Paradise Lost: an Essay
Upon viewing the documentary, “Paradise Lost”, one of my first impressions was a feeling of shock at the hysteria surrounding the case, and how heavily it impacted the trial. Another area of concern was the tenuous (or nonexistent) evidence tying these youths to these horrible murders. The entire essence of the prosecution’s case was a confession of questionable authenticity by Jessie Misskelley, Jr, coupled with a community-based fear of a satanic ritual having occurred.
Such trials and convictions, sadly, are not new in the American experience. Many such mockeries of justice have taken place in our history, the most infamous being, of course, the Salem witch trials. Fortunately, the extremely weak bases for the convictions of the defendants are being systematically torn down, thanks to the appeals process. It is still disturbing to note, however, that an entire community can be thrown into a panic, based solely on fear and ignorance coupled with sensationalism.
One of the most interesting pieces of data that my research has turned up is a very compelling, meticulously researched, and extremely detailed forensic analysis by Brent Turvey, MS, of the crime, along with a psychological profile of the possible killers. It is attached to this essay in its entirety. The main conclusions of this analysis are in marked contrast to the conclusions reached by the Arkansas investigative authorities. Among the more significant are the following:
1. The natu...
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