Posted in õigusemõistmine, crime, Eesti, justice, Kuriteod, rikos, uudised

Eestlaste poolt toime pandud mõrvad Soomes

Eestlaste poolt toime pandud mõrvad Soomes

Kui vaadata Soome kõige süngemat ehk siis mõrvu ja tapmisi kajastavat statistikat, figureerivad eestlased seal sagedamini,kui ühegi teise rahva esindajad, mis on väikese rahva kohta hämmastav näitaja. Üheks põhjuseks on kindlasti moraalne allakäik nõukaaja viljastavates tingimustes. Kui piirid läksid lahti, tõi see kaasa eestlaste poolt sooritatud kuritegude laine Soomes. Kuritegude ohvrid on olnud nii soomlased kui ka oma kaasmaalsed,kelle hulgas nii pereliikmeid, sõpru ja tuttavaid kui ka naabreid. Kolmel korral on tapmiste eest süüdi mõistetud naine.

1992 tappis eestlane Märt Krischka 55-aastase soome armee erusõjaväelase, major Kari Tiitineni. Mõrv pandi toime Artjärvel, kus asus ohvri suvekodu. Ohver suri pussitamise tagajärjel saadud vigastustesse. Krischka oli Soome läinud tallu abitööliseks. Kohe järgmisel aastal, 1993 pani 22-aastane Inga Kruus Karkkilas toime veretõõ, mille eest ta sai eluaegse vanglakaristuse, lastes maha 39-aastase soomlase, ohvi enda kodus. Kruus ennast süüdi ei tunnistanud ja väitis, et ta olla süüdi lavastatud. Kruus vabanes vanglast 2005 aastal ja elab teatavasti Soomes. 1998 aastal tapsid eestlased Marko Mehik ja Alvin Lind Helsingis oma kaasmaalase 28-aastase Kaido Kiige. Ohver seoti kinni ja visati Anjalankoskel jõkke. 22 ja 23- aastased kurjategijad mõisteti Soomes eluks ajaks vangi. Üks meestest vabanes teadaolevalt 2010 aastal.

1999 kägistas 58-aastane Aleksei Rudve Lahtis surnuks oma abikaasa. Tema sai tapmise eest 9 aastat. Paar oli selleks ajaks Soomes elanud 6 aastat.

2000 aastal tappis Alvar Oraver 33-aastase kohaliku naise. Tapmine toimus Tammela vallas, vanas meiereis ja mõrvarelv oli lihanuga, kurjategija oli ametilt lihunik. Oraver oli varem elanud samas majas koos ohvri ja tema meessõbraga. Naine oli soovinud, et mees välja kolib ja teo motiiv oli ilmselt kättemaks. 2001 aastal tappis 38-aastane Sulev Allmere 31-aastase läti kodaniku, Helsingi lähedal Tuusulas. Ohver tapeti lasuga pähe. Kuriteo eest mõisteti talle 12 aasta pikkune vangistus. Teo motiiviks olid erimeelsused, mis oli tekkinud narkorahade jagamisel.

2003 aastal tappis Helsingis Eestist pärit 39-aastane Olga Kello tüli käigus noahoopidega oma abikaasa Viktori. Naine väitis, et tegemist oli enesekaitsega, oma abikaasa surma põhjustamise eest mõisteti talle 6 aastat vangistust. 2004 aastal tappis Soome tööle tulnud 37-aastane Valdo Võrel Raisios 36-aastase soomlase. Mõrv toimus uusaastaööl ja kurjategija oma ohvrit ei tundnud. Võrel elas samas majas, arvatavasti oli soomlane tugevas joobes eksinud korteriga. Samuti alkoholi tarvitanud Võrel tungis talle kallale, ohver suri peksmise tagajärjel. Võrel lohistas ohvri laiba rõdule ja viis selle järgmisel päeval autoga metsa. Võrelile mõisteti 9 aastat vangistust. file63400774_3396d9ab.jpg 2006 aastal tapeti Helsingis 61-aastane majandusteaduste professor. Veretöö eest mõisteti süüdi kaks mees, kellest üks oli Eesti kodanik 23-aastane Mika-Martti Zukov. Teo motiiv oli rööv, mehed soovisid professori purju joota ja temalt väärtasju varastada. Kui korteriperemees külalistel lahkuda palus, lõi Zukov teda viskipudeliga pähe, haarates tema korterist kõik vähegi väärtusliku kaasa. Karistuseks mõisteti talle 11 aastat.

2008 pussitas Vantaas 35 -aastane Jüri Tallerma armukadedushoos oma soomlasest eksabikaasat. Kuritegu leidis aset Martinlaakso bussipeatuses ja mehel polnud see esimene kord oma elukaaslase kallal vägivallatseda. Naise vigastused olid eluohtlikud aga ta jäi siiski ellu. Kuritegu toimus naise 4-aastase lapse silme all. Mees tunnistas ennast süüdi ja sai süüdistuse mõrvakatses. Karistuseks seitse aastat vangistust.

2011 aastal tappis Eestist pärit 37-aastane Oleg Kasutin püstolilaskudega 64-aastase soomlase, tulistades teda ohvrile kuulunud käsirelvast külje pealt kaks korda rindkeresse..Kuritegu pandi toime Kouvolas. erakorteris. Kasutin soovis tappa ka peremehel külas olnud 55-aastast meest, keda ta selga tulistas. Raskelt haavatud ohver suutis aga majast põgeneda ja lasi naabritel abi kutsuda. Karistuseks määrati Kasutinile mõrva ja mõrvakatse eest 12 aastat vangistust

2012 tappis 27-aastane Karmen Kivilo Nurmijärvel oma kaks vastsündinud beebit Algselt sai ta elueagse vangistuse aga ringkonnakohus pidas tegu 4-aasta pikkuse vangistuse vääriliseks .

2014 aastal mürgitas Eestist pärit Lembit Kapanen 84-aastase naise. Mees pidas Salos vanurite hooldusega tegelevat firmat ja oli ohvriga kliendisuhtes. Lisaks mõisteti Kapanen süüdi ebaseaduslikus tervishoiutegevuses, võltsimises, omastamises ning kolmes mõrvakatses. Mõrva motiiviks oli raha ja kasuahnus, sest ohver oli teinud mehe nimele testamendi. Pärandust Kapanen ei saanud, küll aga eluaegse vangistuse.

Pilt kohtusaalist (YLE) kapanen.jpg

2015 aastal laskis 27-aastane aastane Erik Bekker Suonenjoel maha oma 25-aastase venna. Mees sai kaheaastase vangistuse relvaga ettevaatamatult ümberkäimise eest ja kannab karistust Eestis.

Loodetavasti võtavad eestlased end ükskord kätte ja lõpetavad vägivallatsemise hõimurahva juures. Seni aga pole Kalevipoegade ja tütarde suurtest tegudest teisel pool lahte põhjust rääkida.

Artikliis on kasutatud allikatena murha.info foorumit, Soome ja Eesti ajakirjandust
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Posted in crime, henkirikos, justice, oikeus, rikos

Intia: Morsian ammuttiin alttarille

Intia: Morsian ammuttiin alttarille

Otsikko on hieman harhaanjohtava sillä Intiassa tosin ei ole kirkkoja, saatika alttareita, (Intiassa hääseremonia järjestetään yleensä morsiamen kotona isossa teltassa) mutta sopivan dramaattinen. Intiassa kun draama ja rakkausasiat kulkevat aina käsi kädessä ja joskus, yllättävän useinkin, päätyvät aika ikävästi.

Intiassa järjestetyt avioliitot ovat pikemminkin sääntö kuin poikkeus ja suku vahtii kuin haukka kenen kanssa nuori seurustelee. On tärkeä että nuori ei päätyisi alempaan kastiin avioliiton kautta, eikä karkaisi esimerkiksi palvelijan kanssa, joka olisi suuri häpeä perheelle.

Noin viikko sitten iloinen häätapahtuma sai karmean käänteen kuin mustasukkainen sulhasehdokas ampui morsiamen kesken häävalan.

Hääjuhla sai karmean käänteen

Tapaus sattui Bhopalin kaupungissa, Keski-Intiassa.

31 vuotias Anurag Singh esitti kuvaajaa juhlissa, kiipesi korokkeelle jossa nuoripari seisoi juhlavieraiden edessä ja ampui morsiamen lähietäisyydeltä.  Uhri oli 29 vuotias Jaishri Namdeo joka oli ammatiltaan lääkäri. Tekijä oli uhrin sukulainen, ilmeisesti serkku. Tekijä oli myös yrittänyt ampua itseään, mutta luoti oli mennyt kahakassa ohi ja joku juhlavieras oli saanut osuman.

Hääpari juuri ennen ampumista

Tekijän mukaan hänellä ja uhrilla oli suhde, mutta morsiamen perhe boikotoi häntä. Uhrin perhe kuitenkin kiisti seurustelun. Poliisin mukaan tekijä vaan kuvitteli sellaista. Tekijä on siis ollut suivaantunut kun hän ei ole kelvannut joko morsiamelle tai tämän perheelle. Vaikea sanoa, onko kyseessä ollut järjestetty liitto. Eihän sellaista siellä kukaan myönnä.

Kuulusteluissa tekijä oli ilmoittanut että hän halusi tappaa myös sulhasen, mutta valitettavasti ei osunut. Myöhemmin hän perui nämä puheet. 

Päivä murhan jälkeen sulhanen, jonka nimi oli Rahit ja joka oli myös lääkäri (kirurgi), oli jo poistanut surmatun morsiamen kuvat Facebookista, hän ei myöskään ollut naisen hautajaisissa, oli jopa muuttanut toiseen kaupunkiin pian.

juhlavieraat hakkasivat tekijän pahoin heti paikan päällä, tämä ei ollut yrittänyt paeta.

Kun poliisi tuli paikalle, tekijä pyysi heitä ampumaan hänet. 

Poliisille tekijä oli sanonut että hän oli tuntenut itsensä petetyksi. Ensin hän ei katunut tekoa, mutta myöhemmin pyysi anteeksi uhrin perheeltä. Aseen hän hankki noin viikko ennen surmatyötä, joten teko on ollut suunniteltu.

Tekijä oli uhannut sulhasta ennen häitä kun hän oli huomannut parin yhteiskuvia Facebookissa.

Tekijä oli tiettävästi töissä pankissa, uhrin perhe oli auttanut häntä, hänen isänsä kuoleman jälkeen.

Intiassa murhatilastot ovat synkkiä ja kuulemma väkivalta jonka kohteena nainen, hurjassa nousussa.

Låhteet Times of India ja Daily Mail

Posted in crime, homicide, justice, missing, murder, serial killers

Suspected serial killer arrested in Estonia

37-year old Andres Võsa, arrested for murder of 21 year old Erika Adamas, has confessed another murder. His newest victim is 55 year old Karin Mikiver, who was suspect’s neighbour – they lived in the same house – in Audru, Pärnumaa.

Andres Võsa

vosa7

Suspect in gruesome murders has already been convicted of homicide as well as arson.

Suspect said the motive for the killing of 21 year old, was robbery, which is probably incorrect. Accused killer said he wanted to steal woman’s laptop, however sexual assault is very likely. 55 year old victim went missing in November, last year. Her body parts were found in local river by divers today. Suspect has confessed both murders.21 year old Erika went missing in April on her way to her boyfriend’s house just few yards away and her body was found the next day. She was buried close to the local cemetry.
Perpetrator has been charged with two counts of murder.

He was sentenenced to life in prison, which in Estonia means minimum of 30 years.

Reference: Ohtuleht.ee

Posted in child abuse, crime, homicide, homicide investigation, justice, missing, murder

Is Denmark’s Dagmar Overbye one of the worst serial killers in world’s history?

Well, the answer is simply ‘we don’t know’.

In Denmark everything that can be covered up, will be covered up, and everything that can be denied will be denied, which means victim count in this case can be anywhere between 9 – ca 200.

However , she is one of most notorious female serial killers not only in Denmark but in world’s history. She is also one of the most merciless, because all her victims were infants. 

Dagmar Overbye committed her crimes during a seven-year period from 1913 to 1920. Apparently she confessed ca 20 murders, but was eventually convicted of 9.

She ran some sort of babyfarm’ or ‘unofficial’ adoption agency in Denmark. According to some reports she was a ‘foster mother’ to children born outside of marriage which seems to be far from truth. Babies ‘in her care’ were killed by strangulation or drowning, some were burnt to death in her masonry heater. The corpses were either cremated, buried or hidden in the loft.

She was sentenced to death in 1921,  however he sentence was later commuted to life in prison. She died in prison at the age of 42.

The motive of the killings is not clear. She likely received money from parents who gave up their babies for adoptions or simply wanted to get rid of them. Babies born out of wedlock were considered shameful and unacceptable back then.

I have doubts that all parents were in dark about what is going to happen to their babies. Perhaps they wanted the woman to do the ‘dirty work’, perhaps they just didn’t care. It is also clear that the matter given the circumstances was extremely discreet, so there was no follow-up. Apparently after her arrest, as many as 180 children were reported missing. All disappeared from Overbye’s ‘baby farm’.  It is possible that parents reported their babies missing because they feared their own deeds may be exposed. However she was eventually arrested, after alarm was raised by someone concerned about missing child.

The case likely involves cover-up from authorities, the extent of the horrors were downplayed. However, during Overbye’s notorious trial all hell broke loose and reportedly ‘new childcare legislation’ was introduced.

There are many classifications of serial killers: Perhaps she saw herself as missionary type – her mission was to get rid of unwanted babies . To hide shame and to bury their mothers’ secrets with them. No questions asked.

Perpetrator is sometimes described as professional child caretaker – whatever that means. She took care of those unwanted babies, her own way.

The irony, apart from gruesome case, is indeed rich. 

reference

Posted in child abuse, crime, justice, missing, news, Uncategorized

Press Release: Cease-and-Desist Letter issued to Gerry and Kate McCann, parents of Missing Madeleine McCann

PRESS RELEASE

Gerry and Kate McCann, parents of the missing Madeleine McCann, find themselves for the first time at the other end of a potential legal action.

Kate and Gerry McCann Photo zimbio.com

Kate Gerry McCann Hold Press Conference After pYyEUxYY7--l

Top defense attorney, Anne Bremner, counsel to the Friends of Amanda Knox and the families of Rebecca Zahau and Susan Cox Powell, has issued a cease-and-desist letter (content posted below) on behalf of American criminal profiler Pat Brown whose book, Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, was removed from sale by Amazon following a claim by the McCanns that the book was defamatory. In recent years, the McCanns have instructed their solicitors, Carter-Ruck, to send numerous cease-and-desist letters to people who have publicly questioned their possible involvement in their daughter’s disappearance nearly five years ago while on family holiday in Portugal.

Next week, on February 8th, retired solicitor Tony Bennett faces English prison as the McCanns’ fight to shut down his efforts to bring focus to aspects of the missing child case that point to the parents’ possible involvement. Also, the McCanns have sued the detective on their daughter’s case, Dr. Goncalo Amaral, for libel and have had his book, Truth of the Lie, pulled off the worldwide market. The trial is scheduled in Portugal for April. Now, Pat Brown has fought back for the cause of freedom of speech and justice, alleging that the McCanns have interfered with her right to conduct business and have damaged her professional reputation with their successful removal of her book from sale. On Monday, Pat will leave for Portugal to continue her quest for truth and justice in the case of Madeleine McCann.

The Find Madeleine Campaign operated by Gerry and Kate McCann has spent some 2.5 million pounds on the supposed search for their daughter, Madeline, who vanished in Praia da Luz, Portugal while on vacation with the family nearly five years ago and have come up empty handed. Since last May, a 37-man team headed up by Scotland Yard has spent 1.5 million pounds on salaries plus many more pounds following up supposed leads with no sign of success. Altogether, four million pounds has been forked out to locate a missing child with zero results. What, then, does American criminal profiler Pat Brown hope to accomplish with her two week trip to Portugal, beginning next week on February 6, with her small band of assistants and a few hundred euros of her own money?
 
She could find the truth. She could find Madeleine. She could find nothing but at least she won’t be costing the taxpayers millions or draining the pocketbooks of kindhearted donators chasing useless leads.

Pat Brown will be following up on the theory she purported in her Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, her eBook which was pulled by Amazon at the request of the British solicitors Carter-Ruck on behalf of Gerry and Kate McCann. Amazon was told the book was defamatory in spite of the fact Ms. Brown clearly stated facts in the case, developed a theory based on those facts, and repeated numerous times that she makes no claim that the McCanns are guilty of any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance (other than leaving three children unattended night after night in the resort apartment). Since Gerry McCann clearly stated during the Levinson hearing, “I strongly believe in freedom of speech” and “I don’t have a problem with somebody purporting a theory,” it is difficult to understand why the McCanns wanted the book to be repressed, except that it was selling well and that the theory she presented was being considered credible by a number of readers.

During her trip to Portugal, Pat Brown will study the town of Praia da Luz and environs, reconstruct the crime, and examine possible locations as to where Madeleine might have been taken, dead or alive. If she discovers evidence to support a theory other than the one that was the focus of her book, she will pursue that information. She is looking forward to meeting with Dr. Goncalo Amaral, the ex-detective on the McCann case. Meanwhile, it is her hope and that of her lawyer, Anne Bremner, that the McCanns rethink their actions regarding the Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann and instruct their solicitors to have Amazon return the book to the market (now available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble online).

For interviews and media appearances, please contact:

Pat Brown
The Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency
she2000@comcast.net
301-633-1151
http://www.patbrownprofiling.com
http://www.sheprofilers.com

Anne M. BremnerStafford Frey Cooper, PC
3100 Two Union Square
601 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101-1374
abremner@staffordfrey.com
206.623.9900
http://www.annebremner.com

——————————————–

Cease-and-Desist Letter

Anne M. Bremner
Stafford Frey Cooper, PC
3100 Two Union Square
601 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101-1374

February 1, 2012

Adam Tudor
Carter-Ruck
6 St Andrew Street
London EC4A 3AE
England

Dear Mr. Tudor,
In July 2011, American criminal profiler, author, and television commentator, Pat Brown, released on June 15, 2011 a self-published book of thirty-pages on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.de, for the price of US2.99. It was titled Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, sold 850 copies over the next five weeks and garnered 49 nearly all five star reviews on Amazon.uk alone. Then, the book vanished from sale on all three sites. Upon questioning, Pat Brown was informed by Amazon that they had received communications from Carter-Ruck on behalf of their clients Gerald and Kate McCann that the book was defamatory.
Mon 7/25/2011 7:27 PM

Dear Pat,
We have received a notice of defamation from Carter-Ruck Solicitors that says the content of Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann (UPDATED) B0055WYVCQ, contains defamatory statements regarding their clients, Gerry and Kat (sic) McCann.

Because we have no method of determining whether the content supplied to us is defamatory, we have removed the title from sale and will not reinstate it unless we receive confirmation from both parties that this matter has been resolved.
Carter-Ruck can be reached at:

6 St Andrew Street
London EC4A 3AE
T 020 7353 5005
Best regards,
Robert F.
amazon

 This was quite a surprise to Pat Brown as she had never received any communications from the McCanns nor their solicitors concerning any defamatory material in this book, nor had she ever received any communication concerning any defamatory material in her blogs on the case she has posted online at The Daily Profiler over the last four years. As Ms. Brown is an analyst of evidence, she is careful to not state anything as a fact that is not a fact and to clearly state what is a hypothesis or a theory as opposed to proof. She has publicly and repeated explained to anyone reading her analyses of crime that criminal profiling is a methodology which explores the possible and theoretical scenarios that might be considered as logical based on evidence connected with the crime – forensic, linguistic, or behavioral. Any findings resulting from investigative tools which are not acceptable in certain courts of law (such as cadaver dogs or polygraphs) are noted as suitable for speculation, but not as solid proof of anyone’s guilt or involvement in criminal activities. Criminal profiling itself is an investigative tool and not a finding of guilt as Pat Brown clearly notes in her book.

Due to the speculative, if analytical, nature of Deductive Criminal Profiling, the methodology used by Pat Brown, she was careful to repeat numerous times throughout her publication that she was not accusing the McCanns of being involved in any crime or in the disappearance of their daughter, Madeleine. She was clearly only “purporting a theory” and exercising “free speech,” both manners of communication Gerry McCann stated he strongly supported under oath at the Leveson Inquiry on November 23, 2011 in London:
"I would like to emphasize that I strongly believe in freedom of speech, but where you have people who are repeatedly carrying out inaccuracies and have been shown to do so, then they should be held to account. That is the issue. I don’t have a problem with somebody purporting a theory, writing fiction, suggestions, but clearly we’ve got to a stage where substandard reporting and sources, unnamed, made-up, non-verifiable, are a daily occurrence.” Gerry McCann

Pat Brown also believes in free speech and the right to purport a theory, it would seem she and Gerry McCann are in agreement that any work that purports a theory as opposed to false statements of fact is acceptable under freedom of speech. Pat Brown’s Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann opens up discussion of what happened to the McCann’s daughter, further stimulating interest in the case, and keeping Madeleine in the minds of the public. As the McCanns claim this is what they want, Pat Brown’s book is in accordance with this desire. In fact, it is the McCanns themselves who have clearly encouraged massive interest and speculation on this case. Pat Brown is in no way, therefore, infringing on any wish to keep talk about the case to a minimum.
By speaking and writing out quite often and in such a high profile manner, the McCanns have succeeded in making Madeleine McCann the most well-known missing child in modern history (since the Lindbergh baby in 1932). They have stimulated debate worldwide as to what happened to Madeleine. They have publicly purported their own theories; that someone took Madeleine because they wanted to raise a child, that she is being held captive in a sex ring, and that a pedophile had taken her. They have publicly disclosed many details of the case and repeatedly told their version of what occurred before, during, and after the disappearance of the daughter. They have discussed their emotions, behaviors, and opinions. Pat Brown is carrying on that discussion.

Utmost of importance in the entire matter, is the handling and funding of child abduction cases, the prevailing attitudes toward these crimes, and the future of catching child predators. Because the victims are so young and innocent, missing children are among the most publicized cases in the world. In the last three decades with the increase of the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle, awareness of child sex predators and stranger child abduction has radically increased fears of parents that their child will be taken and murdered. In reality, stranger abduction continues to be exceedingly rare for children of Madeleine’s age. Regardless, the paranoia that is engendered when a small child goes missing is a great stress to the community, the police, and resources. Therefore, it is extremely important that each and every case be properly analyzed and understood so that wrong ideas aren’t promulgated and funding and efforts are wasted investigating such crimes improperly. Each child that goes missing is a terrible tragedy for the parents, siblings, relative, friends, and community. Pat has great empathy for any family of a missing child and, most of all, compassion for the innocent young person who has suffered abuse, terror, sexual assault, and, possibly, an early death at the hands of others.

We are requesting that you respect Pat Brown’s right to free speech and to purport a theory as Gerry McCann has stated is not a problem for him. We request that the claim of libel be retracted for the Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann and the book permitted to be returned for sale at Amazon.

Respectfully,
Anne M. Bremner

link

Posted in crime, homicide, homicide investigation, justice, murder

Murder Most Foul: Jealousy, passion and crime

Shocking end of the birthday party as victim attacked with an ax, set on fire.

love,murder-1296a6db4e72422ae88fe9a22c52ee16_hBirthday celebration ended in the brutal murder last Friday in Estonia, in small village called Kuusiku (Tartu County).

Reportedly there was an argument  between men that attended the party. Police say a motive for the killing was jealousy.

The victim, 26 year old Kristjan was attacked with an ax, then dragged into a field and set on fire. Police cannot say whether the victim was still alive when his attackers poured gasoline on his body to set him alight.

Initially five people were taken into custody. Three of them were released, two suspects are now in custody on suspicion of murder.

One of the suspects is victim’s 21 brother Kristo. Another suspect, 19 year old Erkki has admitted the killing.

It was reported that the woman has dated both brothers, she has two children with younger brother Kristo. The woman also allegedly dated Erkki, who is her step-brother. Erkki’s father and woman’s mother have been in the relationship in the past.

Estonian press describes killing as ‘crime of passion’.

link

Posted in crime, homicide, homicide investigation, justice

‘Devils Knot’: Reader Review

Written by Chris K Wilson

I suppose there are hundreds of cases such as this hidden away in American history justice files – sensational crimes, creating mass hysteria, law enforcement officials desperate to catch a break and solve terribly violent murders. What is most profoundly disturbing about “Devil’s Knot – The True Story of the West Memphis Three,” a well-researched and eye-opening account by Mara Leveritt, is there is no comfortable resolution to this case.

Photo Arkansas Times

If the three teenagers who were convicted in the slayings of three eight-year-old boys in 1993 are truly guilty – as the juries found them – then it is a sad testament to the ever-decreasing humanity existing within the interstate wasteland of faceless trailer parks, strip malls and fast food dives. However, if these three anti-social teens were railroaded simply because they were counterculture, adorned in black listening to Metallica and Black Sabbath while perusing Anne Rice, then this morbid tale is an example of a modern-day witch-hunt akin to the Salem Witch Trails hundreds of years ago.

Has justice been served in West Memphis, Arkansas – a small, faceless Southern town near the banks of the Mississippi River? Someone murdered those three innocent boys in or near the woods outside of town. But is that someone truly behind bars?

When reading “Devil’s Knot,” it is abundantly clear these law enforcement officials had little experience dealing with a violent case such as this. The crime scene was contaminated, officers didn’t follow leads, interviews were not recorded, evidence was lost, witnesses were threatened, body conditions leaked to the press. Most disturbing of all, there seemed to be an inability by these desperate officials to believe a God-fearing resident of their community – one of them – could ever murder three boys in this brutal a fashion.

“It had to be someone who is not one of us. Someone who does not believe in God.”

When terrible crimes like this happen in our society, there is always an instinctive reaction to find a boogey man – some kind of monster not one of us. Damien Echols, goth and counterculture, with a creepy (though creative) presence fuelled by depression and smalltown restraint, made the perfect boogey man for a wounded community trying to understand and cope.

It is clear when reading “Devil’s Knot” that Damien fuelled much of this talk, and relished his role as eventual goth martyr. It is also clear mentally handicapped Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was intimidated and taken advantage of during his 11-hour ordeal when he eventually implicated himself, Damien and Jason Baldwin in the murders. The confession itself is so unconvincing as to be surreal. And the scant evidence – some of which was discovered or found months after the murders, was never scientifically related or matched to a single wound on the victims’ bodies. But drop the name of Satan or Cult into a hysterically uneducated, conservatively religious town needing, if not wanting, to lynch someone for these murders, and all bets are off. All workings of a fair justice system are suddenly crippled. Damien and company made the perfect boogey men. Of course, Damien and company could truly be the boogey men we have always feared since the beginning of time……since the days of Salem Witch Trials.

From all sides, this is an ugly story. As America, one way or another, we should be ashamed. “Devil’s Knot” documents this in perfect fashion.

Amazon