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Murder in West Memphis: The Man in the White Tank Top - Part 3

(This is Part Three of a Six part installment on the unsolved murder of three young boys in West Memphis.)

In a statement made by David Jacoby, a friend of Terry Hobbs, he said: “And he (Terry Hobbs) said he told him (Stevie) to get back before dark.”

In my opinion, this statement is damning. It contradicts Terry Hobbs’ version of events on May 5. Remember, Hobbs has repeatedly denied that he ever saw Stevie, Michael or Chris on that fateful evening.

I think the most plausible scenario is that Terry Hobbs did see Stevie Branch shortly after 5pm on May 5 -- right after he returned home from taking his wife, Pam, to work. It stands to reason that Terry saw the three boys as he stood in his driveway as they played in the backyard of Jamie Ballard.

Terry called Stevie Home for dinner and Stevie did as he was told.

Not wanting to miss out on any fun with his friends, it stands to reason that Stevie could have asked Terry if he could return to his friends after he finished his dinner.

Terry most likely agreed to this request.

And I believe that is what trigged the next series of events. While Stevie went inside to eat dinner, it stands to reason that the other boys would have continued riding their bikes and/or returned to their own homes to eat dinner.

In fact, this theory is actually supported by testimony given by Mark Byers, Chris’ father.

Mark Byers claimed that Chris had attempted to break into their house sometime around 5pm on May 5.

Mark arrived home around 5:20pm and states that he saw Chris riding his skateboard in the street. Mark picked Chris up, took him home, spanked him for being in the middle of the street instead of at home, asked him to clean the carport and left him there cleaning at approximately 5:30pm.

Keep in mind, David Jacoby claims that Terry Hobbs and his daughter Amanda stopped by his house at approximately 5:30pm. It makes the most sense to theorize that Stevie finished his dinner and left the house with Terry and Amanda.

Stevie took off to find Chris and Michael and Terry and Amanda went to the Jacoby home.

Now let’s get back to Terry Hobbs official testimony for the evening of May 5.

According to Hobbs, after arriving at the Jacoby home and playing some guitar, he leaves his daughter, Amanda, with Jacoby’s wife so that he and Jacoby could go out and search for Stevie.

This makes absolutely no sense. First, Hobbs said he hadn’t seen the boys that evening so he wasn’t expecting Stevie to show up at the Jacoby home. So why would he need to go search for Stevie?

It wasn’t dark yet and there was no reason to be concerned. Second, in Jacoby’s official statement he claims that he and Hobbs played guitar for almost an hour before they decided to search for Stevie.

This is the first of many contradictions in the stories told by the two men.

David Jacoby also claims that he had seen the three boys in the street just before Hobbs arrived at his home.

He described that two boys were on bikes and one was on a skateboard.

This completely contradicts Jacoby’s other testimony where he describes how he asked Terry Hobbs where Stevie was when Terry arrived at his home at 5:30. Why would he have asked Terry where Stevie was at if he had literally just seen him in the street playing with the two other boys?

To be even more specific, Jacoby claimed that when he opened his door at 5:30pm to let Terry and Amanda Hobbs into his home that he saw Stevie, Michael and Chris in the street playing together.

How could that be possible?

Remember, according to Mark Byers (and his wife), Chris was in their carport at 5:30pm cleaning.

Let’s dig deeper: There were various sightings of the boys that evening in the neighborhood. Almost every sighting was a description of the three boys on two bicycles. There was no mention of a skateboard.

The fact that David Jacoby describes that he saw the boys with two bikes and a skateboard means that he really did see the boys at some point that day… and according to the time frame based on testimony of witnesses in the neighborhood, this means that Jacoby saw the boys between 5:30 and 6pm.

Law enforcement was able to determine that Chris had abandoned his skateboard by 6pm and joined Stevie on his bicycle.

This means that David Jacoby lied extensively in his statements. What would be his motive to lie if he wasn’t involved in the crime?

Isn’t it more likely that Terry Hobbs showed up to David Jacoby’s house at 5:30pm and that Hobbs asked Jacoby’s wife to watch Amanda for him for a few hours.

Think about it: Terry’s wife was at work, Stevie was out playing and wasn’t expected home until 8pm, so if he was able to get Jacoby’s wife to watch Amanda, the two men could go drink some whiskey and possibly smoke some pot.

According to law enforcement, it is believed that Stevie and Michael stopped by Chris’ house around 5:30pm and the three young boys headed out on their bikes and skateboard. As Hobbs and Jacoby were headed out to find drugs, I believe the two men saw the boys on the bikes and skateboard.

This, in my opinion, is how Jacoby knew about the skateboard. Chris was only seen on his skateboard up until 6pm. After that time, he abandoned the skateboard and hopped on the back of Stevie’s bike.

According to multiple witnesses, including Michael’s own mother, the young boys were on two bikes riding around on 14th Street around 6pm. The final sightings of the boys had them heading in the direction of Robin Hood Hills at 6:30pm.

If Hobbs and Jacoby really did leave West Memphis to go to Lakeshore Trailer Park between 5:45 and 6pm, it stands to reason that they would have seen the three boys and then picked up Lucas and Hollingsworth shortly after that time.

Let’s go back to Billy Stewart and Bennie Guy’s accounts of the alleged confessions given to them by Buddy Lucas and LG Hollingsworth: Terry Hobbs caught the three boys spying on the four men and ordered the teenagers to catch them.

I seriously doubt that Terry’s intention was to kill them at first. I suspect Terry wanted to scare them into never mentioning what they had seen in the woods that evening. According to Billy, one of the boys kicked Terry and this caused Terry to violently and swiftly strike the young child. It was at this point in time, I believe, that Terry Hobbs knew he had to kill all three boys.

According to the autopsy reports, Michael Moore was quickly incapacitated with very few defensive wounds and most likely knocked unconscious immediately.

This leads the Medical Examiner to believe that Michael was the first one to be attacked.

So if Terry hit Michael hard enough to knock him unconscious, it stands to reason Terry most likely believed he had killed Michael, and this belief further fueled the need to kill the other two boys to cover up the first murder.

According to John Douglas, a retired FBI profiler, he believes the attack on the boys was enacted by a perpetrator that wanted to teach the boys a lesson. Douglas believes the crimes against the young boys were meant to dominate, control, humiliate and punish.

I believe that Douglas’ theory about the perpetrator matches up completely with the alleged confessions of Lucas and Hollingsworth and further points to the most obvious suspects: Terry Hobbs and David Jacoby.

After all, they have already lied repeatedly in their testimony about the events surrounding the evening of May 5th. Why would they need to lie?

Maybe those answers can be found in the brutality of the murders of Stevie, Michael and Chris….

To be continued.

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