Devil's Knot Character Analysis

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Mara Leveritt writes a fascinating tale of the American justice system gone terribly wrong in her book Devil’s Knot. On May 5, 1993, Christopher Byers, Michael Moore, and Steven Branch went missing from their homes in West Memphis, Arkansas. Subsequently, their bodies were recovered in a body of water by their homes with signs that they had been ferociously beaten and murdered. The evidence showed that Christopher Byers had been castrated before he was killed. Quickly, the town found out about the boys and the way they had been treated before they were murdered. The fabrication then spread that the point of Byers' death in particular, suggested that the deaths may have been related to a Satanic ritual. Within hours of Christopher’s disappearance, …show more content…
Vicki soon reported to officials that she’d gone with Damien and Jessie to an esbat, a devil-worshipping orgy in a field, where she witnessed about 10 youth, with faces and arms painted black, stripping and “touching each other”. Ultimately police brought in Jessie Misskelley for examination concerning the murders. Jessie was 17 and thought to be mildly retarded. Nonetheless a plain questioning became a full blown interrogation by police, in which Misskelley confessed. That confession was quickly recanted. Based on this “confession” and the story told to police by Aaron Hutcheson, Misskelley, Echols, and Baldwin were all arrested and charged with murder. The evidence against the boys was a mixture of illusion, lies and false confession. Because there was no real evidence, the teenagers were said to be devil worshippers because Jason wore Metallica T-shirts and Damien had a library book on witchcraft. Three anti-social teens were vilified only because they were part of a counterculture, wore black, and listened to Metallica and Black Sabbath while perusing Anne Rice. This grim story is parallel to Salem Witch Trails hundreds of years ago. In fact, Author Mara Leveritt points out several similarities between the Memphis Three trials and the Salem Witch Trials. The three Memphis teens were persecuted because of a "Satanic Craze" the town was consumed by after the murders. The prosecutions' cases had nothing other

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