One fairly recent but now common WM3 supporter talking point is: Echols and Misskelley barely knew each other at the time of the murders, didn’t hang out together, so it’s far-fetched to think they committed a murder together. Here’s one example from our comment section. Echols himself has made this claim in interviews, and no journalist has challenged him or fact-checked (not that I’ve seen, at least) on this point.
There’s actually plenty of evidence that Echols and Misskelley knew each other.
On May 28, 1993, Vicki Hutcheson told police that Misskelley introduced her to Echols:
Hutcheson: A Little Jessie, Jessie Misskelley, lives down the street from me […] Jessie told me about a friend of his named Damien and this friend drank blood and stuff. He just kept going on and on on about how weird he was and stuff. […] Jessie had told me that Damien hang out at Lakeshore, and so I went out of my way you know to to try to go around Lakeshore and you know people around there. And I told Jessie I had seen Damien, and he asked me how did i know that it was Damien? And I said that there was a little boy Adam who’s a friend of mine’s little boy which he’s about their age and he had pointed out pointed him out to me and he said he said well you know he’s kinda weird. I said no I think he’s hot I really want to go out with him can you fix me up with him. And you know he was real surprised but he said yeah, if you want to go out with him I’ll fix you up with him. And he did.
Vicki Hutcheson was a pathological liar seeking reward money, definitely not a trustworthy source. However, this story about Misskelley setting her up with Echols was confirmed by others. Christy Dawn Jones told police in October 1993:
About the middle of May a Vickie Hutchison who lived in Highland trailer park asked Jessie if he knew Damien. Jessie said that he knew him from school. Vickie asked Jessie to introduce her to Damien. This all took place at Vickie’s house. Me, Jessie, Christie Anderson, Vickie, and her son Aaron were all present during this conversation.
The newly married Christy Jones-Moss testified for the defense at Misskelley’s trial. On cross-examination, she repeated this story:
Q: Just one other question. It is true that Jessie Misskelley introduced Vickie Hutchinson to Damien Echols, right?
A: Yes, sir, he said he had knew Damien –
Q: I didn’t-
A: -from school.
Q: And Jessie knew him well enough that he was able to introduce Vickie to him, correct?
In a September 93 interview, Jason Baldwin’s little brother Matthew recalled an encounter between Misskelley and Echols outside the Baldwin home on May 6 (the day the bodies were found):
Matthew: The day after that, I know Damien was over that night because I think Jessie came over that night, Jessie and some girl were in a truck
Matthew: Some girl in truck were trying to get Damien to come over there, but Damien didn’t want to come over there
Fogleman: That’s the next … that was the next day?
Matthew: I think so, yea
Fogleman: Okay, you remember what the girl in the truck look like?
Fogleman: Know who she was?
Matthew: She didn’t come in, she stayed in the truck
Matthew: And then Jessie left in the truck, and Damien stayed over my house
A kid named John Perschke told police about an occasion when Misskelley, Buddy Lucas, Echols and Baldwin were hanging out in a group:
In January of 1992 me and JoJo and Willard was going down the railroad trussle to mess around and we heard some one walking up ??? we tried to hide and Jason Damian Jesse Buddy and few other boys were with them and so Jessie shoved me agaisnt the side of the ??? and so Jessie was just talking to me and then after a while Jessie took a knife out of his pocket and put a knife to my throught and he said would you like to be dead and so he shoved the knife harder and so he put the knife up and then Jessie hit me and Buddy two and then I couldn’t tell who all was hitting me Damian and Jason and the other boys were ??? on the railroad tracks and then he was yelling at me and then they all left I walked home I was coufing up blood.
A kid named Renee Flesher described the same incident:
About a year ago “92” in January or Febuary I was with Jessica Maretti and John Perschka had been messin with her, so she went over where Jessie was and told him what John was doin and where he was. And Jessie already wanted to beat John up. So we all went out there (me, Jessica, Jessie, Damien, Jason, and Buddy). And they found him. Well Jessie had a knife and he pulled it out and threatened to cut John’s throat and John was tellin him “no”. Me, Jessie, Jessica and Buddy were all down by a ditch, and Damien and Jason were on the bridge. Then Jessie started punchin John in the stomach. John was sittin there cryin so I told Jessica to tell Jessie to stop cause i knew he wouldn’t listen to me and him and Jessica are kinda close. So he stopped and we all walked away. And John couldn’t breathe and was coughin up blood, me and Jessica went with John to his house and everyone else was laughin and walked off.
Buddy Lucas’s cousin Charlotte Bly recalled seeing Echols, Baldwin, Misskelley and Lucas together:
Ridge: Okay, Jason Baldwin did you know him?
Bly: I meant him one time
Ridge: Where did you meet him?
Bly: At Lakeshore trailer park
Ridge: Who was he with when you meet him?
Bly: Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols, and Buddy Lucas
Ridge: So they were all together?
Bly: And a bunch of other boys
Misskelley’s friend Dino Perfetti told police that Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley arrived together at the skating rink soon after the murders:
I can remember I’d seen him at the skating rink in West Memphis, with Jason and Damien. Jessie did come in with them but when he noticed some other people he knew he left the other two so he could be with his other friends. Even though Damien and Jason were acting a little strange that night, I thought Jessie was calm and he didn’t show any signs of being scared of anything but I can’t be sure that he wasn’t.
A few days after the arrests, softball club director Peggy Simmons told police:
Thursday (May 27, 1993) I saw Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols + Jessie Misskelly at the Club, to watch girls ballgame.
Baldwin and Echols were best friends around this time, constantly together. No one claims Echols and Misskelley were that close, but the claim that they barely knew each other is clearly a lie.
* * * * *
Another example, added 8/30/12: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (June 5, 1993; “3 arrests surprise some, ring bells with others”) talked to Jim McNease, Misskelley’s father’s boss, on the day after the arrests.
“Jessie’s the kind of kid one would never expect to do something like this. In my opinion, the other boys suckered him into it,” McNease said. …
“They were all three friends,” McNease said of the three suspects. “And I think Jessie Jr. was the sort to be easily persuaded.”
Jim McNease and wife Marty McNease spoke affectionately of Misskelley Sr and Jr in the article. Jim McNease said that Misskelley Jr occasionally worked at Jim’s Repair Service helping his father. Jim McNease testified for the defense as an alibi witness at Misskelley’s trial. And the day after the arrests, he told a reporter that Misskelley, Baldwin and Echols “were all three friends”.