14 Years After the West Memphis Three - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

West Memphis, AR--Brett Garrett Reports

14 Years After the West Memphis Three

WEST MEMPHIS, AR--This week marks the 14th anniversary of the West Memphis Three. It's a case that captured the attention of millions when three young boys from West Memphis were found brutally murdered.

Three men now sit behind bars, one on death row for the crimes. Meanwhile the victims' families are still looking for closure. 

Stevie Branch was an honor roll student who won awards in math and science. He had an active imagination and loved to sing.

"He was a very intelligent little boy. I could have had the next president, had he not been murdered," said Pamela Hobbs the mother of Stevie Branch.

Stevie would have turned 23 this year and his mother often thinks of what could have been.

"I visualize him as muscular, a body builder or some sort. Going to college, getting his scholarship, to be a doctor or a lawyer or something like that," said Hobbs.

She still remembers vividly the last time she spoke to her son. He asked if he could go out riding bikes with his friends on the afternoon of May 5th, 1993.

"I told him ok son, but if your not home by 4:30 you are grounded for 2 weeks from that bike and he promised me he would be home and left just as happy as two little boys getting to ride bikes could be," said Hobbs.

She went off to work that night not knowing that Stevie along with his two friends Michael Moore and Christopher Byers would be brutally murdered. Their mutilated bodies dumped in a wooded area of West Memphis.

"Found out around 9 o'clock that Stevie still had not been found and right there immediately, I don't know if it is a mother's intuition or what, but I knew the worse had happened. I guess God prepared me for it," said Hobbs.

This week marks the 14th anniversary of Stevie's death and his mother says a lot has changed in that time. The wooded area where they found his body is now an open field off of Interstate 55, but more importantly his mother is finally learning to live life without Stevie.

"For the first five or six years it was hell on earth, if they could put that into words. If you could describe how I felt. Then at one point, I just gave it all to God. I know my son is in a better place," said Hobbs.

Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin were arrested for the murders. However, 14 years later, it is still debated whether the three teens being held for the crimes actually committed them.

"I feel like the ones that killed my son, the three that were tried and convicted, they are guilty, but I am like everyone else, was there someone else out there other than those three," said Hobbs.

Hobbs says she doesn't look at supporters of West Memphis Three as bad people because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, including hers of Echols.

"If that's the way he wants to go down in history as a child murderer, then that's the road he chose to take in this life," said Hobbs.

She feels the actions of the three teenagers were a cry for help.

"It's because the parents have neglected their kids and overlooked their children. They are screaming out for attention. They want love and the parents aren't doing it anymore," said Hobbs.

She says she has forgiven Echols and anyone else connected with the murder of her son, and feels it is still possible something positive can come out of this.

"If God would save their souls, then the devil didn't accomplish anything out of this. He just made my life a little miserable," said Hobbs.

However, things are now looking up for Hobbs. She now has a new grandson who bears a resemblance to Stevie and offers her a new vision of the future.

"I'm going to get a chance to watch my grandson grow up and I might be able to see through my grandson what I would have seen in my son," said Hobbs.

She feels she will never have complete closure, but knows she has help from above.

"I tell people all the time that ask me how I deal with it and I tell them, I have an angel in heaven that calls me momma," said Hobbs.

According to Hobbs her story is being adopted into a movie by Dimension Films. She expects the movie to come out sometime in 2008.

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