West Memphis Three Trials:
The Jesse Misskelley Trial (January 26 - February 4, 1994)
February 4, 1994
UNKNOWN: Yes, we have.
THE COURT: If you'll hand it to a bailiff please, or the sheriff please. (PAPER RUSTLING) Alright ladies and gentlemen, your verdicts are in good form and, and will be accepted by the Court, and I'll announce your verdict in just a second.
Alright ladies and gentlemen, I, I -- in the audience -- I am acutely aware that your feelings are on edge, that ah, there's a great deal of emotion involved and I certainly can understand that -- and everyone that participates here can. But the Court cannot tolerate and will not tolerate any verbal outburst, any display of emotion whatsoever. So you're cautioned and warned as I read the verdicts that you are not to um, show any outburst, any emotion, or any display. And I, I recognize that that's difficult, and that's why I'm warning you in advance.
Ah, the verdicts read as follows:
We, the jury, find Jessie Lloyd Misskelley Jr. guilty of first-degree murder in the the death of Michael Moore, signed by T.J. Williams, foreman. Is that your unanimous verdict, ladies and gentlemen?
VOICES: Yes, yes.
THE COURT: All twelve of you agree?
THE COURT: Gentlemen, do you want the jury to be polled on that verdict?
STIDHAM: Yes, your Honor.
THE COURT: Alright, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to go through a procedure called polling the jury, which simply means that when your name is, is called, if this is your verdict, answer yes. You ready? You have the jury list? I'm sorry, I probably didn't tell you. While the Clerk's getting the jury list, I'm going to read your other verdicts.
We, the jury, find Jessie Lloyd Misskelley Jr. guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Stevie Branch. We, the jury, find Jessie Lloyd Misskelley Jr. guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Chris Byers. Again signed by T.J. Williams, foreman. Are those verdicts your unanimous verdicts, that is all twelve of you agree upon each finding?
THE COURT: Alright. And in just a moment, when the Clerk returns with the jury list, I'll ask her to call your name, and if these verdicts -- all three of 'em -- reflect your individual finding, then you should answer yes as your name is called.
And while the Clerk is bringing the jury list, I might explain to you that your findings, which the Court has accepted, will, will require you to return to the jury room and consider the punishment. Before we do that, food has been ordered and it should be here for you, and I'm going to ask that you take a break for lunch, ah, take whatever time you need to rest and enjoy the food that's being provided, it won't be much. And after that, then we'll reconvene, and I'll give you further instructions, and possibly if the lawyers care to there may be brief arguments or brief presentation of additional facts. That may not be necessary, depends upon my discussion with the lawyers, so. I'm gonna let the Clerk poll the jury at this time, so if these represent your individual verdicts, please answer yes as your name is called.
[NOTE: Spellings on these names may not be perfect]
CLERK: Carla Pratt.
CLERK: Stephen Green.
CLERK: James Rainwater.
CLERK: Theresa Burgess.
CLERK: Ronnie Smith.
CLERK: Lloyd Champion.
CLERK: Margie Woods.
CLERK: Donna Ludina Moore.
CLERK: Janet Luter.
CLERK: April Lundstrom.
CLERK: Aubrey Lund - Di - Dacus.
CLERK: T.J. Williams.
THE COURT: Alright, ladies and gentlemen, your verdicts will be accepted by the Court as the verdict in this case, and at this time you'll be allowed to recess, uh, and I'm gonna keep this area back here, where you have coffee, cold drinks, and food coming. If you wanna go outside the back to smoke, I'm gonna provide deputies out in that area, ah, that'll be fine. But you may stand in recess for let's say thirty minutes, will that be sufficient time? Alright, you may stand in recess for thirty minutes. Gentlemen, I need to see the lawyers.