Johnny Depp: Free The West Memphis Three
Debby Moyer lived just three houses away from Stevie Branch when he was murdered. She worried for her children's safety.
"We were limited to the front yard or the backyard," says her daughter, Jaime Ballard, who was 13 at the time.
According to Debby Moyer, police never came to her door and never asked questions about whether she had seen the boys.
When asked if police ever canvassed the neighborhood, she replies, "If they did, I did not see 'em."
The Moyers had no role in the case, at least until July 2009, when they called a tip line set up by Damien Echols' supporters to report something they remembered seeing on May 5, 1993. West Memphis 3 Confidential Tip Line: (501) 256-1775
Early that evening, they say they saw the boys playing in their backyard. As Jamie was leaving for a church meeting around 6:30 p.m., she spoke with Chris Byers.
"He ran right out in the bushes in between the two houses," she explains. "And I said, 'Christopher, go home.' And he said, 'I don't have to do what you tell me to do.'
"Right then, Jaime says Terry Hobbs called out to the boys.
"And he said, 'Get back down here to the house.' And they went that direction."
"Terry Hobbs has said to me that he did not see the boys at all that day," Moriarty tells Jaime.
"If he says he did not see them, he's not tellin' the truth" she says. "He saw 'em. He was out there with 'em. He told 'em to come to his house."
"I did not see Stevie at all on May 5th," Hobbs tells Moriarty."
"Are they mistaken?" she asks.
"Why would they lie?"
"I don't know why."
"Did you kill your stepson? Did you have anything to do with his death?"
"No. I did not."
"Why should somebody believe you?"
"It's the truth."
The West Memphis, Ark., police believe him. After Hobbs spoke with police in 2007, they told the press that he was not - and never had been - a suspect. Hobbs says the killers are in prison.
When asked why Damien would kill the boys, what was his motive, Hobbs replies, "I don't know."
But Echols' attorney Dennis Riordan argues in court documents that the evidence pointing to Hobbs would certainly help Damien, Jason and Jessie at a new trial.
"Proof beyond a reasonable doubt against Terry Hobbs? Perhaps not. Proof that would absolutely lead to the acquittal of these defendants at their trial? Absolutely, absolutely," Riordan tells Moriarty.
Also helpful is other unidentified partial DNA that was also found on the evidence.
Riordan says, if Damien and Jason abused the boys as Jessie said, their DNA would have been found. "So the absence of it really is a very powerful factor," he says. "These were not sexual motivated, satanic killings. There are other troubling questions and possible suspects: who was that muddy, bloody man at the Bojangles' restaurant the night of the crime? Did the killer make a quick get away on the interstate? Tens of thousands of trucks pass through here every day."
"The fact that I'm not guilty means that there has been a child murderer left to walk the streets for the past 16 years," Damien tells Moriarty.
Lorri Davis adds, "It's not our job as a legal team to prove who committed these murders. However, I want to know who did it. And I think everybody does."
Davis says support for the convicted men continues to grow as word of the dubious trial evidence, new forensics, and questions about jury misconduct spreads.
"You want to do all you can to help right the wrongs and the clock is ticking," says Depp. "My biggest fear - I mean, it's almost unutterable, is that justice is not served, not only for those three innocent men in prison, but also for those three innocent boys."
Since the 1994 trials, most of the legal procedures - including a hearing in summer 2009, asking for new trials for Jason and Jessie - have been before Judge David Burnett, the original judge. Burnett denied the convicted men new trials.
Damien's case is before the Arkansas state Supreme Court. He is prepared to go to federal court.
"I just feel this momentum, says Lorri Davis."There's the will to just right this wrong and to get this done, and to get them out."
When asked if he thinks he'll walk out of death row some day, Damien says, "Yes, I do. I believe that with all my heart.
"I don't believe that everyone all the way up the line is just gonna sit on their hands and allow them to execute an innocent person," says Damien, who thinks about the families of Chris Byers, Steve Branch, and Michael Moore. "I've thought about 'em quite a lot over the years, actually," he says. "And I try to just remember where they're coming from and the hurt that they feel and what they've experienced that they'll probably never get over.
"Michael Moore's father, Todd, supports the state's battle to uphold the verdicts, but some parents of the victims have had a change of heart.
Chris Byers' father, Mark, who cheered the verdicts in 1994, now actively supports the West Memphis Three. Stevie Branch's mother, Pam, says her faith has helped her cope with her doubts about the case. She now believes Damien, Jason, and Jessie were railroaded.
"Arkansas will never admit that they made a mistake. They're gonna stand on that these guys did it. We've got the right ones and that's the way it is," she says. "I want the truth and nothing but. And once the truth and nothing but is known, I believe I can rest a little easier."And, that, she says, is what everyone deserves.
No execution date has been set for Damien Echols.
Have information on the case? Call the West Memphis 3 Confidential Tip Line: (501)256-1775
- Unraveling the lies of Jodi Arias
- The War in Chicago
- Preview: "48 Hours" double feature
- Murder at Sea?
- Over the Edge
- The mind of a killer: Unraveling the lies of Jodi Arias
- Everything to Lose
- Muscle and Mayhem
- "48 Hours Mystery:" Rodney Alcala's Killing Game
- Power and Passion
- The real story behind Miami's murderous Sun Gym gang
- "48 Hours" Program Schedule
- Murder at Sea? The disappearance of George Smith
- The Writing on the Wall
- Extra: More victims in Alcala's photo cache?
- My Dad's Killer