CBS will run a new 48 Hours episode about the West Memphis Three this Saturday. The highlight will be a new interview with America’s most beloved child-killers, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin. Preview with interview excepts.
Judging from the preview, the interview will be just as fawning and misinformed as most WM3 coverage. For example:
In this exclusive interview Jason Baldwin says he turned down a deal for freedom initially because the stipulation for their release was changing their original not guilty pleas to guilty.
It would have been the second time he’d turned down a deal. The first time was after the three little boys were found brutally murdered in a ditch in West Memphis and Baldwin was arrested.
Prosecutors offered then 16-year-old Baldwin a five year sentence in exchange for his testimony against Echols.
Baldwin refused because he says he would have had a hand in sending his friend to death row but this time he said yes to save his friend’s life.
Five-year sentence offer? Bullshit.
Before Jessie Misskelley’s trial, prosecutors offered Misskelley a fifty-year sentence in exchange for his testimony against Baldwin and Echols. That offer is documented in the January 26, 1994 pre-trial hearing. But there is no record of prosecutors ever offering Jason Baldwin a plea deal.
Mara Leveritt claims in Devil’s Knot (pages 233 and 257) that prosecutors offered Baldwin a forty-year plea deal, then later a twenty-year plea deal. Her sources are interviews years later with defense lawyer Paul Ford and Baldwin himself. According to her footnote, Ford “could not remember the exact terms”, so the numbers must have come from Baldwin himself.
And now Baldwin claims prosecutors offered him a five-year sentence plea deal? After they refused to offer Jessie Misskelley anything less than fifty years? When they knew that Jason Baldwin was the one who actually used the knife to slice open one boy’s face and carve off another boy’s genitals? Absolute 100% bullshit.
God forbid anyone at CBS News express the slightest skepticism at what a convicted and confessed child-killer says.