'West of Memphis' Documentary Reveals Three New Key Witnesses
by Ethan Anderton
January 20, 2012
The first press screening for the Peter Jackson produced documentary West of Memphis hit Sundance this morning (we haven't seen it yet, but will before the festival is through), and along with the first screening comes some news for the real world as well as the film industry. While those who have been keeping up with the HBO documentary series Paradise Lost think this new documentary has nothing else to offer, a press release (via Deadline) was just unveiled which announces three new key witnesses in the investigation of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley along with the name of the real killer.
As children, local boy Michael Hobbs Jr. apparently told his friends "my uncle Terry murdered those three little boys." Each of the new witnesses were placed under a polygraph and testified under penalty of purjury:
"One day Michael picked us up in his truck. He was very quiet and upset. Michael then said to us, ‘you are not going to believe what my dad told me today. My Uncle Terry murdered the three little boys.’ According to Michael, his dad called this ‘The Hobbs Family Secret’ and he asked us to keep it a secret and not tell anyone.”
Another witness said, "One night last winter, Michael and I were playing pool in his basement when the third friend asked about the West Memphis Three case which had been in the news. Michael responded by saying, ‘My uncle killed three kids in West Memphis.’ Michael was dead serious when he said this.” DNA consistent with Terry Hobbs, stepfather of victim Stevie Branch, was later discovered in the knot of a shoelace used to restrain victim Michael Moore. WItnesses have also provided sworn statements that they saw Terry Hobbs with the three children on the day of the murders, immediately before they disappeared.
Sounds like Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh funding the investigation turned out to be the best thing anyone could have done in order to clear the names of The West Memphis 3, and this development could make this the definitive documentary of this tragic tale. Head over to Deadline for more details on the new evidence and witnesses as well as the confidential tip hotline to offer anymore crucial information. Meanwhile, stay tuned for our review of West of Memphis and all 2012 Sudance coverage over the next week.