[Image via FameFlynetpictures.]
Could vindication be on the way for these three young men whose lives were taken from them for 18 long years?
This week, a screening of West of Memphis at Sundance Film Festival has a lot of people buzzing about Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley (aka The West Memphis Three) and how this movie will forever change their lives. Apparently, director Peter Jackson went well beyond doing comprehensive research for his documentary. He actually went so far as to provide testimony from three witnesses that insist Damien, Jason and Jessie are all innocent and that they know the name of the real killer: Terry Hobbs.
For those of you who don't know, Hobbs was the stepfather of one of the murdered boys and has long been linked to the case via DNA evidence. His own ex-wife, the mother of the child, has even had the case re-opened in order to have his possible involvement in the murder gone over with more focused scrutiny.
But here is the chilling part, and it comes directly from the press release sent out after the movie was screened. Apparently, several of Hobbs' family members knew about the his invovlement in the murders and named it "The Hobbs Family Secret." His nephew, Michael Hobbs Jr. allegedly confided in some friends (who swore under oath that he told them this), “my uncle Terry murdered those three little boys."
Furthermore, according to the press release:
"Three eyewitnesses have also provided sworn statements that they saw Terry Hobbs with the three children on the day of the murders, immediately before they disappeared. Terry Hobbs has maintained that he never saw the three boys the day they were murdered."
Chilling! To think, this guy was under their noses the whole time and suspicions about him were never fully investigated. Such a shame!
There are even more shocking details outlined in the release, so CLICK THE JUMP to read about the film.
Terry Hobbs’ nephew, Michael Hobbs Jr., allegedly told his friends “my uncle Terry murdered those three little boys,” according to declarations under penalty of perjury recently given to Damien Echols’ defense team. The three new witnesses were polygraphed about what they stated Michael Hobbs, Jr. told them.
“One day Michael picked us up in his truck. He was very quiet and upset. Michael then said to us, ‘you are not going to believe what my dad told me today. My Uncle Terry murdered the three little boys.’ According to Michael, his dad called this ‘The Hobbs Family Secret’ and he asked us to keep it a secret and not tell anyone.”
Another witness stated, “One night last winter, Michael and I were playing pool in his basement when the third friend asked about the West Memphis Three case which had been in the news. Michael responded by saying, ‘My uncle killed three kids in West Memphis.’ Michael was dead serious when he said this.”
The three little boys referenced in the declarations were found brutally murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993. DNA consistent with Terry Hobbs, stepfather of victim Stevie Branch, was later discovered in the knot of a shoelace used to restrain victim Michael Moore. Three eyewitnesses have also provided sworn statements that they saw Terry Hobbs with the three children on the day of the murders, immediately before they disappeared. Terry Hobbs has maintained that he never saw the three boys the day they were murdered.
A third witness stated that he was at Michael Hobbs Jr’s home in 2003 or 2004 when he was told by Hobbs Jr. that the two of them could not go down to the basement to play pool because Michael Hobbs Sr. was down there having a conversation with Hobbs Jr.’s uncle. The witness said that he “ listened with Michael Jr. at the top of the stairs. I heard two men talking. One appeared to be very upset even crying and he said ‘I am sorry, I regret it.’ The other man was trying to console him and said, ‘You are in the clear, no one thinks you are a suspect, those guys are already in prison.’”
Echols’ attorney, Stephen Braga of Ropes & Gray, said: “This is critical new information which reveals that the people closest to Terry Hobbs, his family members, may know much more about Terry’s involvement in the West Memphis Three case than they have ever acknowledged. If this is the Hobbs Family Secret, then what a horrific cost that secrecy has imposed on the lives of so many people – perhaps most significantly Pam Hobbs who deserves to know what really happened to Stevie on the night of the murders, as do the Byers and Moore families. With the secret now out, let’s hope that someone in the Hobbs family has the heart, the soul and the courage to come forward to tell the truth directly. In the meantime, I have given our investigative materials concerning these new witnesses – along with other related information – to District Attorney Scott Ellington for his review and action.”