Wayne Williams: The Atlanta Child Murders

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Wayne Williams: The Atlanta Child Murders

Record of Murders

Studies indicate that, the “Atlanta child killings” were a chain of assassinations that were committed in Atlanta Georgia. The initial assassination was reported in the summertime of late 70s and the latest, which steered the detention of the suspect, was committed in the spring of 1981 (Newton, 2009). Accordingly, an inborn young Atlanta man aged 23; Wayne Williams was the key suspect. Describing the homicides, the initial homicides recounted were of 1979 where Teddy and Q, both 14 years vanished. In addition, Terry Pue who lived together with Teddy also disappeared and the bodies of the victims were found in late July in a wooded region. These sufferers were assumed as the major fatalities the Atlanta youngster assassin case; this is because, it was believed that there was only one murderer. Another victim, Milton Harvey disappeared two months later, and he was 14 years old. The youngster was accomplishing a task for his mother; his body was recovered later. Further, a month later, nine year old Yusuf Bell, who was send to buy ‘snuff’ for his neighbor, disappeared in a blue car as reported by one witness. Seventeen days later, his body was in an abandoned elementary school by a janitor who was looking for a place for a ‘short call.’ Later the body of the boy was found with the same chocolate cut-off shorts, and a screening sticky tape was fixed to the shorts. It was believed that, the boy had been smashed on the skull two times, and he died of suffocation. In March 4, 1980, the first female victim by the name Angel Lenair, disappeared after being seen last at a friend`s house watching Sanford and Sons. In about six days, her body was found three wedges from her flat in a woody lot, and she believed to have died from strangling. On March 11 the same year, an eleven-year-old Jeffery Mathis was reported missing after he had been sent on an errand by his mother. In moths that followed, a witness said she saw him get into a blue car with a light skinned man together with a dark-skinned man; his body was found in a briar-covered patch of woodlands.

On 9th of June, Christopher Richardson was 12 years then, disappeared on his way to a homegrown swimming pool and his body was found in a woody area. However, his body was clothed in a strange swim trunks and the cause of his death remain unknown. Further still, in the same month, on 222nd and 23rd, Latonya a seven year old and 10-year-old Wyche went missing, and the extended wave of murders caused many parents to panic in the city. It is recorded that from august and November of 1980, five more murders were committed; all the victims in the killing case were African-American children of the ages between 9 and 14 (Newton, 2009). Subsequently, the murders continued into the following Year and on January 3, 1981, Geter went missing, and his body was found two days later (Newton, 2009). The month that followed two murders happened, and they were linked to the others according to the investigators` assumptions. Moreover, in March, there were four Atlanta correlated assassinations; they comprised mature casualty, Eddie Duncan. In essence, the last victim added on the record was Nathaniel Cater, aged 27 and it is supposed that the same suspect killed him. As such, this prompted investigator Chet Dettlinger to create ‘map’ of the victims` location; essentially, despite the difference in ages, the victims fell within the same physical constraint.

FBI Investigations of the Killings and Arrest of Williams as the suspect

In consequence, while the media coverage concerning the killings intensified, the federal bureau of investigations made a prediction by assuming that the killer would dump the next victim in a body of water to conceal the evidence. Accordingly, the police staked out about a dozen area bridges and during the stakeout on the 22nd of May 1981; the detectives found the initial vital break after an officer had heard a splash beneath a bridge. Another constable stated to having seen a 70s Chevrolet vehicle rotating about and drove back crossways the channel. The police officers in two vehicles stopped the suspect vehicle about half a mile away. In essence, the motorist inside was documented as Williams, a 23-year-old hypothetical music organizer and a self-employed paparazzo (Newton, 2009). It was exposed that the Chevrolet carriage belonged to the suspect`s paternities. Essentially, preliminary investigations revealed dog hair and fiber as evidence recovered from the rare of the vehicle; this evidence was later used in court against Williams. The evidence was used because; they matched his dog and the carpet in his parent`s house; similar fibers were found on some of the victims after investigations. Furthermore, it was during debriefing that Williams supposed that he was on his way to evaluation a Cheryl as a songster (Newton, 2009). The claims Williams gave indicated that the woman lived in Smyrna; however, the police report indicated that no woman in the name of Cheryl existed, and no appointments with her had existed. After that, about two days later in May early `81, Cater`s nude body was found floating downriver, several miles from the bridge where the police had spotted the suspicious station wagon. Hence, based on this evidence and the police officer`s testimony that he heard a splash, investigators believed that Williams had killed Cater and disposed of his body while the police staked out. Accordingly, much related signal prompted the private detective to reflect Williams as the main peculiar. Hence, this is because, he was the only individual checked, during the thirty-day watch of a 12 bridges. Secondly, Williams had repudiated himself having clogged his carriage on the bridge proximately after the squelch was overheard.

Moreover, investigators noted that Williams’ appearance was similar to a composite rough copy of the suspect. Substantially, this comprised a luxuriant ‘afro’ penetrating out from the flanks of a baseball cover and a discoloration or scratch on the left chick. Investigators uncovered more evidence; this is because, the investigators who had stopped Williams on the bridge noticed a twenty-four inch nylon cord, and surprisingly the cord matched the choke marks on Cater and other victims (Newton, 2009). Vitally, Williams self-confessed that he had spent much of his time seeking out and auditioning African-American boys whose ages matched many of the Victims (Newton, 2009). As more evidence was brought in, it seemed to implicate Williams; for instance, fibers matching the carpet from Williams’s residence matched those observed on two of the victims. In addition, more fiber indication from the Williams household, vehicles, and pet canine were later coordinated to those exposed on other fatalities. Nevertheless, more implicating evidence was that Henry witnessed Williams holding hands and walking with Cater on the night he was believed to have died. Williams was detained in June 1981, and an outstanding panel of judges accused him for a principal grade homicide in the demises of Cater and 22-year-old Payne.

Williams Trial case

The trial started in sometime early 1982 where the jury started on the 28th of December 1981 and it lasted a week. Accordingly, the jury composed of about nine women and three men and it had a racial composition of eight African-Americans and four Caucasians (Newton, 2009). Importantly, the probationary formally began early in 1982, and Judge Clarence directed the proceedings over it. The fiber examination amid the fatalities Williams was accused for presented the most significant confirmation for a probationary trial. In essence, this convoluted Payne and Cater, counting twelve other serial-murder suitcases in which contingent indication ended in various relationships among the delinquencies. Such indication also comprised observers affirming to having seen Williams with the fatalities and others gave propositions that showed that the questionable individual had implored erotic favoritisms. In contrast, the prosecution`s presentation of fiber analysis in the testimony of the federal bureau of investigation special agent Deadman and the summation thereof, received criticism of speculative conclusions and misled phrases of probability. In late February of early `82, the panel found Williams guilt-ridden of the two homicides after more than ten hours of reflection; subsequently, Williams was penalized to two successive life terms in imprisonment.

Williams Appeal and the Supreme Court Decision

Essentially, in early 2007, prosecutors for the State of Georgia decided to permit DNA analysis of the dog curls that aided in firming indication that imprisoned Williams (Newton, 2009). Subsequently, these efforts fulfilled Williams’s moves to appeal his conviction and life sentences. In consequence, this happened after the convict`s lawyer Martin had asked a Fulton County superior Court Judge to allow DNA test on canine and human hair and blood. Vitally, the lawyer believed that the results might help Williams win a fresh trial. The DNA consequences came in mid-2007 and after publication; the outcomes were unsuccessful in exonerating Williams. The outcomes from the DNA examination were that the curls on the bodies enclosed alike ‘mitochondrial’ DNA sequence as Williams’` dog. Further, the DNA arrangement happens in only one in a hundred canines; Dr. Wictum, who approved the analysis, affirmed that the results were significant. However, she revealed that the outcomes do not decisively point to Williams` dog as the basis of fur. Hence, this is because, the examination were founded on ‘mitochondrial’ DNA, which cannot be exposed to be exceptional to one dog unlike fissionable founded DNA challenging (Newton, 2009). In late 2007, the investigators passed out DNA examination on two human curls found on one of the fatalities. In similar fashion, the mitochondrial DNA sequence in the hairs would eliminate ninety-nine percent of individuals by not matching their DNA. In consequence, the ‘mitochondrial’ DNA arrangement in the curls would eradicate ninety-eight out of a hundred of African-American individuals by not corresponding with their DNA. In this regard, the mitochondrial DNA sequence of the hairs matched Williams` DNA, and this did not eliminate the possibility that the hairs were his.


Newton, M. (2009). The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing.