One afternoon, in West Memphis, Arkansas, on May 6, 1993 three eight year boys’ bodies were found. The boys’ bodies were found hogtied, mutilated, and sexually assaulted. As the whole town was rocked by this discovery, the police decided they had to find the killer immediately. They automatically turned to their first suspect, Damien Echols, an eighteen-year-old boy who was known around town for dressing in all black and listening to rock music. The next arrest was made on Jessie Misskelley, a friend Echols, who was coerced into falsely confessing his guilt. The final arrest was made with Jason Baldwin, yet another associate of Echols. The three boys became known nationally as the West Memphis Three (WM3). The boys had rumors around town
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So what can be blamed for the nearly two decades imprisonment of these three innocent men? Is it faulty police work, or just plain ignorance? Biased-based policing has threatened our criminal justice system for years, police use faulty evidence and coerced confessions to accuse the teens of a crime they didn’t commit just because they had a negative stereotype surrounding themselves. This topic is important and interesting because society rarely wants to admit when something has gone wrong and prefers to turn the other cheek. Rather than working for a better place, society has become lazy and looks for the fastest way out, even though that may ruin someone’s life.
William Blackstone once said "Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." The police began setting up their case by using a witness, Aaron Hutchinson, a young a boy who claimed he witnessed the murders. The boy told several different stories, none of which added up and none of which pointed in the direction of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. Aaron was not even able to identify Baldwin or Echols in a lineup, but still the police pressured him into trying to accuse the three young men. Other witnesses they interrogated all had faulty stories, inconsistent timelines, and one was even a drug addict (although the defense would not allow this information to be shared