Fred J Walsh | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art

Fred J Walsh 
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Recent Comments

Re: “Petition drive started to convince Beebe to pardon the WM3

A pardon (or, alternatively, an exoneration) would be appropriate only if we could be sure that the Three were not responsible for these terrible crimes. But it remains that they pled guilty rather than prove their supposed innocence in court, and since their 2011 release have produced nothing to prove innocence outside of court.

To any objective observer, at the very least, the Three remain viable suspects. Consider that Mr. Echols:

- offered a changing and ultimately failed alibi
- was reported as crediting himself with the crimes on multiple occasions
- was placed near the scene in muddy clothes by a family of witnesses who knew him by sight, at a time he claimed to be home
- was placed out of his house and with his co-defendant that night, by a caller to his house, at a time he claimed to be home
- was implicated in at least 6 documented confessional statements of a friend
- had been hospitalized 3x for "suicidal and homicidal impulses" in the year leading up to the crimes
- had been denied re-entrance to his family home in the autumn before the crimes, because his family told mental health professionals "they are frightened of him and what he can do, not only to them but to other children that reside in the home"
- has lied about all manner of case-related topics, including his familiarity with the crime scene area
- remains legally guilty, and not exonerated

Can we look honestly at any convicted person fitting the above description, and then assume his innocence? Let's have more questions ... more discussion of case facts not found in movies and books produced by the convicted ... and fewer assumptions...

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Fred J Walsh on 10/04/2014 at 3:51 PM

Re: “Only the guilty want closure in West Memphis Three case

"When you start telling the truth, I'll consider rejoining the supporter movement." - Commenter BrianL to Damien Echols

The article is straight-forward and well written. But I have to agree with Brian that the writer, Mr. Echols, has a significant credibility problem because of his playing loosely with the truth many times before, on many subjects:

- Place of residence
Told a 2010 interviewer at the time of the crimes he had lived in Marion, AR, and told Larry King it was within 10 or 15 miles of West Memphis. At trial Mr. Echols testified that his residence was at Broadway Trailer Park in West Memphis, within 2 miles of crime scene.

- Frequency of travel within West Memphis
Testified in 1994 to walking around West Memphis "frequently"; in a 2010 interview stated he went to West Memphis "hardly at all."

- Familiarity with area around victim neighborhoods
Testified in 1994 to walking through those neighborhoods 2-3 times a week, and in fact had lived across from Robin Hood Hills in Mayfair Apartments as a child for a time; also answered affirmatively on a police questionnaire that he was familiar with Robin Hood Hills. But in a 2010 interview Mr. Echols denied that familiarity with the crime scene area, and said it was a residential area, and thus out of bounds for him, as he would only go to West Memphis for Walmart, and such.

- Alibi on the Stand
Agreed with prosecutor that his visit to some family friends was moved around depending on the hours he needed to cover.

- Initial Changes to Alibi Story
Alibi story changed between police interviews with Mr. Echols on May 9 and May 10, with respect to (1) who had picked him up from Laundromat near Jason's Uncle's house; (2) who had gotten in the car as passengers; (3) when the pick-up occurred; and (4) where they went afterwards.

- Further changes to Alibi Story
While awaiting trial, Mr. Echols told his defense investigator in July 1993 that at 7:45pm he had fielded a phone call from a 12-year-old girl that lasted 60-90 minutes. The girl, meanwhile, said she reached him not until around 9:30pm and that they had spoken only briefly; an earlier attempt to reach him at 8 or 9pm had indicated he was out; and when she asked him where he'd been that evening, he'd told her with co-defendant Jason Baldwin. In August 1993 Mr. Echols revised this story, saying that the girl had tried to reach him but her call was denied because he had given instructions to his mother not to take it, because he was at home with his girlfriend, Domini -- a claim that is refuted by all accounts of Domini's activities that day.

- Friendship with Jessie Misskelley
In his book Almost Home (2005) Mr. Echols maintained he had known Misskelley enough to say a few words when he saw him. Currently, former FBI profiler and WM3 advocate John Douglas broadcasts Echols' contention that he "didn't even really know" Misskelley. But if we go back to the time of the investigation, the accounts of peers and community members like Domini Teer, Jim McNease, Jason Crosby, Deanna Holcomb, and others, maintain an actual friendship between Echols and Misskelley, and place the two together at Echols' house, walking around town, and at community events in 1991-1993.

- Origin and Extent of his Psych History, aka Exhibit 500
Currently Mr. Echols says his documented psych history for 1992-1993 -- a large set of documents generated by various mental health professionals during his 3 hospitalizations for suicidal and homicidal impulses, detailing among other things the threats to his parents that led to their telling health professionals they did not want him to return to their household, because "they are frightened of him and what he can do, not only to them but to other children that reside in the home" -- was actually a document written by a single perjured woman, and engineered by Jason's lawyers to cast suspicion on him. Neither of these contentions is true. Further, Mr. Echols has told Piers Morgan that he wasn't a troublemaking kid (despite multiple school suspensions for fights and fires, and the three hospitalizations), and typically portrays his various well-documented mental issues, including diagnosed psychoses, as simply "depression."

- Shane Divilbiss Attack (School Fight)
In his hospital papers Mr. Echols told mental health professionals that he had attempted to gouge out his classmate's eyes with fingernails sharpened to points, which is corroborated by Shane Divilbiss's own account. In more recent tellings, Mr. Echols has changed this story to *appearing as though* it was an attempt to gouge the eyes, when actually he was being pulled off Divilbiss, and just trying to hang on, so it only looked like an attempted eye gouging.

- Mark Gardner Rape Allegations
In the mid-90s Mr. Echols made allegations about being violated by a prisonmate, but recanted them and then reclaimed them over time. An investigation by law enforcement indicated no merit to his claim, and certain reporters indicated that the claims were recanted and restated as a method of attracting attention to the need for prison reform. Mr. Echols' story waffled on whether rapes had occurred, and which of the two men had crawled into the other's cell via a removed cinder block. (WM3 advocate Mara Leveritt reported the hole too small for Gardner to have crawled through, so apparently that version of their story was demonstrably false.) Whatever the real story is, Mr. Echols definitely changed his account.

- Softball Girls
At trial Mr. Echols dismissed their claims to have heard him publicly saying he did it, and called them liars, from the stand. More recently he told Dateline that while he doesn't remember saying those things, IF he had said them, it would have been "like a joke."

- No eating utensil in prison
Claimed no access to eating utensil. Arkansas Dept of Corrections reps say that inmates are granted use of an industrial plastic spork that Mr. Echols apparently declined to use.
"I had to learn to use a fork again. You know I hadn't eaten with a fork in 18 1/2 years."
"They don't give you forks in there."
PIERS MORGAN: How do you eat?
"With your hands."

- Prison Visits from Mom and Sister
Mr. Echols has stated in recent interviews that his mother and sister visited him in prison only a handful of times, and twice, respectively. Pam and Michelle have publicly stated otherwise, and maintain he's not telling the truth about that. Given Mr. Echols' track record with the truth, I'd tend to believe them.

- Relationship with Son
According to public statements of his adult child's mother, Domini, she reacted badly to a People magazine interview, that had Mr. Echols talking about his efforts as a Dad. Domini maintains he hasn't been putting in any effort (he'd been out to Tempe, AZ for publicity event and hadn't called his son) and resents his remarks, and that he had not been responsive to attempts to reach out via private means.

If Mr. Echols had a better track record with the truth, his words might be taken more seriously by those who have been listening well.

166 likes, 113 dislikes
Posted by Fred J Walsh on 06/25/2014 at 12:12 PM


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