it was pure coincidence, ok, maybe not pure coincidence, that led me to the page www.wm3.org. on myspace i learned – first about pearl jam‘s lead singer eddie vedder embarking on a solo tour along the west coast – and then about the fate of three obviously innocently imprisoned men who were convicted of the murder of three boys back in 1993 and have been incarcarated for 15 years now, one of them in death row.
i only had a look of some chapters of that webpage until now but i get the impression that “justice” can make and does make horrible mistakes. (ok, i guessed that before but i hadn’t encountered any specific case yet.)
i told my virtual but very real friend ingrid who luckily happens to live in santa barbara about the show in her town and it was her who made me have a closer look at the cause for this special kind of charity tour.
this is just an extract of the synopsis:
“… since they had destroyed or lost most of the evidence that might have been collected, their only option was hearsay.
Finally, the boy’s mother [a local woman who was in trouble for writing bad checks agreed to assist the police in their efforts to investigate Damien] had yet another idea. She urged a mentally handicapped 17-year-old named Jessie Misskelley to go to the police with another eyewitness account of having seen Echols kill the children. Jessie was with the police for twelve hours, yet only a small fragment of this lengthy day of questioning was recorded.”
“During Jessie’s trial, Dr. Richard Ofshe, a Pulitzer Prize winning expert on false confessions and police coercion testified that the brief recording was a “classic example” of police coercion. He pointed out how the officers heard Jessie state that the murders had taken place in the morning – but since they knew that the victims had been in school all day, they “suggested” to Jessie that it “must” have been later when he was in the woods. Jessie obligingly agreed. Oddly, the testimony of this expert witness for Jessie’s defense was not heard in its entirety by the jury.”