Write 4 pages about the media involvement in West Memphis Three Case

Final Argument Paper: The Case of the West Memphis Three


In 1994, three teenage males were convicted for the crimes of murder in West Memphis, Arkansas.  Jessie MisKelley Jr, Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin were tried and convicted for the murder of three 8 year-old boys: Steven Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers.  Jessie and Jason received life sentences while Damien, the suspected ring-leader, was sentenced to death.

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In August of 2011, all three men made an Alford Plea and were released from jail as time served.  An Alford plea is better known as the “I’m guilty but I didn’t do it” defense.  Under the Alford plea, the defendant admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  However, the defendant(s) cannot be charged with these crimes again (Double Jeopardy Law).  All three are currently free men and trying to integrate back into society. 


In 2013, we are still in search of answers as to what happened to the three 8 year-old boys and who is responsible for their death.  Under the Alford plea, Damien, Jason, and Jessie are considered guilty of these crimes.  Under our laws, they are considered ex-cons.  The state of Arkansas has declared the murders of the three boys a cold case despite questions that have been raised regarding the possible involvement of two of the stepfathers, John Mark Byers and Terry Hobbs.  


There are many speculations as to what might have happened if the three men would have chosen to wait for a re-trial.  For this paper, present an argument as to what you believe would have been the outcome of such a case.  Would the three been found guilty or not guilty?  Additionally, this argument will be focused on a specific element of the case.  You may choose one of the following: police error/law enforcement mistakes (including false confession), Satanic Panic, or Media Involvement in case. Whichever element you choose to write about will be the sole argument for the paper. 


After reviewing all of the court testimonies, documents, evidence, and extra accounts that the real jury did not have access to, you will make a decision and support it with evidence as to the guilt or wrongful conviction of these three young men.


There are a lot of evidence, statements, etc to dig through for this case. However, as a jury member it is imperative that you look at all that is available to you in order to make a sound judgment. The job of a jury member is to: sort through conflicting claims; weigh all evidence as objectively as possible, without personal biases; and uncover the assumptions behind the messages you are hearing.


For the introduction section to your paper (1.5-2 pgs), give an overview of the crimes and how/why these three young men were arrested and charged. Also indicate to your reader what sentences these men received as well as information pertaining to their Alford Plea. You will then follow with a claim about how you will argue the paper (not guilty because of false confessions, not guilty because of multiple police errors, etc). Be sure to back up your arguments with quotes from the trial or other resources. Because this argument is so specific, your reasons and evidence will need to be very clear and logical.



Paper length: 6-8 pages and a works cited page (page 7, 8, or 9)

Sources: Everyone will cite the film from class and must use at least 2 other sources. There have been two books written on the case, Devil’s Knot by Leveritt and Life After Death by Echols.  Additionally, there are multitudes of sources through newspapers, magazines, and journals. You may also use scholarly sources related to aspects of your argument: forensic studies, DNA, police procedure, false confessions, etc.  You may also use any documentaries that have been made about the case: West of Memphis, etc.  A website that will be extremely helpful to you is www.wm3.org.  Absolutely NOWikipedia or blog postings permitted.

Quotes: No more than 1 block quote will be permitted in this paper.


Argumentative Paragraph:

·      Statement. Topic sentence states what you will argue in the paragraph.

·      Example. Provide examples from a text or your own life to help support the statement.

·      Explanation. Explain how the examples support the statement.


·      Implications. Discuss the ways the point in this paragraph supports the argument you present in your thesis. 



I have already written the introduction part.

just remember my claim is they are not guilty because the media involvement. and then you have to have several arguments.


Film: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/west-memphis-3-free-50129311/


resources: https://isidore.udayton.edu/portal/site/288ea56c-2939-459a-b589-26bf54483ef7/page/c9c8a960-e8ea-4237-b1b8-494eda870feb

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