Fran’s Day Care case – Dan and Fran Keller – News Article Excerpts from 1991 – 1993

February 19, 2021 Comments Off on Fran’s Day Care case – Dan and Fran Keller – News Article Excerpts from 1991 – 1993


Fran’s Day Care case – Dan and Fran Keller – News Article Excerpts from 1991 – 1993

What the information below shows is that there was no panic or witch hunt and that there was evidence backing the original charges, including one defendant’s confession and the children’s testimony. Media coverage in this Austin newspaper was balanced and did cover both sides of the story, unlike the coverage in the news today.

Information from the news articles:

Fran Keller’s brother Johnson in a separate case was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a 4-year-old and received an eight-year sentence in a plea bargain.

One child in the case was treated in a psychiatric hospital for several weeks after the allegations of abuse surfaced. “His prognosis is he will probably need therapy off and on the rest of his life.” Parents described how their preschoolers’ behavior changed in odd ways.

Perry (a defendant who later recanted his confession): His confession contained graphic details of a variety of sexual acts performed on two children, and it substantiated claims made by the children that they had been threatened and terrorized into not speaking out.

News article excerpts on this page follow more recent information and case updates.

August 22, 2017 case update:
Dan and Fran Keller…will receive $3.4 million from a state fund for those wrongly convicted of crimes.
The couple’s circumstances changed in June, when Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore filed court documents that dropped all charges and declared the Kellers “actually innocent” under the law. After an extensive review, it was clear that the Kellers’ innocence claim should be supported in the interest of justice, Moore said at the time.
Now adults, several of the children who accused the Kellers opposed the move, according to Moore and family members. (Quotes from Austin-American Statesman article)
https://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/articles/frans-day-care/

Here are a few facts about the Fran’s Day Care case:

1. Children’s parents were alerted when children returned home from daycare wearing their under clothing inside out or wearing other children’s underwear and sometimes having wet hair.

2. The children who were old enough to speak reported sexual assaults by Dan Keller and other visitors to the school. The older children also reported assaults on younger, pre-verbal children at the school.

3. The Kellers attempted to evade arrest by fleeing to Las Vegas. They were captured there wearing disguises. Fran has bleached her hair blond.

4. A co-defendant, Doug Perry, a sheriff’s deputy, pled guilty, turned state’s evidence, testified against the Kellers, and received a 10-year probated sentence. Perry is a registered sex offender in Texas.

5. The defense did not retain an expert witness in defense of the Kellers. They only produced a copy of Richard Gardner’s book, Sex Abuse Hysteria, in response to the allegations against the Kellers.

6. The prosecution did not discuss ritual abuse until the subject was raised by the defense at which point the prosecution’s expert witness, Randy Noblitt, explained what ritual abuse is and how it works. He also provided testimony in response to the production of the Richard Gardner book intended by the defense to demonstrate in unreliability of sex abuse claims by children. (The book’s theme is that all people are latent pedophiles and that parents receive vicarious sexual gratification from their children’s sexual experiences).

Fran’s Day Care – Randy Noblitt, PhD (prosecution’s expert witness)
Article at https://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/articles/frans-day-care/

More Misinformation in the Media about the Keller Case
June 3, 2015…

(1) The Kellers were never charged with, let alone convicted of, satanic ritual abuse….The only reason those issues came into the Keller case is because the defense brought them up.

(2) Dr. Mouw’s “recantation” did not negate all of the medical evidence of abuse in the case. As anyone who bothered to read his affidavit can see, Dr. Mouw still admits that the original girl in this case had a tear in her vagina. Cathy Young has dismissed this evidence with the wild assertion that vaginal tears are normal in non-abused children, but virtually all research of “normal” genitals contradicts this claim. The Keller case began with a genital injury that Dr. Mouw does not deny. His “recantation” of the other finding strains credulity. It relies on the claim that Dr. Mouw had a clear recollection of this genital exam many years after he testified that he had absolutely no recollection of the exam.

(3) A civil complaint filed by the parents of one of the children who attended the Keller’s home daycare contains the allegation that a “longtime friend and confident” of Francis Keller was told about “Daniel Keller’s abusive habit toward children” (p. 2)…. https://blogs.brown.edu/rcheit/files/2014/05/Keller-civil-complaint.pdf

In sum, there was far more evidence in this case than has ever been acknowledged by those promoting the witch-hunt narrative. The “recantation” by Dr. Mouw made it impossible to retry the case, but a close examination of his affidavit makes it clear that Dr. Mouw is not credible. That probably explains why the appellate court did not exonerate the Kellers. Dr. Mouw’s statement simply does not add up. He claims to have had a clear recollection of the medical exam in this case many years after testifying; but when he testified under oath in 1993 he said that he had “no independent recollection” of the exam beyond his written records.
https://blogs.brown.edu/rcheit/2015/06/03/more-misinformation-about-the-keller-case/

Petition detailing allegations of abuse by Dan Keller and others
A civil complaint filed by the parents of one of the children who attended the Keller’s home daycare contains the allegation that a “longtime friend and confident” of Francis Keller was told about “Daniel Keller’s abusive habit toward children” (p. 2)
https://blogs.brown.edu/rcheit/files/2014/05/Keller-civil-complaint.pdf

 

Excerpts from news articles before, during and after the Keller trial:

Police find Jeep, weapon belonging to couple wanted on assault charges
Kerry Haglund December 7, 1991
Austin American-Statesman

Law enforcement authorities on Friday recovered a vehicle and a weapon belonging to two day-care operators wanted on sexual assault charges, according to sheriff’s reports. The vehicle was being used by Daniel Bruno Keller, 50, and Elaine Keller, 44….

The weapon recovered was a .38-caliber gun, authorities said.

The couple was expected to turn themselves in to authorities on Tuesday but didn’t appear, Radford said.

The sheriff’s department, fearing the couple may attempt to flee the state, has sent out a statewide bulletin and has contacted law enforcement agencies in neighboring states in hopes of finding the couple….

Day care owners arrested in Las Vegas in sex case
January 15, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

Two fugitives accused of sexually assaulting children in their Austin day care center were arrested Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nev., said Sgt. Gordon Dye of the Travis County Sheriff’s Department. Daniel Bruno Keller, 50, of 11800 Manchaca Road, and his wife, Frances Elaine Keller, 44, were arrested on fugitive charges after Las Vegas police spotted their car and chased them to a hotel, said Las Vegas police Sgt. Jack Ladner.

Both had cut and dyed their hair, and Daniel Keller had a birth certificate with a false name. However, they were still driving a car that was listed in the National Criminal Investigation Computer and a national, all-points police bulletin, said Todd Radford, a Travis County detective….

They will be returned to Travis County to face charges, Dye said….

Fugitives returned to Austin
January 29, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

Two fugitives accused of molesting children they cared for at a Travis County day-care center arrive Tuesday at Robert Mueller Municipal Airport after being arrested in Las Vegas. Frances Elaine Keller, 44, right, and her husband Daniel Bruno Keller, 50, at center with his head bowed, are accused of molesting two children at their Fran’s Day Care center. The couple have been sought since Dec. 3, when they failed to appear in a Travis County court on the charges.

 

2 officers arrested on sex charges
Deputy constables linked to couple in day-care case
Kimberly Garcia July 9, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

Two deputy constables face charges of engaging in improper sexual behavior with two children, whom husband-and-wife day-care center operators were charged with sexually assaulting last year….

The Kellers were indicted in November on charges of sexually assaulting the same two children at their child-care center. They were arrested in January in Las Vegas when officers saw their car, which was listed in the National Criminal Investigations Computer. Both had cut and dyed their hair, and Daniel Keller had a birth certificate with a false name….

Ex-husband is charged in assaults
Man accused with constable in charges at day-care center
Kimberly Garcia July 10, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

The former husband of a Travis County deputy constable charged with sexually assaulting two children at a day-care center was arrested Thursday on charges of sexually assaulting the same children.

Douglas Wayne Perry, 30, was at Travis County Central Booking in lieu of $50,000 bail, records state. He and Janise White, a former deputy constable who is Perry’s ex-wife, are charged with sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy at Fran’s Day Care Center in August.

Daniel Bruno Keller and Frances Elaine Keller operated the center in southwestern Travis County until they were indicted in November on charges of sexually assaulting the same children. The center is closed.

A fifth suspect, Raul Quintero, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of indecency with a child by contact in connection with the August incident. Quintero is a Travis County deputy constable who worked with White in the Precinct 3 office….

`I don’t know if the public is ready for this’
Allegations of abuse portray dark side at Oak Hill day care
Pamela Ward

Denise Gamino July 12, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

As the investigation continues, questions surround B.D. Johnson, 40, who is Fran Keller’s brother. Johnson, who has a prison record for two theft convictions and one driving-while-intoxicated conviction from Travis County, was indicted last July in Burnet County in a child abuse case, records show.

Johnson was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a 4-year-old and received an eight-year sentence in a plea bargain, records show. Johnson remains in prison, authorities said.

Law officials also said they believe there are child victims who have not been interviewed and other victims who gradually reveal details about their abuse as they gain verbal skills and receive therapy.

“I’m sure there are more out there we haven’t been able to talk to. We’re still looking for other kids who may have been there,” Oliver said.

More than half of the eight to 10 children at the home when the abuse allegations surfaced were infants or toddlers who could not yet talk, he said.

Oliver said police have interviewed only three or four children because “those are the only ones old enough to talk.”….

“We have experienced almost unfathomable pain and terror,” said the mother of one of the alleged victims, a boy who is 4. What her son endured, the mother said, is “shocking and unbelievable.” She said, “I don’t know if the public is ready for this story yet.”

She said her boy was treated in a psychiatric hospital for several weeks after the allegations of abuse surfaced. “His prognosis is he will probably need therapy off and on the rest of his life.”

Parents described how their preschoolers’ behavior changed in odd ways and how that didn’t seem overly significant, at first.

Last summer, a parent of a 3 1/2-year-old girl noticed the child playing with her underwear and her sexual organs. “She was playing with herself and doing things that little girls just don’t do,” the parent said. “I recognized it, and my parents recognized it.”

The family was puzzled and concerned but didn’t know what to make of the child’s behavior.

Then, one day, “She was playing with herself. . . . She was spreading her legs apart,” the parent said. “She was being kind of coy about it. I said, `Wow, something’s going on.’ ”

Another parent said her preschool-age boy began “talking in bathroom terms and laughing about it.” He also crawled on the floor naked, carrying a pillow and talking baby-talk, and would reach out to play with his father’s male organ. These inappropriate “out of the blue” behaviors, she came to realize, were symptoms of child abuse, she said.

“I want to stress how important it is to notice, notice, notice and listen to the child,” said the parent. Once, she said, her son stood beforeher and “said `I’m gonna cut your head off.’ It occurred to me to say, `Did anyone ever tell you they were gonna cut your head off?’ He said `Yes,’ and was making a sawing motion at his neck….

Hearing for 5 charged in crimes at Oak Hill day-care center begins
Man voluntarily confessed to abuse of children, ranger testifies
Jim Phillips September 29, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

A suspect in the sexual abuse of several children at an Oak Hill day-care center voluntarily confessed, implicating the owners of the center and two deputy constables, a Texas Ranger testified Monday.

Ranger John Waldrip said Douglas Perry, 30, admitted the crimes after he failed a polygraph test in July. Perry has since recanted the written statement he gave investigators, attorneys in the case said. The testimony came in a pretrial hearing for five people charged with abusing children at Fran’s Day Care in Oak Hill….

The hearing is to determine whether Perry’s confession and statements by other defendants can be used against the accused.

Perry also told investigators that White had given a copy of a police report to the Kellers, and that the constables had been questioned about reading police reports about the investigation on their computers, Waldrip said. The Kellers initially had been charged last year; the other three defendants were charged in July.

The ranger said Perry, after failing the polygraph, described sex acts between the Kellers and two victims, a boy and girl. Perry said that White had photographed the sex acts and that he and Quintero also participated, Waldrip said.

Also testifying was Roger Wade, a Travis County sheriff’s deputy, who said that when the Kellers were first confronted with the accusations in August 1991, they denied the charges….

Man confessed to abuse, ranger says at hearing
Jim Phillips September 29, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

A suspect in the sexual abuse of several children at an Oak Hill day-care center voluntarily confessed, implicating the owners of the center and two deputy constables, a Texas Ranger testified Monday.

Ranger John Waldrip said Douglas Perry, 30, admitted the crimes after he failed a polygraph test in July. Perry has since recanted the written statement he gave investigators, attorneys in the case said. The testimony came in a pretrial hearing for five people charged with abusing children at Fran’s Day Care in Oak Hill….

Perry also told investigators that White had given a copy of a police report to the Kellers, and that the constables had been questioned about reading police reports about the investigation on their computers, Waldrip said. The Kellers initially had been charged last year; the other three defendants were charged in July.

The ranger said Perry, after failing the polygraph, described sex acts between the Kellers and two victims, a boy and girl. Perry said that White had photographed the sex acts and that he and Quintero also participated, Waldrip said.

Also testifying was Roger Wade, a Travis County sheriff’s deputy, who said that when the Kellers were first confronted with the accusations in August 1991, they denied the charges.

Daniel Keller said “anyone who did that should be shot and put out of their misery,” Wade said. “He was very adamant about that.”…

6-year-old testifies he witnessed abuse of girl
Jury may begin deliberating molestation case today
Denise Gamino November 24, 1992 Austin American-Statesman

A 6-year-old boy, testifying in court by closed-circuit television, said Monday he saw Frances and Daniel Keller sexually abuse a 3-year-old girl on numerous occasions at “Fran and Danny’s Hate Care” center.

When a prosecutor began questioning the boy about Fran’s Day Care near Oak Hill, the child interrupted by saying, “You mean Fran and Danny’s Hate Care.” He said he called the facility that “because they hated kids.” The boy, who drew on a notepad and sometimes hugged a teddy bear named “Boo” while testifying for 40 minutes in a closed room near the courtroom, said he saw the girl abused with “sticks, fingers, toes and mouths.”

The boy is one of three children who have said they were sexually abused at the Kellers’ day-care home in 1991. He was asked just about the abuse of the girl, who is now 5, because the Kellers are on trial only in the molestation of the girl. Charges against the Kellers in the other two cases are pending….

The boy said the Kellers “tried to touch her in her private parts.” When Brian Case, an assistant Travis County district attorney, asked the boy where the abuse occurred, the child said, “outside, in the house, everywhere (they) owned.”

“First one person went (to touch her), and then the other person, then the other person and the other person,” he said.

Three other adults, Doug Perry and former Travis County deputy constables Janise White and Raul Quintero, have been charged with sexually abusing children at the day care. They have not been tried.

When Case asked the boy what else he had seen, the boy said, “And they like, well, they, hmmm, they took us to a graveyard and dug up this body.

“They made (the little girl) carry all of the bones that they dug up.”

The boy, who is in first grade at a local school, said the Kellers forced children to touch each other’s genitals and showed them horror movies. He also said the Kellers gave him a drug to make him forget things.

“It looked like stomach-ache medicine, but it wasn’t,” he said. “It didn’t stop my stomach from hurting, even for a minute. It made it feel worse.”….

But after the boy completed his testimony, the Kellers’ defense lawyers showed the jury a September 1991 videotape of the boy being interviewed by a woman from the Travis County sheriff’s office.

In the videotaped interview, the boy said attending Fran’s Day Care “was pretty good,” and said no one had touched his genitals and that he never had seen anyone touch another child’s genitals….
“What happened over at Dan and Fran’s?” he was asked. “I can’t remember that,” the boy said.

Later, the interviewer asked: “What about anyone touching on your private parts?” The boy said, “Yeah, yeah, that’s true ’cause I was there.”

Defense lawyers say the videotaped interviews with children allegedly abused by the Kellers show inconsistent stories. They say the difference between the taped interviews and other allegations show the children have been coaxed.

Shipway said the boy’s videotaped interview was different from his testimony because he had been traumatized and threatened in an effort to keep him from speaking up about the abuse. “What he said on the video is that he forgot or did not want to remember those things.”

She said the boy was exhibiting the same type of memory disorder discussed earlier Monday by an expert in ritual abuse, who testified for the state. Randy Noblitt of Richardson, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology, said many sexual abuse victims have memory lapses or feel they are not themselves because they have been so traumatized and intimidated.

Noblitt said he has reviewed law enforcement reports and psychological reports on the 5-year-old girl and believes there are many similarities to ritual abuse. He said he found no evidence to suggest the girl had been coaxed into making the allegations….

Defense lawyers presented their own expert witness, clinical psychologist George Parker of Austin. Parker testified children “are very susceptible to leading questions and suggestion,” and may make statements just to please adults.
But Parker said he did not know enough about the girl to know whether she had a tendency to lie.

Also testifying Monday was Brenda Keele, 23, the eldest child of Frances Keller. She testified that her mother never abused her or her two siblings.
But under cross-examination, Shipway presented Keele with a letter she had written to Frances Keller in November 1990.
In the letter, Keele wrote, “First, I disown my brother because he was perverted enough to ask me, his own sister, to sleep with him.”
Keele denied the incident and said she wrote the letter because her brother angered her by not paying for a car he was buying from her.
Shipway later said she introduced the letter to show “these things (sexual abuse) are patterns. Her (Fran’s) brother is in prison for sexual abuse of a 5-year-old. There are some indications that other of Fran’s family members may have that problem.

Mother says girl revealed sex assault by couple
Pamela Ward November 18, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

The mother of a 5-year-old child and the child’s therapist testified Tuesday that the girl described sexual acts performed on her by Frances and Daniel Keller, a couple who ran an Oak Hill area day-care home.

In the opening day of testimony in the child molestation trial, the mother said her child had experienced night terrors and had become hysterical at bathtime in the days before she confided that “Danny hurt her.” The mother said her child, who was 3 1/2 at the time of the summer 1991 revelation, told her “Danny took his pee-pee and put it in her hole and got glue all inside her and it was yucky.” The woman also said her child told her Frances Keller had put a writing pen in her vagina “lots of times.”

That same day, Aug. 15, 1991, the child visited with therapist Donna David Campbell. The child used anatomically correct dolls to demonstrate oral sex, Campbell testified, adding that the child made biting noises and said, Frances Keller “ate me all up.”

Dr. Michael Mouw, an emergency room physician at Brackenridge Hospital, said he examined the child and found tears in her vagina that were probably less than 24 hours old. No sperm was found.

Dr. Beth Nauert, a pediatrician with expertise in examining child sexual abuse victims, testified Tuesday that she examined the child a couple of weeks after the examination at Brackenridge. Nauert said the child’s vaginal tears had healed….

He said the couple figured out which child might have made the accusation, and that Frances Keller said the child was “a liar, that she lied about all kinds of things, about putting her shoes away, about eating her vegetables.”….

5-year-old testifies in day-care abuse case
Girl’s testimony often contradictory Denise Gamino November 19, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

A fidgeting 5-year-old girl, sitting on the lap of her teen-age sister and chewing on a lollipop, took the witness stand Wednesday and alternately denied and admitted that anything bad happened to her at a day-care home near Oak Hill.

The girl sometimes glanced at former day-care home operators Frances and Daniel Keller, who are on trial for aggravated sexual assault and indecency with a child, but did not acknowledge them. Prosecutors put the child on the witness stand two times, about half an hour apart, but neither period of testimony yielded consistent answers. The child was too shy to be sworn in before spectators, but she became increasingly playful on the stand, and answered one question with “No way, Jose.”

The most incriminating remark the child made, “I don’t know why Fran and Dan hurt me,” was not admissible evidence because the child whispered the statement to her sister and the court reporter was not able to record it.

During her initial 10-minute testimony, the child said she didn’t know anyone named Fran or Dan, was never hurt or touched inappropriately by anyone, and never attended Fran’s Day Care. “I didn’t go there at all,” she said.

But the girl contradicted herself later during an additional 20 minutes of testimony when she was allowed to whisper her answers to Judy Shipway, assistant Travis County district attorney.

“Did you ever go to a day care named Fran and Dan’s?” Shipway asked. “Yes,” the girl whispered.

“Did anything ever happen at Fran and Dan’s Day Care you didn’t like?” Shipway asked. “Yes,” the girl said.

“Did Danny ever do something to you that you didn’t like?” Shipway asked. “Yes,” the girl said after standing up and offering her yellow lollipop to those nearby.

But when Shipway asked the girl to “go ahead and tell them” what happened, she began to get playful. She blew air into the microphone and began saying “Hello, hello.”

Shipway, kneeling next to the child, tried again. “Did Danny ever touch you where you didn’t like?” The child said, “No.”

“Did anyone else ever touch you where you didn’t like?” Shipway asked. “No,” the girl said.

“Did Fran ever touch you where you didn’t like?” Shipway asked. “No,” the girl said.

After more negative answers, Shipway asked, “Does `no’ mean, no you don’t want to talk about it, or no, it didn’t happen?”

“No, it didn’t happen,” the child said….

Parents of the alleged assault victims said Daniel Keller’s brother, who was outside the courtroom, and someone in the courtroom flashed threatening hand signals to the child before and during her testimony that may have frightened her into silence. The parents believe hand signals were used as part of a pattern of ritualistic abuse of their children.
Shipway said she doesn’t know whether hand signals were flashed at the child, but said she is aware that similar tactics have been reported in other ritual abuse cases around the country.
Prosecutors attributed the child’s inability to provide consistent testimony to her age and fear of the crowded courtroom….

But the court-appointed defense lawyers said the child’s testimony showed she had been coaxed into making her previous statements about being abused by the Kellers….

During the afternoon, the jury heard a graphic tale of five adults engaging in sexual acts with two children at Fran’s Day Care.

The details came in a July 7th confession read aloud by Douglas Perry, 30, one of three adults besides the Kellers who have been charged with molesting children at the day-care home. The other two adults charged are former Travis County deputy constables Janise White, who at the time of the alleged assaults was married to Perry; and Raul Quintero, who was White’s working partner.

Perry has since recanted the confession, but he testified in the Keller trial after Flowers granted him immunity. None of his testimony or evidence gathered through his testimony may be used against him when he goes on trial.

On the stand, Perry denied participating in the adult-child sexual encounters to which he confessed, and said he had recanted shortly after confessing….

In a voice sometimes cracking with emotion, Perry read his original account of a Friday evening beer-and-sex party at Fran’s Day Care. He said Frances Keller phoned White and Perry and invited them over. Quintero also showed up, he said.

A young boy and girl were at the home, and White, wearing a constable officer’s shirt, told the children she knew where they lived and said “if they told anybody she would do to them what she was about to do to the doll. Then she tore the head off of the doll.”

Then, according to the confession, a number of sexual encounters occurred: Frances Keller put a pen in the girl’s vagina and engaged in oral sex with her, the girl performed oral sex on Daniel Keller and Perry, Quintero put his finger in the girl’s vagina, Daniel Keller inserted a pen in the boy’s anus, and the boy was forced to perform oral sex on Frances Keller and White.

Jury mulls day-care abuse case
State, defense make their final arguments
Denise Gamino November 25, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

A Travis County jury continued deliberating late Tuesday in the trial of Frances and Daniel Keller, who are accused of sexually abusing a preschooler last year at their day-care home near Oak Hill.
During the six-day trial, prosecutors argued that the Kellers had abused the girl by engaging in several forms of sexual acts with her and threatening and terrorizing her into silence. They presented medical records and testimony about the girl’s torn vagina and psychology reports about her August 1991 outcry, which they said was so sexually vivid it could not have been fabricated….

The Kellers’ court-appointed defense lawyers argued that the girl and other alleged victims were coaxed into making the allegations against the Kellers. They said the children could not be believed because many of their allegations, such as witnessing killings and flying in airplanes, were outlandish.

The trial was highlighted by the testimony of the girl, who is now 5 years old, and by a 6-year-old boy who also was allegedly abused by the Kellers.

While the girl’s testimony from the witness stand last week yielded inconsistent answers to questions about what had happened to her, the boy wavered little Monday in his accusations against the Kellers. He said he saw the Kellers abusing the girl on numerous occasions….

Therapist describes ritualistic abuse claims
Defense begins its case in day-care molestation trial
Pamela Ward

Denise Gamino November 20, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

The focus of a day-care sexual molestation trial shifted dramatically Thursday to a bizarre tale of ritualistic torture of babies, children and cats and graveyard ceremonies.

The therapist who has counseled a child who prosecutors say was abused by Frances and Daniel Keller, the Oak Hill area day-care home operators on trial, was asked to detail for the jury the child’s stories of events while in the Kellers’ care. Donna David Campbell related a string of comments from the child, who was 3 1/2 when the alleged abuse occurred. Among the many stories the girl has told in the preceding 16 months, Campbell said, are tales of candles burning while needles were stuck into screaming cats, the killing of a baby named Rachel and a visit to a cemetery where child and adult bodies were unearthed in the presence of a police officer or sheriff’s deputy.

The child also told her therapist that the Kellers wore white robes when they hurt her, that she saw Easter bunnies and dogs shot, that she took a ride in an airplane and that all the children had to help Daniel Keller dismember a person with a chainsaw.

The therapist’s testimony came at the request of defense attorneys, who began their case Thursday. The prosecution previously interviewed Campbell but appeared to be building a case based solely on sexual molestation. Nationally, prosecutors have had poor success when claims of ritualism were introduced….

A day after the girl testified in court, offering conflicting testimony, the jury watched three videotapes of her speaking with sheriff’s office staff.

The girl gave inconsistent answers when asked what the Kellers had done to her, sometimes showing how they had molested her and sometimes denying they had hurt her. At times, she mixed up the names of body parts.

Also on the videotapes, she was offered candy or a “special treat” for talking about what happened. At one point, the girl’s mother told her she should make the videotape “to help save the other kids and protect them.”…

Kellers deny abusing kids at day care
Two fled Austin because of fear, woman testifies
Pamela Ward

Denise Gamino November 21, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

Day-care home operators Daniel and Frances Keller testified in their criminal trial Friday and denied they ever engaged in sexual acts with children in their care.

Frances Keller, who testified first, burst into tears shortly after taking the stand and answered “no” to all the charges against her. “Well, if you didn’t do any of those things, then why did you go to Las Vegas,” her lawyer, Lewis Jones, asked, in reference to the Keller’s fugitive flight after their November 1991 indictment.

“We were scared, humiliated and hurt,” she said as she blotted her eyes with a tissue. She continued to sniffle as she testified they fled Austin because she believed that she would go to jail and have to pay $10,000 – money she didn’t have – for a lawyer to fight the charges.

Her husband later took the stand and often seemed confused by the questioning. To prosecutors’ questions, he answered “yes” it was a coincidence that his wife dyed his hair on their trip to Las Vegas, and a coincidence that, as police arrived at their hotel, they left behind a steaming bowl of food, belongings and a car and moved to a different hotel.

“So it’s all just a coincidence,” prosecutor Judy Shipway asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

The next question came from Keller’s court-appointed attorney, Dain Whitworth: “What’s a coincidence?”

“I don’t know,” Keller answered.

“Then why are you up there testifying it’s a coincidence if you don’t know what it is?”

“I don’t know,” he said….

The Kellers said they never had taken the children to a cemetery, never had dressed in robes or costumes in front of them and never maltreated, killed or injured animals in the children’s presence….

Defense witnesses on the fourth day of testimony included a next-door neighbor and three mothers of children who attended the day-care home at the time of the alleged abuse. All testified they never witnessed anything suspicious….


Kellers found guilty of sexual assault
Day-care owners face sentencing Monday
Denise Gamino

November 26, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

After deliberating 14 1/2 hours, a Travis County jury Wednesday found Frances and Daniel Keller guilty of sexually assaulting a child at their day-care home, which prosecutors portrayed as a horror chamber for children….

Nash’s 6-year-old son was a key witness in the six-day trial. He came to court with his teddy bear and testified via closed-circuit television, steadily recounting details of how the Kellers terrorized children in a cemetery and the many ways in which they sexually abused a 3 1/2-year-old girl. The Kellers were being tried only for abuse of the girl, who is now 5 years old, but they also have been charged with abusing the 6-year-old boy and another boy….

The Kellers remained in jail all spring and summer. In July, police arrested three other adults and charged them with molesting children at Fran’s Day Care. Arrested were Doug Perry and former Travis County deputy constables Janise White and Raul Quintero. Their trials are pending….

The three were arrested after Perry confessed that the three adults, along with the Kellers, had engaged in a beer-and-sex party during which several children were sexually assaulted by the adults while photographs were taken.

Perry later recanted his confession, but the prosecution instructed him to read his confession last week after he was granted immunity. His confession contained graphic details of a variety of sexual acts performed on two children, and it substantiated claims made by the children that they had been threatened and terrorized into not speaking out.

According to the confession, White tore the head off a doll and told the girl and boy if they reported being abused their heads would come off the same way….

Kellers are given sentences of 48 years
Appeal is expected in child-abuse case
Pamela Ward December 1, 1992
Austin American-Statesman

A Travis County jury handed child-care home operators Frances and Daniel Keller 48-year prison sentences Monday for sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl.

The defendants stood calmly before District Judge Wil Flowers as he read the jury’s decision. Frances Keller offered a soft “no” when the judge asked if she had anything to say. Her husband, in a voice close to a whisper, uttered “I am innocent,” and moments later proclaimed “We are innocent” as he and his wife were led back to jail…..

Parents who trusted their children to the Kellers said they were pleased at the sentences but would have preferred more years.

“I feel that if ever there was a case for life, this was it, that these two individuals should have had life sentences,” said Carol Staelin, whose 5 1/2-year-old son was committed to a psychiatric hospital after his summer at Fran’s Day Care home near Oak Hill….

When the Kellers were indicted on the eve of Thanksgiving a year ago, they told officers they would turn themselves in after the holiday. Instead, the couple fled to Las Vegas where they were arrested in January.

Charges dropped in child abuse case
Pamela Ward December 4, 1993
Austin American-Statesman

Child sexual abuse charges were dropped Friday against former Travis County Deputy Constables Janise White and Raul Quintero in the Fran’s Day Care case, a decision that dismayed parents….

Prosecutors defended the decision to drop charges pending further evidence. Bryan Case, an assistant district attorney, said that since a grand jury indicted the two Precinct 3 officers, important additional evidence failed to materialize….

Douglas Wayne Perry, another co-defendant, pleaded guilty last May and received 10 years of probation. Perry, who was accused of having a 3-year-old girl perform oral sex on him, gave police a confession – later recanted – in which he implicated the deputy constables. He was married to White at the time. They have since divorced.

Perry told police that he, White, Quintero and the Kellers had engaged in a beer and sex party during which several children were sexually assaulted by the adults while photographs were taken….

Parents decry child abuse case plea bargain
Douglas Perry agrees to 10 years probation in Fran’s Day Care sex abuse case
Pamela Ward May 25, 1993
Austin American-Statesman

Douglas Wayne Perry, one of five people accused of sexually abusing children at Fran’s Day Care, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Monday and agreed to a sentence of 10 years probation and community service – a decision that angered parents.

“We think it’s a grave injustice,” said Sean Nash, father of one child who attended the Oak Hill area child care home. “This shows clearly that there is no justice for children in Texas.” Last November, child care center operators Fran and Dan Keller received 48-year prison sentences for aggravated sexual assault of a 3-year-old girl in a case that includes stories of ritualistic torture of babies, children and cats, and graveyard ceremonies.

Assistant District Attorney Judy Shipway, who prosecuted the Kellers, arranged the Perry plea bargain. She said it was based on three considerations: “The fact that he confessed and opted to plead guilty” and avoid a trial. “Also, apparently he did not have the magnitude of involvement that Fran and Dan Keller appeared to have. And the main consideration was not to put child witnesses through another trial.”…

Perry confessed that he, White, Quintero and the Kellers had engaged in a beer-and-sex party during which several children were sexually assaulted by the adults while photographs were taken.

A reluctant witness in the Kellers’ trial, Perry read aloud from his confession after being granted immunity. His confession contained graphic details of a variety of sexual acts performed on two children, and it substantiated claims made by the children that they had been threatened and terrorized into keeping the abuse secret….

Grandfather guns down six grandchildren and his daughter, ‘Craigslist Killers’ Sentenced to Life in Prison

September 19, 2014 Comments Off on Grandfather guns down six grandchildren and his daughter, ‘Craigslist Killers’ Sentenced to Life in Prison

‘Craigslist Killers’ Miranda and Elytte Barbour Sentenced to Life in Prison By Associated Press 09/18/2014

A newlywed couple whose Craigslist ad lured a stranger to his death were sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole by a judge who said their “permanent removal” from society is appropriate.

Neither 19-year-old Miranda Barbour nor her 22-year-old husband, Elytte, displayed emotion as they sat with their lawyers in the Sunbury, Pennsylvania, courtroom while some of the victim’s relatives described the grief and pain they have experienced since the Nov. 11 murder….

The couple pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence, in a plea deal that ruled out the death penalty….

In April, Miranda Barbour gained some notoriety when she claimed in an interview with the Sunbury newspaper, The Daily Item, that she had killed at least 22 other people in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina and California over six years as part of her involvement in a satanic cult.

Police said they couldn’t substantiate her claims. But in a Monday telephone interview with The Daily Item from Muncy State Prison, Miranda Barbour stood by her confession to multiple murders…. http://www.people.com/article/craigslist-killers-sentenced-life-in-prison

Grandfather guns down six grandchildren and his daughter in Florida trailer home
Sep 18th 2014   By RYAN GORMAN

Six children and two adults, including the shooter, are dead after a mass shooting in Florida, authorities said.

Grandfather Don Spirit, 51, reportedly gunned down his adult daughter and her six children inside his Bell home, Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz said in a Thursday evening press conference. Local media is reporting the other adult victim is 28-year-old Sarah Spirit, but he declined to confirm….

The Thursday afternoon incident began as a domestic dispute, but it is not known what triggered the confrontation. Also not clear is what type of gun was used in the mass shooting.

“It started out as a family dispute and escalated,” a law enforcement source previously told AOL News.

Donald Spirit has a criminal record, Schultz said, but declined to confirm his previous charges.

The gunman reportedly pleaded guilty to to shooting his eight-year-old son in in a 2003 hunting accident. He was released from prison in 2006, corrections records showed….

Other charges include possession, depriving a child of food/shelter and accidental death, records reportedly show.

Methamphetamine is also reportedly “a problem” in the trailer home where Donald Spirit lives…. http://www.aol.com/article/2014/09/18/mass-shooting-florida-six-children-eight-people-dead/20964648/

Randofontein teen confesses to satanic ritual killing, Police say Jimmy Savile abused at least 1,300 people over 54 years

October 5, 2013 Comments Off on Randofontein teen confesses to satanic ritual killing, Police say Jimmy Savile abused at least 1,300 people over 54 years

Randfontein teen confesses satanic killing of friend
South Africa Friday 4 October 2013

JOHANNESBURG – A 15-year-old Johannesburg girl has confessed to stabbing her friend to death as part of a Satanic ritual.

The teenager has told the Palm Ridge High Court she killed her schoolmate in order to move up the ranks of a Satanic cult in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg.

The accused says Keamogetswe Sefularo posed a threat to the group, because she could identify its members and knew about the cult’s practices.

She claims these rituals include visiting graveyards and members cutting themselves and sucking each other’s blood….
http://www.enca.com/south-africa/randfontein-teen-confesses-satanic-killing-friend

New Savile abuse victims are STILL coming forward a year after paedophile presenter’s reign of terror was exposed

Police say Jimmy Savile abused at least 1,300 people over 54 years
Children’s charity NSPCC says more victims are still coming forward
Charity has also seen an overall surge in the number of child victims of sexual abuse and rape contacting them
The number of cases it is referring to police and social services is up 84%
By Daniel Martin
3 October 2013

The NSPCC is still receiving calls from victims of Jimmy Savile a year on from the TV documentary which exposed the serial paedophile’s reign of terror.

Police say there the former BBC broadcaster abused at least 1,300 people over 54 years – but the children’s charity said more were still coming forward.

The charity revealed that publicity over the scandal has led to an overall surge in the number of child victims of sexual abuse and rape contacting the NSPCC….
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2442231/Jimmy-Savile-abuse-victims-STILL-coming-forward-year-terror-exposed.html

Child protection measures apply regardless of religious rules

September 3, 2011 Comments Off on Child protection measures apply regardless of religious rules

Child protection measures apply regardless of religious rules
29 August 2011 – The Irish justice minister has said that forthcoming child protection measures, including mandatory reporting will “apply regardless of any internal rules of any religious grouping”.

Alan Shatter was responding to comments made by Cardinal Sean Brady who defended the seal of confession.

Cardinal Brady stressed it was a “sacred and treasured” rite.

Mr Shatter said past failures in the Catholic Church had led paedophiles to believe they could act with “impunity”.

Last month the Cloyne report was published.

It found the diocese failed to report all complaints of abuse to police.
Past failures

As a result, a number of child protection measures were announced under the legislation currently being drawn up.

A priest could be convicted of a criminal offence if they were told of a sexual abuse case and failed to report it to the civil authorities.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Mr Shatter said: “It is the failure in the past to make such reports that has led sexual predators into believing that they have impunity and facilitated paedophiles preying on children and destroying their lives.”

Anyone who fails to declare information about the abuse of a child could face a prison term of five years….

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-14707515

West Memphis 3 Confession Witness Corroboration and Physical Evidence

August 31, 2010 Comments Off on West Memphis 3 Confession Witness Corroboration and Physical Evidence

These articles describe graphic crimes of abuse.

Death Penalty Recommended for Teen-Ager March 20, 1994 …Prosecutors presented evidence suggesting Mr. Echols was a devil worshipper and the younger teen-ager his loyal follower. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/20/us/death-penalty-recommended-for-teen-ager.html?scp=18&sq=west+memphis+3+murder+case&st=nyt

Youth Is Convicted In Slaying of 3 Boys In an Arkansas City CORNING, Ark., Feb. 4 The teen-ager, Jessie Lloyd Misskelley Jr., 18, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a boy whom he had admitted chasing down. He was convicted of second-degree murder in the deaths of the other two boys….Mr. Misskelley told the police in two tape-recorded interviews that he had watched as his two friends beat the boys, raped two of them and castrated one. The prosecution said the slayings might have been part of a Satanic ritual. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/05/us/youth-is-convicted-in-slaying-of-3-boys-in-an-arkansas-city.html?scp=11&sq=west+memphis+3+murder+case&st=nyt

Jessie Lloyd MISSKELLEY, Jr. v. STATE of Arkansas CR 94-848 S.W.2d Supreme Court of Arkansas Opinion delivered February 19, 1996

On June 3, 1993, the crime having remained unsolved, Detective Sergeant Mike Allen sought the appellant out for questioning. The appellant was not considered a suspect, but it was thought he might have knowledge about Damien Echols, who was a suspect. Detective Allen located the appellant and brought him back to the station, arriving at approximately 10:00 a.m. Later in this opinion, we will address in detail the circumstances surrounding the appellant’s interrogation. For now, it is sufficient to say that the appellant was questioned off and on over a period from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. At 2:44 p.m. and again at approximately 5:00 p.m., he gave statements to police in which he confessed his involvement in the murders. Both statements were tape-recorded….

In the early morning hours of May 5, 1993, the appellant received a phone call from Jason Baldwin. Baldwin asked the appellant to accompany him and Damien Echols to the Robin Hood area. The appellant agreed to go. They went to the area, which has a creek, and were in the creek when the victims rode up on their bicycles. Baldwin and Echols called to the boys, who came to the creek. The boys were severely beaten by Baldwin and Echols. At least two of the boys were raped and forced to perform oral sex on Baldwin and Echols. According to appellant, he was merely an observer.

While these events were taking place, Michael Moore tried to escape and began running. The appellant chased him down and returned him to Baldwin and Echols. The appellant also stated that Baldwin had used a knife to cut the boys in the facial area and that the Byers boy was cut on his penis. Echols used a large stick to hit one of the boys. All three boys had their clothes taken off and were tied up….

The appellant was asked about his involvement in a cult. He said he had been involved for about three months. The participants would typically meet in the woods. They engaged in orgies and, as an initiation rite, killing and eating dogs. He noted that at one cult meeting, he saw a picture that Echols had taken of the three boys. He stated that Echols had been watching the boys….

Damien Echols was observed near the crime scene at 9:30 p.m. on May 5. He was wearing black pants and a black shirt and his clothes were muddy. A witness testified that she had attended a satanic cult meeting with Echols and the appellant….a witness from the State Crime Lab testified that she found fibers on the victims’ clothing which were microscopically similar to items in the Baldwin and Echols residences.  http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/1996/cr94-848.html

Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas CR 94-928 S.W.2d  Supreme Court of Arkansas    Opinion delivered December 23, 1996

Where two witnesses testified that they overheard appellant Echols state that he killed the three boys, this was direct evidence; a confession is sufficient to sustain a conviction if it is accompanied by other proof that the offense was committed by someone….

There was substantial evidence of the guilt of appellant Echols where, among other things, the testimony of witnesses placed him in dirty clothes near the crime scene at a time close to the murders; where two independent witnesses reported Echols’s statement that he had killed the three boys and was direct evidence of the statement; where a criminalist from the State Crime Laboratory and a State Medical Examiner testified concerning the similarity of fibers found on the victim’s clothes with clothing found in Echols’s home and the serrated wound patterns on the three victims that were consistent with, and could have been caused by, a knife found in a lake behind appellant Baldwin’s parents’ residence….

Echols admitted on cross-examination that he had delved deeply into the occult and was familiar with its practices and where various items that had been found in his room supported the State’s theory of motive that the killings were done in a satanic ritual; where an expert in occult killings testified that there was significant evidence of satanic ritual killings; where a detective testified that Echols had made a statement regarding the mutilation of one of the victims that the jury could have reasonably concluded he would not have known about unless he had been involved in some manner; and where Echols’s testimony contained additional evidence of guilt….

Echols admitted on cross-examination in the penalty phase of the trial that he had an altercation with his father in which a knife was involved and the police were called; where he admitted that he was hospitalized that same day and that when his father came to the hospital, “I told him I would eat him alive”; where headmitted that he tried “to claw the eyes out” of a student; and where a psychologist who testified for Echols admitted that Echols had “an all-powerful God-like image of himself,” that his parents were concerned with his satanism or devil worship, and that Echols’s medical records included notations of statements by Echols pertaining, among other things, to his rage and the drinking of the blood of others….

Where one witness testified that appellant Baldwin had told him that he had dismembered one of the boys, sucked the blood from his penis and scrotum, and put the testicles in his mouth, and where an expert on ritual killings stated that one of the facts that led him to believe that the killings were cult-related was that one of the victims had been castrated and had had the blood sucked from his penis, there was sufficient evidence of appellant Baldwin’s participation in occult activities, and the trial court correctly allowed the evidence….

Twelve-year-old Christy VanVickle testified that she heard Echols say he “killed the three boys.” Fifteen-year-old Jackie Medford testified that she heard Echols say, “I killed the three little boys and before I turn myself in, I’m going to kill two more, and I already have one of them picked out.” The testimony of these two independent witnesses was direct evidence of the statement by Echols….

Dr. Dale Griffis, an expert in occult killings, testified in the State’s case-in-chief that the killings had the “trappings of occultism.” He testified that the date of the killings, near a pagan holiday, was significant, as well as the fact that there was a full moon. He stated that young children are often sought for sacrifice because “the younger, the more innocent, the better the life force.” He testified that there were three victims, and the number three had significance in occultism. Also, the victims were all eight years old, and eight is a witches’ number. He testified that sacrifices are often done near water for a baptism-type rite or just to wash the blood away. The fact that the victims were tied ankle to wrist was significant because this was done to display the genitalia, and the removal of Byers’s testicles was significant because testicles are removed for the semen. He stated that the absence of blood at the scene could be significant because cult members store blood for future services in which they would drink the blood or bathe in it. He testified that the “overkill” or multiple cuts could reflect occult overtones. Dr. Griffis testified that there was significance in injuries to the left side of the victims as distinguished from the right side: People who practice occultism will use the midline theory, drawing straight down through the body. The right side is related to those things synonymous with Christianity while the left side is that of the practitioners of the satanic occult. He testified that the clear place on the bank could be consistent with a ceremony. In sum, Dr. Griffis testified there was significant evidence of satanic ritual killings….

Echols took the witness stand, and his testimony contained additional evidence of guilt. When asked about his statement that one victim was mutilated more than the others, he said he learned the fact from newspaper accounts. His attorney showed him the newspaper articles about the murders. On cross-examination, Echols admitted that the articles did not mention one victim being mutilated more than the others, and he admitted that he did not read such a fact in a newspaper….

Jason Baldwin does not contend that there was insufficient evidence of his guilt. This is, perhaps, in part, because of the testimony of Michael Carson, who testified that he talked to Baldwin about the murders. Carson’s testimony, in pertinent part, was abstracted as follows:

I said, just between me and you, did you do it. I won’t say a word. He said yes and he went into detail about it. It was just me and Jason [Baldwin]. He told me he dismembered the kids, or I don’t know exactly how many kids. He just said he dismembered them. He sucked the blood from the penis and scrotum and put the balls in his mouth.  http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/1996a/961223sc/cr94-928.html

The Friedmans’ child abuse case bibliography – Capturing the Friedmans info

August 19, 2010 Comments Off on The Friedmans’ child abuse case bibliography – Capturing the Friedmans info


http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/ctf/bib.html

Facts:
Jesse Friedman pled guilty and confessed on TV (Geraldo).

The movie “Capturing the Friedmans” left out the fact that there was a third defendant.

Ross Goldstein, the third defendant, confessed and agreed to testify against both
Friedmans.

The victims as adults have gone public with their being abused.

describes crimes of abuse

Capturing the Friedmans: Annotated Bibliography
http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/ctf/bib.html

Many viewers leave the theater believing that they have seen an objective documentary presented by a director who entrusted audiences to draw their own conclusions on Arnold Friedman’s and Jesse Friedman’s guilt. A careful review of the original evidence, however, shows that the case against the Friedmans was much stronger than the film revealed.

Geraldo Rivera’s interview with Jesse Friedman “Busting the Kiddie Porn Underground”  February 23, 1989 — Geraldo!
Jesse’s attorney, Peter Panera, is interviewed. He tells how he and Jesse made a special trip to Wisconsin to visit Arnold Friedman in prison to convince him to reveal where he had hidden the photos and videos of the children. Arnold refused to reveal what he had done with them, despite the fact that it would have helped gain lenacy for his son….Frances Galasso, the detective-sergeant who was in charge of the Friedman case, describes Jesse’s lack of remorse for his victims and describes how he and his brother harassed some of the victims’ parents at court proceedings. She says that Jesse told the grandfather of one victim: “Well maybe we are suffering now, but with what we’ve done to your children, they’ll suffer for the rest of their lives.” http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/ctf/geraldo.html
Excerpts from interview – based on videotape recording of the show, recorded on February 23, 1989.
Geraldo: “How many kids, Jesse, did you and your father actually physically abuse in your home?”
Jesse:   (long sigh, appears to be mentally counting) “I guess 17.” ….

Geraldo: “What did you do to the children?”
Jesse:  “What did I do to the children? I fondled them. I was forced to pose in 100’s of photos for my father in all sorts of sexual positions with the kids and the kids likewise with myself….

The Secret Life of Arnold Friedman     By Alvin E. Bessent – Newsday  — LI., NY
May 28, 1989
http://web.archive.org/web/20060901203550/www.newsday.com/mynews/ny-friedman052889,0,1599081.story
Bessent also reports on the victims’ fear of the Friedmans:

“As the abuse escalated so did the threats. Police said the children were extensively videotaped and photographed. No pictures of the children have been recovered. But police said Arnold Friedman told the children he would send pornographic pictures of them to magazines and tell the publishers to print their names if they told what was going on. He threatened to burn their houses down. He reportedly said he would kill their parents. . . . Some of the children who testified before the grand juries received threatening telephone calls warning them not to cooperate with police.”
“Some of them still wet their beds, take baseball bats to bed with them or are unable to sleep.”

State of New York v. Arnold Friedman.
Motion for order requiring return of property seized from 17 Picadilly Road, Great Neck, Nassau County, New York, seized pursuant to search warrant of November 25, 1987.  Motion #C-427, Indictment #67104 & 67430.
September 14, 1990.
Judge Abbey L. Boklan approved Arnold Friedmans’ request for the return of all property seized at the Friedman home with the exception of pornographic materials listed in this document.  Materials include such items as:  5 pornographic movies, assorted order forms for pornography, assorted pornographic magazine cutouts, 2 partially nude photos of children, 3 sheets advertising homosexuality with boys, 6 photos of naked people, 3 battery operated sex aids, 1 hypodermic needle, 9 pornographic computer games (with descriptions), list of names and phone numbers of 9 victims, 2 registration sheets with names of victims

The People of the State of New York , Respondent, v. Ross G., Appellant
163 A.D.2d 529; 558 N.Y.S.2d 603; 1990 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8786
June 28, 1990 The Supreme Court of New York responds affirmatively to an appeal by Ross Goldstein who asks the state to reduce his sentence to the terms recommended and agreed to by the prosecution. Although he was not mentioned in the film, Mr. Goldstein was a third defendant who was arrested along with Arnold and Jesse Friedman. According to this document, Goldstein, a former friend of Jesse’s who was between 15 and 16 years old when he committed the crimes. He later became repulsed by the abuse, and six months before the Friedmans were arrested, Goldstein disassociated himself from Jesse Friedman and his activities. Goldstein, now age 19, confessed to the crimes and agreed to testify against both Arnold and Jesse Friedman in exchange for leniency.

Victims break their silence  Victor Manuel Ramos — Newsday  — LI., NY     February 29, 2004 Newsday  staff reporter Victor Manuel Ramos interviews several of the victims who Arnold and Jesse Friedman plead guilty to abusing.

“For Gregory, the hullabaloo over Jarecki’s film — and whether the director will pick up an Oscar tonight — is a sideshow to the legacy of the abuse. Even now, Gregory said he sometimes wakes up at night shaking, especially after hearing of other child abuse cases on the news or elsewhere. What would be passing news to others, hits home for him.
Diagnosed in his preteen years, Gregory said he has persistent rectal bleeding from the abuse. Memories aside, the physical scar will never let him forget. `This is the constant reminder I live with every day,’ Gregory said, `that I was abused.'”

Case of Arnold Friedman and Jessie Friedman “Capturing The Friedmans”
http://web.archive.org/web/20070918045108/www.theawarenesscenter.org/arnoldandjessefriedman.html

http://capturingthefriedmans.wordpress.com/
Our research into the case shows that the director of the film sacrificed truth in favor of creating artistic ambiguity. Clear evidence is omitted and facts are distorted. In addition, the film relies on popular but erroneous myths about child sexual abuse. As a result, uncertainty is created about the guilt of two confessed pedophiles — who are recast as victims — while the real victims — the boys and their families — are portrayed as untrustworthy.


CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS”  Documentary or Whitewash?
http://capturingthefriedmans.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/capturing-the-friedmans-documentary-or-whitewash/

West Memphis 3 confession, witness corroboration and physical evidence

February 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

The West Memphis 3 case included a confession from one of those convicted, physical evidence including a knife and clothing fibers, Echols was seen in muddy clothes near the crime scene and Echols and Baldwin both told others that they had committed the crimes.

The web pages below provide evidence of the guilt of the 3.

These articles describe graphic crimes of abuse
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Death Penalty Recommended for Teen-Ager March 20, 1994 …Prosecutors presented evidence suggesting Mr. Echols was a devil worshipper and the younger teen-ager his loyal follower. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/20/us/death-penalty-recommended-for-teen-ager.html?scp=18&sq=west+memphis+3+murder+case&st=nyt

Youth Is Convicted In Slaying of 3 Boys In an Arkansas City CORNING, Ark., Feb. 4 The teen-ager, Jessie Lloyd Misskelley Jr., 18, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a boy whom he had admitted chasing down. He was convicted of second-degree murder in the deaths of the other two boys….Mr. Misskelley told the police in two tape-recorded interviews that he had watched as his two friends beat the boys, raped two of them and castrated one. The prosecution said the slayings might have been part of a Satanic ritual. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/05/us/youth-is-convicted-in-slaying-of-3-boys-in-an-arkansas-city.html?scp=11&sq=west+memphis+3+murder+case&st=nyt

Jessie Lloyd MISSKELLEY, Jr. v. STATE of Arkansas CR 94-848 S.W.2d Supreme Court of Arkansas Opinion delivered February 19, 1996

On June 3, 1993, the crime having remained unsolved, Detective Sergeant Mike Allen sought the appellant out for questioning. The appellant was not considered a suspect, but it was thought he might have knowledge about Damien Echols, who was a suspect. Detective Allen located the appellant and brought him back to the station, arriving at approximately 10:00 a.m. Later in this opinion, we will address in detail the circumstances surrounding the appellant’s interrogation. For now, it is sufficient to say that the appellant was questioned off and on over a period from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. At 2:44 p.m. and again at approximately 5:00 p.m., he gave statements to police in which he confessed his involvement in the murders. Both statements were tape-recorded….

In the early morning hours of May 5, 1993, the appellant received a phone call from Jason Baldwin. Baldwin asked the appellant to accompany him and Damien Echols to the Robin Hood area. The appellant agreed to go. They went to the area, which has a creek, and were in the creek when the victims rode up on their bicycles. Baldwin and Echols called to the boys, who came to the creek. The boys were severely beaten by Baldwin and Echols. At least two of the boys were raped and forced to perform oral sex on Baldwin and Echols. According to appellant, he was merely an observer.

While these events were taking place, Michael Moore tried to escape and began running. The appellant chased him down and returned him to Baldwin and Echols. The appellant also stated that Baldwin had used a knife to cut the boys in the facial area and that the Byers boy was cut on his penis. Echols used a large stick to hit one of the boys. All three boys had their clothes taken off and were tied up….

The appellant was asked about his involvement in a cult. He said he had been involved for about three months. The participants would typically meet in the woods. They engaged in orgies and, as an initiation rite, killing and eating dogs. He noted that at one cult meeting, he saw a picture that Echols had taken of the three boys. He stated that Echols had been watching the boys….

Damien Echols was observed near the crime scene at 9:30 p.m. on May 5. He was wearing black pants and a black shirt and his clothes were muddy. A witness testified that she had attended a satanic cult meeting with Echols and the appellant….a witness from the State Crime Lab testified that she found fibers on the victims’ clothing which were microscopically similar to items in the Baldwin and Echols residences.  http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/1996/cr94-848.html

Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas CR 94-928 S.W.2d  Supreme Court of Arkansas    Opinion delivered December 23, 1996

Where two witnesses testified that they overheard appellant Echols state that he killed the three boys, this was direct evidence; a confession is sufficient to sustain a conviction if it is accompanied by other proof that the offense was committed by someone….

There was substantial evidence of the guilt of appellant Echols where, among other things, the testimony of witnesses placed him in dirty clothes near the crime scene at a time close to the murders; where two independent witnesses reported Echols’s statement that he had killed the three boys and was direct evidence of the statement; where a criminalist from the State Crime Laboratory and a State Medical Examiner testified concerning the similarity of fibers found on the victim’s clothes with clothing found in Echols’s home and the serrated wound patterns on the three victims that were consistent with, and could have been caused by, a knife found in a lake behind appellant Baldwin’s parents’ residence….

Echols admitted on cross-examination that he had delved deeply into the occult and was familiar with its practices and where various items that had been found in his room supported the State’s theory of motive that the killings were done in a satanic ritual; where an expert in occult killings testified that there was significant evidence of satanic ritual killings; where a detective testified that Echols had made a statement regarding the mutilation of one of the victims that the jury could have reasonably concluded he would not have known about unless he had been involved in some manner; and where Echols’s testimony contained additional evidence of guilt….

Echols admitted on cross-examination in the penalty phase of the trial that he had an altercation with his father in which a knife was involved and the police were called; where he admitted that he was hospitalized that same day and that when his father came to the hospital, “I told him I would eat him alive”; where headmitted that he tried “to claw the eyes out” of a student; and where a psychologist who testified for Echols admitted that Echols had “an all-powerful God-like image of himself,” that his parents were concerned with his satanism or devil worship, and that Echols’s medical records included notations of statements by Echols pertaining, among other things, to his rage and the drinking of the blood of others….

Where one witness testified that appellant Baldwin had told him that he had dismembered one of the boys, sucked the blood from his penis and scrotum, and put the testicles in his mouth, and where an expert on ritual killings stated that one of the facts that led him to believe that the killings were cult-related was that one of the victims had been castrated and had had the blood sucked from his penis, there was sufficient evidence of appellant Baldwin’s participation in occult activities, and the trial court correctly allowed the evidence….

Twelve-year-old Christy VanVickle testified that she heard Echols say he “killed the three boys.” Fifteen-year-old Jackie Medford testified that she heard Echols say, “I killed the three little boys and before I turn myself in, I’m going to kill two more, and I already have one of them picked out.” The testimony of these two independent witnesses was direct evidence of the statement by Echols….

Dr. Dale Griffis, an expert in occult killings, testified in the State’s case-in-chief that the killings had the “trappings of occultism.” He testified that the date of the killings, near a pagan holiday, was significant, as well as the fact that there was a full moon. He stated that young children are often sought for sacrifice because “the younger, the more innocent, the better the life force.” He testified that there were three victims, and the number three had significance in occultism. Also, the victims were all eight years old, and eight is a witches’ number. He testified that sacrifices are often done near water for a baptism-type rite or just to wash the blood away. The fact that the victims were tied ankle to wrist was significant because this was done to display the genitalia, and the removal of Byers’s testicles was significant because testicles are removed for the semen. He stated that the absence of blood at the scene could be significant because cult members store blood for future services in which they would drink the blood or bathe in it. He testified that the “overkill” or multiple cuts could reflect occult overtones. Dr. Griffis testified that there was significance in injuries to the left side of the victims as distinguished from the right side: People who practice occultism will use the midline theory, drawing straight down through the body. The right side is related to those things synonymous with Christianity while the left side is that of the practitioners of the satanic occult. He testified that the clear place on the bank could be consistent with a ceremony. In sum, Dr. Griffis testified there was significant evidence of satanic ritual killings….

Echols took the witness stand, and his testimony contained additional evidence of guilt. When asked about his statement that one victim was mutilated more than the others, he said he learned the fact from newspaper accounts. His attorney showed him the newspaper articles about the murders. On cross-examination, Echols admitted that the articles did not mention one victim being mutilated more than the others, and he admitted that he did not read such a fact in a newspaper….

Jason Baldwin does not contend that there was insufficient evidence of his guilt. This is, perhaps, in part, because of the testimony of Michael Carson, who testified that he talked to Baldwin about the murders. Carson’s testimony, in pertinent part, was abstracted as follows:

I said, just between me and you, did you do it. I won’t say a word. He said yes and he went into detail about it. It was just me and Jason [Baldwin]. He told me he dismembered the kids, or I don’t know exactly how many kids. He just said he dismembered them. He sucked the blood from the penis and scrotum and put the balls in his mouth.  http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/1996a/961223sc/cr94-928.html

West Memphis 3 confession, witness corroboration and physical evidence

December 14, 2009 Comments Off on West Memphis 3 confession, witness corroboration and physical evidence

These articles describe graphic crimes of abuse

Echols’ psychiatric records
http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/img/exh500.html

Misskelley’s Third Confession Transcript
http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/jmfeb.html
Misskelley describes the crimes in front of his lawyer, implicating Echols and Baldwin.

Statement about Damien Echols stomping and killing a dog
http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/joehb.html

Misskelley confession to Kim Floresca
http://wm3.wikia.com/wiki/Kim_Floresca

Misskelley confession to Buddy Lucas
http://wm3truth.com/jessie-misskelleys-confession-to-buddy-lucas-may-6-1993/
http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/b_lucas_interview.html

Death Penalty Recommended for Teen-Ager March 20, 1994 …Prosecutors presented evidence suggesting Mr. Echols was a devil worshipper and the younger teen-ager his loyal follower. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/20/us/death-penalty-recommended-for-teen-ager.html?scp=18&sq=west+memphis+3+murder+case&st=nyt

Youth Is Convicted In Slaying of 3 Boys In an Arkansas City CORNING, Ark., Feb. 4 The teen-ager, Jessie Lloyd Misskelley Jr., 18, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a boy whom he had admitted chasing down. He was convicted of second-degree murder in the deaths of the other two boys….Mr. Misskelley told the police in two tape-recorded interviews that he had watched as his two friends beat the boys, raped two of them and castrated one. The prosecution said the slayings might have been part of a Satanic ritual. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/05/us/youth-is-convicted-in-slaying-of-3-boys-in-an-arkansas-city.html?scp=11&sq=west+memphis+3+murder+case&st=nyt

Jessie Lloyd MISSKELLEY, Jr. v. STATE of Arkansas CR 94-848 S.W.2d Supreme Court of Arkansas Opinion delivered February 19, 1996

On June 3, 1993, the crime having remained unsolved, Detective Sergeant Mike Allen sought the appellant out for questioning. The appellant was not considered a suspect, but it was thought he might have knowledge about Damien Echols, who was a suspect. Detective Allen located the appellant and brought him back to the station, arriving at approximately 10:00 a.m. Later in this opinion, we will address in detail the circumstances surrounding the appellant’s interrogation. For now, it is sufficient to say that the appellant was questioned off and on over a period from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. At 2:44 p.m. and again at approximately 5:00 p.m., he gave statements to police in which he confessed his involvement in the murders. Both statements were tape-recorded….

In the early morning hours of May 5, 1993, the appellant received a phone call from Jason Baldwin. Baldwin asked the appellant to accompany him and Damien Echols to the Robin Hood area. The appellant agreed to go. They went to the area, which has a creek, and were in the creek when the victims rode up on their bicycles. Baldwin and Echols called to the boys, who came to the creek. The boys were severely beaten by Baldwin and Echols. At least two of the boys were raped and forced to perform oral sex on Baldwin and Echols. According to appellant, he was merely an observer.

While these events were taking place, Michael Moore tried to escape and began running. The appellant chased him down and returned him to Baldwin and Echols. The appellant also stated that Baldwin had used a knife to cut the boys in the facial area and that the Byers boy was cut on his penis. Echols used a large stick to hit one of the boys. All three boys had their clothes taken off and were tied up….

The appellant was asked about his involvement in a cult. He said he had been involved for about three months. The participants would typically meet in the woods. They engaged in orgies and, as an initiation rite, killing and eating dogs. He noted that at one cult meeting, he saw a picture that Echols had taken of the three boys. He stated that Echols had been watching the boys….

Damien Echols was observed near the crime scene at 9:30 p.m. on May 5. He was wearing black pants and a black shirt and his clothes were muddy. A witness testified that she had attended a satanic cult meeting with Echols and the appellant….a witness from the State Crime Lab testified that she found fibers on the victims’ clothing which were microscopically similar to items in the Baldwin and Echols residences….

Detective Allen asked him (Misskelley) if he could come with him to the police department to talk about the case. The appellant readily accompanied Allen. He was not handcuffed and rode in the front seat of the car.

The two arrived at the station at approximately 10:00 a.m. Detective Allen and Detective Bryn Ridge questioned the appellant for about an hour when they became concerned that he wasn’t telling the truth. In particular, he denied participation in the cult activity, a statement which was at odds with what other witnesses had said. At this point, the detectives decided to advise the appellant of his rights. Detective Allen read him a form entitled “YOUR RIGHTS,” and verbally advised him of the Miranda rights contained in the form. The appellant responded verbally that he understood his rights and also initialled each component of the rights form. There was no evidence of any promises, threats or coercion.

The form also contained a section entitled “WAIVER OF RIGHTS,” which read as follows:

I have read this statement of my RIGHTS and I understand what my RIGHTS are. I am willing to make a statement and answer questions. I do not want a lawyer at this time. I understand and know what I am doing, no promises or threats have been made to me and no pressure or force has been used against me.

The waiver was signed by the appellant.

After he was advised of his rights and had waived them, the appellant was asked if he would take a polygraph examination. He agreed that he would. Detective Allen took the appellant to look for his father so that his father could grant permission for the appellant to take the polygraph. They observed Mr. Misskelley driving on the same road they were on, stopped him, and received the authorization. There was no evidence of promises, threats or coercion.

Upon returning to the station, Detective Bill Durham, who would administer the polygraph, once again explained the appellant’s rights to him. The appellant verbally indicated he understood, and initialled and signed a second rights-and-waiver form that was identical to the first.   http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/1996/cr94-848.html

Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas CR 94-928 S.W.2d  Supreme Court of Arkansas    Opinion delivered December 23, 1996

Where two witnesses testified that they overheard appellant Echols state that he killed the three boys, this was direct evidence; a confession is sufficient to sustain a conviction if it is accompanied by other proof that the offense was committed by someone….

There was substantial evidence of the guilt of appellant Echols where, among other things, the testimony of witnesses placed him in dirty clothes near the crime scene at a time close to the murders; where two independent witnesses reported Echols’s statement that he had killed the three boys and was direct evidence of the statement; where a criminalist from the State Crime Laboratory and a State Medical Examiner testified concerning the similarity of fibers found on the victim’s clothes with clothing found in Echols’s home and the serrated wound patterns on the three victims that were consistent with, and could have been caused by, a knife found in a lake behind appellant Baldwin’s parents’ residence….

Echols admitted on cross-examination that he had delved deeply into the occult and was familiar with its practices and where various items that had been found in his room supported the State’s theory of motive that the killings were done in a satanic ritual; where an expert in occult killings testified that there was significant evidence of satanic ritual killings; where a detective testified that Echols had made a statement regarding the mutilation of one of the victims that the jury could have reasonably concluded he would not have known about unless he had been involved in some manner; and where Echols’s testimony contained additional evidence of guilt….

Echols admitted on cross-examination in the penalty phase of the trial that he had an altercation with his father in which a knife was involved and the police were called; where he admitted that he was hospitalized that same day and that when his father came to the hospital, “I told him I would eat him alive”; where headmitted that he tried “to claw the eyes out” of a student; and where a psychologist who testified for Echols admitted that Echols had “an all-powerful God-like image of himself,” that his parents were concerned with his satanism or devil worship, and that Echols’s medical records included notations of statements by Echols pertaining, among other things, to his rage and the drinking of the blood of others….

Where one witness testified that appellant Baldwin had told him that he had dismembered one of the boys, sucked the blood from his penis and scrotum, and put the testicles in his mouth, and where an expert on ritual killings stated that one of the facts that led him to believe that the killings were cult-related was that one of the victims had been castrated and had had the blood sucked from his penis, there was sufficient evidence of appellant Baldwin’s participation in occult activities, and the trial court correctly allowed the evidence….

Twelve-year-old Christy VanVickle testified that she heard Echols say he “killed the three boys.” Fifteen-year-old Jackie Medford testified that she heard Echols say, “I killed the three little boys and before I turn myself in, I’m going to kill two more, and I already have one of them picked out.” The testimony of these two independent witnesses was direct evidence of the statement by Echols….

Dr. Dale Griffis, an expert in occult killings, testified in the State’s case-in-chief that the killings had the “trappings of occultism.” He testified that the date of the killings, near a pagan holiday, was significant, as well as the fact that there was a full moon. He stated that young children are often sought for sacrifice because “the younger, the more innocent, the better the life force.” He testified that there were three victims, and the number three had significance in occultism. Also, the victims were all eight years old, and eight is a witches’ number. He testified that sacrifices are often done near water for a baptism-type rite or just to wash the blood away. The fact that the victims were tied ankle to wrist was significant because this was done to display the genitalia, and the removal of Byers’s testicles was significant because testicles are removed for the semen. He stated that the absence of blood at the scene could be significant because cult members store blood for future services in which they would drink the blood or bathe in it. He testified that the “overkill” or multiple cuts could reflect occult overtones. Dr. Griffis testified that there was significance in injuries to the left side of the victims as distinguished from the right side: People who practice occultism will use the midline theory, drawing straight down through the body. The right side is related to those things synonymous with Christianity while the left side is that of the practitioners of the satanic occult. He testified that the clear place on the bank could be consistent with a ceremony. In sum, Dr. Griffis testified there was significant evidence of satanic ritual killings….

Echols took the witness stand, and his testimony contained additional evidence of guilt. When asked about his statement that one victim was mutilated more than the others, he said he learned the fact from newspaper accounts. His attorney showed him the newspaper articles about the murders. On cross-examination, Echols admitted that the articles did not mention one victim being mutilated more than the others, and he admitted that he did not read such a fact in a newspaper….

Jason Baldwin does not contend that there was insufficient evidence of his guilt. This is, perhaps, in part, because of the testimony of Michael Carson, who testified that he talked to Baldwin about the murders. Carson’s testimony, in pertinent part, was abstracted as follows:

I said, just between me and you, did you do it. I won’t say a word. He said yes and he went into detail about it. It was just me and Jason [Baldwin]. He told me he dismembered the kids, or I don’t know exactly how many kids. He just said he dismembered them. He sucked the blood from the penis and scrotum and put the balls in his mouth.  http://courts.state.ar.us/opinions/1996a/961223sc/cr94-928.html

Appeal puts 3 Ark. boys’ murders back in spotlight
By Jill Zeman Bleed AP October 2, 2010 (the article discusses both sides of the case in detail)
….Echols’ statement under cross-examination that he was interested in the occult, as well as a funeral register found in his room with hand-drawn pentagrams and upside-down crosses. Echols’ journal was also admitted into evidence, and “it contained morbid images and references to dead children,” the court’s opinion noted. Echols’ statement to police shortly after the murders that he understood the boys had been mutilated, with one suffering more serious injuries. That information hadn’t been released to the public, the opinion said.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/02/AR2010100201274.html

Larry King Live  “West Memphis 3” Follow-Up
September 7, 2010
During last nights show on the “West Memphis 3,” we shared statements from Diana Moore, mother of murder victim Michael Moore, and the Arkansas Attorney General, whose office will defend the conviction of Damien Echols before the Arkansas  Supreme Court later this month….

Statement from Diana Moore, mother of murder victim Michael Moore:
In 1993, all I wanted was justice for Michael, Christopher, and Stevie, and closure for myself, and my family. 17 years later, still no justice, or closure.

Since the convictions, the media has made it a point to make this case all about the convicted. I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that three innocent 8 year old children were brutally murdered, and these three men were convicted on the evidence presented to 24 , (in total), juror members that voted unanimously to convict.

Not one of the celebrities interviewed in this program has ever bothered to personally read the case file at West Memphis PD, or speak to anyone involved in prosecuting this case.

My little boy died that day. I’m his mother, and wish to say that the public remains ignorant about what happened in court primarily as a result of the Paradise Lost films, and the writing of Mara Leveritt. My voice is small compared to theirs, but I believe more relevant. They weren’t there during the trials, and they didn’t lose anybody. I lost almost everything, and not a day goes by that I don’t mourn for Michael. The public should think about that before casting their lot in with Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines.
(Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines also replied to Diana Moore.) http://larrykinglive.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/07/west-memphis-3-follow-up/

Deal Frees ‘West Memphis Three’ in Arkansas
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON August 19, 2011   JONESBORO, Ark.
….Under the terms of a deal reached with prosecutors, Mr. Echols, Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Misskelley leave as men who maintain their innocence yet who pleaded guilty to murder, as men whom the state still consider to be child killers but whom the state deemed safe enough to set free.

Last November, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that there was enough evidence to call a hearing to determine whether to have a new trial. The hearing was scheduled for this coming December.

But it was less than three weeks ago that lawyers representing Mr. Echols began working on a deal to offer to prosecutors that would free the men.

Under the seemingly contradictory deal, Judge David Laser vacated the previous convictions, including the capital murder convictions for Mr. Echols and Mr. Baldwin. After doing so, he ordered a new trial, something the prosecutors agreed to if the men would enter so-called Alford guilty pleas. These pleas allow people to maintain their innocence and admit frankly that they are pleading guilty because they consider it in their best interest.

The three men did just that, standing in court and quietly proclaiming their innocence but at the same time pleading guilty to charges of first- and second-degree murder. The judge then sentenced them to 18 years and 78 days, the amount of time they had served, and also levied a suspended sentence of 10 years.

The prosecuting attorney, Scott Ellington, said in an interview that the state still considered the men guilty and that, new DNA findings notwithstanding, he knew of no current suspects. “We don’t think that there is anybody else,” Mr. Ellington said, declaring the case closed.

Asked how he could free murderers if he believed they were guilty, he acknowledged that the three men would likely be acquitted if a new trial were held, given the prominent lawyers now representing them, the fact that evidence has decayed or disappeared over time and the death or change of heart of several original witnesses. He also expressed concern that if the men were exonerated at trial, they could sue the state, possibly for millions of dollars.

“I believe that with all the circumstances that were facing the state in this case, this resolution is one that is palatable and I think that after a period of time it will be acceptable to the public as the right thing,” Mr. Ellington said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/20/us/20arkansas.html 

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