Jessie Misskelley’s confession to Buddy Lucas – May 6, 1993

Jessie Misskelley’s taped June 3, 1993, confession included this exchange:

DETECTIVE: What kind of shoes were you wearing?

MISSKELLEY: My uh, Adidas.

DETECTIVE: Adidas tennis shoes?

MISSKELLEY: Mm-hmm.

* * *

DETECTIVE: Where are these shoes at now?

MISSKELLEY: A friend of mine, he borrowed them

DETECTIVE: Who is that?

MISSKELLEY: Buddy Lucas.

DETECTIVE: Buddy Lucas?

MISSKELLEY: He borrowed them from me.

Misskelley repeated this info in the second part of his tape-recorded statement.

DETECTIVE: Ok, uh, what about shoes. What kind of shoes did you have on?

MISSKELLEY: White and blue Adidas.

DETECTIVE: White and blue?

MISSKELLEY: Mm-hmm.

DETECTIVE: And who has those shoes now?

MISSKELLEY: Buddy Lucas.

Investigators spent months trying to track down these shoes and get Buddy Lucas’s story. They first visited Buddy Lucas at home on June 10, where they retrieved a pair of blue/white Adidas which Buddy Lucas said Jesse Misskelley had given him. But Lucas insisted that Misskelley had given him those Adidas in February, long before the murders. Investigators found no blood on those Adidas.

Detective Bryn Ridge later talked to Lucas’s aunt and uncle, Eddie and Amy Wilson, and filed this report (which confusingly reads “Buddy” in two places where Ridge clearly means “Jessie”):

On 010394, I Detective B. Ridge went to the residence of Amy and Eddie Wilson …. I had been told that Buddy Lucas had told them about some shoes that he received from Jessie Misskelley Jr. That had blood on them.

The Wilsons reported that Buddy Lucas had stayed with them for a period of time after the homicide had occurred and that he was working in Earle. They stated that someone where he was working told them of how Buddy had been talking about the homicide and that Buddy was talking like he knew something about the homicides. Eddie stated that he confronted Buddy about what he knew of the homicides and asked if he were involved in the homicides. Buddy told them that he was not involved in the homicides but that he and Buddy [Jessie?] had at some time traded shoes for some reason and that when Buddy [Jessie?] returned the shoes to him after the homicide that he saw that they had blood on them.

Ridge also interviewed Charlotte Bly, a friend of Amy Wilson, who also heard Buddy Lucas talk about the bloody shoes.

Bly – And um, [Buddy Lucas] said that the other reason was that he was working in Eearle, but the may reason was because the cops was suppose to be looking for him, cause his mama found the shoes that Jessie Miskelley supposedly wear, and said they had blood all over them, and his mom was suppose to call the cops on him

Ridge – Okay, so Buddy Lucas actually tells you that his mother found a pair of shoes that Jessie Miskelley had given him?

Bly – Yes

Ridge – And those shoes had blood on them?

Bly – Yes

Ridge – So this comes out of Buddy’s mouth he’s talking to you when he says it?

Bly – Yes

Buddy Lucas

Buddy Lucas

On October 14, 1993, the police brought Buddy Lucas in for another interview. In a videotaped statement, Lucas recounted his conversation with Jessie Misskelley on the morning of May 6 — the morning after the murders, and before the bodies had been discovered. Some key passages:

Lucas – I told him, man, uh, thanks for going over uh, Bobby’s wife’s with me and everything to get my hair cut, I going to howler at you later, he said no man I got to tell you something, and everything and he was breaking out in a sweat

Ridge – You said something about his eyes when we talked earlier what was it about his eyes

Lucas – They … They had water dropping from them

Ridge – He had been crying?

Lucas – Uh-huh something like that

Ridge – That’s just what you thought?

Lucas – Uh-huh

Ridge – Did he tell you he had been crying?

Lucas – Uh-uh

Ridge – Okay, so what happens when he tells you he has to tell you something?

Lucas – So we sit there, sit there, and I said, he said man me Jason and Damien we went walking last night in the town of West Memphis, I said why didn’t you all come by and get me? We will we uh, we were in a hurry and everything go up there and come back home. I said alright I understand (inaudible) now since I found out I’m kinda glad he didn’t come by and get me

Ridge – Okay, what did he tell you he do?

Lucas – He told me that uh, that he got in a fight, that’s what he told me at first

Ridge – Okay

Lucas – I said Damien and Jason they helped you? He said um-yea and everything so I said well did you all hurt anybody? And he said yea, I didn’t think it was those 8 year old kids or anything, so I turn around and come to found out that Jason he was with Jason and Damien when they sacrificed them little kids. I was come and tell you all

* * *

Ridge – Okay, thursday morning after this wednesday you went to his house

Lucas – Uh-huh

Ridge – He tells you he’s in some trouble?

Lucas – Uh-huh

Ridge – And what did he tell you he was in trouble over?

Lucas – That he really, he said um, we hurt, uh…. uh we hurt a couple of boys, that Jason and Damien killed

Ridge – Okay

Lucas – Couple, I said was you involved? He said yea, I said what did you do? I finally got it talked out of him what did he do, he said I hit uh, a couple in the back of the head

Ridge – Okay, and

Lucas – And everything to keep them from running and everything

* * *

Ridge – Okay, and describe to me how he gave you those shoes?

Lucas – He … He picked up and started to hand them to me. All the suddenly he dropped them, and broke out in sweat, crying everything else, he said man take those shoes I don’t want to see them no more, I said your sure? And everything, I don’t remember seeing those shoes at his house, he said, I said are they yours? He said yea. So I said, he said take them I don’t want to see them no more, I said are you sure you want me to take them? And he said yea, and everything so there wasn’t nothing on the shoes and everything so turn around he going, I got the shoes I went home and everything

* * *

Ridge – Okay, you known jessie for a long time?

Lucas – About a year

Ridge – Okay, you know when Jessie tells a lie and when he’s telling the truth?

Lucas – Yes sir

Ridge – When he was telling you these things that had happenned on that wednesday before on this thursday did you believe what he was telling you to be true?

Lucas – Yea, i could, could see it in his eyes

* * *

Lucas – Cause you all, I …. I feel so good, I told you (inaudible)

Ridge – Okay, it’s been a long time before

Lucas – Hundred percent better

Ridge – You bought came forward with this information

Lucas – Okay

Ridge – Were you just scared of us or scared you were hurting Jessie, what were you scared of?

Lucas – The reason I didn’t come uh, then before he told you all everything, because I was afraid if I did that he would have somebody hurt me

Ridge – You were afraid Jessie would have somebody to hurt you?

Lucas – Yes sir, he knows alot of people, that I don’t know

Ridge – Okay

Lucas – I’m afraid he would have some body hurt me and everything

Buddy Lucas recanted this statement the same day. The WMPD then gave him a polygraph test, which indicated Lucas was lying when he denied his earlier statement. Polygraph examiner Durham added in his report, “Following the polygraph test, the subject said he did not answer questions 3-5-7 in a truthful manner because he was afraid of what might happen to his family if he did testify in this case.”

Buddy Lucas also turned over two more pairs of shoes to the WMPD on October 14.

The prosecution did not call Buddy Lucas to testify at trial. After the Misskelley trial, prosecutor Fogleman talked to Lucas and his mother on the phone. Lucas complained that the cops had “hollared at him” and repeated his unwillingness to testify (a moot point by then), but didn’t clarify whether his story about 5/6/93 was true.

The Buddy Lucas situation is confusing on many levels. Prosecutors used only one basic point at trial: Misskelley told police that he gave the pair of blue/white Adidas he wore during the killings to Lucas; police tracked down Lucas, who gave them a pair of blue/white Adidas he received from Misskelley.