Paradise Lost A true heartfelt story

It was on May 5th, 1993 in West Memphis, Arkansas when three 8 year olds were mutilated and murdered in cold blood. Christopher Byers, Steve Branch, and Michael Moore were seen hanging out together in their neighborhood by their neighbors. Around 6:30 p.m, they were no longer seen hanging out and they've disappeared. At 7:00 p.m, John Mark Byers, Christopher's step-father made a call to the West Memphis Police Department to report his step-son missing. That night, police searched throughout the neighborhood to find the three young boys who were missing. They didn't find nothing that night until the next day. On May 6th, 1993 at 1:45 p.m, a parole officer spotted a shoe floating in a river that led straight into the river in Robin Hood Hills. After following the river, that's when the police spotted all three boys naked and covered in blood, and multiple stab wounds.

Christopher Byers, Steve Branch, and Michael Moore dead at Robin Hood Hills in West Memphis, Arkansas.

The suspects of the murders were teenagers at the time. They were named Jessie Misskelley, Jr., Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols. Damien Echols was close with Jason Baldwin. Both went to the same school and had the same interests. Damien was suspected the most for his liking of Metallica. Police had found many books in Damien's house that had satanic rituals in them. At their trials, they denied that they murdered the three victims. They were all found guilty by the jury and was each sentenced. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The suspects mugshots at the West Memphis Police Station.
Jessie Misskelley, Jr., Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin in prison.

Step-father of victim Christopher Byers, John Mark Byers, was thought by many people was the only who mutilated his step-son and killed him along with the other two boys. John was asked many questions on the stand because people on the case thought him and his actions were very suspicious. John had so much hatred towards all three suspects. He constantly wished they would suffer for what they "did". He made a fire on leaves stomping on them saying he wants the suspects to suffer and die.

John gave producers and directors from HBO a gift. The gift was a knife that had his blood on it. John was put up to the stand and was questioned many times as to why he gave a knife to the people of HBO with his blood on it. John said he does not know why and he can't really recall how that day went. They asked him why there was blood on the knife and he replied saying that he had accidentally cut his thumb with the knife. For so long, many people thought that John murdered the three young boys.

"I want them to burn in hell." -John Mark Byers
John Mark Byers being interviewed in the backyard of his house.

Recently, in 2009, John Mark Byers had turned his statement around. He said he was wrong for believing that the three suspects were the ones who had murdered the boys. John said that they are completely innocent and did not commit the murders. John also had wrote an apology letter to suspect, Damien Echols. The letter said that he was sorry and he shouldn't be in jail for a crime that he didn't commit. John wanted all three suspects set free and released from jail. In recent years, John and Damien had taken pictures together at many various events. The two seem like they are friends now and have no conflicts at all.

Damien Echols and John Mark Byers at the Sundance Festival.

In August of 2011, a three suspects had one last trial to attend. The plan was this, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr., were free from jail, unless they go by the Alford Plea. This means that they are allowed to leave from jail and live their lives but they have to plead guilty and say they committed the murders of the three eight year olds back in 1993. All agreed to the plan and pleaded guilty. The three suspects are now free and living their lives.

Damien Echols now resides in Salem, Massachusetts with his wife Lorri Davis. Damien has a son and is raising him at the moment with his wife. Since Damien's release, he has written two books about his life in prison and how it feels to be put in jail for a crime you didn't commit. Damien would live for work in the field of art. Jessie Misskelley Jr., still lives in West Memphis, Arkansas, the only one who decided to stay in the area. Jason Baldwin, now lives in Seattle. He moved there in 2011, after his release.

R.I.P - Christopher Byers, Steve Branch, and Michael Moore.

The tombstones of the three victims.

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