I strongly suggest listening along while reading this transcript. The audio file is here (right click and “Save As” or Right click and “Open in New Tab” to play). Jump to 2:46 (where the below begins).
Note: This is a transcription of the taped confession of Jessie Misskelley, Jr. regarding the murder of Chris Byers, Steve Branch and Michael Moore. Statement of Jessie L. Misskelley, Jr. 6/3/93
Date of Birth 7/10/7 5 sex/race M/Cau
RIDGE: This is Det. Bryn Ridge of the West Memphis Police Department, currently in the detective division of the West Memphis Police Department conducting an investigation of the Triple Homicide, Case File # 93-05-0666. Currently in the office with Jessie Lloyd Misskelly, Jr., DOB:7/10/75, education: 9th grade, the place: Detective Division, today’s date is 06/03/93, the time is 2:44Pm. Present in the interview is Insp. Gary Gitchell and Jessie Misskelly. Jessie, in front of me I have a rights form, and it has your signature at the bottom of it, is that your signature?
[Miranda Waiver affirmed on tape]
RIDGE: Okay, Jessie, let’s go straight to that date,05/05/93, Wednesday, early in the morning. You received a phone call is that correct?
JESSIE: Yes, I did
RIDGE: And who made that phone call?
JESSIE: Jason Baldwin
(Jessie Misskelly did not have access to a phone at this time. He had stayed the night at a friend’s house who had no phone. There is no way he could have received any call)
RIDGE: Alright, what occurred, what did he talk about?
JESSIE: He called me and asked me if I could go to West Memphis with him and I told him, no, I had to work and stuff. He told me that he had to go to West Memphis so, him and Damien with and then I went with them.
RIDGE: Alright, when?
RIDGE: Alright, when did you go with them?
JESSIE: That morning
RIDGE: At 9 o’clock in the morning?
(Impossible time; the boys were in school. Jessie’s times of arrival at the woods will change many times throughout the three statements)
JESSIE: Yes, I did. I went with them and then
GITCHELL: Now, where you in a car? Whose car where y’all in?
JESSIE: We walked
GITCHELL: You all walked?
JESSIE: Right, we walked and then uh,
RIDGE: Where did you go?
JESSIE: We went up to Robin Hood
RIDGE: You went to the Robin Hood, explain to me where those woods are.
JESSIE: By uh, Blue Beacon Truck Wash.
(The location was widely reported in the media in May 1993)
RIDGE: A little patch of woods
JESSIE: A little patch of woods
(Ridge might as well say: “reat afte me – A little patch of woods)
RIDGE: Behind Blue Beacon?
JESSIE: Behind it, right back there behind it.
(Jessie does not state the location of the crime scene; Ridge tells him, and Jessie repeats it. Listen to the inflection in Ridge’s voice – it is a clear instruction, not a question and Jessie is plainly trying to give the “correct” answer, following it with “right there behind it”. The location was widely reported in the media in May 1993)
RIDGE: okay, what occurred while you were there?
JESSIE: When I was there, I saw Damien hit this one (pause) hit this one boy real bad, and then uh, and then he started screwing them and stuff and then uh,
(There is no evidence from the Medical Examiner whatsoever that any of the boys were raped; it was inconclusive. There was anal-dialation on two of the boys, which is most likely from the water. Anal dialation CAN happen after sodomoy; however, it is unlikely that two boys were raped and BOTH of them only showed dialation and NO tearing, especially in light of the violent rape with fighting and struggling that Jessie alleges.)
RIDGE: Alright, you got in front of you a picture, that was taken out of the newspaper I believe, it’s got three boys and these are the three boys that were killed on that date in Robin Hood Woods, okay, which one of those three boys is it you say Damien hit? The third picture, which will be
JESSIE: Michael Moore
GITCHELL: This boy right here,
GITCHELL: Alright, that’s uh the Byers boy,
GITCHELL: that’s who you are pointing at?
(Jessie confuses the boys here; this is pertinent in the second statement(*))
RIDGE: If you read the caption, the grizzly slain from left, 8 year old Michael Moore,
RIDGE: Steven Branch and Christopher Byers. Okay, so you saw Damien strike Chris Byers in the head.
RIDGE: What did he hit him with?
JESSIE: He hit him with his fist and bruised him all up real bad, and then ull (phonetic) Jason turned around and hit Steve Branch
(You don’t have to be a doctor to know that when someone is hit – child or adult – it doesn’t “bruise them up” until much later. Seeing a “bruised up” photo taken later would explain this statement; a recollection of the events as they were occurring could not).
JESSIE: And started doing the same thing, then the other one took off, Michael uhh Moore took off running, so I chased him and grabbed him and held him, cause they got there and then I left.
(Jessie indicates here he leaves directly after Damien and Jason reach Michael, yet he is then led on to continue his “story”)
RIDGE: Okay. Alright, when you get the boys back together, where you at from the creek?
JESSIE: I was up there by uhh by the Service Road
RIDGE: Up by the Service Road?
RIDGE: Okay, now when this, when he hit the first boy, where are they at when he hits him, are you in the woods, you’re on the side of big bayou, you’re out in the field, where were you at?
JESSIE: I was in the woods.
RIDGE: In the woods. Okay, you’ve been down there in those woods before,
RIDGE: can you describe to me what in those woods, what’s the location where you were?
RIDGE: Is there a path that you go down?
JESSIE: Uh, down a little path
RIDGE: Alright, where does that path go too?
(Ridge leads Jessie again; Jessie doesn’t state on his own where he was, he is told. According to Jessie’s original statement, he is on the opposite side of the bayou, Ridge leads him to the side that aligns with the evidence)
JESSIE: It leads out there close to the uhh field, close to the interstate.
JESSIE: That’s where I was at.
JESSIE: I was close by the interstate
RIDGE: When he hits the first boy and then Jason hits another boy, and one takes off running,
RIDGE: where does he run too?
JESSIE: That one, he runs out, going out the – out the park and I chased him and grabbed him and brought him back.
RIDGE: Which way does he go, I mean, does he go back towards where the houses are,
JESSIE: … he’s going back …
RIDGE: he’s going to Blue Beacon, is he going out towards the fields, where’s he running too?
JESSIE: Towards the houses.
RIDGE: Towards the houses?
GITCHELL: Where the pipe is that goes across the water?
JESSIE: Yes, he run out there and I caught him and brought him back, and then — I took off
(This is the first of seven times that Jessie says he left and he’s told “and you came back.” You don’t need a PhD to see that this confession is utter crap. This more accurately describes the 14th Street Woods, which are normally known as the RHH woods by locals, not the site where the bodies were found (The Blue Beacon Woods). The 14th Street Woods are down the street from the BB woods; a good distance)
RIDGE: Okay, and when you came back a little bit later, and are all three boys are tied?
RIDGE: Is that right?
JESSIE: Yes, and I took off and run home.
(Jessie now states that he leaves again – second time . Ridges leads him into “when you came back”, signaling Jessie that there’s more for him to say. This part of this statement is also pertinent to the second statement (*))
RIDGE: Alright, have they got their clothes on when you saw them tied?
JESSIE: No, they had them off.
RIDGE: They had already gotten them off. When he first hit the boy, when Damien first hit the first boy, did they have their clothes on then?
RIDGE: Alright, when did they take their clothes off?
JESSIE: Right after I — they beat up all three of them, and beat them up real bad
RIDGE: Beat them up real bad, and then they took their clothes off?
(No blood was found on any of the children’s discarded clothes. ????)
RIDGE: And then they tied them
JESSIE: Then they tied them up, tied their hands up, they started screwing them and stuff, cutting them and stuff, and I saw it and I turned around and looked, and then I took off running, I went home, then they called me and asked me, how come I didn’t stay, I told them, I just couldn’t.
(Once again; there was no evidence of violent sodomy on any of the children. More, the children were “hog tied”, wrist to ankle, an improbable [at best] position to sodomize someone)
(Jessie states he leaves again – #3)
RIDGE: Just couldn’t stay
JESSIE: I couldn’t stand it to see what they were doing to them.
RIDGE: okay, now when it’s going on, when this is taking place, you under – you saw somebody with a knife, who had a knife?
(Again ignores Jessie’s statement that he left and guides him into saying more happened)
RIDGE: Jason had a knife, what did he cut with the knife. What did you see him cut or who did you see him cut?
JESSIE: I saw him cut one of the little boys
RIDGE: Alright, where did he cut him at?
JESSIE: He was cutting him in the face.
RIDGES: Cutting him in the face. Alright, another boy was cut I understand, where was he cut at?
JESSIE: At the bottom?
(You need to hear Jessie’s voice – “on his bottom” Is a question, not a statement)
RIDGE: On his bottom? Was he faced down and he was cutting on him, or
JESSIE: He was
GITCHELL: Now you’re talking about bottom, do you mean right here?
GITCHELL: In his groin area?
(In Gitchell’s testimony on the stand he states that Jessie knew about the castration of Christopher Byers and that was not public knowledge, when in fact, that was not true. If you will look at John Mark Byers statement of 5-19-93 he describes Todd Moore becoming confused that all boys were castrated and John finding out it was only his son; so there was dicussion between the families and possibly those who knew them. ALSO, the Commercial Appeal, local newspaper, picked up chatter about the murders on their police scanner, hearing about the castration, and printed it in the next day’s paper. This is not something only the police knew)
RIDGE: Do you know what his penis is?
(Detective Ridge testified that he was unaware on this date that Jessie had a mental handicap. Why would they ask a question such as this of a teenage boy, does he know what a penis is?, if it was not obvious that he was functioning at lower level of intelligence?)
JESSIE: Yeah, that’s where he was cut at.
RIDGE: That’s where he was cut.
GITCHELL: Which boy was that?
JESSIE: That one right there.
GITCHELL: You’re talking about the Byers boy again?
RIDGE: Are you sure that he was the one that was cut?
JESSIE: That’s the one that I seen them cutting on.
RIDGE: Alright, you know what a penis is?
(They have to make sure again that Jessie knows what a penis is? Naw, no psych or IQ issue here)
RIDGE: Alright, is that where he was cutting?
JESSIE: That’s where I seen them going down at, and he was on his back. I seen them going down right there real close to his penis and stuff and I saw some blood and that’s when I took off.
(Again, the “hog tied” postion doesn’t align with the boys being on their backs.
And, AGAIN, Jessie “leaves” – #4 – and again his statement that he left at that point is ignored.)
GITCHELL: Was uh, where you all close to the creek at that point?
JESSIE: Yes sir
GITCHELL: Where was the little boy actually at?
JESSIE: He was close
RIDGE: Alright, now you know where the bayou is?
RIDGE: Alright, and you know where the little Creek is that goes out to the express way, and it doesn’t have a lot of water in it, but it’s got some water in it, and it’s flowing through the, which side of that creek were you on, were you on the Memphis side of the creek or the Blue Beacon side of the creek?
JESSIE: Blue Beacon.
RIDGE: On the Blue Beacon
RIDGE: So, there is like a tall bank, were you — where were you at on that bank?
JESSIE: I was up there standing up there on the top.
RIDGE: Alright, where were they at?
[[[ The following portion was cut out – Watergate Style – from the statement played for the jury. It is not yet known whether the jury had an accurate transcript that included the next, critical portion wherein Jessie is told they are “correcting” his statement ]]]
JESSIE: They were at the bottom.
RIDGE: On which side?
JESSIE: Memphis side
RIDGE: They were on the Memphis side.
JESSIE: I was on
RIDGE: Alright, we’re going to correct that even further, that’s the east side, Memphis side is the east side and you were standing at the top of the bank on the west side, were you looking down at what was going on?
JESSIE: I was looking down, and after I seen all of that, I took off
(“We’re going to correct that”??? They’re not even TRYING to make this look like a legitimate interrogation! They switch the side of the creek he was on from BB to Memphis)
(Jessie leaves again and again he is guided to give more details after he says he left)
[[Tape omission / blank 20 seconds jumps to here]]
RIDGE: Okay, and when you left, did you hear any more hollering or anything?
RIDGE: Alright, you went home and about what time was it that all of this was taking place?
JESSIE: They called me about —
RIDGE: I’m not saying when they called you. I’m saying what time was it that you were actually there in the park?
JESSIE: I would say about 12
RIDGE: About noon?
(Above Jessie has stated they met at 9 a.m., not 12 noon. Even if they were not in the park at 9 a.m. it would not take three hours to walk from their homes or Lakeshore, which is where he will claim they met in a later statement.)
RIDGE OR GITCHELL?Someone makes a brief “snorting” sound as if to say “you’re wrong” – listen closely.
RIDGE: Okay, was it after school had let out?
(Jessie just said “noon”, it is now being suggested to him to use a new time)
Above Jessie has stated they met at 9 a.m., not 12 noon. Even if they were not in the park at 9 a.m. it would not take three hours to walk from their homes or Lakeshore, which is where
JESSIE: I didn’t go to school
RIDGE: These little boys
JESSIE: No . . .no . . . they – they skipped school
RIDGE: They skipped school?
(The children did not skip school; they were all accounted for that day in class)
JESSIE: They were going to catch their bus and stuff, and they was on their bikes and so,
(If the children were catching the bus, why would they be riding their bikes? This makes no sense.)
RIDGE: Alright, they were on their bikes, where were the bikes at?
JESSIE: They laid their bikes down when they come out to the, when they hollered for them to come out there
(When “they hollered for them to come out there” – conflicts with claim that Jessie and Jason were hiding and Damien [singular] called the boys over)
RIDGE: Where did they lay their bikes down at, that’s what I’m asking you?
JESSIE: I don’t know where they laid their bikes down at, cause I was behind Damien and nem, way way behind them
(But he just said he was up on the bank, not that close. How close would he have to be behind Damien to have his view of the bikes blocked? Only logical answer is that Jessie had no idea where the bikes were put down)
JESSIE: When they hollered, when they seen them boys
RIDGE: The little boys came on over?
RIDGE: Had Damien seen these boys before?
RIDGE: Has he done things with them before? Or had he just been watching them,
JESSIE: He had been watching them.
RIDGE: Has he ever had sex with them before?
JESSIE: No, he’s been watching them
(How would Jessie know what Damien had done with the boys in the past?)
RIDGE: He’s been watching them. You mentioned earlier that, one of the meetings you went to with this cult thing, they had some pictures. Describe those pictures for me.
JESSIE: They had — had some houses, trees and stuff
(“Trees, houses, and stuff”?? Digging for an answer when he doesn’t know what response will please his questioner)
RIDGE: Okay, had somebody taken pictures of these boys?
(As unusual a character as Damien was, you’d think the local photo developer might have remembered him coming in to get pictures developed – especially when those photos were of kids who later turn up murdered; or they’d have found a camera or some corroboration?)
RIDGE: Were they in the houses or were they in the trees when they took those pictures?
JESSIE: They was in the houses
RIDGE: At the houses? Did they take like one picture of one boy
JESSIE: They were in a group
RIDGE: All, these three
JESSIE: There was a group of pictures of all three of them.
RIDGE: All three of them would generally be together?
GITCHELL: How many pictures did you see, altogether?
JESSIE: I just saw one
GITCHELL: Okay, and it has these same three boys in it?
RIDGE: You’re certain of that?
(No one knew that the three boyus would be together; Steve Branch was told to be home in 15 minutes, Chris Byers was prohibited from being the RHH woods – the idea that it was a targeted killing of these boys doesn’t even come close to fitting)
GITCHELL: Now, did you say that the boys skipped school that day,
these little boys did?
JESSIE: Um-mm, they were going to catch, they were going somewhere and like I said, Damien and nem left before I did, I told them that I would meet them there and stuff, and I had to get ready it was early in the morning and so, they went ahead and met me, they went on up there and then I come up later on behind them.
(It is also confirmed that Jason was in school on 5/5/93; he could not have been in the woods at 9 AM.)
GITCHELL: What time did you get there?
JESSIE: I got there about 9
GITCHELL: In the morning?
GITCHELL: Of Wednesday morning?
RIDGE OR GITCHELL? Someone makes a brief “coughing” sound plainly as if to say “you’re wrong” – listen closely.
(Again, Jessie says he arrived at 9 a.m., after stating just above that he arrived at 12 noon!)
RIDGE: What time is it right now?
JESSIE: Right now?
RIDGE: Yeah, you don’t know what time it is?
GITCHELL: Do you not wear a watch?
JESSIE: It’s at home
JESSIE: My dad woke me up this morning
RIDGE: so, your time period may not be exactly right in what you’re saying?
(Listen to the inflection in his voice – obviously suggesting an answer)
RIDGE: It was like earlier in the day, but you don’t know exactly what time, okay, cause we’ve got — I’ve gotten some real confusion with the times that you’re telling me, but now, this 9 o’clock in the evening call that you got, explain that to me.
JESSIE: Well after, all of this stuff happened that night, that they done it, I went home about noon, then they called me at 9 o’clock that night, they called me.
RIDGE: Okay. And what did they tell you on the telephone?
JESSIE: They asked me how come I left so early and stuff, and I told them that I couldn’t stay there watching it no more, so I had to do something to get out of there.
RIDGE: okay, who called you?
RIDGE: And you mentioned that you heard some voice in the background?
(Uh, no – he didn’t. He said “they called me”)
JESSIE: I heard some dingling
RIDGE: And what else, I think you said that he made the call from his house?
JESSIE: He made the call from his house and Damien was hollering in the background saying, we done it, we done it, what are going to do if somebody saw us, what are we going to do?
(There is no way this phone call could have taken place. First of all, Matthew Baldwin stated that Damien nor Domini had been to the trailer on this day. How could Damien be in the background if he was not there? Second, Dennis Dent stated he was having a phone conversation with Angela (Jason’s mother) between 9:00 and 9:30 pm, during her break at work. The phone would have been in use at Jason’s at the time Jessie says the call occurred. Also, Matthew states Jason came in around 7:30. Jason’s friend Ken Watkins came over to visit later. Jason reportedly only left the house very briefly to return a videotape, but was home the rest of the night.).
RIDGE: Okay, the knives, was it one knife, two knives, was your knife there?
JESSIE: Ugh, ugh,
RIDGE: Now did somebody take it and used your knife, do you have a knife?
JESSIE: I got one knife
RIDGE: Where is it at?
JESSIE: It’s at home
RIDGE: okay, the knife that you said Jason was using, where is it?
JESSIE: Uh, I don’t know what he done with it, cause after I left then they, I don’t know what they done with, after I left I don’t know what they done with it
RIDGE: He didn’t tell you that he hid it somewhere?
GITCHELL: I’ve got a feeling here, you’re not quite telling me everything, now you know that we’re recording everything, so this is very, very important to tell us the entire truth. If you were there the whole time, then tell us that you were there the whole time, don’t leave anything out. This is very, very important, now just tell us the truth.
(Gitchell plainly sounds like he knows he’s talking to someone with a child’s mind)
JESSIE: I was there until they tied them up and then that’s when I left, after they tied them up, I left.
(Aisde from conflicting with the five times he says “and then I left”, it also conflicts with the claim that he saw the boys “pulled into the water”)
GITCHELL: But, you saw them cutting on the boys,
JESSIE: I saw them cutting on them, and then
GITCHELL: So, what else left is there, after that?
JESSIE: They laid the knife down beside them and I saw them tying them up and then that’s when I left,
RIDGE: Were the boys conscious or were they
JESSIE: They were unconscious then
JESSIE: And after I left they done more.
RIDGE: They done more
JESSIE: They started screwing them again
(No evidence of violent sodomy nor does Jessie say at any time how he found out that sexual acts were committed after he left if he did not discuss it later with Damien and Jason; another case of Jessie leaving.)
RIDGE: Okay, how were they screwing them when you saw them?
(Yet, again, Ridge get him to keep telling his story)
JESSIE: They, Jason stuck his in one them’s mouth and Damien was screwing one of them up the ass and stuff.
RIDGE: Okay, alright – did and the one that they were cutting the penis off of, did any of them are cutting the penis or whatever was being done, did they have sex with him at all?
RIDGE: Did either one of them?
(Hello? He just said “no” and again we ask a question designed to ignore the last answer and give another, completely different response)
JESSIE: Jason did
RIDGE: Jason did?
JESSIE: Jason was screwing him while Damien stuck his in his mouth and then they both were
RIDGE: Okay, how did he have sex with that one?
JESSIE: He was holding him down like, and Jason had his legs up in the air and that little boy was kicking, saying, ‘don’t, no’ like that.
(Again,if the anal dilation evidence was at all ambiguous, this type of sodomy would cause obvious tearing and ripping; it wouldn’t be a close call)
RIDGE: Okay, he had his legs up in the air, alright, what was to keep the little boys from running off, but just their hands are tied, what’s to keep them from running off?
JESSIE: They beat them up so bad where they can’t hardly move, they had their hands tied down and he sit on them
RIDGE: You said that they had their hands tied up, tied down, were they hands tied in a fashion that they couldn’t have run, you tell me.
JESSIE: They could run, they just had them tied, when they knocked them down and stuff, they could move (hold?) their arms and stuff, and hold them down like, where they couldn’t raise up and the other one stick his legs up.
RIDGE: Okay, so they had them under control, you were there the whole time that was taking place?
JESSIE: I was there.
RIDGE: Okay, one of them were cut on the face real bad, is that what you said?
RIDGE: And one of them was being cut on his penis?
JESSIE: Yes sir
GITCHELL: Did you ever use, did anyone use a stick and hit the boys with?
JESSIE: Damien had kinda of a big old stick when he hit that first one, after he hit him with his fist and knocked him down and got him a big old stick and hit him.
GITCHELL: What did the stick look like, I mean was it like a a big log like that or is it a stick?
JESSIE: I would say it was about that big around, I would say about that long.
RIDGE: About the size of a baseball bat, maybe just a little bit bigger round?
RIDGE: That’s what you’re describing with your hands, right?
RIDGE: Okay, how long was the knife that Jason was using?
JESSIE: About that long
RIDGE: Alright, you’re describing a knife that would be about 6 inches long, is that right?
RIDGE: And, what kind of blade did it have on it?
JESSIE: Uh, like a regular knife blade
RIDGE: Was it a knife that you fold up, or was it like a hunting knife?
JESSIE: It was
RIDGE: Just one piece
JESSIE: Just a fold up knife
RIDGE: It was a folding knife?
(The knife that was eventually introduced into evidence as the “possible murder weapon” did not match this description……it was a hunting-type knife)
RIDGE: okay, uh does Damien have a knife?
RIDGE: He doesn’t have one, he didn’t have one that night?
JESSIE: He didn’t have one that night
RIDGE: Did he borrow yours?
JESSIE: No, he didn’t borrow mine.
GITCHELL: Did they have a briefcase with them?
JESSIE: (No response)
GITCHELL: You didn’t see a briefcase?
JESSIE: I didn’t see a briefcase, not unless they left it there at that day before it happened, unless they left it there by accident then but I didn’t see one that day.
Don’t like the answer? (“I didn’t see a briefcase”), then ask the question again – Jessie will come through for you . . .
GITCHELL: Have you ever seen them with a briefcase before?
JESSIE: I’ve seen them once that night, I seen them with it that night.
Good! Now we have a briefcase there that night whereas seconds ago, they didn’t. Wouldn’t any reasonable questioner ask about the contradiction?
GITCHELL: Okay, what is kept inside of that briefcase?
Briefcase? Damien was one of the most watched charectars in West Memphis, no one ever mentioned seeing him with “a briefcase”?
JESSIE: They had some cocaine, and a little gun
Aren’t we getting a little Aaron Hutchinson here? A little gun?
GITCHELL: Is that when you first saw the pictures of the boys?
JESSIE: yes, out there in Lakeshore
GITCHELL: And you saw the pictures in the briefcase?
JESSIE: Yes, I think when we had that cult.
GITCHELL: okay, now you have participated in this cult, right?
GITCHELL: How long have you been involved in it?
JESSIE: I’ve been in it for about three months.
GITCHELL: Okay, what is, tell me some of the things that you all do typically in the woods, in being in this cult.
JESSIE: We go out kill dogs and stuff and then carry girls out there.
GITCHELL: What do you all do with the girls when you’re out there?
JESSIE: We screw them and stuff
GITCHELL: Does just everybody takes a turn
JESSIE: Everybody, and we have an orgee and stuff like that.
RIDGE: when you kill a dog, what do you do with that?
JESSIE: We usually skin it, then make a bon fire and eat it and stuff
RIDGE: okay, when you initiating somebody new come into a cult what actually is done to initiate that person into a cult?
JESSIE: We usually you know, kill an animals, you know, so you have to know how to handle the meat and stuff, after we kill it to see if he knows, if he can’t handle it, then he don’t get in.
RIDGE: Okay, so he kills an animal, you mentioned earlier that he may have to eat part of that animal, what part of the animal would he eat?
JESSIE: Uh, the meat off of his leg.
RIDGE: Meat off of his leg.
JESSIE: If he can’t eat it, then he don’t get in.
RIDGE: Doesn’t get into the club?
RIDGE: Now these meetings, have they ever been violent, anybody gotten mad and got into a fight?
RIDGE: Okay, the night you were in these woods, uh had you all been in the water?
JESSIE: Yeah, we’ve been in the water, we were in it that night, playing around in it.
RIDGE: You were playing around in the water, alright, wha – what were you doing in the water?
RIDGE: Besides just playing, the little boys, had they been in the water? Did they get into the water with you all?
JESSIE: No, they didn’t get into the water with us
RIDGE: Okay, what were you doing in the water?
JESSIE: We were just sitting there, throwing stuff at each other,
RIDGE: were you all having sex?
JESSIE: No, I wasn’t
RIDGE: You weren’t?
RIDGE: Damien and Jason having sex?
JESSIE: They took turns going up under the water
RIDGE: Going under the water, what were they doing up under the water?
JESSIE: They were sitting so far away, they were in the water, I would say about five to ten seconds, then come up and then the other one would go down
RIDGE: Okay, so they were just messing around in the water. They called for these boys to come over there?
JESSIE: Yeah, they seen them boys and then they hollered, Damien hollered said, hey, the little boys come up there.
GITCHELL: Did they call them by name?
JESSIE: No, they just hollered at them, they showed up.
GITCHELL: Where did the boys put their bikes?
JESSIE: Close to right where there before you come in and they laid them down right there, and after I left I don’t know what they done with the bikes.
GITCHELL: You didn’t do anything to the bikes at all?
GITCHELL: Are you sure?
GITCHELL: You didn’t touch the bikes?
JESSIE: I didn’t touch them
RIDGE: You’ve been back to this place since that murder
RIDGE: Since this crime took place. What did you do there? And be truthful.
JESSIE: I went down there and sit there, and after what they did to the boys, I just sit there.
RIDGE: And did what?
JESSIE: Just thought, what happened to them real bad, just thought.
JESSIE: And I left and stuff, and walked home.
GITCHELL: When did you go back there?
JESSIE: Two or three days after it happened, and I left.
(The crime scene was blocked off for over a month and guarded by WMPD precisely to see if “the criminal would return to the scene of the crime.” No reports of Jessie appearing were made.)
RIDGE: You were there by yourself?
JESSIE: I was there by myself.
RIDGE: Didn’t you go there with some more boys once?
JESSIE: Me. David
RIDGE: To that particular place?
JESSIE: No, not to that place
RIDGE: Are you willing to go down there with us and us having a camcorder and show us where these things took place? Would you do that?
RIDGE: Wouldn’t have any problem with that?
JESSIE: Not that I know of, I wouldn’t
JESSIE: Not that I know of, I wouldn’t
RIDGE: But you would be able to point out where these things took place?
(Jessie was never taken to the woods with a video camera for this purpose.)
RIDGE: Which way the boys came from and where you all were when he hollered for the boys and stuff like that, you wouldn’t have a problem with that?
JESSIE: After the murder and stuff, I would say about two or three days later after it happened, I went down there and thought about it and I haven’t been down there since.
RIDGE: Okay, let me ask you something, now this is real serious and I want you to be real truthful, and I want you to think about it before you answer it, don’t just say yes or no, real quick. I want you to think about it. Did you actually hit any of these boys?
GITCHELL: Now, tell us the truth.
RIDGE: Did you actually rape any of these boys?
RIDGE: Did you actually kill any of these boys?
RIDGE: Did you see any of the boys actually killed?
RIDGE: okay, which one did you see killed?
JESSIE: That one right there.
GITCHELL: Now, you’re pointing to the Byers boy again?
RIDGE: How was he actually killed?
JESSIE: He choked him real bad and all
RIDGE: Choking him? Okay, what was he choking him with?
JESSIE: His hands, like a stick, he had a bit old stick, kinda holding it over his neck.
RIDGE: okay, so he was choking him to the point where he actually went unconscious, so at that point, you felt like he was dead?
(There was no evidence that Christopher Byers had been strangled with a stick or anything else. If he had been, there would have been clear forensic evidence of it. You don’t need a PhD to figure this out – a stick across a neck would cause very obvious linear damage. There was nothing of the kind on Chris’ neck. No way did this happen; it is a straight-up invention said to tell Ridge what he wanted to hear. No marks of any kind to his body in that region, nor did he die of asphyxia)
RIDGE: Okay, did any of the other two boys, were you there when they were actually killed?
JESSIE: I don’t know
RIDGE: You say that you got sick, so that’s what you were saying, did you throw up or anything?
RIDGE: Where did you throw up at?
JESSIE: I got a little bit ways out of there and got half a mile up the road, is when I threw up, and couldn’t hardly run and I just threw up.
RIDGE: When you left from there, did you leave running?
RIDGE: Were you hiding?
JESSIE: No, I didn’t hide.
GITCHELL: Did you have some blood on your clothes?
JESSIE: I didn’t have no blood on me, I didn’t get close to them.
GITCHELL: Were your clothes wet still?
JESSIE: Yes, they were damp
(He was submerged in the water and just a few minutes later, they were just “damp?”)
RIDGE: Alright, Insp. Gitchell touched on a point, real close, now what clothes were Jason wearing that day? That night?
JESSIE: He was wearing some blue jeans and boots, army boots like,
RIDGE: Army boots? And what kind of a shirt, you know everybody wears a special shirt with different things
(Begging for an answer having to do with death)
JESSIE: He was wearing a mega death shirt
RIDGE: A mega death
JESSIE: Or maybe a metalica
RIDGE: Metalica shirt, alright, was he wearing a cap, anything like that?
JESSIE: No, he wasn’t wearing anything like that
RIDGE: Alright, Damien, what was Damien wearing.
JESSIE: Damien had some black pants on, some boots and a black t-shirt.
RIDGE: Was anything on his shirt?
RIDGE: No kind of design or anything?
JESSIE: No, just black
RIDGE: These blue jeans that Jason was wearing, designer jeans, or were they old jeans, wore out, holes
JESSIE: They were wore out
RIDGE: What did they look like?
JESSIE: They had holes in them and the knees were cut
RIDGE: Holes in the knees. What color is Jason’s hair?
RIDGE: Light blonde, or like a sandy reddish type blonde, do you know the difference?
JESSIE: It’s like
RIDGE: Sandy colored blonde
JESSIE: Sandy colored blonde
RIDGE: okay, wearing blue jeans, he had on a metalica shirt, now this is a shirt that’s got metalica across the front of it spelled out, and a man’s name, or picture, is that right? You tell me.
JESSIE: They had pictures
RIDGE: A picture of somebody
JESSIE: Different shirts, different Metaalica shirts have different pictures
RIDGE: Well, which one did he have?
JESSIE: He had that uh, like a, skull like
RIDGE: A skull?
RIDGE: Okay, what were you wearing that day?
JESSIE: I was just wearing regular blue jeans, my shoes
RIDGE: What kind of shoes were you wearing?
JESSIE: My uh, Adidas?
RIDGE: Adidas tennis shoes?
RIDGE: What kind of shirt were you wearing?
JESSIE: I was just wearing a regular one of my old greasy up t-shirt.
RIDGE: Okay, was it a designed shirt, like this bull run type shirt, or was it just a plain white, old
JESSIE: Plain white
RIDGE: Old t-shirt, where are these shoes at now?
JESSIE: A friend of mine, he borrowed them
RIDGE: Who is that?
JESSIE: Buddy Lucas
RIDGE: Buddy Lucas?
JESSIE: He borrowed them from me
RIDGE: The boots that Damien had on, are they army type boots too, or what kind of boots were they?
JESSIE: Close like army type, not quite
RIDGE: Okay, they are black, is that right, they lace up? Ok
RIDGE: Okay, and Jason’s black and lace up?
JESSIE: Jason’s were black up to, about knee
RIDGE: Oh, they come way up on him?
RIDGE: Okay, Damian’s didn’t come up that far?
RIDGE: Okay, they killed the boys, you decided to go, you went home, how long after you got home before you received the phone call? 30 minutes or an hour?
JESSIE: Uh hour
RIDGE: An hour after you got home? So they were there for a lot longer
RIDGE: When he called you on the phone, did he say that he had just got in?
JESSIE: When he first called me when he first got – he called me he said, how come I how come I you left, and said, I couldn’t stand it, I had to do something else
RIDGE: Okay, you couldn’t stand it.
JESSIE: And then Damien, I heard Damien in the background saying we done it, we done it, what we gonna do now what about if somebody saw us
RIDGE: Did anybody see you leaving?
RIDGE: That you know of
JESSIE: That I know of
RIDGE: Did anybody see Damien and Jason?
JESSIE: I don’t know, I left before them
RIDGE: But have you heard anybody say that they saw Damien and Jason?
RIDGE: You haven’t heard anybody?
RIDGE: Okay, these initiations, you say that they eat part of the leg meat?
RIDGE: Does that involve eating part of the penis of the animal?
RIDGE: Just the meat?
JESSIE: Just the meat
RIDGE: Okay, has Jason and Damien talked to you since this happened?
RIDGE: They haven’t talked to you about this?
JESSIE: They hadn’t they hadn’t said nothing around me, when I was over to my friend’s house, they didn’t say nothing.
RIDGE: When you’ve been by yourself, and I’m sure in the last three weeks you’ve been by yourself with them sometime
JESSIE: You know Damien keeps asking me how come I left and stuff and hadn’t anybody said anything to me about it.
RIDGE: Okay, what did he say to you about it when you came to the police department, after seeing that boy in the woods? Up there behind the Goodyear place? What did he say about that?
JESSIE: He didn’t know nothin about that.
RIDGE: He doesn’t know that
RIDGE: Okay, what about when you get with Jason by himself?
JESSIE: He keeps on asking me what are we going to do next, I told him, I can’t do nothing now cause I go to work with my daddy everyday
RIDGE: So, they are scared, is that right,
JESSIE: They are scared cause after what they did, I told him that I was going to work with my daddy next time, I got to do something
RIDGE: So, what do you think ought to be done to them for killing these boys?
JESSIE: They need to be put away for awhile,
RIDGE: Put away for a while. Do you think they are sick or just mean?
JESSIE: I think they are sick
RIDGE: They are sick okay. Is there anything else that you want to add to this statement?
RIDGE: Why did you not come forward with this information?
JESSIE: Cause I was scared
RIDGE: Scared of Damien? or scared of the police?
JESSIE: Scared of the police
RIDGE: Are you scared of Damien now?
RIDGE: Are you scared of the police now?
JESSIE: Uh um, no
RIDGE: You are not, so we’ve treated you well?
JESSIE: Yah, ok
RIDGE: Alright — I am going to conclude this interview, the time is 3:18PM.
(*****During this statement Jessie says that the boys were beaten by Damien and Jason with their fists, then he is asked if they were hit with sticks, and he answers “yes”. Dr. Peretti, the Medical Examiner, described half-lunar wounds that were caused by a blunt object which could have been the result of kicks or blows with something such as a flashlight, not fists.)