S3 Ep116: West Memphis Three: Satanic Panic (Part 2)
West Memphis, Arkansas is located in Crittenden County and is directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis Tennessee, but in 1993, West Memphis and Memphis were worlds apart. Memphis boasted a healthy and growing population of over 620 thousand, while West Memphis had just over 28 thousand residents. But Memphis, TN struggled with high crime rates, with 1993 setting a record for the most homicides in one year, a record that wasn’t broken until 2016. West Memphis Arkansas had a more small town, laid back feel, and as cliche as it sounds, people felt safe leaving their doors unlocked and letting their young children play outside all day with no supervision. That was until May 5th, 1993, when three eight year old boys rode away on their bikes, eager to expel the energy they had built up all day while sitting in their second grade classrooms at Weaver Elementary School, but they never came home. It wouldn’t be long before the residents of West Memphis and then the world found out what happened to Stevie Branch, Michael Moore and Christopher Byers. Their battered and mutilated bodies were found the next day in a swampy wooded area known to locals as Robin Hood Hills, and the community of West Memphis felt a shockwave hit their community that they would not recover from for some time. Within a month three teenagers were arrested and charged with capital murder, and it wasn’t long before whispers of witchcraft, devil worship and occult killings rippled throught the homes and businesses of West Memphis, and those whispers eventually turned into a loud roar, a roar that might accompany an angry mob looking for someone to blame for an unimaginable tragedy, akin to the infamous witch hunts that are dotted throughout history. This is the story of six boys from West Memphis, Arkansas; three were brutally murdered and stolen from this world far before their time, the other three were marched to the proverbial gallows, guilty in the court of public opinion, and found guilty in an actual court of law. Six lives destroyed, six lives forever changed, six lives eternally tied together.
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