Johnny: Outrageous Talk Radio 100.7 The Buzz. It's the Johnny and Scotty Show. 4211007. Toll free triple eight 6471007 are the numbers if you wanna sound in on whatever our subject may be today.
Scotty: So today we're gonna have a series of guests on a
Johnny: It's a really grisly story. I'm sure most of you have heard about it in the news. It started May 5, 1993 in the Robin Hills, uh, Robin Hood Hills neighborhood in West Memphis, where three eight-year-old children, Christopher Byers, Steven Branch and Michael Moore were brutally, brutally, murdered and dumped in a drainage ditch.
Scotty: They were stabbed repeatedly, one of them, their penis, the skin was actually carved off the penis.
Johnny: Yeah one of the children was emasculated. Steven Branch had multiple bite marks to the face and two of the victims were actually hog-tied
Scotty: They were tied up with their own shoelaces. Their bikes were also find in this ravine or whatever it is.
Johnny: The investigation that followed kind of rings familiar with another criminal investigation that's very close to Scott, which is that of his dad, I mean, when you talk about botched investigations. They think they found the killers
Scotty: Yeah they think they found the killers. They've got three young men who were juveniles at the time when they were arrested in 1993 in prison today still sitting there and they're retrying their cases, they're trying to go to the Supreme Court. They're doing all these things to try and get out of this deal. And today we're gonna be talking to their attorneys and
Johnny: We've got all kinds of people lined up, Burk Sauls who is the founding member of the Free the West Memphis Three which is the name of the three suspects, are now know by, the three suspects that are now serving time are Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin. And Damien Echols is on death row.
Scotty: Yeah he's the only one sitting on death row. They kind of focused the whole investigation on him.
Johnny: Yeah right from the get-go to the complete and total, you know.
Scotty: We forgot to clear this up. Christopher Byers was the one whose penis was actually, basically, what, how do you even describe that?
Johnny: Well he was emasculated, his genitals were cut off, and his
Scotty: Well, his scrotal sack was cut off and the skin was removed from his penis.
Johnny: And the evidence suggest that he was alive while they did it because of the, the
Scotty: Entry wounds of the knife around his groin area. They were signs of struggle because the skin was ripped instead of just a clean cut. I mean these were really horrible brutal crimes to these three 8-year-olds that were most likely alive during the crime.
Johnny: And which immediately let the investigators involved, the finest of West Memphis to assume this was...
Scotty: West Memphis Arkansas
Johnny: ...(unintelligible) a satanic cult ritual. We're gonna take a look at that uh.
Scotty: The thing is, it also rings a little, you know, reminiscent to the Salem witchcraft trials, when, it's something called satanic panic I guess, and what happens is you take a small rural community and you get a bunch of people who haven't been well educated who are very religious and they can't explain something, they can't figure it out. So what they do is they either say God did it or it's the work of devil, rather than like using facts and science to try and figure out what exactly caused these problems.
Johnny: Yes, and in this particular case the devil's puns happen to be a few adolelesents that wore Metallica t-shirts and had long hair and didn't quite mesh with the rest of the upstanding community in West Memphis, and
Scotty: Upstanding community in West Memphis that's
Johnny: Damien Echols who is now on death row is a matter of fact, had been, they tried to frame him for a whole slew of different
Scotty: Multiple things actually
Johnny: It was just kind of like everytime there was a crime in West Memphis they went straight to this guy.
Scotty: I guess like two counties over once there was a train was robbed while passing through a town. Where did they go? Damien Echols's house. They went to Damien Echols's house to try and frame him for this crime that like, why would they even think he was involved in it.
Johnny: And I think the thing that has really captured the imagination of the country about this case is that it could really happen to anybody, you got three adolescents whose only distinguishing characteristics were that they liked to wear dark clothes, they liked to listen to Metallica
Scotty: They liked to read Stephen King.
Johnny: They liked to read Stephen King, they
Scotty: That was basically the main pieces of evidence used in the court case was that Damien Echols copied the lyrics of Metallica into his notebook, he copied passages from Stephen King into his notebook and he wore a lot of dark clothing.
Johnny: Yeah, maybe even some eyeliner on occasions so I mean, boy...
Scotty: It was basically like...
Johnny: ...he's a killer.
Scotty: ...he was a Goth metal kid and he might have dyed his hair black or something. But, he didn't fit well in this town. And they don't like those types down there in Arkansas.
Johnny: Living in an urban area and given the descriptions we've just described to you this applies to, I would say, I don't know, about 20 percent of the adolescents these days. Basically all the kids that aren't wear baggy pants or (?). You know what I mean, you got your nerds, you got your baggy pants crew and then you got the kind of Metallica black shirt wearing kids. I mean
Scotty: No they believed these kids were, you know, puns of Satan and the witches children and they believed these kids were out to, you know, cast black magic, and they believed they were doing that as this was a sacrifice. That's what they believed. They believed this was a satanic sacrifice in the woods, these three children. And there's a lot of evidence that points in other directions, a lot of interesting directions regarding their families.
Johnny: We're gonna talk to experts and people closer to the case that can supply the information probably a little more lucidly and better than Scott and I.
Scotty: By the way folks, I've had 4 hours of sleep.
Johnny: In the last week.
Scotty: (laughing) No no. Last night I went to bed at 4:30 in the morning. I was up all night working on this story and
Johnny: I just got to the studio about 10 minutes ago, there's a big tree fallen in front of my, I couldn't get out of my driveway.
Scotty: Oh Jesus, so.
Johnny: So we're gonna come back, we're gonna talk about freeing the West Memphis Three and the brutal alleged satanic cult murders in West Memphis. Ah, first we're gonna check traffic with Sarah Johnson.
Scotty: Alright, it's Outrageous Talk Radio, the Johnny and Scotty Show. 4211007. Triple eight 6471007.
Johnny: Today we're looking at the famous Robin Hills Hoods murders in West Memphis that occurred May 5, 1993, where Christopher Byers, Steven Branch and Michael Moore, three second-graders, eight years-old, were brutally, and according to the police ritualistically, murdered. We're going to explore this ritualistic angle when we talk to the defense team.
Scotty: In just a moment, here we've got Joe Berlinger the director of the movie Paradise Lost which hopefully some of you have seen. You can go to Scarecrow video, and Blockbuster probably even has it. It's a huge documentary. You can go there, you can rent this video, and you can check it out. Joe Berlinger is also the director of a movie called Brother's Keeper and he is the director of the new Blair Witch Project 2.
Johnny: And he also did a follow up to...
Scotty: Paradise Lost.
Johnny: ...Paradise Lost, which was Paradise Lost Revisited. And also you can go to www.wm3.org.
Scotty: wm3 dot numeral three dot org.
Johnny: How are you Joe?
Joe: Hey how is it going guys?
Joe: It's Berlinger (Phonetic)
Scotty: What did I say?
Joe: Berlinger (Phonetic)
Scotty: Berlinger (Phonetic). Sorry about
Joe: It's a common error, don't worry about it.
Johnny: We just do that to big time people.
Scotty: Thanks for being on the show today.
Joe: My pleasure.
Scotty: You made this film as the whole trial, the original Paradise Lost film, as the whole trial was happening in 1993.
Joe: Right, actually my partner Bruce Sinofsky and I made it together. And we covered the story while it was unfolding. And originally we went down cause we read this little article about guilty, devil-worshipping teens killing three eight-year-olds and thought we were making a movie about disaffected youth, got down there, started looking around and realized that these kids were totally being screwed, that the evidence was a joke, and that, in fact because they did the terrible thing of listening to Metallica and wearing, you know, black, and, you know, likening pentagrams as dress articles that, you know, that somehow that must make them guilty of these horrible child killings.
Scotty: So you actually went down there originally thinking that these kids were probably guilty and you thought it was just an interesting angle, the disaffected youth thing?
Joe: Right, well it was right around the time that the little boy in England had killed the other little boy on the railroad tracks, the Jamie Bulger case, and, you know, when we read that, this very little article that was just an AP wire pickup in the back of the New York Times that said, you know, three devil worshipping teens kill three eight-year-old boys in a satanic ritual, I was like, you know, how could kids do that? Such a horrible thing to one another. And that was really the (?) to go down there was sort of like a, you know, a real life's River Edge.
Johnny: How long did it take you, probably not long, to figure out something was amiss here?
Joe: Well it took, you know, I would say the first couple of trips cause we were only hanging out with the prosecution and with the victims' families, you know, we were sort of, you know
Johnny: So the first time you meet John Mark Byers, probably
Scotty: John Mark Byers is the stepfather of Christopher Byers...
Scotty: ...the victim that, the victim whose penis was skinned.
Joe: Yes, something was odd there, for sure. But it wasn't until actually, you know, we started digging around the evidence and it just didn't seem to add up and then, you know, meeting Damien was (?) for me. I mean I just, you know, you look into somebody's eyes and you talk to them and, you know, you get a, this sense of humanity and, you know, you just don't believe they ever could have done this. And then the evidence doesn't support it. And umm, you, know, the prosecution went on television saying on a scale of one to ten this is an eleven and to me it was like a one.
Johnny: That was Gary Gitchell who was the chief prosecutor in that case.
Scotty: He was quoted as saying that it was an eleven.
Johnny: And Gary Gitchell he still sticks to his guns.
Scotty: Except Gary Gitchell declined comment. We tried to contact a lot of the detectives and prosecutors and none of them want to speak out on this anymore
Joe: Well in fact the Governor of Arkansas, when the sequel to Paradise Lost came out in March called Revelations: Paradise Lost 2, they were once again (?) with email and letters and their response was to claim that the two HBO movies were works of fiction. So, I mean, the official response in Arkansas has been...
Scotty: Yet you're actually...
Scotty: ...you're actually filming in court real time events and they're claiming that it's works of fictions
Joe: Works of fictions you know
Scotty: Wow that's impressive.
Johnny: Now what are the, obviously one of the most striking aspects of the case is that virtually no other avenue was explored. They seem to arrive at the
Scotty: Almost immediately
Johnny: Yeah, just almost in a vacuum. They came up with a, you know, Jessie who originally, Jessie Misskelley whose confession, if you can touch on his coerced confession if you will. Because this was really the rosettastone of the prosecution's case. Could you tell us
Joe: Well, they got this guy to confess, and got him to confess a couple of different times cause there were a lot of problems with time. At first he was saying it happened in the morning, and then they led him down to re-issuing a statement that gave the proper times. And you know, he's not a bright kid, that's sort of an understatement.
Johnny: His IQ is seventy-two.
Scotty: We actually have Dan Stidham on the phone.
Johnny: To give you an idea Scott's is seventy-four, so
Joe: Well there that
Johnny: That gives you an idea.
Joe: There you go, that says it all then.
Scotty: Dan, welcome to the Johnny and Scotty Show.
Dan: Well thank you.
Scotty: You're on with Joe Berlinger (Phonetic)
Joe: Berlinger (Phonetic)
Johnny: Berlinger (Phonetic)
Scotty: Berlinger (Phonetic)
Johnny: Still big-time, still big-timing you (Laughing)
Joe: Hey Mr. Stidham.
Dan: Hi Joe, how are you?
Joe: How are you doing, I hear you are a judge now.
Dan: Well that's what they tell me, I start January 1st, I'm really looking forward to it.
Dan: Thank you.
Joe: Maybe you can start serving up some justice in your state.
Dan: Well I'm certainly gonna do my best.
Scotty: Now Dan you represented Jessie Misskelley. He was one of the accused that confessed to the crime. Explain the confession process, explain how they got this confession.
Johnny: And also real quickly we should say that Dan Stidham has been, worked on this case I believe for over five years for free. Just out of the belief that these kids were wrongly accused. Is that correct?
Dan: That is correct and I believe strongly that my client is innocent and this so-called confession is really nothing but garbage. As you pointed out earlier the police almost immediately began to pin everything on, or try to pin everything on, Damien Echols, and a few weeks after the murders took place they picked up Jessie Misskelley who is borderline mentally retarded. They picked him up under the guise that if he gave them information that he would get
Johnny: They just wanted a material witness correct?
Dan: Right, exactly, and
Scotty: They picked him up under the guise of what? Sorry
Dan: They offered to give him thirty-five thousand dollars, a reward that had been placed for information leading to the perpetrators. And so that's how they talked his dad into letting him go down to the police station.
Scotty: So he was going down there thinking he was gonna positively come out with thirty, thirty-five thousand dollar richer, which in Arkansas is like a two year salary.
Dan: (Laughing) Well I guess you can say that.
Johnny: Three, four double-wides with that kind of (?)
Dan: Well he
Joe: Not everyone in Arkansas lives that way like Mr. Stidham.
Dan: He was taking
Scotty: Are you saying Mr. Stidham lives that way? (Laughing)
Johnny: Sounds like you're saying Mr. Stidham does live that way. (Laughing)
Joe: I'm saying just the opposite. Not everyone in Arkansas lives in a double-wide
Johnny: I know. There's a lot of single whites out there.
Scotty: Alright, sorry about that.
Dan: That's okay. Um, the interrogation began about nine o'clock on June third, 1993. And for the first several hours Mr. Misskelley told them, you know, I don't know anything about this, I heard that Damien Echols did it, but I don't know anything about it. He gave them an alibi and that wasn't good enough for the police. They kept on, they kept on, and finally they decided, they told him again that he's gonna get the thirty-five thousand dollar reward of he helps them, and they gave him a polygraph test. And they told him that he flunked it. In fact, the officer said, You're lying your ass off. And then they intensified it even more. And when you take a look at this from the perspective of here we have a mentally retarded kid, you hook him up to a machine and you tell him that we have this mystical magical machine that tells whether or not you're telling the truth, it distorts a kid's view of reality and it scared the hell out of him.
Dan: And then in the afternoon the interrogation intensifies. Two officers, including Mr. Gitchell, entered the scene and then they started showing Mr. Misskelley pictures of the dead bodies. They intensified the pressure even more by using psychological drawings where they drew a circle on a piece of paper and said, This is you, Damien and Jason on the inside of the circle and on the outside of the circle they drew a bunch of dots and said, This is the police and all the good guys, why don't you come outside the circle and help us. And they kept suggesting things to Mr. Misskelley, kept suggesting names and
Scotty: One, I hate to interrupt...
Dan: ‚€¶things of that nature.
Scotty: ...I hate to interrupt you, one quick question, then we gotta cut off for a second. He went down there expecting to get a thirty-five thousand dollar reward, so he must have been going down there to confess to something or to have, what, witness information?
Dan: Basically the West Memphis police were picking up anybody and everybody that had ever been associated with Damien Echols.
Johnny: Right he didn't really willingly
Johnny: We're talking to Dan Stidham who is the defense attorney for Jessie Misskelley, the person whose alleged confessed led to the arrest of Damien Echols and the West Memphis three. And we're also talking to Joe Berlinger who made Paradise Lost
Scotty: And he's also the director of Blair Witch 2. Now, is that in theaters now?
Joe: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is opening next Friday on the twenty-seventh.
Scotty: Congratulations on that.
Johnny: Next up we're gonna continue to explore this on the Johnny and Scotty Show on Outrageous Talk Radio 100.7 The Buzz.
Johnny: Something of an anthem for the West Memphis Three. Welcome back, this is Outrageous Talk Radio 100.7 The Buzz. This is the Johnny and Scotty Show. 4211007 if you wanna sound in. You're cheap, try triple eight 6471007.
Scotty: We just lost Joe Berlinger and Dan Stidham on the line. We're gonna get them back in one second. This is the West Memphis Three case, it's about
Johnny: It's the murders in Robin Hood Hills that transpired May 5, 1993, where the three 8-year-old children, Christopher Byers, Steven Branch and Michael Moore were brutally murdered. The prosecution contested this case is a cut and dry case of satanic ritualistic murder by kids listening to too much heavy metal music and...the like.
Scotty: Dan, so when we went away we were talking about the confession of Jessie Misskelley
Johnny: We were talking about the coercive methods that the prosecution used to
Dan: Yes and this interrogation took virtually the entire day, yet the West Memphis police decided to taperecord only about thirty minutes of audio tape. And in the confession Mr. Misskelley got some very important facts very, very wrong including the time of death and the ligature that bound the victims. And also the wounds to the bodies were wrong and I would submit to you that that should have been a big huge red flag for the police department but unfortunately it wasn't.
Scotty: And pictures of the confession room, there was actually a baseball bat in the room.
Dan: That is correct and when I went to look at the
Johnny: That has a way of coercing, doesn't it?
Dan: It is, it's kind of a subtle technique
Scotty: Subtle technique
Johnny: Even if Gitchell is only batting .250 it's still pretty coercive.
Dan: It can be very, and there's no reason for a baseball bat to be in there and when I took a picture of it and attempted to introduce that into evidence at the trial they, the police and that prosecutors said, Oh that you know that was the local police softball bat that was donated to the department to be in the police league and it just happened to be in there. Ofcourse it wasn't in there when Mr. Misskelley was being interrogated.
Johnny: Now Dan showing, showing Jessie Misskelley during his interrogation, showing him graphic, graphic murder scene photos, this is sort of rather unorthodox practice, isn't it?
Dan: Well, it's a psychological technique that probably shouldn't have been used against a 17-year-old kid, especially a 17-year-old kid who basically lives in the world of a 5-year-old child. You know, I tell people all the time I have a 5-year-old child and my child believes in the Power Rangers and I can't convince him otherwise. That's what he wants to be when he grow up and basically Jessie Misskelley was operating at the same intellectual levels a 5-year-old child.
Johnny: And, you know, Jessie as well, as well as Damien and Jason, all three of these kids strike everybody who had a chance to see either of, either of the Paradise Lost films. Pretty much the universal impression is that these are, these are, you know, sweet very human adolescents when this started and then uh, you know
Dan: Well Mr. Echols didn't do himself any favors during the trial and during the filming of the first film. He played the role of the perfect (?) pretty good. And some of his mannerisms and the things that he said and did really didn't help himself. I think you've seen him emerge in this second film as being someone who is highly intelligent and regretful of some of the things he said and did while he was on trial.
Scotty: We have Jessica on the line. Jessica, you have a question for Dan?
Jessica: Yeah I was just wondering if there was any, I forget the dad's name of one of the little boys
Johnny: John Mark Byers.
Jessica: Okay I saw that, I saw both of them and I watch them everytime they're on. And I was just wondering if there was any ongoing investigation about his wife's mysterious death, cause there was, obviously. He said that she was taking a lot of pills at the time. And I was just wondering if they found out any more, cause I think he did it (Laughing)
Scotty: You saw both the films?
Jessica: Yeah. I've watched them many times and
Johnny: Everybody, the, the man is insane, I've never, I've, he's
Scotty: This is the father of Christopher Byers, the one whose penis was skinned.
Johnny: And if they thought Damien Echols was weird in that town then something is not, something is off because this Mark Byers guy is like
Jessica: Yeah he's off, his father is way off. (Laughing)
Scotty: So Dan is there any new evidence?
Dan Well certainly we're following that aspect of the investigation and I hope that the law enforcement officials here in Arkansas are taking that serious. I know the state police has closed their investigation. But we're hopeful that the local authorities in Cherokee Village, Arkansas will keep this investigation open. The indication is that they are keeping it open and we hope that they will really take a long hard look at that and to me it's unconscionable that a death such as this should be ruled undetermined. It's clear to me what happened and I think it's clear to everybody else what happened.
Johnny: Yeah it should be said for those of the people that are not involved, and we'll talk about this in just a moment, but Melissa Byers - who was the wife of John Mark Byers who has no connection to this crime according to himself, but universially to anybody who knows anything about the case - mysteriously died herself several years after. Ah, so after we visit with Sarah Johnson
Scotty: Dan Stidham and Burk Sauls.
Scotty: Outrageous Talk Radio. This is the Johnny and Scotty Show and you're listening to a clip of Killing Joke from the free West Memphis Three CD that's come out that we'll be talking about a little bit later. The number to call in: 4211007. Triple eight 6471007.
Johnny: We were talking to Dan Stidham last segment, who is the defense attorney for Jessie Misskelley. Right now we have got a, Dan's gonna be on hold for a little bit here, because we're gonna talk to a...
Scotty: A resident.
Johnny: ... a resident of West Memphis who is convinced that the right people have been accused of this crime and are
Scotty: Shaun, you're on the Johnny and Scotty Show. How are you doing?
Shaun: Hi gentlemen how is it going?
Shaun: I actually had a few questions for Dan too, but, yeah if you'd like to talk about the rest of it I'd be delighted to.
Johnny: I would like, ah, we're gonna have a little legal problem with Dan, but I'm sure that Burk Sauls will probably be willing to address some of your questions.
Shaun: Burk wasn't there. He has no idea what I'm ready to talk about.
Johnny: Well you can go ahead maybe and voice your opinion.
Scotty: Now again folks, Shaun Wheeler is a resident of West Memphis, Arkansas. And you've been following the case from the very beginning correct Shaun?
Shaun: I followed the case only from (?) aspects from the beginning. I went back two years ago and revisited the case file and a lot of principles. I don't think Burk has actually been to the case file.
Scotty: Burk Sauls is the founding member of the WM3 Support Fund and you can go to that at www.wm3.org.
Shaun: I was aware of that.
Scotty: Oh you were aware of that, but the people listening in today weren't. Burk are you with us?
Scotty: Welcome to the Johnny and Scotty show.
Burk: Good, how are you doing?
Shaun: Burk did you ever visit and see the case file because Mike
Burk: You know I have Shaun. I've got extras from that on the website.
Shaun: Okay yeah but I thought Chris Worthington picked those up when he was down here last year.
Burk: Yeah he made copies of them and he gave them to me.
Burk: I've also looked at the case files the attorneys have given to me.
Scotty: Let me mediate really quick here. Shaun why do you believe the three in prison deserve to be in prison?
Johnny: Yeah let's hear your side of the story here Shaun.
Shaun: Okay, well for starters let's (?) the fact that they weren't just convicted by one jury, but there's actually two separate juries that agreed on their guilt that's a good start.
Scotty: Well there was two different trials, there was one trial for Jessie Misskelley and then a separate trial for Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols.
Shaun: That's absolutely correct and
Scotty: So it wasn't like Damien Echols was convicted twice it was
Shaun: Two separate trials.
Scotty: For two different people.
Burk: And they happened one after the other, so the result from the first impacted on the result of the second one.
Johnny: Well, you know, travesties of justice have happened before, Shaun. I'm more interested in evidence, circumstantial and solid that you can present here. Irregardless of the
Shaun: Well that's, you know, that's a good point. I believe Justice Scalia wrote only a couple of years ago that the most compelling evidence against a suspect is in fact his own confession. This is why Mr. Stidham charges that evidence as being suspect and probably not worthy for the jury's consideration. Alright, and unfortunately Mr. Stidham is misrepresenting quite of bit about the confession. Okay, let's start from the beginning, I believe
Scotty: How do you know that? I mean you're actually
Shaun: Well for starters
Johnny: I imagine Dan has heard the entire 45-minutes that was presented to him and that was enough to convict so basically that's the only part of the confession that's an issue here.
Scotty: Jessie Misskelley was interrogated for 12 hours and only 45 minutes of it, the last 45 minutes were ever taped.
Shaun: That's not correct.
Scotty: Is that not correct Burk?
Shaun: That's absolutely not correct.
Burk: Let's hear what Shaun has to say about that.
Johnny: Yeah let's hear that Shaun.
Shaun: Yeah, they keep representing that only the last 45 minutes was correct, was tape recorded, that's not correct. If you look at the transcripts from it, and you listen to the tape itself, the tape begins at 2 hours and 2 minutes, 2 hours and 48 minutes past 12.
Burk: How much tape is there total?
Shaun: I don't think there's, I don't think there's more than 45 minutes of tape
Scotty: Well there you go there's a twelve hour
Shaun: Hold on
Burk: (unintelligible) of the interview was recorded.
Shaun: Hold on. That's not what you just said. What you said is only the last 45 minutes
Scotty: Okay well so, you have a twelve hour confession with only 45 minutes worth of tape
Burk: Which forty minutes were recorded
Shaun: Okay let's back up a bit. What you're doing is you're saying he was questioned for twelve hours. I believe that's what Mr. Stidham is representing to you, isn't it?
Scotty: That's what's been reported is that
Burk: Forty minutes of the tape, of his so-called confession is recorded, and only, and you're saying that now it's forty minutes that's taken from various portions of this day, of this 12 hours that he spend with the police
Shaun: That's not what you said
Burk: How is it, what 40 minutes did they chose to allow us to hear by this, by recording it, I mean is it edited...
Shaun: That's not even ambiguous.
Burk: ...(unintelligible) or cut parts out.
Shaun: Burk that's not even ambiguous. If you look at the tape and you look at the transcript, the tape begins by saying, The time is now 2:38PM. I'm officer Gary Gitchell, sitting with me is Bryn Ridge. I would say that probably means that about 2:40 sometime in the afternoon that confession begins.
Scotty: Shaun I got one quick question for you.
Scotty: And then we're gonna have to cut off for a second. Do you think these kids are Satanists?
Shaun: Their religion has no bearing. I mean
Scotty: It seemed during the case. That seemed to be the only evidence that they used to put these kids away.
Shaun: That's also, that's also not, you know, the question is whether or not the jury considered it and that's where the appeal will be taken at, is the jury, if they found that to be so overbearing, that they use this consideration to convict, then yeah. But the allegations of Satanism were brought during the Echols' and Baldwin's trial, the jury set aside, in fact if you walked into the jury room after the conviction, you would see on the wall they had butcher block paper taped up all around the room
Burk: Did you walk into that room?
Shaun: I'm sorry?
Burk: Did you walk into that room?
Shaun: I didn't walk into that room, I saw the butcher blocks
Scotty: We're gonna come back with Shaun Wheeler, Burk Sauls and Dan Stidham on Outrageous Talk Radio, The Buzz 100.7 FM.
Johnny: That was Jello Biafra former Dead Kennedy with a little oratory at the beginning and then that was followed by L7: Boys in black. Inspired by the West Memphis three. Both pieces of the Benefit for Truth and Justice: Free the West Memphis Three CD which you can get everywhere. We're gonna talk to the organizers of that CD a little bit later to give you more information on that. Right now we're gonna go back to Burk Sauls who again is the founder
Scotty: Again, folks it's the Johnny and Scotty Show and the numbers are 4211007. Triple eight 6471007 if you wanna call in or have any questions for any of our guests today. Burk, Shaun seems to think you don't know what you're talking about.
Burk: Yeah he does think that (laughing). But I mean it's like I think we were both equally in that courtroom when the trial happened, you know, neither one of us were there. We're making our judgements based on the things that we've read and heard in the official reports and Shaun has a different interpretation of it than I do. He doesn't understand that sometimes people makes false confessions to things they didn't do. He's probably not aware of the fact that there's been a load of false confessions made for JonBenet Ramsey, the Unabomber, the Zodiac killings, I mean you name any sensational crime that's been on the airwaves and there's a flood of false confessions. And there's also a thing called coercion, which the word itself wouldn't exist if the act didn't exist, if it was impossible to coerce someone.
Scotty: But it becomes easier when the person isn't fully there mentally
Johnny: Yeah which is really the issue here.
Burk: (unintelligible) you know he's a 17 year old kid, you know.
Johnny: Could you gentlemen tell us, one element in this that we want to touch upon is John Mark Byers. I know that Burk, both of you are well acquainted with Mr. Byers. Maybe you could kind of give our listeners a portrait and maybe kind of explain why John Mark Byers has come under so much suspicion.
Scotty: Again, John Mark Byers is the father of Christopher Byers and Christopher Byers was one of the victims brutally murdered at the West Memphis Three killings and he was the one whose penis was actually skinned. And John Mark Byers again is the stepfather, uh Burk?
Burk: Yeah well I've never said that anything about Mark Byers being guilty or whatever, I mean Mark speaks for himself and uh
Johnny: (laughing) He does a pretty good job at
Burk: Yeah and the thing about it is that he is a broad character, you know, and he's in similar ways to the ways people talked about Damien being a broad character, you know, he's an interesting, unusual type, and to accuse him, to point at him and say he's the killer would be no better than pointing at Damien and say Look at him, look at his eyes, look at his hair, you know...
Burk: ...the books he read
Scotty: Except for the fact that he is
Johnny: They didn't even explore the avenue, you know what I mean, at the very least one has to admit objectively, this guy is definitely a suspect. Anybody that closely related to the person would have to be a suspect and yet
Burk: In any child murder they investigate the parents. It's not an insult to the parents, it's just something that they do. It's procedure, everybody knows that if you know about law enforcements you know that when a child is murdered the closest person to him is the first person the police should look at, but the parents in this case they were barely investigated, you know, and, you know, I know one parent of one of the children who told me they didn't even question him. And another parent said that they didn't question her either, it's just, you know.
Scotty: They kind of glazed over a bunch of evidence that pointed in other directions. Now Dan you might know something about this, I guess there was another suspect for a moment that they never really fully investigated which was a guy at a restaurant or something, can you explain this?
Dan: There were several individuals who they gave a glancing look at, but there really wasn't anyone else other than Mr. Echols that they really keyed on. They seemed to have their minds made up almost immediately, and this satanic angle that they went on and it's important to point out that the FBI, a fellow by the name of Ken Lanning with the FBI, has exhaustively studied this very topic of this satanic ritualistic homicide aspect, and he has never been able to document a single case anywhere on the planet, and it just doesn't exist. Now that doesn't mean that crazy people don't go out and kill people and say the devil made me do it or Satan told me to do that. It just means that there has never been any proof of any satanic ritualistic homicides, a group of people out there sacrificing children and doing things as a group. And I think that's very important and it's very important for your listeners to know that there was never, ever any documented satanic aspect of this case other than this ridiculous confession that Mr. Misskelley gave.
Johnny: Yeah and upon further investigation by forensics experts the profile of the killings seems to fit more a profile of a punitive type of punishment, type of crime of passion, not anything ritualistic in any way.
Dan: That's exactly right and that is one of the profiles that we've received in this case and, you know, I don't want to debate Mr. Wheeler, because you can't debate someone like that, but, you know, a jury is only as good as the information you have in front of it.
Johnny: Exactly and that seems to be the issue. He just keeps going by that they were convicted but that's why we're all here
Johnny: That's was the problem. That why we're here. We're not here to discuss whether or not, you know, they were convicted, that's a foregone conclusion. We're trying to do something about it before it's too late and time is running out.
Scotty: Damien Echols is sitting on death row. Now, Misskelley, how is he feeling these days? What's going on with him? You would now best more than anyone.
Dan: I talk to Mr. Misskelley a lot and Mr. Misskelley ofcourse being mentally handicapped really doesn't have a firm grasp of exactly what's going on. And I've never really had to worry about him being suicidal or having problems in prison because he's really not cut that way.
Scotty: : How long has he been in prison?
Dan: It's been 7 years.
Scotty: And how old was he when he went in?
Scotty: He was 17.
Dan: Actually he was, had just (?) turning 18 when he was convicted but he was immediately thrown in the county jail upon this confession being given to the police. And that's another one of the tactics that they used. Here they are telling this kid if you just tell us what we want to hear we'll give you the thirty-five thousand dollars and you can go home. And if you don't tell us what we want to hear you're gonna be in the circle with these other two guys and you're gonna get the electric chair and you're gonna die in the electric chair.
Johnny: Sounds like they basically left the guy feeling hopeless. He had no other option...
Johnny: …I mean he basically feel like, look we know you did it and there's nothing you can do to convince us otherwise, why not confess to it and we'll give you the thirty-five thousand dollars.
Dan: It actually made sense to Mr. Misskelley to tell them what they wanted to hear…
Dan: ...He felt like he could get away from the pressure that way.
Johnny: Yeah well for anybody who had any faith at all in the justice system it would probably make sense to just about anybody when you put a (?) in those germs.
Dan: you don't have to be mentally retarded for this to happen and in the last couple of weeks, you know, this isn't just an Arkansas issue, this is an issue that affects everyone, and I've been tracking a case that took place in Pittsburgh 2 weeks ago involving the same type of situation that we had here in Arkansas in 1993 and it's the sexual mutilation of an 11-year-old child. And I've been tracking the local papers in Pittsburgh on the internet and I see the same things happening in Pittsburgh that happened here in Arkansas; rush to judgement and there is an arrest, there's been made, and there's been an alleged confession, there's been allegations of coercion, and it's almost like the trial doesn't have to happen, we already know who did it and we wanna fry him.
Johnny: Nobody feeds the fire like the media either.
Dan: Exactly and you know when you read about your client's confession on the front page of the newspaper, the largest newspaper in the Midsouth, you don't have a chance at a fair trial.
Scotty: Right, right.
Dan: And it's been 7 years and emotions still run high in this case but
Johnny: And the trial was moved what, 35 miles?
Dan: I'm sorry.
Johnny: Was the trial moved thirty-, wasn't it 35 miles from West Memphis or something?
Dan: Actually where our trial took place in Corning, Arkansas is about as far away as you can get from West Memphis and still be in the district, it's probably about 90 miles.
Scotty: How many times has this ruling been appealed?
Dan: Well we had the direct appeals of the convictions to the Arkansas Supreme Court in all three cases and those convictions were affirmed.
Scotty: The same judge every time right?
Dan: Well no the actual direct appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court was with the seven (?), uh, each of the defendants filed a write of certiori with the U.S. Supreme Court. The court in Washington receives literary thousands of requests each year for cert. and only just a small handful of cases actually get
Scotty: Do you think there's any hope of this going to the U.S. Supreme Court?
Dan: We're hopeful that once we exhaust our state appeals that we'll be able to bend the judge's ear in federal court. This is a case that really cries out for justice and that is why I agreed to participate in the HBO documentaries is because I wanted the world to see what was happening to my client and what was going on and it's frightening because before the state can take your life away there ought to be an evidentiary requirement, and in my case there was a confession, there wasn't any physical evidence, nothing links my client to this case other than this silly confession.
Scotty: There seems to be no physical evidence in this case...
Dan: None whatsoever.
Dan: In the other two situations Mr. Misskelley implicated Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Echols, there's no evidence. The confession was not allowed to be used against them at their trial, but everybody on that jury knew about it because it was the most highly publicized murder case in the history of the state of Arkansas, and Misskelley's trial had just concluded two weeks before so everybody knew it.
Dan: And when you look at a microscopically similar hair and a microscopically similar fiber being the quandrum of proof that you have
Scotty: That was the only physical evidence is this case.
Dan: That was the only
Scotty: We wanna touch on that in a second here.
Johnny: This is a, we've been talking to Dan Stidham, the defense attorney for Jessie Misskelley. This thing just reeks of travesty. Next up we're gonna talk to Burk Sauls about his efforts to free the West Memphis Three. This is the Johnny and Scotty Show on Outrageous Talk Radio 100.7 The Buzz.
Scotty: It's the Outrageous Talk Radio show on The Buzz 100.7 fm. It's Johnny and Scotty. The numbers to call in today are 4211007. Triple eight 6471007.
Johnny: We've been discussing one of the most highly publicized travesties of justice we've seen in this country, well, in about fifty years in my mind. Ah, Dan Stidham, are you on the line with us?
Dan: I sure am.
Johnny: Any final, can you sum this all up for us, make you closing statement in essence.
Dan: Well it's really hard to sum up a case that's so diversed
Johnny: You got ninety seconds Dan go.
Dan: But you know, like I said earlier a jury is only as good as the information in front of it and the jury never got to hear from Warren Holmes, our expert on police interrogation tactics. The jury never really got to hear Doctor Richard Ofshe. The jury never got to know about the bite mark that we found on the body just about 18 months ago.
Scotty: And that bite mark did not match.
Dan: Did not match any of the three convicted teens. So what that tells us is that someone placed a bite mark on this body that didn't belong to those three kids, and so there's a killer out there and nobody is really looking for him. There has been numerous witness recantations, including one recently involving Vicki Hutchison. You can read about that on the web at wm3.org. This is a travesty of justice and I've been hoping and praying for 7 years now that if we just could have a new trial
Scotty: Is there anything the listeners can do besides buy the CD, watch the videos?
Johnny: And where are we at in the appellate process?
Dan: Well, we're in the process now of wrapping up the final state appeals before we move on to federal court and, you know, I'm just hopeful that with all the pressure that's been applied by the new attorneys involved in the case, we have some of the best attorneys working on death cases working on this case now. And, so we're getting to do some of the things that we've always wanted to do and all we've ever wanted, all I ever asked for is a fair shake, so what I would ask everybody to do that's listening is to stay pissed off and write your congressman, write everybody you think that could have some impact. And keep the pressure up, because the pressure's gonna have to come from outside Arkansas not within Arkansas.
Johnny: And what does the time line look like for Damien who is currently on death row?
Dan: Well, if the state of Arkansas denies his appeals within the next couple of weeks and a federal judge decides not to hear the case or rules adversely he could be executed pretty quickly.
Scotty: Within the year?
Dan: It's possible, I think it will take a little bit longer than that. But, you know, we're scrambling to do everything we possibly can to correct this terrible injustice.
Scotty: Well Dan, thank you so much for being here and presenting your case. We appreciate you, and we're rooting for you, and we will continue to fight the good cause.
Dan: Well thank you for letting me be on the show and I appreciate it so much.
Scotty: Good luck and congratulations on your judgehood.
Dan: Well thank you very much.
Johnny: Ah, so our focus so far has been to show you what a travesty this is. We're gonna change our focus now and find out what we can do about it. And the first thing we're gonna do in that direction is really give Burk Sauls the floor. He ofcourse is the founding member of the Free the West Memphis Three. Burk's gonna tell us what we can do to help in more specific ways. And then we're also gonna talk to Jene O'Keefe and Danny Bland who are two people that are very, um
Scotty: Well they organized the CD, the Free the West Memphis Three CD, but first we gotta check
Johnny: The minute I stammered they both jumped out of their chair.
Scotty: Yeah, we've gotta check traffic with Ms. Sarah Johnson.
Johnny: Outrageous Talk Radio 100.7 The Buzz. It's the Johnny and Scotty Show. 4211007. Triple eight 6471007.
Scotty: This is the morning show for people who wake up at noon right here on the buzz. So we've been talking about the West Memphis Three murders, the terrible tragedy that happened in 1993, where three young children were brutally, savagely murdered in a forested area in Arkansas and three men sit in prison today down in Arkansas. One man sits on death row, possibly being executed in the next year, and a lot of people don't think they have the right people in prison. We're gonna have Burk Sauls on in a moment talking about the efforts that he's been making to raise money and awareness for this case. But first we're gonna play a little clip of John Mark Byers, the father of Christopher Byers, who was the most savagely, brutally murdered child. The skin from his penis was actually removed and his scrotal sack was completely taken off. And this is John Mark Byers.
("Pumpkin" scene from Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills)
Johnny: No finger pointing here, just a little something to illustrate that there are avenues, other avenues that, well, I kind of think maybe could have been explored a little better in this case given the circumstances. We're gonna talk to Burk Sauls about what we can do about this because it's a pretty helpless feeling to realize that this sort of travesty can occur and can happen to anybody, and Burk is our (?) Can you tell us about your efforts Burk?
Burk: Yeah well we just we heard about this case, you know, I heard about the case when it happened and I, you know, I read the little snips of news, you know, three teenagers have been convicted of killing three children in Arkansas and, you know, I had the same reaction everybody who read that has, what a horrible things these guys did and I'm glad they got them. And then a couple of years later, three years later, my friend Kathy got a copy of the tape, she worked for the, an ad agency that was doing some of the print promotion for some HBO movies at the time, and she got an advanced copy of the tape so and
Scotty: Of Paradise Lost?
Burk: Of Paradise Lost yeah, the first of the two films. And I've had an interest in cases like this involving satanic panic for a long time because I experienced some of that growing up in the south, I've actually seen it happen, and experienced it second-hand through friends and things like that, and read news about it. There's never been any evidence of satanic cults and I always felt like if there was I'd know about it cause it sounds cool it sounds fascinating, you know, and I would have been interested...
Burk: ...reading articles about these people if they really existed, you know, it would be, it's something that you would want to, you know, people wanna read about that stuff [background noise] in comic books or whatever you see weird
Scotty: (unintelligible), Did you hear that? That was pretty strange.
Burk: What is it?
Johnny: Some weird (?) thing. I don't know if that's what
Scotty: Sounded like you were coming from outer space there for a second.
Burk: Oh okay
Johnny: What's the best thing we can do Burk?
Burk: The best things that you can do is exactly what you're doing right now: talking about it. That's the best thing The fact that people don't realize that satanic cults do not exist is kind of troubling, you know, you had those Geraldo shows, those really highly rated Geraldo shows in the 80s where he was talking about how sixty-thousand babies and children every year are sacrificed in satanic
Scotty: Was that really the figure he came up with?
Burk: That's the figure he came up with, he reported that those are
Johnny: There's a lot of gold in Capone's walt as I recall too. Oh we got a bottle (?) watching that for two hours, oh we got a bottle and some dust.
Burk: There's a guy named Dale Griffis who is a self-proclaimed cult cop who actually has made, you know, apparently made his living touring and giving seminars to law enforcement and church groups about the existence of these devil worshipping cults and how you can tell if your own teenager is a, involved in one of these cults and it is
Scotty: And some of the signs that your, you know, just so we can help the parents out there, signs that your son or daughter are involved in a satanic cult would be?
Johnny: The child's wearing black
Burk: Well that's it, you know, he actually says it in the first film you hear his testimony where he says that they often have tattoos and they have, they paint their hair black and, interesting thing about Damien is he's got black hair but he's black foot indian so he's got naturally black hair. His hair is till black and his on death row
Scotty: I thought his hair was dyed. So not is' not
Burk: No he's never dyed his hair and, you know, they don't let Ms. Claire all into death row
Scotty: So basically if your kid has some tattoos or is wearing a lot of eyeliner, wearing some black clothes, listening to Metallica and reading Stephen King.
Johnny: Lock them up.
Burk: Yeah that's what Dale Griffis's message is to the parents of America and I think that's damaging
Scotty: Well you know there's an interesting side note here is that Judas Priest had a song, I can't even remember what the name was
Burk: I remember the case
Scotty: I think it was Suicide Solution or something like that was the name of the song
Burk: That was the Ozzy one. I think the Judas Priest one wasn't, it didn't even have a suicide title. They said that you can play it backwards and you can hear him saying, Do it, do it, do it.
Scotty: Oh that's right, that's right. Now some kid blew his head off and lived...
Scotty: ...while listening to this Judas Priest record and they tried to blame
Johnny: How does that work Scott, real quick. How does one blow their head off and live?
Johnny: (unintelligible) no face, how does that work?
Scotty: Well he put the shotgun in his mouth and he basically blew his jaw off
Burk: Yeah he blew his face up pretty bad
Johnny: I remember the story I didn't know he lived.
Scott: Yeah he lived. And the thing
Burk: Just for a while then he eventually killed himself.
Scotty: He killed himself again. They tried to blame Judas Priest on it and the record company for forcing this kid to commit suicide. And what came out later was that this kid, both of his parents were drug abusers, they were abusive sexually, they beat him, and this kid was ready to die anyway. This kid hated life. And the other thing that came out was 3 million other people bought that same album and only one guy blew his jaw off.
Scotty: Listening to it. And so, you know, people wanna point the blame somewhere else and they don't wanna, you know, nobody wants to point it at the parents.
Burk: Yeah, and if Stephen King has something to do with it then pretty much, I mean, it's hard to find a house that doesn't have a Stephen King paperback somewhere in there. (laughing)
Scotty: Yeah, right.
Johnny: Well, next we're gonna talk to a couple other people involved here with the CD and it should be noted they're both dressed in black and have black hair and I'm like 12...
Scotty: So am I actually.
Johnny: ...14 feet away from them right now because they're a spooky looking pair, look like devil worshippers. Danny Bland of the Supersuckers who's got a tattoo on his arm, and Jene O'Keefe. So that will be next up on the Johnny and Scotty Show on Outrageous Talk Radio 100.7 The Buzz.
Johnny: Steve Earle from the CD we've been discussing, Free the West Memphis Three. It's the Johnny and Scotty Show on Outrageous Talk Radio 100.7 The Buzz. And we got somebody on the line that uh
Scotty: It is the Johnny and Scotty Show. 4211007. Triple eight 6471007. Pam, you're on the Johnny and Scotty Show, how are you doing?
Pam: I'm doing good, how are you?
Scotty: Good. You were the mother of Steven Branch, one of the, one of the murdered victims at the West Memphis three case.
Pam: Ah, Yes sir. His name is Steve, Steve Branch. Everybody thinks it's Steven, but it's Steve.
Scotty: Oh it's Steve Branch, sorry about that.
Pam: No that's okay, a lot of people do it but his name was Steve.
Scotty: Now, as the mother of a murdered child, I mean, the emotions just must run wild with you. How have you been, I mean, a lot of people cope with these things in different ways. How have you been able to, how have you been able to get over this?
Pam: Uh, well, the first year it was awful, I did probably what a lot of victims do, I did turn to drugs and alcohol, wanted to die, I didn't want to live, you know, I had just lost a part of my life when I lost my son, but I went into a little world of my own for about a year and that world was kind of lonely so I fell to my knees and asked the Lord to help me and it's been almost eight years and I'm glad to say Jesus Christ is what gives me the strength to go on.
Scotty: So you did actually have to turn to drugs for a while and you considered suicide yourself?
Pam: Oh yeah, yeah, I did
Pam: Walking through that valley I think anybody that ever goes through this type of emotion, they do things like that, I can't, I don't guess I can really explain my emotions because it's just crazy, it's like a world of its own.
Johnny: Now has your, you know, renewed faith has this given you what you would feel to be the strength afforded to to maybe start feeling any kind of forgiveness?
Pam: I feel that if these guys that murdered my son, if they asked me to forgive them, I feel like that I should. Can I do that personally? I don't know. But maybe, you know, someday in the future if I must forgive I'll try to.
Scotty: There's a lot of controversy surrounding this case and a lot of people feel that three men sitting convicted didn't do it. What are your feelings about that?
Pam: I believe that the three guys did do it. We had a confession that come from Jessie Misskelley. We had a necklace that wasn't presented in court and never show on documentaries or anything that was taken off of Damien Echols and it had blood on it that was the same bloodtype as my son's, so
Scotty: You would think that the police would have wanted to
Johnny: Yeah that would seem to be permisseble evidence considering the prosecution
Scotty: Seeing as such the police had such little evidence in this case you'd think we'd know about that.
Pam: They had asked us and the families, they called us back and told us if they presented that piece of evidence, you know, right then in the middle of the trial without introducing it it would give them a mistrial so the families asked them not to present that.
Scotty: That seems strange that the families can even have input on such a thing. I have to say that I have a similar situation that my father was murdered in 1978. And I felt a lot of hate towards the person that they originally accused of murdering my father. And over the years all this evidence came forward that, you know, I personally wished that if I was the type of person to kill someone then I could kill this person that they were accussing of killing my father. But over the years all this evidence came forward that suggested that that wasn't the person that killed my father and that there were a lot of other leads that they never chased up.
Johnny: Lot of similarities between these cases.
Scotty: Lot of similarities. And over the years it started to occur to me that, you know, maybe they're pointing the finger at the wrong guy and maybe all this hate and stuff that I've been feeling along with the grieving I've been feeling for the loss of a father which is similar to the loss of any family member, that maybe that's the wrong direction, maybe I shouldn't be feeling all this hate and all this pain, because the chances are they're not even looking at the right guy.
Johnny: At this point you're pretty much convinced they
Scotty: I'm convinced that for twenty years they've been searching for the wrong person.
Johnny: And he went to his grave being accused.
Scotty: He went to his grave being accused, and I fell at this point that he was wrongly accused. And originally I hated him, I wished he was dead, and, do these thoughts ever go through your head, that there's a slim possibility that they didn't look at other evidence, that they glaced over evidence that maybe the wrong three people are in prison?
Pam: I guess I'll take the fifth on that.
Scotty: You take the fifth on that?
Johnny: (Unintellgeble) traditional savvy there.
Pam: There have been times, you know, on occasions that I've felt well maybe they didn't throughly do the job the way that they should and maybe these guys didn't do it
Johnny: That sounds a little, would you call it, would you say that's maybe a shadow of a doubt?
Pam: Uh yeah, tiny maybe.
Scotty: But you're pretty well convinced that they
Johnny: Definately not beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Pam: Not beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Scotty: I heard in the past you thought the West Memphis police botched the case but the three sitting convicted were the correct three.
Pam: I did what now?
Scotty: I heard somewhere that in the past you believed that the West Memphis Police Department botched this case but the three sitting convicted in prison were the actual killers. Is that true that you believed that the police kind of fumbled up this case?
Pam: Do I believe that they did? I just often wondered sometimes, but I don't believe that they did. I think, I was really upset at the men in blue, the guys we pay to protect our children, they didn't come out and help me search May the fifth for my child. They said they did, but they weren't around very much. But the investigators, Gary Gitchell, Dan Stidham all of them that investigated the case, I think they did hell of a job. I think they did pretty good.
Scotty: Well, we appriciate the call Pam. It's been great having you on the show. Thank you very much.
Pam: Thank you.
Johnny: Well let's check traffic with Sarah Johnson and wrap this thing up.
Scotty: Sarah? Sarah? Sarah is not there. Well, so we are talking about the West Memphis Three case. Hey guys, we're still on the air, Sarah wasn't there. Get that. What do you think about that? Sitting with us is Danny Bland
Johnny: Traffic sucks.
Scotty: Traffic's bad out there, that's the traffic report.
Johnny: We got a fallen tree on Johnny's driveway this morning uh.
Scotty: Danny is, Danny is one of the organizers of the Free West Memphis Three CD.
Danny: There you go.
Scotty: And how long has this thing been out?
Danny: It came out last Tuesday.
Scotty: Came out last Tuesday?
Danny: Yeah, it's fresh out of the oven.
Scotty: It's still hot. Any reports of how the sales are going so far?
Danny: I guess it will take a couple of weeks to tell but it's, you know, we don't have any left at our website. They're blowing out.
Scotty: Oh excellent. What's your website?
Danny: It's aces-eight.com. And we have the store there. You can get to our store via the West Memphis Three site.
Scotty Oh there's a link.
Danny: Yeah and we just restocked (?)
Danny: I'm pleased.
Scotty: And you can also buy it at Tower, Amazon.com I'm guessing
Danny: All that stuff
Scotty: Yeah that's great. So who are some of the artists on this CD?
Danny: We got Tom Waits, and Rocket from the Crypt, the Supersuckers do a song with Eddie Vedder singing
Scotty: Eddie Vedder's on the CD?
Danny: Yeah yeah.
Scotty: Pearl Jam fans take note.
Danny: Actually that song was number 1 most requested on the ?.
Scotty: Jene, can you pipe in as well?
Johnny: Jene is on, well let's, poor Jene, she's got the short chair and the bad mic right now.
Scotty: I'm not sure that we can even hear you.
Johnny: Aaron are we hearing her?
Scotty: Are we hearing Jene at all?
Johnny: Oh it's not Aaron anymore.
Scotty: Jene can you share the mic with Danny?
Johnny: They do that all the time in Rock 'n Roll...
Johnny: ...these kids, crazy kids in black...
Scotty: How did you get involved in...
Scotty: ...this case?
Jene: I got involved a couple of years ago where a client wanted to help out and came to my firm which is a public relations firm, asking what they could do, so I started researching the case, and as time went on got more and more involved, and went to a hearing for Damien in March of 99. And just gradually started just reading everything I could about the case and became really determined to do anything I could to help out. And joined up with Danny and started working on the CD.
Johnny: And how long so, how long, what is the time line in this, how long has this been in the works?
Danny: About a year and a half
Scotty: About a year and a half.
Scotty: Quite a project.
Johnny: Again the title of the CD
Danny: Free the West Memphis Three.
Scotty: It's a great CD, we've been playing a lot of it, most of the music that you've heard today is available on that CD.
Johnny: Let's see if Sarah is ready with the traffic.
Scotty: You know, there is no traffic today, it's horrible out there. In a moment we're gonna be talking more to Danny and Jene and Burk Sauls as well. Right here on the the Johnny and Scotty show. Outrageous Talk Radio 100.7 The Buzz.
Johnny: Stay off the roads.
Running with the devil. That's what we are doing today. Outrageous Talk Radio 100.7 The Buzz. It's he Johnny and Scotty Show. 4211007. Triple eight 6471007.
Johnny: We've got a couple of kids who look like they're running with the devil right here, Jene O'Keefe and Danny Bland
Danny: Oh yeah we just got
Johnny: Organizers of the Free the West Memphis Three CD which we have been listening to considerably today.
Scotty: We also have Burk Sauls on the line from the West Memphis Three dot org website.
Johnny: Now why did you guys feel that music was the appropriate venue, that the CD was the appropriate venue to raise support and awareness for this?
Danny: Well I think that after, you know, after seeing the movie I think most people who watch it one of the fist questions, what can I do, you know, how can I help, and to me, you know, it seemed real obvious that it was a, you know, music oriented that they had, they were discriminated against because of what they listened to and because of the way they looked and that, you know, that it can be part of the solution also. And obviously, you know, from talking to a lot of people that I worked with, everyone was real concerned about it, everyone could relate to, you know, the guys, and being the outcast, not necessarily a small town but just being outcast sort of characters. That's kind of thing that breeds our musicians? so it seemed like a real natural thing to do.
Scotty: Was it hard to organize all these artists to be on the CD or, did you have to inform or were they already aware?
Danny: most people had an idea what was going on. I mean, lot of people had been sent movies to and talked to, but I didn't really have to, you know, I don't think anybody turned us away, a lot of people had some scheduling issues and stuff like that...
Danny: ...you know, that's why it took, you know, almost 2 years to put together. But people really enthusiastic from the beginning and it turned out to be great.
Johnny: There's a lot of class acts involved here.
Danny: That was very surprising to me, you know, we just thought we would get, we'd round up some Seattle musicians and bands and then we put together a CD
Scotty: With Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, Jello Biafra, Killing Joke. There is some big name bands that has come out for this.
Danny: Killing Joke wasn't even really a band, they got back together again
Scotty Yeah they actually got back together for this, with the drummer from Nine Inch Nails
Danny: And they're playing, I think they're playing now, but uh
Johnny: Jene can you give us an report on how Damien and Jessie are doing?
Scotty: The two of you went and visited them, right?
Scotty: All three of the alleged criminals in this case?
Jene: No I visited Jason and Damien and I think Danny is on the same.
Jene: Yeah. Hopefully visit Jessie sometimes later this year. But I've been back there three times now to visit the guys and they're doing great. Damien's married and really, really happy and
Scotty: He was married before he was convicted?
Jene: No, he got married last December.
Scotty: But he was with the woman before, they had a baby while he was in
Jene: He has a child with another woman.
Scotty: She was pregnant before he was arrested though.
Scotty: So he's
Johnny: Cause I didn't think he was getting conjugal visits on death row
Scotty: He isn't.
Scotty: So has he seen his baby since he was born?
Jene: I don't know that he's seen him. He's talked to him and they write letters, and he's in communication with him as much as he can be and he is being as active of a father as he is allowed to be, and loves his son very much.
Scotty: It's pretty heartbreaking.
Johnny: How, if anybody wanted to write letters and support, keep their moral up, anything like that, how would we go about that?
Jene: Go to www.wm3.org and click on How to Help, you can get the addresses from there. You can send them money orders, don't send them stamps. For Jason it has to be postal money orders. But definitely helps them out and they love knowing that everyone's out here and they feel really supported and they're so grateful for everything.
Johnny: I understand there is a college fund even which is a very optimistic and wonderful thing to have in place.
Jene: Yes both Damien and Jason are taking college courses, and Jason works in the school, so he's actually at the department of (?) most days, and then he's in the Department of Corrections the rest of the time.
Johnny: Damien struck me as a very articulate, intelligent...
Scotty: Actually that was...
Johnny: ...young man.
Scotty: ...that was the one thing in both of these films. Out of all the people from Arkansas, including, including the attorneys for the accused, Damien actually seemed the most literate, and the most well-informed and the most well read and well, you know
Danny: I've always wondered this, like how do you pick a freak out in that bunch of freaks?
Scotty: Well because
Johnny: Look at John Mark Byers walking around with that 5 belly shooting the place up you know knock his own teeth out with a hammer and stuff
Scotty: Burk, John Mark Byers has actually threatened you am I correct?
Burk: Yeah well, yeah you know
Scotty: Yeah well you know it happens (laughing) when you're hanging around with John Mark Byers.
Johnny: You're running with John Mark Byers and it just kind of comes with the turf
Burk: He threatened the whole world in the film. I mean he looks right in into the camera in the second film and tells us all to go to hell.
Scotty: But he has actually personally threatened you?
Burk: Yeah in his own way, I mean
Scotty In his own (?)...
Burk: I hate to
Scotty: ...rightful way?
Burk: (Unintelligible) with a threat from someone who I think would, well I don't wanna
Scotty: Now an interesting thing that we didn't touch
Johnny: You're a very diplomatic man. I don't know how, I don't know how you can resist Burk. I gotta say man you
Burk: Well he deserves fairness just like everyone else, you know, that's the way I look at it. Everybody deserves to be treated fairly.
Johnny: No one's ever gonna call you a hypocrite
Scotty: Here's a curious thing about this case that we haven't brought up. There were bite marks found on Steven Branch, I believe, and it didn't match the three accused that sit in jail currently. But, when they went to John Mark Byers to get teeth imprints of his mouth, he had his teeth removed.
Johnny: Yeah there's like five different stories, Oh I knocked them out with a hammer, oh I got them knocked out in a fight, Oh I had paradotel disease, oh
Burk: Yeah, he got a lot of different stories for a lot of different things. He actually, in the first film, you might remember where he's talking about he, how they found a jar underneath Damien's bed that had
Scotty: Yeah John Mark Byers claims that there's a jar under Damien's bed filled with testicles and (?) alcohol or something.
Johnny: I don't doubt that he's probably been under his bed, but I mean
Burk: Well he said it was his son's testicles in a jar of alcohol under Damien's bed and I, when I met Mark Byers I asked him about that, you, know, cause obviously it was never found. No such thing was ever found. If it was, none of us would be here right now (laughing). But, I asked him where that story came from and he claims that he heard it on the police radio.
Burk: So who is that made that, where did that story originate, that's, it's interesting.
Johnny: It's interesting that teeth impression are better than DNA evidence actually because you can so exactly match a tooth impression with dental records and they've already concluded that the teeth marks didn't match any of the accused...
Johnny: ...and you go to the next, the next obvious suspect, the most obvious suspect, oh gosh his teeth fell out a couple of...
Scotty: He actually
Johnny: ...months after
Scotty: No they didn't fall out. They actually have dental records. He had them removed after these crimes were committed
Scotty: So I mean
Scotty: That's pretty suspicious
Johnny: We're not pointing fingers.
Scotty: We're not pointing fingers, but there's another thing interesting about John Mark Byers is that his wife, Melissa Byers, died shortly after these murders, and they found track marks all over her body, and she was a drug user. And did she also have bruises on her body and some other marks that kind of pointed towards maybe foul play?
Johnny: Some smothering actually I heard some allegations
Jene: There was fluid in her throat.
Johnny: Oh yeah and that's
Scotty: Jene says there fluid in her throat.
Burk: It depends on who you talk to about that because the fact is, her murder is still considered inconclusive. There's no cause of death listed
Scotty: But it's very suspicious.
Burk: Yeah it is...
Burk: ... to most people I think you're right.
Scotty: Well I mean when she's got a bruise on the back of her head and her arms were bruised as if she'd been grabbed violently and she got track marks all over her body and she's sleeping next to this guy without any teeth in his head
Burk: Right, but since, you know, the key to this is that since it's still an inconclusive cause of death and since the case is still basically open none of the records available for public record, so you can't get a hold of any of the, you know, the autopsy photos, you can't look at any of the stuff about this to evaluate. It's just, you just have to take the word of what you hear. And that' s kind of like why I don't like to talk about Melissa's death too much because we hear from paramedics who was there, we hear from neighbors who where there and we hear from Mark Byers who was there, and you compare those three radically different stories and you try to decide who, you know, it's hard to decide who to believe.
Johnny: Well I gotta say Burk we sure appreciate you're being with us today and I thoroughly and completely respect your stand on this and the fact that you're not willing to sling a lot of mud and point fingers because it just goes further in proving that your strong support of these guys is true and coming from the right place.
Scotty: You know I read
Burk: Let me do a real quick thanks to Danny and Jene too for what they have done with this CD, I mean we've been struggling along with our website for so many years and
Scotty: Wm3.org folks.
Burk: Yeah, and trying to get people to take notice of this case and then, you know, it's people like Danny and Jene who put this CD together and the bands that play on it, they have a much louder voices than I'll ever have so it's a great thing they did and it's working out really good.
Scotty: The other thing is folks, I've read so much on this case now and the one thing that really summed it all up best was Burk Sauls synopsis on the wm3.org website. That put it more into focus than anything else, even more than the Paradise Three movies.
Johnny: Amazingly even more than the Johnny and Scotty Show. If you can believe that.
Scotty: Yeah, the most disorganized show...
Johnny: Shut up
Scotty: …we've ever
Burk: (unintelligible) great. And I think it's great that you had Pam on the show too. She's a really remarkable person and actually she's
Johnny: She's dealt with a lot tragedy that's for sure.
Burk: It's like, she's so honest when she talks about this and
Scotty: She's a sweet lady.
Johnny: Thanks Danny and Jene, thank you as well, Burk, thank you everybody, good luck, we will continue to support
Scotty: Are there gonna be any concerts for this?
Danny: There are actually Monday night in Austin, Texas. If you wanna get down there I'll put you on the list
Scotty: I'll be there.
Johnny: I will charter a jet. I'm kind of clams (?) around here.
Danny: Monday in Austin, and the on the 28th in Irvine, California there's a big show called the Blood Drive which is partially beneficial to the West Memphis Three.
Scotty: So are there gonna be any local shows here in Seattle?
Danny: Yeah, we're talking about doing one in January. Right now a lot of the bands who are on the record are out on tour and then holiday stuff comes up and then we're looking at the middle of January to put together something big.
Johnny: Good. Keep us posted, give us an exact date, and we'll pass that along.
Scotty: There's T-shirts and CDs you can buy on these websites that will help fund these causes.
Scotty: Thanks folks.
Danny: Thank you very much.
Johnny: Next up we got my surrogate dad Bob, you've met him before most of you. Oh boy, I can't say, just hang on tight. It's the Johnny and Scotty Show 100.7 The Buzz.