Author: Mara Leveritt
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2014-01-30
Genre: True Crime
Based on a true story, this edition of Devil's Knot will tie-in to a major motion picture starring Academy Award winners Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth. This riveting portrait of a small Arkansas town recounts the all-too-true story of a brutal triple murder and the eighteen-year imprisonment of three innocent teenagers. For weeks in 1993, after the grisly murders of three eight-year-old boys, police in West Memphis, Arkansas, seemed stumped. Then suddenly, detectives charged three teenagers - alleged members of a satanic cult - with the killings. Despite the witch-hunt atmosphere of the trials and a case that included stunning investigative blunders, the teenagers, who became known as the West Memphis Three, were convicted. Jurors sentenced Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to life in prison and Damien Echols, the accused ringleader, to death. The guilty verdicts were popular in their home state - even upheld on appeal - and all three remained in prison until their unprecedented release in August 2011. In Devil's Knot, award-winning investigative journalist Mara Leveritt presents the most comprehensive, insightful reporting ever done on this story - one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in American legal history. In-depth research, meticulous reconstruction of the investigation and close-up views of its key participants unravel the many tangled knots of this endlessly shocking case.
Author: Worth Books
Publisher: Open Road Media
Release Date: 2017-02-21
Genre: True Crime
So much to read, so little time? This brief overview of Devil’s Knot tells you what you need to know—before or after you read Mara Leveritt’s book. Crafted and edited with care, Worth Books set the standard for quality and give you the tools you need to be a well-informed reader. This short summary and analysis of Devil’s Knot by Mara Leveritt includes: • Historical context • Chapter-by-chapter summaries • Character profiles • Timeline of major events • Important quotes • Fascinating trivia • Supporting material to enhance your understanding of the original work About Mara Leveritt’s Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three: In 1993, the brutal murders of three eight-year-old boys shocked the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas. Under pressure to solve the case, and lacking physical evidence to identify any suspects, authorities set their sights on a local trio of misfit teenagers, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, later dubbed the West Memphis Three. Leveritt’s account of the case, which resulted in one death sentence and two life sentences, is by turns a shocking, appalling, and heartbreaking work of true crime writing. Likening the Three’s plight to the Salem Witch Trials, she calls America’s justice system into question, arguing that these three young men were condemned simply for being different. The summary and analysis in this ebook are intended to complement your reading experience and bring you closer to a great work of nonfiction.
Recounts the true story of the deaths of three eight-year-old boys who were horribly slain after a night of torture and mutilation, and the three teenagers from the same community as the victims who were finally brought to justice.
On May 5, 1993, second-graders Christopher Byers, Stevie Branch, and Michael Moore disappeared from their West Memphis, Arkansas, homes. The following afternoon, their nude, beaten, and bound bodies were discovered in a drainage ditch less than a mile away. After a troublesome confession, three local teenagers, later dubbed the "West Memphis Three," were arrested, tried, and convicted in early 1994. Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley received life sentences, while ringleader Damien Echols went to death row. Three years later, the documentary film "Paradise Lost" premiered on HBO, and the effect on viewers was dramatic. Many became skeptical of the verdicts and also felt one of the fathers of the victims was a better suspect-John Mark Byers. In "Untying the Knot," author Greg Day tells the true story of John Mark Byers and the about-face he made to free the men convicted of the crime. Day exposes the propaganda campaign used to convince a gullible public that Byers was complicit in the deaths of his wife and son. Based on court transcripts and hours of personal interviews, "Untying the Knot" explores all the case evidence while interweaving dialogues and statements. It traces the life of Byers from his roots in rural Arkansas, to his son's murder and the death of his wife, to his ultimate imprisonment in 1999. It reveals a man redeemed by prison and whose change of heart changed his life. "Day has captured the essence of a towering personality engulfed by an impossible situation. John Mark Byers is an immensely complex character, and Untying the Knot pulls no punches in revealing the man in all his seeming contradictions." -John Douglas, "Mindhunter"
"Jason's story illuminates the many ways America's justice system can go wrong and fight-often with a vengeance-to sustain that wrong. It celebrates the ordinary heroes who rose up, using art and new technology to challenge trials they saw as mockeries of justice"--P.  of cover.
Author: Mara Leveritt
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: 1999-11-23
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The Boys on the Tracks is the story of a parent's worst nightmare, a quiet woman's confrontation with a world of murder, drugs, and corruption, where legitimate authority is mocked and the public trust is trampled. It is an intensely personal story and a story of national importance. It is a tale of multiple murders and of justice repeatedly denied. The death of a child is bad enough. To learn that the child was murdered is worse. But few tragedies compare with the story of Linda Ives, whose teenage son and his friend were found mysteriously run over by a train. In the months that followed, Ives's world darkened even more as she gradually came to understand that the very officials she turned to for help could not, or would not, solve the murders. The story of betrayal begins locally but quickly expands. Exposing a web of silence and complicity in which drugs, politics, and murder converge, The Boys on the Tracks is a horrifying story from first page to last, and its most frightening aspect is that all of the story is true. Mara Leveritt has covered this story since it first broke back in 1987. Her approach is one of scrupulous reporting and lively narrative. She weaves profiles and events into a smooth and chilling whole, one that leads the readers to confront, along with Linda Ives, the events' profoundly disturbing implications. A powerful story reminiscent of A Civil Action and Not Without My Daughter, The Boys on the Tracks is destined to become one of the most powerful works published in 1999.
Author: Mara Leveritt
Publisher: Washington Books
Release Date: 2003-10-21
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING REESE WITHERSPOON AND COLIN FIRTH The West Memphis Three. Accused, convicted…and set free. Do you know their story? In 2011, one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in American legal history was set right when Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were released after eighteen years in prison. Award-winning journalist Mara Leveritt’s The Devil’s Knot remains the most comprehensive, insightful reporting ever done on the investigation, trials, and convictions of three teenage boys who became known as the West Memphis Three. For weeks in 1993, after the murders of three eight-year-old boys, police in West Memphis, Arkansas seemed stymied. Then suddenly, detectives charged three teenagers—alleged members of a satanic cult—with the killings. Despite the witch-hunt atmosphere of the trials, and a case which included stunning investigative blunders, a confession riddled with errors, and an absence of physical evidence linking any of the accused to the crime, the teenagers were convicted. Jurors sentenced Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to life in prison and Damien Echols, the accused ringleader, to death. The guilty verdicts were popular in their home state—even upheld on appeal—and all three remained in prison until their unprecedented release in August 2011. With close-up views of its key participants, this award-winning account unravels the many tangled knots of this endlessly shocking case, one which will shape the American legal landscape for years to come. From Publishers Weekly Arkansas investigative journalist Leveritt (The Boys on the Tracks) presents an affecting account of a controversial trial in the wake of three child murders in Arkansas. In May 1993, three eight-year-old boys were found mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, a small and tattered Arkansas town. The crime scene and forensic evidence were mishandled, but a probation officer directed the police toward Damien Echols, a youth with a troubled home life, antiauthoritarian attitudes and admiration for the "Goth" and Wiccan subcultures. Amid rumors of satanic cult activity, investigators browbeat Jesse Misskelley, a mentally challenged 16-year-old acquaintance of Echols, into providing a wildly inconsistent confession that he'd helped Echols and a third teen, Jason Baldwin, assault the boys. Leveritt meticulously reconstructs the clamorous investigation and two jury trials that followed. All three boys were convicted on the basis of Misskelley's dubious statements and such "evidence" as Echols's fondness for William Blake and Stephen King. Leveritt, who makes a strong argument that the convictions were a miscarriage of justice, also suggests an alternative suspect: one victim's stepfather, who had a history of domestic violence, yet was seemingly shielded by authorities because he was a drug informant for local investigators. Sure to be locally controversial, Leveritt's carefully researched book offers a riveting portrait of a down-at-the-heels, socially conservative rural town with more than its share of corruption and violence. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal Arkansas Times investigative reporter Leveritt explores the 1993 West Memphis Three murder convictions, which have been the subject of two HBO documentaries. The book is arranged chronologically, from the crime through the trial, and dispassionately dissects the prosecution's case against three teens who were convicted of the grisly murders of three eight-year-old boys. Leveritt interviewed the principals, reviewed the police file and trial transcripts, and leads the reader to conclude from her exhaustive research (430 footnotes) that the case was botched, improperly based on a single confession from a retarded youth and the defendants' alleged ties to satanic rituals. Well written in descriptive language, the book is an indictment of a culture and legal system that failed to protect children as defendants or victims. Highly recommended. Harry Charles, Attorney at Law, St. Louis Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Author: Gary Meece
Release Date: 2017-03-26
They did it. The West Memphis 3 are guilty. They are guilty despite what the documentaries, books and news stories have said over and over. Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. killed three 8-year-olds, Christopher Byers, Michael Moore and Stevie Branch, on May 5, 1993, in a wooded area in West Memphis, Ark. The murders were thrill kills, according to Echols himself. But they were much more than that. Police were struck by the ritualistic aspects. Local dabblers in the occult immediately came under suspicion. Under questioning, Echols, already acknowledged as a witch, flaunted his knowledge of the occult, his theories of how the killings could have "magickal" implications and his insights into how the killer would think and feel. He demonstrated special knowledge about the case beyond the little publicly known. He gave out signals that he was a prime suspect; a series of witnesses further implicated him. A confession broke open the case. The widely accepted WM3 storyline is that inept police and prosecutors, with a howling mob of religious fanatics to placate, somewhat arbitrarily picked out three innocent boys to blame for horrific murders because Damien and his best pal Jason wore black T-shirts, listened to heavy metal music and had funny haircuts and because the third boy, Little Jessie, was practically retarded and thus easily manipulated. Almost every element in that storyline has little relation to reality. The weirdness that drew the attention of authorities stemmed from bad choices by the suspects rather than clothing, haircuts or rocking out to Megadeth. The West Memphis police did their duty in a diligent if imperfect manner. The investigation was professional and painstaking. Detectives took many statements, followed strange and unpromising leads and administered the polygraph dozens of times. All three of the teens from the trailer parks were convicted. The convictions held up on appeal. Eventually, thanks to Hollywood celebrities and misleading documentaries that left out crucial evidence, the killers who became the West Memphis 3 walked free. No exonerating evidence, despite many years of investigation and a defense fund in the millions of dollars, has been produced. None of the three has a credible alibi. The mainstream media bought into the premise that "those boys were innocent." By putting the focus on mullet-headed rednecks, drawling overweight cops and righteously angry Christians, the media played upon the most egregious stereotypes of Southern whites, while positioning a murdering sociopath as a hip kid who was just too cool for the uptight hometown idiots. The West Memphis 3 myth was made to order for the familiar narrative of the perceptive young outsider that every hipster and aspiring artist imagines himself to have been. Among the sensitive souls who found a doppelganger of their teen selves in Echols were professional outsiders - such as Johnny Depp and Henry Rollins. In Aleister Crowley's "magickal" system, which Echols embraced in his preteen years, orgasm and ecstasy are equated with death and sacrifice and the sexual fluids are often represented as blood or water. Echols felt he was in transition to a state of being a god, something other than human; he believed that drinking blood invested him with spiritual energy. Echols and "blood brother" Jason formed a pathological dyad, cultivating elaborate violent fantasies. Via the ritual torture, killing and eating of dogs, cats and other animals, they educated themselves in the curriculum of occult murder. The lurking allure of a "thrill kill" finally became irresistible when the killing time coincided with sunset, the rise of a full moon and the pagan holiday of Beltane.
Author: George Jared
Release Date: 2016-03-19
This might be the most unjust prosecution in U.S. legal history. If you think what happened to Steven Avery in the true crime film, Making a Murderer, was shocking you will be completely appalled by what happened to three little boys and three teens in Arkansas in 1993. Three 8-year-old boys vanished from their West Memphis neighborhood one sunny afternoon. A day later their mangled, nude bodies are found in a drainage ditch. Police and prosecutors believe the killings are related to the occult. Three teens are arrested one month later. Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr. are convicted. There's only one problem. Overwhelming scientific evidence proves they're innocent and witness after witness has come forward to admit lies were told in court during the original trials. Award-winning journalist George Jared takes readers inside one of the most famous criminal cases in U.S. legal history. Witches in West Memphis gives a comprehensive insiders' view into the West Memphis Three case. No journalist has written more stories about the case than Jared. The author recounts his firsthand court coverage, interviews with witnesses, research, and other information he gathered in the case. Those interviews include a Death Row interview with Damien Echols, interviews with Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr., and interviews with other suspects, including Terry Hobbs. He's been credited in numerous documentaries including the Academy Award nominated film Paradise Lost III: Purgatory and the New York Times best seller Life After Death. Witches graphically recounts how three Boy Scouts - Stephen "Stevie" Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers - rode their bikes after school on a bright afternoon. Their bodies are found in a wooded area near their homes the next day. The manner of death and the way they were bound, ankle to wrist, made authorities think Satanists might have sacrificed the children. Echols, a troubled teen with a seedy past, was immediately identified as a possible suspect. His best-friend, Jason Baldwin, and another teen known to them, Jessie Misskelley Jr., are arrested June 3, 1993, and charged with murder. No real evidence tied the teens to the crime, but an error-riddled confession by Misskelley was the proof used to seal the verdicts in the case. Read how they, referred to as the West Memphis Three, toiled in prison for years as their case stagnated in the Arkansas judicial system. As time passed, overwhelming scientific evidence surfaced. Witnesses changed their statements. New suspects rose to the surface. No author, documentary filmmaker, or journalist has had more access in this case. Witches is written in an easy to read, narrative-style form. Grab a copy today.
In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. - who have come to be known as the West Memphis Three - were arrested for the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas. The ensuing trial was marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison, while eighteen-year-old Echols, deemed the 'ringleader,' was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, the three men became known worldwide as a symbol of wrongful conviction and imprisonment, with thousands of supporters and many notable celebrities calling for a new trial. In a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011. Now Echols shares his story in full - from abuse by prison guards and wardens, to portraits of fellow inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of patience and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while incarcerated for nearly two decades.
Author: William Boeing
Release Date: 2013-03
In this book, we have hand-picked the most sophisticated, unanticipated, absorbing (if not at times crackpot!), original and musing book reviews of "Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three." Don't say we didn't warn you: these reviews are known to shock with their unconventionality or intimacy. Some may be startled by their biting sincerity; others may be spellbound by their unbridled flights of fantasy. Don't buy this book if: 1. You don't have nerves of steel. 2. You expect to get pregnant in the next five minutes. 3. You've heard it all.
When it comes to The West Memphis 3, depending on which side of the argument you stand, you can find evidence both for and against whichever person you are gunning for and I find that horrifying and interesting in equal measure. Many of the supporters based their opinions on what they learned watching one of the three HBO Documentaries in the Paradise Lost trilogy. This book will take you through the numerous scenarios and countless suspects from that moonlit night in West Memphis Arkansas in May 1993. We will look at the evidence that points to the West Memphis 3 as the killers but also at the evidence that points to numerous other suspects. Moreover, it has to be said, the result (in my mind) would be that the West Memphis 3 are either guilty of one of Arkansas deadliest murders or the main players in a truly unbelievable series of coincidences and lies to protect Terry Hobbs, Buddy Lucas, L.G. Hollingsworth and David Jacoby. We will sort out the fact from fiction and find out what really happened "Beyond Robin Hood Hills."
From one of the greatest legal injustices of our time sprang one of the most unlikely—and unforgettable—love stories. Damien Echols was just eighteen years old when he was condemned to death for a crime he didn’t commit. His case—that of the infamous “West Memphis Three”—gained notoriety after a documentary, Paradise Lost, exposed the biased nature of the trial and Echols as the precocious, charming—and tragic—figure at its center. Lorri Davis was a landscape architect living in New York City when she surreptitiously wandered into a showing of the film, and she left forever changed. She, too, was from the South, accustomed to being the outsider in a small town. She saw much of herself in Echols, understood how he could easily have been swept up in a witch hunt, and she couldn’t get him out of her head. So she wrote him a letter—and when it arrived in Echols’s penitentiary cell in April 1996, hers were some of the first kind words of support he heard. Over the course of a remarkable sixteen-year correspondence, Echols and Davis grew to know each other, fall in love, and marry—all without ever being able to touch each other freely or be alone together. In Yours for Eternity, their extraordinary letters provide a singular portrait of their marriage, from the first, heady days of discovery to the final, painful months before Echols’s release. Through postscripts and footnotes, Echols and Davis describe how they overcame the enormous challenges and heartbreaks throughout the years—personal setbacks, legal complications, and much more. Yours for Eternity reveals a relationship unfolding in the most exceptional of circumstances. Powerful and incredibly intimate, it is a modern-day love story for the ages.
Author: Mara Shalhoup
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 2010-03-02
In the early 1990s, Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory and his brother, Terry "Southwest T," rose up from the slums of Detroit to build one of the largest cocaine empires in American history: the Black Mafia Family. After a decade in the drug game, the Flenorys had it all—a fleet of Maybachs, Bentleys and Ferraris, a 500-man workforce operating in six states, and an estimated quarter of a billion in drug sales. They socialized with music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs, did business with New York's king of bling Jacob "The Jeweler" Arabo, and built allegiances with rap superstars Young Jeezy and Fabolous. Yet even as BMF was attracting celebrity attention, its crew members created a cult of violence that struck fear in a city and threatened to spill beyond the boundaries of the drug underworld. Ruthlessness fueled BMF's rise to incredible power; greed and that same ruthlessness led to their downfall. When the brothers began clashing in 2003, the flashy and beloved Big Meech risked it all on a shot at legitimacy in the music industry. At the same time, a team of investigators who had pursued BMF for years began to prey on the organization's weaknesses. Utilizing a high-stakes wiretap operation, the feds inched toward their goal of destroying the Flenory's empire and ending the reign of a crew suspected in the sale of thousands of kilos of cocaine — and a half-dozen unsolved murders.
Author: Dr. Vincent Di Maio
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 2016-05-17
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
In this clear-eyed, gritty, and enthralling narrative, Dr. Vincent DiMaio and veteran crime writer Ron Franscell guide us behind the morgue doors to tell a fascinating life story through the cases that have made DiMaio famous-from the exhumation of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to the complex issues in the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Beginning with his street-smart Italian origins in Brooklyn, the book spans 40 years of work and more than 9,000 autopsies, and DiMaio's eventual rise into the pantheon of forensic scientists. One of the country's most methodical and intuitive criminal pathologists will dissect himself, maintaining a nearly continuous flow of suspenseful stories, revealing anecdotes, and enough macabre insider details to rivet the most fervent crime fans.