Entertainment industry website Deadline prints a press release from the Echols defense team.
Terry Hobbs’ nephew, Michael Hobbs Jr., allegedly told his friends “my uncle Terry murdered those three little boys,” according to declarations under penalty of perjury recently given to Damien Echols’ defense team. The three new witnesses were polygraphed about what they stated Michael Hobbs, Jr. told them.
“One day Michael picked us up in his truck. He was very quiet and upset. Michael then said to us, ‘you are not going to believe what my dad told me today. My Uncle Terry murdered the three little boys.’ According to Michael, his dad called this ‘The Hobbs Family Secret’ and he asked us to keep it a secret and not tell anyone.”
Another witness stated, “One night last winter, Michael and I were playing pool in his basement when the third friend asked about the West Memphis Three case which had been in the news. Michael responded by saying, ‘My uncle killed three kids in West Memphis.’ Michael was dead serious when he said this.”
* * *
A third witness stated that he was at Michael Hobbs Jr’s home in 2003 or 2004 when he was told by Hobbs Jr. that the two of them could not go down to the basement to play pool because Michael Hobbs Sr. was down there having a conversation with Hobbs Jr.’s uncle. The witness said that he “ listened with Michael Jr. at the top of the stairs. I heard two men talking. One appeared to be very upset even crying and he said ‘I am sorry, I regret it.’ The other man was trying to console him and said, ‘You are in the clear, no one thinks you are a suspect, those guys are already in prison.’”
WM3 supporters are already trumpeting this as proof that Terry Hobbs was guilty and that Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were innocent.
To my mind, this just demonstrates the fanaticism and double standard of WM3 supporters.
The first two are fourth-hand statements: some guys claim that Michael Hobbs told them something, which Michael Hobbs had heard from his dad, which his dad called a “family secret”, original source unknown. And these “friend of a friend whose dad told him a rumor” statements pop up eighteen years after the fact. But WM3 supporters automatically consider them reliable.
The third guy tells a Nancy Drew-style tale about overhearing an actual Terry Hobbs confession. He keeps it to himself for eight years, then tells defense lawyers and filmmakers, who include the story in a press release on the day their movie premieres at Sundance. But WM3 supporters automatically consider this guy reliable.
Meanwhile, WM3 supporters have consistently dismissed the many direct confessions and secondary confessions pointing to the WM3’s guilt, nearly all made within a year of the crime.
- Jessie Misskelley’s original 6/3/93 confession
- Jessie Misskelley’s continued admission of guilt to his defense lawyers until late September 1993, including documented confessions on 6/11/93 and 8/19/93
- Jessie Misskelley’s confession to police officers on 2/4/94
- Jessie Misskelley’s tape-recorded confession to defense lawyer Dan Stidham on 2/8/94
- Jessie Misskelley’s tape-recorded confession to prosecutors and defense lawyers on 2/17/94
- Damien Echols’ bragging about the murders at the softball park, reported to police by five different witnesses
- Damien Echols’ alleged confession to William Winford Jones
- Damien Echols’ alleged confession to Ken Watson
- Damien Echols’ alleged bizarre story to Jesse Hurst in prison
- Damien Echols’ alleged bragging about the murders at the skating rink, reported by Brandy Wilson
- Jason Baldwin’s alleged jailhouse confession to Michael Carson
- Jessie Misskelley’s alleged confession to Buddy Lucas
- Jessie Misskelley’s alleged confession to Kim Floresca
- Jessie Misskelley’s alleged confession to Michael Johnson in prison
- Jason Baldwin’s mother accused his stepfather of turning in Jason for the reward money, on the night of 6/3/93 when Jason was arrested
- Friends and family of Buddy Lucas told police that Lucas discussed his knowledge of Jessie Misskelley’s involvement in the murders
- Jessie Misskelley’s possible prison confession to “TrueRomance78”
- Jessie Misskelley’s rumored continued confessions in prison
I don’t necessarily believe all these accounts. The Johnson, Wilson and Floresca statements are shaky. But their stories are more direct (“I heard Jessie say …” and “I heard Damien say …”), and they didn’t wait eighteen years to talk. There’s no honest basis to dismiss Johnson, Wilson and Floresca but to accept these “new witnesses”.
The closest parallel to these “new witnesses” against Terry Hobbs might be the long-ago witnesses who relayed a rumor that Jason Baldwin had told his friend Garrett Schwarting about the murders.
Laura Maxwell told police on 5/18/93: “Garrett told Jason Frazier that Damien & Jason (Baldwin) always have their devil-worshiping meetings in that park & those little kids were riding over there & they saw something they were supposed to of seen so Damien killed them. Garrett said he heard this from Jason Baldwin who was supposed to of been there.”
Police interviewed Jason Frazier on 6/11/93:
Jason Frazier – [Garrett Schwarting] said that uh, that he was studying to be a psychic and he knew this and him and this guy was studying it, and that uh, he said that uh, Damien and uh Jason did it, but Jessie’s name wasn’t involved, so uh they was practicing their witch craft and, he didn’t say how the boys got there, or anything, he just said, they did it and that’s where they practiced there witch, their satan stuff.
Detective Bryn Ridge – Okay, and you’ve known Garrett for a long time?
Frazier – Yes sir
Ridge – And, basically what he told you, you believed at that time?
Frazier – Yes sir
Ridge – Okay
Detective Mike Allen – Was there anyone else present with you when this conversation took place?
Frazier – Yes sir, my cousin, Jeff Hood
Then police took a handwritten statement from Jeff Hood on 6/15/93: “It had to been on a Saturday it was after the murders, me & my cousin Jason Fraizer were in front of the old belvedere apartments, it was in the morning time about 11 or 12 and Garrett Swarting was on a bike & he pulled up on his bike & asked for a cigeretes & started talking about White Which Craft & said the Jason Baldwin & Damien Echols did the murders. He studied which craft & said it came to him. When he told me I didn’t belieave him.”
Non-supporters rarely mention this alleged Jason Baldwin confession to Garrett Schwarting. The reports are third-hand or fourth-hand (Jason B told Garrett, who told Jason F and Jeff, who told Laura) and sketchy. Schwarting himself denied ever telling Frazier and Hood any such thing. Why bother arguing this confession when there are so many direct and secondary confessions from Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley available?
But the Baldwin-Schwarting story is still more reliable than these “new witnesses” against Terry Hobbs. Maxwell, Frazier and Hood all talked to police within six weeks of the murders. Schwarting was well known as a close friend of Baldwin. The “new witnesses” popped up two decades later to pass along indirect reports of a “family secret” which might or might not trace back to anything Terry Hobbs ever said.
WM3 supporters will reject any evidence, however obvious, that points to guilt. They’ll accept any evidence, however flimsy, that helps frame someone else for the crime. It would be comical if the results weren’t so horrible.
UPDATE: The Memphis Commercial Appeal has more: New sworn statements implicate Hobbs in West Memphis Three case.
So what do Michael Hobbs Jr and Sr have to say about it?
Contacted today, Michael Hobbs Sr. laughed upon hearing the allegations, calling them “made up stuff.”
He said his son and the three friends had a falling out and this is their way to get even.
He said his son, Michael Hobbs Jr., sent him a text message today saying, “You think people are going to believe that (expletive)?”
The elder Hobbs said he is convinced the West Memphis Three are the real killers and that the defense team is determined to pin the murders on his brother.
“How they got three killers out of jail, I don’t know, except the all mighty dollar,” he said.
Cue supporters calling Michael Hobbs Jr and Sr liars in 3-2-1 …