The Victims The Place Time It Was The Crime The Investigation The Convicted
The Victims The Place The Investigation Time it was The CrimeThe Convicted




Spotlight:  Dr. Dale W. Griffis

    Sometimes folksy, sometimes profane, retired police officer, Dale W. Griffis, 56 years old in 1993, had established a second career as a full-time consultant on matters of the occult.  He claimed to have given seminars to over 38,000 police officers worldwide. 

    Whereas the prosecution entered into evidence quotes from heavy metal lyrics and Shakespeare, Griffis seemed to find demonic clues in Schoolhouse Rock.  
Judge Burnett:  Okay. Does the number 3, three victims, have any significance?
Griffis:  One of the most powerful numbers in, in the practice of satanic belief is 666, and some believe the beast wrote a 6 as 3.  [Note.  The quotes from Griffis and the other exchanges on this page are from the Echols/Baldwin trial, unless otherwise stated.]
    and also, in a question from attorney Val Price. . .
Price:  Is the factor that the victims were the age of 8, is, is that a factor that you considered in making your opinion?
Griffis:  Yes.   
    after stating he had not consulted with the prosecutor as to whether the defendants knew the victims age, they continued. . .
Price: Okay, now is 8 a factor because that is a witches’ number? What’s the significance of 8?
Griffis: Okay, in Crowley’s, in Crowley’s work, he discusses that sex before 8 or you lose the magical power.
Price: Sex before 8, or lose magical power. Okay, so that if the victims were all 8 years old, then that wouldn’t be sex before 8, correct?
Griffis: I said say eight? I’m sorry. Not—nine. Eight or before.  

    "Eight is a witches' number," was cited by the Arkansas State Supreme Court in upholding the verdict.  

    Griffis said significant injuries on the left side of one of the victims were a sign of a Satanic murder.  "The people who practice occultism, they will use a mid-line theory, drawing straight down through the body.  The right hand side, is usually related to those things which is synonymous with Christianity, and the left hand path is that which is practitioners of the satanic occult systems."  [-Griffis]

    Although the testimony swerved back and forth between discussing the occult and cults, Griffis provided this distinction, "A occult group is a group that’s involved in some sort of esoteric science, and they’ve been around prior to Christianity. A cult group usually is a group that I deal with, ones who are breaking a law, are those who follow a particular belief style under a charismatic leader, and in and among their belief style they do break the law. A cult may have various types of belief systems."  Then there were occult cults.  "
Occult cults are belief - orientated groups."  [-Griffis]  Their activities were discussed in an exchange with  prosecutor Fogelman.  
Fogleman: Okay, is, is torture, something in your experience that’s done by occult cults, or…
Griffis: Occult cults?
Fogelman: Occult cults.
Griffis: Yes.   
    Griffis gave an example of one of the occult cults, Crytos.  "Some books on occultism will talk about sex organs, removing the testicles for the semen, a group called Crytos."  [-Griffis]  Crytos must be a well-hidden occult cult, it does not appear referenced anywhere outside of Griffis' commentary.   

note, juror #8
Jurors' chart - Pros and cons of Dale Griffis, ranked #8 among reasons for conviction.

Qualifications as an expert witness

    Dr. Griffis said he began following cults due to campus riots in the late sixties.  As for "occults," he said, in 1976
, "I worked on my first occult case which was a human sacrifice or a boy committed suicide."  [-Griffis]   Griffis said because he did not understand the case, he asked the prosecutors office to fund a trip to California to gain more experience.  
Griffis: I had the opportunity to go into some traditional occult groups where they were where they carried out their services, I had a chance to go into their bookstores. I met members, talked with them. And, really worked the street, right, walking and talking with them into their coffeehouses.
    In qualifying as an expert witness for the prosecution on the occult, Dr. Griffis had his educational credentials vigorously challenged.  His resume stated that he had been a police officer for 26 years, but it was only midway through this time, at age 37, that he received a two year college degree.  He later obtained a masters "with a term paper on Police Intelligence for Small Agencies [-Griffis]" and a doctorate, both from Columbia Pacific University, a mail order degree mill that had no formal classes.  The state of California filed a suit against Columbia Pacific for not meeting educational standards claiming that 41% of their Ph.D.'s were granted in less than three years.  The school responded that because three academic years were only 27 months, it was more correct to say 29% of the Ph.D.'s were granted in less than 27 months.  Others received their PhDs in less than 12 months. Due to this and similar insufficiencies the school was closed down for fraud. 

    Dr. Griffis received his PhD in three years while maintaining his full time position as deputy police chief in Tiffin, Ohio, 1,500 miles away from the school's headquarters.  As Griffis stated, he didn't need classrooms.
Price: I guess I'm confused because, because we have Arkansas State University here and most PhD programs that operate where you actually show up on campus and take classes from professors and you probably know this as well. But in this program you're saying you did show up, you showed up three or four times [in total] but as far as taking any classes once a week.
Griffis: My, my. . . I was in classroom about every day when I was on the street. The, you know, we worked, I was fortunate, I was going into an area where I was working daily. I took my, I worked in the evening on what I was to study and not, I am in a rural area where these type of programs were not given.
    Griffis explained other schools such as Harvard or Stanford didn't offer the training he desired in the study of the psychology of cults.  

    During in camera testimony, Griffis claimed further credentials:
Griffis: Yes, sir. I’ve written four books used in, in, by criminal justice. . . I’ve also been in two movies.  
    Although the two movies were not named, Griffis named the four books:  The Four Faces of Satan; Runes, Glyphs, and Alphabets; The Investigation Manual for Non-Traditional Groups; and, A Primer For Law Enforcement on Non-Traditional Groups.  All are self-published.  The Primer for Law Enforcement on Non-Traditional Groups is discussed extensively in Robert Hicks book, "In Pursuit of Satan:  The Police and the Occult."  Hicks describes it as a series of lists and cryptic advice for handling satanic crime scenes such as "Do not break up activity if circle of power is closed."  Looking through multiple book search venues, I encountered, "Brainwashing and Cults: A Law Enforcement Primer on Cults (1985)," described as 15 pages of unknown binding.   "The Four Faces of Satan" is described as an article for the newsletter, "File 18."   Runes, Glyphs and Alphabets is described as 32 pages and "prepared by the staff of Dale W. Griffis."   The Library of Congress copyright records credit just one book to Dale Griffis, this from 2001.  It is the "true story" of seven year old transvestite CIA assassins and sex slaves, "Secret Weapons."

Secret Weapons jacket

Secret Weapons:  
How Two Sisters Were Brainwashed to Kill for their Country.  
Also sold as:  
Secret Weapons.  
Two Sisters' Terrifying True Story of Sex, Spies and Sabotage

    Griffis testified he had read 4800 books on the occult.  He said he began studying the occult in 1976, so this is equal to one book per day.  This impressed the jurors who made these notes during deliberations:  "P[ros] knowlegable, 4800 books."  [Jury notes, Echols/Baldwin trial, above]  For his Ph.D, he says he read 300 books on the occult - meaning he greatly slowed down his consumption during this period of time.

    Although having received his degree in this odd specialty just nine years past Griffis claimed to be included in a fair number of books.  
Griffis: I know that I’m in about 50 books, and out of the fifty, two of them don’t like me.
    Griffis claimed he had been qualified as an expert witness in one previous criminal trial, in that instance for the defense.  The details were sketchy as he couldn't remember the full name of the defendant(s).   "I do not remember the last name of the person who was on trial.  His first name is Jeff and he is in Ionia State Prison.  [Michigan]"  [Griffis]

He went on to provide this additional information:  
  • It took place in the past four years (1989 - 1993).
  • The murder took place near Flint, Michigan.  
  • The murder  performed by a young man and his wife.
  • The victim, a female, was "chopped up."
  • The murder took place inside a pentagram drawn at the site and was part of a cult ritual.
  • The murder took place near a water source, a hand pump.
    Although one would suspect a husband and wife team of satanic murderers who dismembered a body as part of a ritual inside a pentagram would be sensationalistic news and easy to find information on, I have looked for and not found any crimes matching the above.  The nearest I could find was a 1991 murder in Warren, Michigan (about 40 miles from Flint) in which Jaime Rodriguez and Agustin Pena, whom the prosecution presented as satanists, killed and dismembered a young woman.  (These details are still quite distant from Griffis' description.)

    Griffis stated he testified as an expert on the occult in a civil trial in Cobb County, Georgia.  Again, he was unable to remember the name of the defendant.  
Ford: One more question. What was, what was the name of the defendant or the case name in Atlanta, Georgia where you were qualified as an expert witness?
Griffis: I can tell you it was Cobb County Sheriff Department, and this case, and I, I don’t know.  
    His problem with names extended to his testimony in the Baldwin/Echols trial.  With Jason Baldwin's life on the line, Griffis testified:
Ford: Have you ever visited with Jason Baldwin?
Griffis: I don’t know who he is.  
     Paul Ford, Jason's attorney, complained to the judge.
Ford: Your Honor, I think that he’s failed to demonstrate the reputable training, education and experience that qualifies as expert.
Judge Burnett:  I disagree. I’m going to allow him to testify in the area of occult.  

Dale Griffis and his many certificates

Dale Griffis and his many certificates.

    In a recent interview Griffis described his experience during the trial.  

During the trial, Griffis says he was on the stand for six hours, five-and-a-half of which were spent having his credentials approved.  [snip]  He adds his dissertation at Columbia Pacific was a 230-page work on mind control cults and their effects on law enforcement, noting he chose the school because it was the only one that offered the program he wanted.  “This was not some place that my dog graduated from,” he says.   [Zachary Petit, Tiffin Advertiser Tribune, March 11, 2007]

    His time qualifying as a witness, which was recorded, was closer to two-and-a-half hours.  Griffis went on in the Tribune interview to make the remarkable claim that Damien Echols confessed after his testimony.  

“When he got done testifying, what you didn’t see on television, what you didn’t see in the movie ‘Paradise Lost,’ was the fact that Damien Echols said, ‘I got three, I had 10 more to go for my coven, but that damn cop from Ohio stopped me,’” he [Griffis] says. “What bothers me is people aren’t told the truth of what happened.” [ibid]

    The Supreme Court of Arkansas affirmed Burnett's decision to qualify Griffis as an expert, noting his having been qualified as an expert witness in Georgia, Ohio, and Michigan.  Presented below is the full list of factors cited by the Supreme Court of Arkansas in support of Griffis' findings:
  • He [Griffis] testified that the date of the killings, near a pagan holiday, was significant, as well as the fact that there was a full moon.
  • He stated that young children are often sought for sacrifice because "the younger, the more innocent, the better the life force."
  • He testified that there were three victims, and the number three had significance in occultism.
  • Also, the victims were all eight years old, and eight is a witches' number.
  • He testified that sacrifices are often done near water for a baptism-type rite or just to wash the blood away.
  • The fact that the victims were tied ankle to wrist was significant because this was done to display the genitalia, and the removal of Byers's testicles was significant because testicles are removed for the semen.
  • He stated that the absence of blood at the scene could be significant because cult members store blood for future services in which they would drink the blood or bathe in it.
  • He testified that the "overkill" or multiple cuts could reflect occult overtones.
  • Dr. Griffis testified that there was significance in injuries to the left side of the victims as distinguished from the right side: People who practice occultism will use the midline theory, drawing straight down through the body.  The right side is related to those things synonymous with Christianity while the left side is that of the practitioners of the satanic occult.
  • He testified that the clear place on the bank could be consistent with a ceremony.
  • In sum, Dr. Griffis testified there was significant evidence of satanic ritual killings.   
[Arkansas State Supreme Court, Damien Wayne ECHOLS and Charles Jason Baldwin v. STATE of Arkansas, CR 94-928.  Opinion delivered December 23, 1996.  The above is as presented in the ASSC opinion, formatted as a bulleted list.]

A letter from Dale Griffis endorsing the psychic,
Marlene Nehlsen, also called "Scorpiona."  

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