My question of the week: Were the wrongfully convicted West Memphis Three held hostage by the state of Arkansas-as a means to evade the inevitable devastating costs of civil litigation?
Think about it, ....and then comment.
There was a Satanic Panic, ....but NO CULT was ever revealed to exist in the town. The local police LOST EVIDENCE from a blood soaked suspect who cleaned himself up in a restaurant bathroom on the night of the murders. The local police stubbornly refused any assistance from the Arkansas State Police resources, .....and instead, allowed an unemployed waitress to spearhead a ridiculous "undercover operation".
The coerced confession from a mentally-handicapped teenager was an abomination-a violation of fundamental standards. The judicial process involved a parade of idiotic state witnesses, all allowed by a judge who had clearly made up his mind long before the trial ever started.
When modern day DNA technology was employed to examine-FOR THE FIRST TIME-a variety of vital evidence items, the resulting data pointed to ANYWHERE but the three individuals who were sitting in prison for allegedly committing the crime. The DNA results exposed the fact that the foolishly conceived initial investigation needed to include an immediate focus on the FAMILY MEMBERS and the FAMILY HOMES of the three murdered boys. After all, intelligently conceived investigations BEGIN with those people closest to the victims, ....and work their way out-toward marauding bands of zombies.
Contrary to the DNA evidence, the release of the innocent young men was denied, .... and mysteriously delayed by the political/judicial power structure in Arkansas. Ultimately, Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley were offered an Alford Plea. By accepting this, they agreed to a legal maneuver allowing them to maintain their innocence. At the same time, by accepting the plea agreement, they acknowledged that the state most likely possessed enough evidence to convict them-in the event of a retrial.
In short, it is quite clear to me that the state of Arkansas-keenly aware of the faulty conviction-simply held the three innocent men as hostages. The hostage crisis persisted until an agreement was signed. The plea compromised (but hopefully did not eliminate) the likelihood of THREE quite lucrative wrongful conviction law suits. It is notable: Damien Echols was on Arkansas' death row. Thus, the state's threat of committing a wrongful homicide against one of their prison inmates also helped to secure the money-saving agreement.