Essay about Satanic Panic in the South

Essay about Satanic Panic in the South

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Satanic Panic in the South


On the evening of May 5, 1993, three boys from West Memphis, Arkansas, were last seen riding their bikes together. In the early evening, Chris Byers' stepfather, John Mark Byers, reported that his stepson had not come home and he was becoming worried. The police were also notified of two other boys who had been with Chris and were considered missing, Michael Moore, and Stevie Branch. The police and the parents of the missing children searched the neighborhood unsuccessfully until 3AM the next morning. The bodies of the three eight year old boys were discovered in a wooded area in Robin Hood Hills the next day at 1:30 PM. The boys had been hog-tied and severely beaten. Their naked bodies were located in a shallow creek in an isolated patch of woods behind the Blue Beacon truck wash. However, the question that remains until this day is whether justice was served in this case. Perhaps you are not familiar with the West Memphis Three, otherwise known as the Robin Hood Hill Murders. Most people would not of heard of this case unless they were citizens of the small town; however, HBO produced a documentary, "Paradise Lost," which graphically showed this case in a different light. This Peabody Award winning documentary brought the story of this crime and its aftermath into the national spotlight in 1996. The implication it left was that satanic panic, public hysteria and media sensationalism was responsible for the convictions in the case, not solid evidence. This is a shattering account of what a fundamentalist community in the south can accomplish toward the blatant destruction of American justice.

West Memphis is a predominantly Southern Baptist town in Eastern Arkansas. Most ci...


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...st side. I do plan to be present when the last appeal goes before the judge later this year to show my support against this injustice that has occurred. These three convicted young men could be anyone of us if the judicial system allows personal prejudices to sentence people to death. How can someone's own beliefs interfere with a matter of life and death? This tragedy never should have occurred. The real West Memphis Three that need the attention are Michael Moore, Chris Byers, and Stevie Branch. The rest of the attention needs to focus on finding out what actually happened on the evening of May 5, 1993. The new evidence that does implicate possible suspects needs to be investigated by professionals who are experienced with crime scene evidence. By doing this, the future of these three young men might possibly be a little brighter than they are right now.

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