Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Unjustified Death Penalty

One spring evening in 1993, three eight-year-old boys left their Arkansas homes to ride their bikes. The next day they were found hogtied in a muddy creek. Dead.

After a month, the police still hadn’t made any arrests. The community was outraged.

Spurred on by the furious locals, the authorities homed in on three suspects: Jason Baldwin (16), Jessie Misskelley (17) and Damien Echols (18). 

Teens who were known for listening to heavy metal. 

Hardly grounds for murder, unless you live in the Bible Belt where it’s known as devil music.

It also didn’t help that Baldwin was once arrested for vandalism and shoplifting; that Echols was poor and suffered from several mental illnesses; and that Misskelley had a learning disability.

The three made for an easy target.

Despite that the evidence against the young men was circumstantial—the crime scene had no traces of DNA from the suspects— many people were convinced the three were guilty.

When you saw them “you just knew.”

Obviously, that’s bogus.

You can’t tell whether someone is a murderer by simply looking them in the eye. Even a skilled FBI agent can’t say for certain what a body is saying.

The telltale signs that reveal if someone is lying, like looking down and away when asked a question? They mean nothing.

One of the reasons why is called ‘matching’.

Not everyone shows on the outside how they feel on the inside. Are the two not aligned? You’re ‘mismatched’.

Maybe you speak without emotion because you suffer from a mental illness. 

Another reason why we can’t spot murderers is thanks to our limbic system. When we feel threatened, we automatically cover our vital organs, tighten up and try to escape.

So perhaps we aren’t rocking in our chair because we’re lying, but because we’re being questioned by three policemen about a triple homicide and want to run out the room.

Studies show that even the best body language experts are only a blink away from chance. At best, your odds of reading someone correctly is fifty-fifty.

What happened to the three murder suspects?

The two youngest were sentenced to life in prison and the eldest was sentenced to death.

Thankfully new forensic evidence made it possible for the three to negotiate a plea bargain. The plea was successful and the three were released after 18 years of imprisonment.

The real killer(s) were never caught.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach