Police Note, Ricky Climer
Ridge was sufficiently impressed with Climer's statement to cite him at trial as evidence of the existence of the cult. He also made this note in his summary of their interview:
Stidham: Did you find anything, any confirmation whatsoever, that there was a cult or Jessie was involved in a cult.
Ridge: Yes sir, I did.
Stidham: And, what is that?
Ridge: Okay, a young man by the name of Ricky Climer, in another state, that is separated from this group
Spotlight: Ricky Climer
During his trial, Misskelley's lawyer Dan Stidham cross-examined Detective Ridge regarding the existence of the cult. Ridge provided two names, Shawn Webb (who was never located) and Ricky Climer.
Climer, aged 16, was interviewed by Detective Ridge on June 16, 1993, nearly two weeks after the arrests. At this time he was in the DeDe Wallace Wilderness Program in Shelbyville, Tennessee, a boot camp rehabilitation program for troubled youth.
Climer claimed he was in the cult until two years back and then had left, moving out of the area. He gave only three names of others with him in the cult: Misskelley, Baldwin and Echols. This timeframe contradicted other versions the story where Misskelley and Baldwin were both supposed to have been more recent recruits.
Some of Climer's statements were incoherent or hallucinatory, including Climer's claim that during the meetings they were attacked by Smurfs.
Climer: Yeah, Smurfs, things like that and the next thing you know, you be, all of a sudden somebody will be running at you, and the Smurf has a heart on his arms and he will be running at you and stuff, you know.
Nevertheless, Climer went on to make a rather impressive list of crimes that the three were involved in.
Climer: Well, it's pretty much the attitude, you know, uh did it because you just hated cops, you know,
In another telling instance of Ridge filling in the answers he wanted, he asked Climer about the reasons for eating the pets.
Ridge: What I'm trying to say, was there a reason that they would eat this meat or reasons that they would do certain things, was it suppose to give somebody power or was it just
Climer: I guess you would say, it like uh, you know, let us eat this meat, you know right here, they would eat it, and they start feeling real good and everything
In spite of Climer not saying they ate the meat "for power," Ridge's notes summarized this as "He stated that the purpose of eating the meat was to feel good. He stated they would eat a piece of meat and say how powerful they felt at which time everyone in the group would start eating it."
One of the odder aspects is how Climer seems to move back and forth between a satanic cult and a cheap television version of a street gang.
Ridge: You're saying, occult, you mean a satanic type occult?
Climer: Yeah, occult, a satanic type, it's pretty much the same thing.
Ridge: Okay, now in the projects one time, they told you that they actually killed somebody, do you know what the circumstances were that they killed somebody?
Climer: Uh, why they did it?
Climer: Because of over Bloods, you know that's a gang, and uh, you know stuff like that
Ridge: Okay, so you weren't there, but they told you about how they had killed somebody in the past, and it was basically because, I guess this occult satanic occult and the Bloods didn't get along, or they had conflict between the groups
Climer: Uh, cult are crips, you know, some cult people are crips. You know are sorta like together.
Ridge: Okay, and this is Michael, Damien, Jessie and Jason that are telling you about this [the murder]?
His description of how the murder occurred was less than clear.
Ridge: Okay, did they tell you how they killed that person.
Climer: You know stabbed them or shot them, you know different things.
In spite of stating that the three who were arrested had committed one murder and had possibly murdered the three children, Climer recommended against prison if they were convicted.
Climer: Uh, what I would like to see, you know, just from me, you see I know for a fact that if they go to prison or whatever, they are going to learn how to get worst,
Rickey is a 16 year old white male who seemed to be in good physical condition and to me appeared to be quite street wise and able to carry on a conversation with me that appeared to be normal for his age group. (Det. Ridge, interview summary)
Continued in "Searching for Satan."
Copyright © 2008 Martin David Hill
Site Design By Michael Gillen