Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills

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Being guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” is the highest standard of proof in any trial, especially in criminal trials where a defendant can be deprived of his or her liberties and even result in his or her death. This principle, however, is often forgotten with the presence of strong religious beliefs and rising emotions following violent crimes. Directors, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, in the documentary film Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996) takes an insider look surrounding the trials of three teens who were accused of brutally murdering and sexually assaulting three eight year old boys in the Bible Belt town of West Memphis, Arkansas. The accused, Jessie Misskelley Jr., Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin would …show more content…
The entire trial is based upon the testimony of Jessie Misskelley Jr., who was reported as having a low IQ and who was unable to keep his story straight. Jessie had been interrogated for many hours until the point of exhaustion without having a parent or guardian present. There is a moment in the documentary in which John Byers, stepfather to Christopher Byers, gives the directors a pocket knife as a gift. Traces of blood were discovered on the knife matching both Byers and his stepson. In an earlier police interrogation, Mr. Byers denied being cut by the knife. This inconsistency should have left reasonable doubt. A police commissioner reported that evidence had been lost. The ditch were the victims were found showed little signs of struggle or blood. Yet, people were convinced that the murder occurred in the woods. Christopher Byers was also reported to having his genitals cut off. This type of injury would have caused excessive bleeding. A serrated knife was found in a lake next to Jason Baldwin’s house and was submitted as evidence. The edges of the blade were not a match to the victim’s

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