Leaving aside as well the predilections of, and the misinformation supplied by, local newspapers and local authorities in West Memphis, there's no doubt the crime scene was easily interpreted as suggesting a sexual component to the murders. But I would also suggest that the investigation went far afield not because of the sex-crime angle, but because of the perceived homo-sexual violence of the crimes. For the literal-minded/illiterate in West Memphis the fantasy of a consummate breed of homosexual male violence carried at least as much Biblical fear/hatred as that text's injunctions against occult arts, and was every bit as potent as the Satanic Panic among West Memphis jurors in 1993....
Pam Hicks (originally Pam Hobbs) filed suit in June, when West Memphis authorities denied her initial requests to view records and evidence related to the murder of her child, Stevie Branch, nearly 20 years ago -- one of three children murdered in a case made famous by Arkansas’ wrongful conviction of the so-called West Memphis Three – a case that remains, as a result of Arkansas’ botched investigation and prosecution, unsolved. Hicks as well as John Mark Byers, father of murdered Christopher Byers, so far have met with stonewalling from the authorities now being sued in a third, amended version of the original suit: West Memphis Police Chief Donald Oakes; Mayor of West Memphis, William H. Johnson; and Congressional hopeful and current Prosecuting Attorney for the Second Judicial District of Arkansas, Scott Ellington.
It appears that Memphis Commercial Appeal journalist Marc Perrusquia is still suffering from The Blood of Innocents, his co-authored mass-market failure from 1995, which had hoped to profit from the State of Arkansas's fictional case against the West Memphis Three. Readers might reasonably expect that Perrusquia would have politely ignored the recent publication of Damien Echols' memoir, Life After Death -- or that Perrusquia might have even used the occasion to apologize for getting the case so wrong. Instead, as if cornered, flying in the face of reason, Perrusquia decided to attack. To take one last swipe at the man who lost 18 years to Perrusquia's satanic fiction, but survived, and then had the gall to write about it.
That which is kept in darkness is occult. The story of three little boys left naked, hogtied, dead in a ditch--remains in darkness. Damien Echols, who suffered half his life on a very real Death Row for the crimes that Atom Egoyan now intends to "fictionalize," is clear on the distinction between Mara Leveritt's 2002 book and the 2013 Hollywood fiction, Tweeting Egoyan's film as "Devil's Knob."