of the ditch feeding into the bayou, and were assisted by our heavy-duty flashlights and the fact that some predawn light was available.
13. I did not communicate this information to the detectives investigating the murders. I did, however, speak with Lt. Boskey on other occasions about our personal knowledge that the bodies of the victims were not present at that location during the time period when we searched. We also talked about the fact that this was inconsistent with the version of events being presented by the State in the prosecution of Mr. Echols, Mr. Baldwin, and Mr. Misskelley. We were aware that the facts within our personal knowledge contradicted the version of events being presented by the State.
14. During the one or two-day period surrounding the disappearance and murder of the victims in this case, I heard on the police radio that an individual had been stopped and questioned on the interstate near the Robin Hood Hills woods. According to the information I heard, when this individual was advised that officers sought information because of the ongoing investigation into the disappearance and murder of the three victims, the individual took off running and fled into a wooded area nearby. I monitored the situation because I anticipated that he might be directed to join the search with his trained search dog, but I was not directed to do so. I was advised by dispatch that a helicopter was being flown into the area from Memphis to conduct an air search for this individual.
15. I am not personally acquainted with Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, or Jessie Misskelley, the defendants who were convicted in this case. I do not have any reason to make up information in order to assist them. I do not know whether or not Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley were involved in any way in the murders. I do know that the bodies of the victims were not present, in the location where they were later found when Lt. Boskey and I searched that area thoroughly on the morning of May 6, 1993.
Under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States and the state of Arkansas I swear that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed this 20 day of February, 2001, in the County of White and the State of Arkansas.