My plan for this site had two separate sections: the “Case” section would be a basic survey of the evidence, the “Blog” section would be, well, more of a blog. The blog would have comments enabled for open discussion, the case summary would just be articles without comment threads.
Since I’m not too handy with the WordPress, it took me a while to figure out how to enable comments on one section and disable comments on another section. And then when I thought I had it figured out, someone left a comment on one “Case” page still open. So I figured it out again. That fix removed the one comment, and the commenter got peeved. And he had a point. If I took the time to write up a comment on someone’s site, using the “Comment” box provided, only to discover the comment deleted a couple days later, I’d be peeved too.
So I’ll publish the comment here, respond to it, then anyone can add a comment. The page in question was Jessie Misskelley’s confession – February 17, 1994. This comment was written by Fishmonger Dave.
Yawn. If you’re going to mention Blood of Innocents, why not toss in that the author is now a supporter?
You’re right that the question is “was Jessie telling the truth in this confession?” As I’m sure you’re aware, Jessie vacillated many times depending on who he was talking to – wanting, in many cases, to please the person he was addressing. Keep in mind the context of this statement – he had just been sentence to life + 40 for a crime he didn’t commit and was being offered a plea deal to remove the “life sentence” (Fogelman is in on video doing so in the Paradise Lost special).
The real issue with Jessie’s statements is that he has never given one that (1) aligned with the forensics known at the time (1993/1994), (2) aligned with the forensics known today (2011), (3) contained ANY details unknown to the police, (4) that contained correct, verifiable details that weren’t supplied to him.
I laid out a bunch of the problems with his statements – including this one – there’s more in the discussion on the wm3blackboard (and other boards, too, I’m sure, but I frequent the blackboard). The ones I (and Boo) found are online at: http://www.dpdlaw.com/jmstatements.htm.
It’s disturbing that people would rely on Jessie’s statements to support a belief that these convictions aren’t a farce.
Jessie Misskelley first confessed to police on June 3, 1993. His defense argued at trial that this confession was false. On February 4, 1994, a jury convicted and sentenced him. Over the next two weeks, Misskelley dropped the “false confession” pretense and confessed anew several times. On February 4, on the drive to prison, he told his escorts the whole story. On February 8, Misskelley gave another lengthy, tape-recorded confession to his defense lawyer. And on February 17, Misskelley made another tape-recorded confession to prosecutors over the strenuous objections of his defense lawyers.
Many casual WM3 supporters don’t know about the three February 1994 confessions. Paradise Lost mentions the 2/4/94 confession briefly, but it’s easy to miss. The film doesn’t mention the 2/8 or 2/17 confessions at all.
Serious WM3 supporters point to minor variations between the statements to suggest they’re all false. And there are some variations. In the 6/3/93 confession, Jessie said that the killings happened in the morning and that the victims were tied with rope; in the February 94 confessions, he admitted he had lied about those details to confuse the cops. In the 6/3/93 confession, Jessie downplayed his role, claiming he only restrained one victim from running away; in the 2/17/94 confession, he admitted greater participation in the crime, including beating one victim unconscious, removing their shoelaces so Damien and Jason could tie them up and sticking around until the victims were dead. But on the main points of the story, Misskelley’s confessions were extremely detailed and consistent.
Fishmonger Dave’s claim that Misskelley’s confessions didn’t align with the forensic evidence is simply false. There was little forensic evidence recovered from the crime scene, and none of it contradicts Misskelley’s account.
It’s true that prosecutors considered offering Misskelley a reduced sentence in exchange for testifying against Baldwin and Echols (whose trial began on February 28, 1994). However, once Misskelley was convicted and sentenced by a jury, the prosecutors did not have the power to alter his sentence unilaterally. Any plea bargain would have had to be approved by the judge. In the February 22, 1994, pretrial hearing, Judge Burnett stated, “There’s been some talk about the Court’s power to reduce the sentence, and we have talked about that indirectly. And for the record, I have never said I would do anything one way or the other. In fact I tried to tell each of you that I wasn’t going to make any commitment that I’d do anything, one way or the other, whether he testifies, doesn’t testify or what.” When Misskelley made his tape-recorded confession on February 17, 1994, prosecutors granted him only “use immunity”, meaning this statement could not be used against him on appeal.
Anyone researching the WM3 case for themselves should certainly check out Fishmonger Dave’s analysis (which, ironically, has no comment forms).