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Michael Wayne 'Damien" Echols, 19, and Charles Jason Baldwin, 16, were convicted March 18, 1994, on three counts each of capitol murder. A jury recommended the death penalty for Echols and life in prison without pareole for Baldwin. A third teenager, Jessie Lloyd Misskelley, Jr., 18, was convicted in February 1994, of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder.He is serving a prison sentence of life plus 40 years. One witness testified that one of the defendants drank the victim's blood. During the trial prosecutors presented evidence suggesting that Echols was a satanist.Iliana Fuster, a 17-year-old native of Honduras, also claimed to have been battered and sexually abused by Fuster. Stuart James Toward, 58, owner of Glendale Montessori School, pleaded guilty to child sexual abuse charges and received a 15-year sentence.She confessed to her role in the crimes against the children and testified against her husband. His office manager, Brenda Williams, 30, was convicted in 1989 and sentenced to 6 years in prison. West, Jr., a former juvenile officer, pleaded guilty on June 20, 1994, to 33 counts of sexual abuse.Close If you are a survivor, please be careful in reading the information compiled here.It is impossible to give information on ritual abuse, and about people's opinions about ritual abuse, in a way that is not upsetting and/or triggering.Children described being threatened with guns and knives, photographed for pornographic purposes, and forced to participate in sadistic rituals. West was sentenced to 20 years in prison, 20 years probation, and ordered never to be alone with children.Prosecutors said that West engaged in oral and anal sex with as many as 13 children, fondled them, forced them to engage in sex acts with other children, and filmed the assaults.
Ritual elements in the case were ignored by authorities at the time. In August 1996, a judge overturned the child molestation convictions of Alvin and Deborah Mc Cuan and Scott and Brenda Kniffen.** (Northwest Herald, August 14, 1996).Akron Philip and Michael Schmidt pleaded guilty to molesting children attending the day care center operated by their grandmother, Hazel Riggs, who was sentenced on a lesser charge.A Denver Post report on the case included ritual allegations by a child victim. Acree, former heroin addict and operator of a halfway house for juvenile delinquents, was convicted in February 1983, on two counts of prostituting children and one count of sexually assaulting a child.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.Other defendants, each convicted on a minimum of 50 counts, included Forsythe's wife, Colleen Dill Forsythe, 26; Ricky Pitts, 31, and his wife Marcella Pitts, 29; Wayne Dill, 26 (Colleen Forsythe's brother); Grace Dill, 50 (mother of Colleen Forsythe and Wayne Dill); and Gina Miller.Cumulative prison sentences in the case came to 2,100 years. Leroy George Stowe III was convicted on 16 counts of child molestation and sentenced to 30 years in March 1985.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.