Willard Lee Thomas (facing 43 charges) pleaded no contest on two counts, including child endangerment and unlawful sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old girl.
A 1993 survey by the American Bar Association's Center on Children and Family Law determined that 26 percent of prosecutors nationwide have handled cases involving "ritualistic or sexual abuse." (Ross, 1994).
The ritualistic aspects of the crimes often are not presented in court but are clearly indicated in the victims' accounts.* West Memphis Three teenagers were convicted in the cult killings of three 8-year-old boys.
During the trial, Patavino wore a pentagram medallion around her neck. More than 50 children accused Fuster and his wife, Iliana, of abuse that included feces-eating, drugging, pornography, animal killings and anal rape with a crucifix.
Fuster's 7-year-old son was treated for gonorrhea of the throat.
(Beifuss, 1994) Misskelley confessed to his role in the killings, telling police the murders were linked to a cult ritual that included the rape and mutilation of victims. West Memphis police detective Bryn Ridge testified that elements in the case pointed to the work of a satanic cult. Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore disappeared while riding their bicycles in May 1993. Acquaintances said Echols carried a cat's skull to school, wrote satanic poems, and claimed to worship the devil. During his first police interview Echols told Detective Ridge that his favorite author was Anton La Vey, author of The Satanic Bible. Mental health records indicate that Echols' parents expressed concern about his possible involvement in "satanism or devil worship" when he was hospitalized in 1992.
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Their nude bodies were found the next day in a drainage ditch. Just four months prior to the murders a clinician noted: "Damien explained that he obtains his powers by drinking blood of others." (Sullivan, 1994).
The alleged victims included their own children, traded between families and used for group sex, as well as children from the Bluebird troop run by Deborah Mc Cuan and the unlicensed day care facility in her home.
The Mc Cuans and Kniffens were convicted on all counts in 1983, drawing aggregate prison terms in excess of 1,000 years.
Bridgeport Kerri Lynn Patavino, 28, a school bus driver, was convicted in August 1996 of statutory rape for seducing a 14-year-old boy who said she engaged him in strange rituals during sex. The boy testified that Patavino once cut her arm with a razor blade and forced him to lick her blood. Dade County Francisco Fuster, 36, was convicted in 1985 on 14 counts of child abuse and sentenced to a minimum of 165 years in prison.
According to police, Patavino sent the boy love letters decorated with occult symbols and signed in her blood. Fuster had previously been convicted of lewd and lascivious assault on a 9-year-old girl and had served four years in prison for homicide.