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The West Memphis three documentaries revolve on the story of three teenagers who are victims of torture and eventual death. This led to the arrest and imprisonment of three men on the basis that they were responsible for the death of the three eight –year- old boys. One of the suspects was a minor at the time of his trial and arrest. The other two suspects had been previously been found guilty of other crime.
The events that led to the arrest were faulty since they did not involve the establishment of substantial evidence that the three were guilty of the crime.
The investigation of the crime
In my opinion, the West Memphis Police Department did not incorporate the necessary measures in the search of the supposedly missing three eight-year-old boys. This is because they refused the help from the Arkansas State Police who are experts in violent crimes (Leveritt, 2003, p.51). If they had accepted the help, they would have found the boys alive and this would have prevented any other problems arising from that event.
It is also important to note that the police should have contacted the coroners as soon as they found the shoe that was floating on water. It is quite unexpected that the police took such a long time to contact the coroners, which led to the delay of the coroners’ investigation on the event. I think that it is regretful that the police ignored the fact that, the shoe could have provided substantial evidence on the real murderers of the boys.
The police officers involved in the search of the missing boys lacked expertise, if not proper training, on how to handle such crimes. This is evident in the instance where the police on finding the bodies floating on water, removed them and placed them on the dry ground (Leveritt, 2003, p.56).
They could have waited for the coroners to come and handle the bodies before them. This would have established a basis on how to go on with further investigations. The placing the bodies on another ground exposed the bodies to other agents such as insects, which substantially interfered with post mortem investigations on the bodies.
In the same line of lack of expertise by the police officers involved in the investigation, it was unprofessional for them to disclose their views about the crime to the public. This was the source of rumors that the murderers had sexually abused the boys before they killed them.
They also committed a big mistake by letting the public know the condition of the bodies of the boys after they found them. This is because during the questioning of the suspects, one of them was incriminated after he told the police how the boys had been tortured. According to my opinion, the suspect was only telling the police what he had heard from other people since the news about the boy’s condition were all over the town.
Another factor that makes me think that the investigation was full of flaws is that the police and even the coroners did not take the small amount of blood that was on the scene for investigation. Why would the police ignore the significance of that small bloodstain? It seems that the police were not serious with their work because we cannot explain why they overlooked that spot of blood.
Considering the extend of torture of the boys and the amount of blood that was found at the place where the bodies were, the boys were tortured in another place and transferred to this scene. It is quite surprising that the police officers could not figure this out. Moreover, they did not carry further investigation to find out the real place where the inhuman event had happened. The small amount of blood found at the scene should not have been satisfactory to make the police stop their investigations about the crime.
It took four years after the trials of the suspects for the photographs taken at the scene to undergo inspection by a board-certified medical examiner (Steel, 2010, p.16). They revealed that the bodies of the boys had bite marks, which did not resemble any of the incriminated. I feel that something fishy was going on in the investigatory process. Why did the police overlook the examination of the photos before the suspects were imprisoned?
It is evident that the police were not fully involved in their investigation into this murder case. Consequently, they overlook so many factors during the investigation that led to the incrimination of the three major suspects. The process had many flaws, which I think resulted from lack of expertise of the police.
Leveritt, M. (2003). Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three. New York: Atria Books.
Steel, F. (2010). The West Memphis Three. Notorious Murderers: Most Famous, 2(1), 2-14.