As I watched Paradise Lost, I was blown away by Mark Byers’ visceral response to the murder of his son, Christopher Byers. He was loud, and he took up a lot of screen time railing about how he hated the West Memphis Three. He stood in the creek bank where the boys were found, grinding his teeth, and said he would piss on the graves of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jesse Misskelley. A particularly interesting passage was when he sang a very solemn song at his Baptist church, and the lines were something like:
whatever it takes to be more like You
is what I will do
The next scene was him firing a gun into a pumpkin, saying, “This one’s for Damian. Oh he’s still wiggling a little bit, I think I need to shoot him again.” This went on and on.
He is seen mourning at his son’s grave with his wife. Then I noticed that she was much quieter than he. She kept trying to stay out of the picture frame.
And then I realized that this man who was making such a huge show of his grief was the boy’s stepfather. I know that it is possible for steps to love their spouse’s children but Mark Byers’ grief seemed crazily out of scale to his wife’s, and this wasn’t even his own flesh and blood. It made me think he was trying to convince me of something.
Other things would come about, such as his many contradictory statements to police, the knife given to HBO that had human blood on it, and his wife’s mysterious death. I don’t want to accuse anyone of murder without a really good reason, but I am interested in learning more about Mark Byers. For all his look-at-me-ism, he really does seem to have been overlooked during the initial investigation.