This is Detective Bill Durham of the CID Office of the West Memphis Police the day of the week is Friday, the date is December 3rd, 1993 the time is 3:45 p.m. This interview is with Jerry Driver Crittenden Juvenile Officer. Mr. Driver I understand you had dealings with one Damien Echols in approximately sometime in the month of May 1992?
Driver: Yes, that is correct um on about the 29th of May um, 1992 I received a call from the Crittenden County Sheriff's Office that Mr. Echols had been arrested a long with Dianna Holcomb at a trailer down in Lakeshore Trailer Park. He um was charged with burglary and lets see, sexual misconduct, I went to the sheriff's office and along Det. John Murry, um questioned Mr. Echols at that time Mr. Echols um said to both of us that um, he was involved in the occult, but not uh, not as a devil worshiper as such, he said he was a gray witch. And that he had a group of people that uh, participated in this with him and that his main um participant was a boy named Jason Baldwin who also lived at Lakeshore, and he also informed me at that time that Jason would never ever give him up that he loved him. Um, during this same interview uh, Mr. Echols was asked um, what was the extent of the cult activities was in Crittenden County and the West Memphis area was and he told us that it was fairly extensive, that there was 3 or 4 groups in West Memphis it's self. They were further uh, along in their activities then he may or may not of been and by that uh, he said that he meant, uh that they had reached the end of their animal sacrifice uh portion uh to received power and that the next logical step would be the sacrifice of a human. And we asked him if he knew it was going to be, and he denial that he knew who it was, uh, he did say that he knew who the people where involved in the cult's, but he didn't want to give name's. He said that uh one of the cult's in particular was uh waiting uh, for the return to Crittenden County of uh, I believe the number was 7 individual's who had been involved before here and they were out of town and they were coming back in the summer of 92 to participate in a sacrifice, uh shortly after that, we did have I think about 7 kids showed up down at West Memphis PD. Who had all the ear marks of it, with the tattoo's, and the devil rings and this and the other. But it turns out they probably won't the same ones.
Durham: Where were these youngsters from?
Driver: The Chicago area um, Mr. Echols gave great detail as to what it was that he was supposedly involved in, he said that he worship um, an entity called Hecate and one called Dianna and that um, he told us about um. . . . ., um the initiation into. . , into his of convene, also informed me at that time he had been brought in into (this?) group by an older woman at some time previously to this, uh this occurrence, um at the same time he also told me he had been a
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[on page 2, some words on the upper right hand margin are missing and the lower left hand margin]
Driver: (con't) member of the (missing)
that's when he changed his name to Dami (missing)
Damien, uh, who evidently is some saint in (missing)
Durham: Did he say who this older woman (missing)
Driver: He never said and. . ., and on I've pro (missing)
talked to Damien 20 times in the last 2 years, and he's always maintained that there was a older woman that brought him into it, but he would never tell me who it was.
Durham: When he said older woman did he give you idea of what kind of age we might be talking about?
Driver: Um, the age that I was able to. . ., to kind of figure out from him would be someone at that time in probably in their late 20's early 30's, he never said that it's that it's kinda the indication that he give, he also told us that uh. . ., uh the little girl the Holcomb girl had been involved in this kind of activity prior to his meeting her, and we since found out that is probably was true. We could not determine whether she had actually been with him at any of the convene meetings are not and. . ., and I really don't think she had, but I don't know that for a fact, um, his group at that time uh, I know Jason Baldwin was involved in it uh, at that early period I don't think believe Jessie Misskelley uh, was in it, we didn't see him with him, we didn't hear about him, uh there was some other boys who's name I have written down, but I couldn't prove that. . ., that they were members, I'll you who gave to me, okay, uh, let's see, I believe there was a kid named Michael Beath,
Driver: Uh-huh, I never was able to track him down, but that was the name given to me, there were some other names mentioned, uh, as. . ., as um, possible connections with his, with his group a boy named Jared Clark, and lets see there's one other one, okay, here we go um, a Bartoush girl I think her name was Sherry Bartoush
Durham: Spell her last name?
Driver: Bartosh, now this is one of the Bartoush's that live out at Lakeshore, um I never was able again to. . ., to put them together, but I, you know, but these are names that. . ., came up in the conversation. We continued to watch
(missing) m through out that uh, that summer, uh he was committed
(missing) keshore, Lakeside Hospital in Little Rock, or Charter
(missing) in Little Rock for about a month, uh I think on June
(missing) en he got out shortly after that time he went to
(missing) to live we his uh, with his real, or with his
(missing) er and his mother. I had several contacts
(missing) thorities regarding Damien, uh (??)
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Driver: (Con't) I had before he returned home, was I got a call, that told he was in the emergency room of the of a hospital out in Oregon and that he had threatened to eat his father and then he showed up on my door step again.
Durham: When did he show back up on your door step? So to speak?
Driver: Lets see you might want to turn that off for a second so I can look through here, I've got it down in here the reason I say that, uh, let's see, okay this would be
Durham: I have information that it was some time in the month October of 92 does that sound right?
Driver: He actually came back before then, um, he came back in September I think, yes he came back in September
Durham: September of 92
Durham: Now was he on any sought of probation where he had to check in with you or anything?
Driver: Yes he was
Driver: He was on probation and stayed in contact with he uh, he uh, was re-committed uh, in I believe in September to Charter Hospital again for another month period.
Durham: Charter Hospital in Little Rock
Driver: In Little Rock, and the reason for that was while he was in detention in uh, Jonesboro he uh was sucking the blood out of some kids wound on the kids neck and while I took him, I took him from Jonesboro to Little Rock to the hospital and I ask him why he did that and he, first he said it was a joke, and then he said that's how you receive's power he said I've been doing this for years uh, and generally it's with willing people and he had some scars on his arms and he said he and his girlfriend's and other people had. . . had done that, and that's how they receive power, um he was released from the hospital after about a month and came back and was approaching his 18th birthday, he was still on probation and I still kept a eye on him and on uh, see when saw he and. . ., and Jason Baldwin together it would be, you have to excuse by notes there, here we go uh, (inaudible) 11-15-93 or not of 93 it would be of 92. Uh, Damien, Jason, and Jessie were walking together over in Lakeshore (??) uh I don't remember the street but we had made a traffic stop while I was over there with 619, from the sheriff's office
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Driver: (Con't) Dollahite
Durham: Was this the first time you were aware that Jessie Misskelley associated with Damien?
Driver: I had heard prior to that Jessie was, sometime in late summer, I started hearing Jessie's name.
Durham: But this the first time you seen Damien
Driver: This is the first time I seen them together
Durham: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley
Driver: And Jessie Misskelley
Durham: All 3 together
Driver: Uh-huh, walking down the street all dressed in black, long black coats, Damien had. . ., had a black slouch hat on, and they all 3 had staff's um, and . . ., and I ask them what they were doing and they told me they were going. . ., going to watch, laugh, so I kept an eye on them pretty close after that and I saw them on several other occasions uh, both at uh. . ., uh Lakeshore and at the trailer park across where Jessie lived.
Durham: Highland Trailer Park
Driver: Highland Trailer Park, uh I seen them in both locations, uh I never did see Jessie with uh with Damien, um, down at Wal-Mart. They use to go down to Wal-Mart and shoplift, he and Domini Tear and. . ., and I think Jason probably Jessie to, but I just never saw Jessie with anything at that location.
Durham: Did you ever have occasions to um, to interview or to have dealings with uh, Jason Baldwin?
Driver: Yes, we did, we had him in uh, for a um, um, I don't know what it was now. But I have talked to him
Durham: Look here did he ever make mention of. . ., of being involved in the occult or (inaudible)?
Driver: He always denied it
Durham: He's always denied it
Driver: To me he's always denied it, uh, the reason we got involved in looking at him at one time that night after we started dealing this uh, the Damien business we had a report that there was a pentagram carved on the door post
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Driver: (con't) at Jessie. . ., Jason Baldwin's house and in fact there was um. . , um and Damien had of course told us he was his. . ., his main guy um, Deanna Holcomb said that was the case, that. . ., that Jason was his. . ., his confidant uh, I didn't think to bring his record with me today, uh, it will probably indicate when it was we talked to him
Durham: Do you have any feelings or personal dealings with of Jessie Misskelley?
Driver: A lot, quite a few
Durham: Did he ever make mention of being involved in the occult or describe it or what ever?
Driver: He always denied it uh, but he always said he knew about it, um and he was always very evasive when we talked to him about it that, Jessie the main reason's we would see Jessie was violence and criminal mischief complaints, he would be involved in breaking things, tearing things up, hitting someone, uh I think several occasions where he. . ., he hit girls and would get in difficulty over that um, the ladder just before his appearance changed considerably, that spike hair and stuff that you all saw, we hadn't seen until maybe a month of 2 before all this happened. The kid's attitude and his. ., his demeanor probably turned around over maybe a 3 month period from out supervision that uh, he looked like a different guy, he looked like a different guy, as we would go, we never had any trouble with any of them in the office you know when they came to office they were all polite and they all denied they had done anything wrong, Damien always said he was into the occult, just used to always denied being a devil worshiper, always said he knew who did it, he knew, he told me at one time, that he knew of a uh, of a book here in West Memphis called the Necronomicon I think it is, and he didn't mean the one you could buy off the shelf this was a old one, uh that had been passed down for generations so what he was telling me was that he thought he was saying there was a generational Satanist here in town. He wouldn't tell me who it was but he was adamant that there was, there was one, uh, it always seem to me that uh he knew to much about it not to not of, to have had some. . ., some great dealings in it, uh one of the things and of course I know this is probably not, this is all hear say, but one of the things that occurred while this was going on is told me he had joined the Catholic Church, so I went down and talked to the priest
Durham: Do you remember about when this was?
Driver: I talked to the priest in the summer of 92 um
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Durham: Your talking about down here at St. Michaels's?
Driver: Yes, and I asked him um, you know if he remembered Damien, he did he said that Damien came to church I think he had came that previous um, that winter or fall and had professed a great interest in the Catholic religion and um had convented and had his name changed um, and then had quit coming and he related to me that right after he quit coming someone tried to broke into the sacristy and he had always wondered if. . ., if he had anything to do with it, of course that's one of the things that those guys do that's kinda modus operandi, their go to the Catholic church and find out as much as they can, break in to the sacristy, steal the host and the lunette and that's how some of them operation that's to say, that's not to say he did that, but that would no be out of character with the things that they do. Uh, Damien always uh, and every time I ever talked to him, um, said he knew who the other people were, that were in involved in it serious, never denied that he didn't know what was going on, he just said it's not him.
Durham: But he did say, he did tell you that there was going to be a sacrifice in the summer of 93?
Driver: 92. . ., 92
Durham: Okay, it's the summer of 92 when he told you that
Driver: He said that's when it's going to happened
Durham: It's going to happen in the summer of 92?
Driver: Right, and we were on the roads and the back roads, and Dabbs School, and we went every where in the world that summer, every time there was a witches sabbath, we were out in force, and whether that did any good or not I don't know, but to my knowledge nothing happened that summer
Durham: What about Domini Tear?
Driver: We've had her on uh, probation, in fact she just got off it this month, or last month
Durham: Did she ever give you any indication or said that she belonged to the occult?
Driver: She's told us uh, that they were witches and that were, worship nature and Hecate and Dianna and when I took her to uh, in fact I think you have a statement of mine, when I took her to Charter Hospital Little Rock she went over to the same place, uh, she discussed with me the blood
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Driver: (con't) drinking and said that, the first thing she said was uh, why should I not drink blood, because my. . , mother drinks blood, and I thought now that's a strange thing to say. But that's what she said and she and her mother got into a little discussion about this and um, the mother didn't deny it, and Domini said that when. . ., when the mother was. . , was younger, I guess in the 60's that she was pretty heavily into this blood drinking stuff, uh and Domini also stated that blood drinking was. . ., was nothing wrong with it said it's you know we. . ., we want to do it, we'll not taking blood from any body and it gives us strength
Durham: When was this about you recall?
Driver: This was, this was um, I don't have my notes with me but on her you have a statement (inaudible)
Durham: Was it in 92,that she went to Charter Lakeside? Or Charter Hospital?
Driver: She went to, I think it was in 93
Durham: Was it prior to May?
Driver: I think so, but it may have been 92, but I know Gary's got that statement that I wrote when it happened.
Durham: When she said we'll involved it who did she?
Driver: She and Damien
Durham: She and Damien
Driver: Uh-huh, see the. . ., the original deal was she was Damien's girlfriend prior to uh, to Dianna Holcomb and when the Dianna Holcomb thing broke up, then he went back to Domini, our concern all along was that we had indicates back when he was going with Dianna that. . ., that he and Dianna was trying to conceive a child and that child was to be sacrificed and we. . ., we got that information from informants and from some drawings that we um, that we had confiscated from. . ., from Damien at the time and I think you all have those, uh, one which had four tombstones and a baby's foot from behind it and a rattle and power emanating up into the moon or something, and they always denied that, they always said no that's not he case, but several people very close to them, confidential informant people said that's what was going on uh, and then Domini and Damien get back together what. . ., what happens they have a baby uh, I'm very concerned about that just I'm sure everyone else is, Domini is no longer on probation to us, so I don't have any, any further uh, contact with her other than. ., than uh just telling DHS what I know about it, so they can take their action.
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Durham: Do you know if Damien got into any trouble when he was up in Portland, Oregon are not?
Driver: Uh, he got into trouble the time that he fought with his dad and went to the emergency room at the psychiatric hospital and uh, in fact I think I got that right here, that would be, I got so much crap on him.
Durham: Do you recall if there were any weapons involved whether he was trying to kill or seriously injury his father or
Driver: Um, the dad called me and said that he was he didn't, he did not say anything about weapons, uh he said that he intended, that Damien intended to kill him. Here's the blood sucking thing the only thing I could found. Um, he uh, he called me up and said that they had sent him home, he didn't ask if he could come home, he just said we've sent him home because he went crazy one night and threatened to kill me and we went the hospital and he jump around and said he was going to eat me. He said come on I'm going to eat you up, uh, he also had made uh threats previously I think probably this would have been in 92 also against a boy in school at Marion, and. ., and this is in his records that you all have. He threatened to claw his eyes out and I don't know if you ever saw his nails or not, but he had talons um
Durham: Was this the boy that was dating Dianna Holcomb?
Driver: I believe that's who it was, I believe that's who it was, uh any way he had threatened to enucleate his eyes, and he has also made other threaten to kill Dianna mother um, he threatened to kill numerous people, uh in Marion, most people didn't take him seriously, because at the time he was, he was just looked on as kind of a kook, you know that ware black clothes and acted silly. But the more I got into it you know I found more and more people that said of yea I know him, he did this, he did that, I've seen him kill dogs, I've seen him drink blood and done of these people will come forward. But it's my opinion that there's 10 or 15 that know what happened and could probably give you some excellent of information if they, if they just would
Durham: But you don't know the name of these people?
Driver: I have suspicious you know, and several of them I think we've have already give to you all to talk to um, but they don't say the same things to you all that they say to us
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Durham: Do you know anyone else in the group other than Damien Jessie and Jason? Are theses the 3 basic ones that run around together to your knowledge?
Driver: No, there was, to the best of my knowledge there was about 7 or 8 of them in the group, um, the one. . ., 3 that I knew, were these 3, he never ever said that was the only 3 in it. He always said there was between 7 and 10 people.
Durham: Your talking abut Michael Beath, Jered Clark and Sherry uh Bartosh?
Driver: He never admitted those guys but always that there was more than 3 people involved, I got those name from a, from a kid, in school at Marion, this is who you know is involved with Damien. Um, I suspect there's some people at Lakeshore that were involved with him that we don't even know and there's probably some still out there that. . ., that were involved at the time, because we've still founding dogs and things you know that they cut up and due that kind of mess.
Durham: When now?
Durham: Is there anything else you can think of concerning Damien or uh, or Jessie Misskelley, or Jason Baldwin that you can think of, that comes to mind now?
Driver: Uh, I did, I think that Gary had ask me if I had ever seen um, Damien wearing a black leather studded belt, and yes I have on several occasions, one of which was when I saw him at Wal-Mart uh, and asked he and his group to leave Wal-Mart.
Durham: You recall about when that was?
Driver: Uh, that would have been um, I tell you real quite, because it's (inaudible) when Domini Tear was arrested for shoplifting, that would have been our last
Durham: Domini Tear was arrested for shoplifting at Wal-Mart?
Driver: Uh, yes, I say see was, here. . ., here this is when it was, this was in 92.
Durham: What month?
Durham: November the 12th of 92?
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Driver: Uh-huh, I don't think she was arrested for the shoplifting I think it was a complaint and I went down there and ran them off, the. . ., the premises
Durham: Is there anything else you want to add to your statement at this time Mr. Driver?
Driver: I . . ., I can't think of anything else, I've have, you know I have seen all 3 of them together, I have seen all 4 of them together, Domini was with on all, with other boys to, all of them would be together walking along the interstate um, the grassy area of the interstate Lakeshore to West Memphis and I would say I saw them together probably 4 or 5 times in daylight that could tell you know that's who it was, there wasn't any doubt that's who it was, and it was never um, I when we talked to Jason Baldwin he never denied that he and Damien were close, just said he wasn't a devil worshipper.
Durham: I see, this concludes this interview at 4:10 P.M.