For those unfamiliar with the case of the so-called West Memphis Three, here’s a chronology of events.
And here’s a short history of my interest in the case:
1) On May 5, 1993, the day the three cub scouts were brutally murdered, hogtied and tossed into a watery ditch, I was tanning all day by the family pool. That night, I heartily quaffed a few carafes of fine wine at a bacchanal and had carnal knowledge with a bevy of delightfully delectable divotchka’s. I know this because that’s what I did every day and night back then.
2) My girlfriend and I saw Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills in 1996. On the drive home we discussed the case for a few minutes. Both of us were undecided as to the guilt or innocence of the soon-to-be called WM3. After having a pleasant dinner at Chi-Chi’s Mexican restaurant, we repaired to her parent’s house and made mad passionate love. Employing several devastating sexual techniques, which I’ve copyrighted, patented and trademarked, I effortlessly brought the two of us to simultaneous orgasm, then rolled over and dozed off as she droned on about the sanctity of our love or some such thing. By then I’d forgotten all about the case. In fact, I don’t think I gave it another thought until…
3) …Paradise Lost 2: Revelations came out in 2000. I saw it by myself. On the drive home I discussed the case with myself for a few minutes and concluded that I was still undecided as to the WM3’s (and Byers’) guilt or innocence. That night I had dinner by myself, went to bed by myself, and cried myself to sleep thinking about my ex-girlfriend. I didn’t give the case another thought until…
4) …2011, when the WM3 took the Alford plea and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory came out. This turn of events piqued my interest in the case like never before, but still not enough to make me actively research it.
5) In late 2012 I moved to Dollars, Taxes with my two cats, Iggy and Tara. People think I’m bragging when I say I live with two females, but it’s totally true. I just don’t mention that I have to scoop their poop. Around this time I started following Damien “I believe in Magick” Echols on Twitter. To my surprise, he answered (and “favorited”) a few of my tweets, though not the one in which I informed him that the Moon was just a lifeless rock forever orbiting senselessly around the Earth.
6) I saw West of Memphis on January 27, 2013. (Later that night, I watched an unrelated documentary called Machete Maidens Unleashed! But never mind about that. That’s a completely different story.) If you’re looking for an objective analysis of the case, you won’t find it in West of Memphis, a blatantly one-sided advocacy piece which aims to prove the trio’s innocence once and for all while pointing an accusing finger at Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of victim Stevie Branch.
7) Still harboring doubts about the purported innocence of the WM3, I googled “the WM3 are guilty” and found highly researched sites like wm3truth.com forcefully arguing against the WM3. More importantly, I discovered an exhaustive archive of case documents and trial transcripts at callahan.8k.com. And so, for the first time, I found myself researching the case in earnest.
8) From there, I decided to write a series of posts, each one focusing on a key aspect of the case, using a “what West of Memphis tells you/what West of Memphis doesn’t tell you” approach. First topic: Jessie’s confession(s).
Note: The first ten people to comment on this post will not receive a complimentary X tattoo on his or her derrière, courtesy of Damien “I’m not a tattoo artist” Echols.
(Oops, now I really gone and done it.)
What West of Memphis tells you: Misskelley’s June 3, 1993 confession was coerced and false.
What West of Memphis doesn’t tell you: Misskelley confessed numerous times, both before and after his conviction.
On June 3, 1993, Jessie Lloyd Misskelley Jr., affectionately known as Little Jessie or Lil Jessie or Lil J, confessed for the first time, implicating Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin in the process. You can read the transcript of the confession here and/or listen to the recording of it here.
The problem is that the confession is riddled with inaccuracies, full of details that contradict the known facts of the case. For example, Misskelley initially claims he was at Robin Hood Hills on the morning of May 5, 1993 even though the murders occurred sometime after 6:30 PM that evening:
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: What time did you get there?
MISSKELLEY: I got there about 9.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: In the morning?
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Of Wednesday morning?
Only after police prompting does Misskelley get the timeline correct:
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Just sit there. Jessie, uh, when when you got with the with the boys and with Jason and Baldwin when you three were in the woods and then the little boys come up, about what time was it? When the boys came up to the woods?
MISSKELLEY: I would say it was about it was about five or six, five or six.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Now, did you have your watch on at the time?
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: You didn’t have your watch on?
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Uh, alright you told me earlier around seven or eight or, which time is it?
MISSKELLEY: It was seven or eight.
DETECTIVE GITCHELL: Are are you sh-
MISSKELLEY: I remember it was starting to get dark.
How do we account for this whopping time discrepancy? Was Misskelley *misleading* the cops or were the cops *leading* Misskelley?
But that’s just one of many discrepancies. Misskelley also claims that the boys were tied up with rope (they were tied with shoelaces); that only their hands were tied up (they were hogtied); that Christopher Byers was choked to death with a stick (he was beaten and, possibly, castrated); and that the boys were sodomized (the autopsy showed no evidence of anal penetration). Supporters contend that these and other inaccuracies prove that Misskelley never stepped foot in those woods, that he was pressured by overzealous cops into giving a false confession.
Non-supporters, on the other hand, contend that Misskelley voluntarily confessed but tried to downplay his involvement at the same time. I find this problematic. Downplaying his involvement is one thing. Forgetting details is another. Intentionally misleading cops with obviously bogus details in a supposedly voluntary confession is something else entirely. Why didn’t Jessie downplay his involvement without including the gross inaccuracies? Why provide details that both he and the cops know to be untrue? Take the time discrepancy. If guilty, Jessie knows, and he knows the cops know, that the murders occurred in the evening. There’s no point in lying about that since both parties know the facts. He might try to fudge some details the cops weren’t certain about, for example by saying that he never struck the boys or that he left the crime scene early, but saying the murders occurred in the morning, which he and the cops both know is a barefaced lie, makes no sense. Why not say, 1) he was there at 7 PM, 2) he chased down Michael Moore and brought him back to Damien and Jason, 3) he watched Damien and Jason brutally beat and murder the boys, hogtie them with their own shoelaces, and throw them in the water, and 3) he left. That way, he confesses, gets the facts right, and downplays his involvement. Deliberately adding erroneous details to throw off the cops is gratuitous. Why would he do that? Why purposely make a voluntary confession appear false?
Perhaps Jessie never intended to confess. Perhaps he slipped up by admitting to chasing down Michael Moore. Perhaps after making this blunder he tried to limit the damage by intentionally lying. In other words, he bumbled his way into confessing and then tried to bumble his way out of it, only to get himself hopelessly entangled in a web of truths, half-truths, and outright falsehoods. Perhaps.
Either way, it seems supporters have Occam’s razor on their side: Jessie got the details wrong simply because he wasn’t there. But maybe things aren’t that simple. After all, Misskelley didn’t confess just this once. He confessed at least six times - to the cops, to the prosecutors, and even to his own attorneys. Of course, if that first confession is false then the rest of them must be too - unless somehow he was innocent on June 3, 1993 but guilty later. Still, Misskelley’s serial confessions surely must give supporters pause. Has there ever been a case, anywhere, at any time, in the entire history of the judicial system, in which a wrongfully tried and convicted person so repeatedly confessed?
On June 11, 1993, a few days after confessing to police, and again on August 19, 1993, a few months before his trial, Misskelley confessed to his defense attorneys, Dan Stidham and Greg Crow. Coercion was not a factor in these confessions, so why did Jessie make them? According to Stidham, Jessie didn’t know what a defense lawyer was - he thought Stidham and Crow were working for the cops! I find this incredible, especially since Jessie and his father were, shall we say, no strangers to the criminal justice system.
More believable is that Stidham initially wanted to make a plea deal with prosecutors - and Jessie just went along with the plan. That was Stidham’s strategy until late September, 1993, when a private investigator working for Echols’ defense team convinced Stidham the confession was false, prompting a change in strategy: plead not guilty and argue that the cops coerced Jessie into confessing. And Jessie? Yep, he just went along with the change of plan.
Just how compliant is Lil J?
Breaking News: Jessie Misskelley admits to being the second gunman.
FBI officials confirmed today that Lil Jessie Misskelley, the dumbass of the WM trio, has admitted to his involvement in the assassination of JFK. That Misskelley was born 12 years after the event in question is, officials concede, a mildly troubling discrepancy. Nevertheless, they insist that Lil J’s confession is fundamentally truthful. The following conversation took place between the FBI and Misskelley on 4-1-13:
FBI: Jessie, let’s go straight to that day - November 22, 1963. What happened on the grassy knoll?
Jessie: I ain’t never been on no glassy knoll.
FBI: Admit it, knucklehead! You’re the second shooter. Just confess and we’ll go easy on you. Now tell us what happened.
Jessie: When I was there, I saw Oswald shoot that man…
FBI: President Kennedy?
Jessie: Right. Then he started screwin’ him and stuff. And then I left.
FBI: Quit downplaying your involvement. Tell us the truth!
Jessie: The truth is, me and Oswald done it.
FBI: You shot Kennedy from the grassy knoll?
Jessie: Yeah, Oswald done shot him from that there book suppository building, then I done blowed his brains out from that there glassy knoll. Then I left.
FBI: What time were you there?
Jessie: To my knowledge, I’m gonna say midnight.
FBI: And when you say midnight, you mean noon, right?
Jessie: Right, I was there at noon.
FBI: What weapon did you use?
Jessie: Ah…I done blowed his brains out with a high-powered pea shooter.
FBI: And when you say pea shooter, you mean Carcano rifle, right?
Jessie: I’m gonna say, right.
FBI: Just how stupid are you?
Jessie: To my knowledge, I’m gonna say borderline retarded.
FBI: There’s no borderline about it, Lil Jessie Misskelley, no borderline about it at all.
[Note: Actually, it might not be so easy to pressure Jessie into confessing. Check out the December 10, 1993 statement Jessie made to Stidham and defense witness Dr. William Wilkins, in which Stidham and Wilkins try unsuccessfully to coerce Jessie into confessing to a bogus robbery.]
The false confession defense failed at trial: on February 4, 1994 Jessie was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison plus 40 years without the possibility of patrol. No sooner had Lil J stepped foot out of the courthouse than he was at it again, confessing anew to the cops, this time to deputies transporting him to prison. Here’s the incident report.
Of all Jessie’s confessions this one seems the most difficult to explain away. Supporters contend that the post-conviction confessions were motivated by Jessie’s desire for a reduced sentence in exchange for testifying against Damien and Jason at their upcoming trial. But exactly when did prosecutors first approach Jessie about such a deal? Was it, ahem, between the time his sentence was read and when he stepped into the car transporting him to prison? Did prosecutors catch him in the hall on his way out the courthouse doors? Or did the feeble-minded Misskelley have enough sense to start angling for a reduced sentence before prosecutors approached him about it. (Maybe he’s savvier than his borderline retarded reputation would suggest - after all, the incident report says that “Jessie claims he has felt sorry for what has happened and talks as if he wants to testify against the other boys so they will not go free and to help himself.”) Whatever the case, Jessie returned to his original admission of guilt. And he did so, as far as I can tell, of his own volition. Nobody is coercing him to confess. Nobody has broached the possibility of a reduced sentence. Yet there he is, blabbing nonstop to deputies about his participation in the murders all the way from the courthouse to the prison. The question is, why?
We might also ask why Jessie confessed again a few days later, on February 8, 1994, in a private tape-recorded conversation with Stidham. Prosecutors got wind of Jessie’s patrol car confession and went to the prison with Stidham to talk to Jessie about it. Once there, Stidham insisted on talking to his client alone. Not only that, he had Jessie make the statement with his hand on a Bible. Here’s the opening exchange:
STIDHAM: Okay. Jessie, a few minutes ago I asked you about making some statements to the officers when they transported you from Piggott to Pine Bluff. You told me that you had told them some stuff. Is that Correct?
MISSKELLEY: Yes, sir.
STIDHAM: And at first you told me that you were just making it up, that you were lying to them, and then you placed your hand on the Bible and told me that you were there when these boys got killed.
MISSKELLEY: Yes, sir.
STIDHAM: Uh, what’s the truth, Jessie? I want to know the truth.
MISSKELLEY: The truth is, me and Jason and Damien done it.
STIDHAM: You were there when the boys were killed?
MISSKELLEY: Yes, sir.
STIDHAM: Now, what’s going to be very important is for you to tell me why it was that you have been maintaining that you weren’t there all this time?
MISSKELLEY: I was scared.
STIDHAM: What were you scared of?
MISSKELLEY: I always lied and I hadn’t ever put my hand on the Bible and swore. Nobody didn’t tell me to do that. If they would have told me that at first, I would have done it. Nobody told me to put my hand on the Bible.
STIDHAM: Okay. So basically, you’ve been lying to me and Mr. Crow for the past seven, or so months - about not being there when in fact you were there?
MISSKELLEY: Yes, sir.
So, at first Jessie told Stidham he’d lied to the deputies. Then he put his hand on a Bible and confessed. Hmmm. Given that Jessie was born and raised in the Bible belt, could it be that the Good Book holds some totemic power over Lil J’s feeble mind, compelling him to tell the truth? About 45 minutes later Stidham emerged from the room visibly upset and muttering “What am I going to do now?” Yep, Lil J had gone and done confessed again.
Of course, just because Jessie had his hand on a Bible doesn’t mean he was telling the truth. Indeed, although Misskelley’s Bible confession aligns more closely than before with the facts of the case, perhaps because he incorporated details gleaned from his trial into the story, some of what he says still lacks the ring of authenticity, particularly references to an enigmatic, unnamed man in black who presided over satanic cult meetings Jessie allegedly attended with Damien and Jason.
STIDHAM: What’s he look like?
MISSKELLEY: He’s tall, got black hair. He looks just like Damien.
STIDHAM: Mustache, beard?
MISSKELLEY: Mustache and a beard.
STIDHAM: He had a mustache and a beard?
MISSKELLEY: Uh-huh, at that time he did.
STIDHAM: How can he look like Damien, Damien doesn’t have a mustache and a beard?
MISSKELLEY: When he shaves it he looks like Damien.
Aha, the black-clad mystery man with no name is the spitting image of Damien - except for, ya know, the mustache and beard. Only when clean shaven does the shadowy nameless one resemble Damien, doncha know? A satanic cult leader who looks just like Damien, eh? Hmmm, could he be…oh, I don’t know - SATAN!
But wait, his name starts with an “M”:
MISSKELLEY: Murphy - no. I can’t remember. I can’t think of his name.
MISSKELLEY: It started with a M.
Perhaps he’s…oh, I don’t know - Mephistopheles!
STIDHAM: Murray Farris?
MISSKELLEY: Uh -
Aha, Murray Farris just might fit the description. Cult leader - check. Name starts with “M” - check. Wore a mustache and beard - check.
STIDHAM: Do you know who Murray Farris is?
MISSKELLEY: Huh-uh. (Negatively indicating) I hadn’t never saw - I hadn’t ever heard that name.
Damn! The mystery continues. According to Jessie, Damien did Mr. Nōnàmé’s bidding. When Nōnàmé told Damien to do something, such as kill a dog or hurt a kid, by God Damien did it.
MISSKELLEY: No, he told Damien what to do - he always told Damien what to do.
STIDHAM: What did he tell Damien to do?
MISSKELLEY: He tells Damien, you know, go kill a dog, or - hurt a kid or something, and he’d do it.
Is Lil J’s hand still on that Bible? This sounds like horseshit. Damien strikes me as a guy who does nobody’s bidding but his own - unless, of course, that nobody happens to be - SATAN!
The Bible confession has its share of howlers. To wit:
STIDHAM: Who was carrying the beer?
STIDHAM: And he was carrying a stick in one hand and the beer in the other?
MISSKELLEY: Well, it was Jason. (inaudible)
STIDHAM: The beer?
Wow, that beer sure changed hands quickly. First it was in Damien’s hand. Then - presto chango! - it was in Jason’s. I wonder how many beers they drank before the boys arrived. Didn’t they toss the cans away? Apparently not. The WM3 might be murderers, but at least they’re not litterers. No doubt after beating, raping, murdering, hogtying, and submerging the boys, they did the right thing by picking up and recycling their empty beer cans.
STIDHAM: Did Damien and Jason get in the water?
STIDHAM: Damien and Jason get in the water?
MISSKELLEY: Yeah. Damien.
Damien and Jason didn’t get in the water…but Damien did. In the first confession both of them got in the water and took turns giving each other underwater blowjobs. One wonders: Did Damien give himself an underwater blowjob?
STIDHAM: Let’s start from the point where you guys were walking on this trail off of the service road by Blue Beacon, what happens?
MISSKELLEY: What do you mean?
STIDHAM: I want you to tell me where ya’ll walked to and what you did. I don’t want to ask you whether you did this or this. I want you to tell me what happened?
MISSKELLEY: I still don’t understand.
Jessie’s asked “what happened?” and he says he doesn’t understand the question. What’s not to understand? Is Jessie incapable of telling the story without leading questions?
STIDHAM: What was the boy wearing that you went and got and brought back?
MISSKELLEY: Uh - to my knowledge, I’m going to say, the one - I don’t know their names, you know, to my knowledge, the one that was wearing, uh, like a boy scout uniform. I don’t know, you know, that’s to my knowledge. That’s what one of them was wearing, I don’t know which boy.
Say what? Is it so hard to say “he was wearing a boy scout uniform” without sputtering and stammering incoherently? And, uh, I don’t know, but, I’m going to say, ah, to my knowledge…didn’t Jessie specifically identify the boy as Michael Moore in the first confession?
STIDHAM: Okay, let’s start at right now, let’s go from, ya’ll are sitting there by this pipe drinking?
MISSKELLEY: Uh-huh. (Affirmatively indicating)
STIDHAM: Then what happened?
MISSKELLEY: We hear some noise, me and Jason hid and Damien just sit there, and we hollered for Damien, you know - not real loud, but lightly, and Damien hid. Then that’s when them three little boys came out.
They hollered. Not loudly, mind you, but lightly. They, ahem, lightly hollered. In other words, they whispered - the opposite of hollering.
STIDHAM: Well, what happened after everybody started hitting on the kids?
MISSKELLEY: Um, uh, Damien choked - I don’t remember which one.
STIDHAM: Now you know, you heard during the trial that the medical examiner said none of the boys were choked.
MISSKELLEY: He didn’t choke him - “choke choked.” Just, you know, just say like just hold their head and choked, not hard enough, just holding him.
In Lil J’s world, hollering isn’t really hollering and choking isn’t really choking. He didn’t choke choke him, he just kinda, ya know, choked him, but not in a hard way. By the way, what happened to the “big old stick” he used to choke the boy to death in the first confession?
STIDHAM: How deep was the water that the boys got thrown into?
MISSKELLEY: I’m going to say deep, real deep.
STIDHAM: Over their heads - over your head?
This statement would be absurd were Jessie not roughly the size of a hobbit.
Jessie also seems mighty confused about the topography of the woods and the surrounding area:
STIDHAM: Make an X where the dog track was.
MISSKELLEY: Dog track?
STIDHAM: Uh-huh. ‘Cause I’m going to write Boys Blue Beacon beside it. Now tell me where the Dog Track is?
MISSKELLEY: The Dog Track?
STIDHAM: Okay. Now where does the interstate run?
STIDHAM: Where did you put a bridge at?
MISSKELLEY: The bridge?
STIDHAM: Draw me the creek now.
STIDHAM: Where’s this 76 Truck Stop?
STIDHAM: Okay, are there smaller pipes beside the bigger pipe?
MISSKELLEY: Uh - to my knowledge I don’t really know.
STIDHAM: There’s the X. Now tell me where Blue Beacon is from that X.
MISSKELLEY: From that X?
STIDHAM: Okay. Make an “X,” a green “X” for me.
MISSKELLEY: Make a X?
STIDHAM: Okay. You said over there in (inaudible)?
MISSKELLEY: I’m not too good with my - my -
STIDHAM: I’m going to make a X right here.
MISSKELLEY: I’m not too good with my - whatever you call it.
Great news! Stidham and Misskelley have taken their comedy routine on the road. For tickets to the duo’s next show, in which by popular demand they’ll perform their classic routine “Where does the X go?”, please call 1-800-CON-FESS.
Still, the Bible confession contains the single most incriminating detail in all of Jessie’s confessions. Jessie says he was drinking Evan Williams whiskey on the evening of the murders and smashed the bottle under an overpass on his way home. Sure enough, Stidham and the prosecutors looked for and found just such a whiskey bottle under an overpass in the area, which seems to corroborate his story with actual physical evidence. Hold on a minute while I don my supporter hat. I see two possibilities: 1) Jessie made up the story about the whiskey bottle, and the fact that one was found under an overpass in the vicinity of the crime scene was a coincidence. If you drive under enough overpasses in the area chances are good you’ll find one, 2) Jessie indeed smashed a bottle under the overpass, but did so at another time and knew it would be there. Now let me doff the hat. Neither explanation is particularly compelling, so unless a supporter can come up with a better one, I’m placing the Evan Williams whiskey bottle on the “guilty” side of the ledger. By no means does this prove Jessie was involved in the murders. But it is…interesting.
On February 17, 1994, in defiance of the advice of his counsel, Jessie gave his final documented confession, twice stating that he was going ahead with the statement because “I want something done about it.” With Damien and Jason’s trial looming, Jessie was being pulled in two conflicting directions: prosecutors were dangling the possibility of a reduced sentence in front of him in exchange for testifying against Damien and Jason, while his defense lawyers were claiming new evidence could win him a new trial if he’d just stop confessing for a minute and start proclaiming his innocence instead. At the same time, Jessie’s father, affectionately known as Big Jessie or Big J or J Biggie, was urging Lil Jessie to listen to his lawyers. (If nothing else, it may be said of Lil J that he loves his Big Daddy J.) In the end, Jessie opted not to testify, recanted his confession(s), and has maintained his innocence to this day (though unsubstantiated rumors circulated in Arkansas for years about confessions to prison counselors). Apparently, he didn’t “want something done about it” quite badly enough.
So, why didn’t Jessie testify? Is he really innocent? Did Stidham coerce him into recanting? Did Jessie decide not to betray his partners in crime? Did Big Jessie threaten to ground him if he did? Was Lil Jessie simply too petrified to take the stand? Who knows, but I suspect he weighed the pros and cons of testifying and ended up doing what he thought was to his advantage. If so, I wonder why Damien and Jason still defend him. Why don’t they denounce him? After all, he not only (falsely?) implicated them in the first place, he probably would have thrown them under the bus had he thought it in his best interest to do so. Were I Damien, guilty or not, I’d kick his ass, if not sacrifice him to the Prince of Darkness.
The following is an imaginary whispered conversation between Lil J and Damien “spawn of Satan” Echols during a photo shoot:
Damien (whispering): Hey dumbass, so how many times have you confessed now?
Jessie (whispering): To my knowledge, I’m gonna say I gone and done confessed ‘bout 100 times. And then I left.
Damien: Confess again and I’ll make you my next sacrificial offering to the Evil One. Understand, knucklehead?
Jessie: Yes, Master Damien.
Damien: So, shit for brains, why did you confess to the cops that first time?
Jessie: I just said what they wanted me to say. I told them I wasn’t there but they wouldn’t listen. They just kept on hollering at me and egging it on, saying I was there, but I wasn’t. After they kept egging it on, I figured in my head, well, they ain’t gonna stop until I say what they want to hear, so I finally said, okay, I was there and I done it, but I wasn’t and I didn’t.
Damien: Why did you confess to Stidham before your trial? Did your defense attorney coerce you into confessing too, dimwit?
Jessie: To my knowledge, I don’t know. He raised his voice real loud. Then he hollered at me. Then he egged it on. Then I stood up and balled my fist. Then I left. To my knowledge.
Damien: Were you trying to get a plea deal, dumbbell?
Jessie: I don’t deal with no pleas. I tell about what I know. And I don’t tell about what I don’t know. If I don’t know nothing, I don’t tell nothing. If I don’t know something, I don’t tell something. If I know nothing, I don’t tell something. If I know something, I don’t tell nothing. To my knowledge, that’s what I’m gonna say.
Damien: Later on, did Stidham coerce you into recanting, nitwit?
Jessie: I just said what he wanted me to say. I told him we was there, and we done it, but he wouldn’t listen. He just kept on hollering at me and egging it on, saying I wasn’t there, but I was. After he kept egging it on, I figured in my head, well, he ain’t gonna stop until I say what he wants to hear, so I finally said, okay, I wasn’t there and I didn’t do it, but I was and I did.
Damien: Shhh! Keep your damn voice down, muttonhead! You just confessed again, numbskull!
Jessie: We didn’t have nothing to do with it. We don’t know nothing about it. We didn’t do nothing to those boys. We never committed no murder. We ain’t never been to no Robin Hood Hills. I didn’t chase down no boy. And I didn’t bring no boy back to you. And you didn’t kill nobody I didn’t bring back neither.
Damien: Shut the fuck up, you imbecile!
Jessie: Hollering people make me mad. Better not egg it on. I’ll pull a ball bat and I’ll pull a knife and I’ll pull a gun on you if you holler at me and egg it on and make me mad.
Damien: So nincompoop, why did you confess to the deputies transporting you to prison?
Jessie: To my knowledge, I didn’t say nothing to no deputies. Them deputies was lying ‘cause they don’t like me, ‘cause my name is Jessie Misskelley just like my Big Daddy. They don’t like Big Jessie and they don’t like Little Jessie neither. They was trying to send me up the river like they done to my Big Daddy.
Damien: Hey blockhead, you had just been convicted. They weren’t trying to send you up the river, they were taking you up the river.
Jessie: They said I confessed to what we done, but I didn’t say nothing about what we didn’t do, ‘cause I never talk to no deputies who say I done something when I didn’t do nothing.
Damien: Why did you confess to Stidham with your hand on the Bible, you ignoramus? You can’t deny that.
Jessie: I don’t deny nothing. I don’t deny nothing but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. Nobody never told me to put my hand on no Bible and swear to God to tell the truth about nothing, the whole nothing, and nothing but the truth about nothing. Or something. To my knowledge. The truth is, I don’t know nothing about nothing or nobody no more. And then I left.
Damien: Why did you confess to the prosecutors, against the advice of your counsel? Were you going to testify against me and Jason in exchange for a reduced sentence? Why didn’t you go through with it?
Jessie: The bottom line is this, my friend: I once was a pawn of the State, a cog in the wheels of injustice, a hapless victim caught in the labyrinthine mechanisms of an endemically corrupt system, a tragic figure trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare from which there was no escape. Then I left.