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Unresolved Atlanta child murder back under the microscope



The point is not to assert the convicted murderer Wayne Williams, who was implicated as the primary suspect in the slayings, but to provide closure to the families of victims who have long sought answers to their child orders, Bottoms said.

The mayor was 9 when the murders began and now has four own children. Although there were adult victims – two of their killings, a jury judged Williams on murder and put him away for life – at least two dozen were children aged 7 to 17 years.

Bottoms recently spoke to the Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, she said, to see if there was any evidence that could be re-examined, "that can provide some peace – to the extent that peace can be in such a situation ̵

1; to the families of the victims. "

The city, Fulton County and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will investigate never-before-analyzed evidence and reassess other evidence in the case, although officials did not promise any outcome that would change the 40-year narrative.

"We don't know what we find," says Shields, but the city feels obligated to do everything it can to answer, and will review each box of evidence to see if anything requires one detailed analysis. 19659006] Series Killers Quick Facts "data-src-mini =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/130712154537-05-serial-killers-small-169.jpg "data-src-xsmall =" / /cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/130712154537-05-serial-killers-medium-plus-169.jpg "data-src-small =" http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/ assets / 130712154537-05-serial-killers-large-169.jpg "data-src-medium =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/130712154537-05-serial-killers-exlarge-169.jpg "data-src-large =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/130712154537-05-serial-killers-super-169.jpg "data-src-full16x9 =" // cdn.cnn.com /cnnnext/dam/assets/130712154537-05-serial-killers-full-169.jpg "data-src-mini1x1 =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/130712154537-05-serial-killers- small-11.jpg "data-demand-load =" not-loaded "data-eq-pts =" mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781 "src =" data: image / gif; base64, R0lGODlhEAAJAJEAAAAAAP /////// wAAACH5BAEAAAIALAAAAAAQAAkAAAIKlI + py + 0Po5yUFQA7 "/>

" As We Stand, There are some heavy hearts that still exist in our society, "said Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, explaining that the case would be the first task for his office of newly-created conviction integrity entity.

One of these hearts belongs to Catherine Leach, whose 13-year-old son, Curtis Walker, is counted among the unsolved murders. She thanked officials for their interest in reopening the cases and complained that it had not been done before.

"I've been through this for a long time. I've been knocked down," she said. "It seems that Atlanta was missing and murdered children have been forgotten in this city. I do not think it is true that all these children are killed in this city and no one was worried about it."

She added "I want to have closure. I want to know who killed Curtis."

Killed caught the nation's attention

The case – which involved 29 killings, mainly of black children, between 1979 and 1981 – frightened parents and children in Atlanta, as before the 1996 Olympics and a major airport extension, was not the megalopolis it is today. Interest rates also abundant nationally.

  Wayne Williams pose along the fence line at Valdosta Sate Prison, Valdosta, Georgia, in 1999.
Sammy Davis Jr. , Frankie Sinatra and The Jacksons performed on distribution concerts to raise money for the victims' families. The murders were a 1985 CBS miniseries starring James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman and Martin Sheen. Even today, Netflix is ​​expected to dive into the second season of "Mindhunter" and Payne Lindsey – of & # 39; Up and Vanished & # 39; podcast fame – has dedicated his latest project, "Atlanta Monster" to the Atlanta childhood killings.

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan's administration granted more than $ 2 million to help track leads and fund post-school youth programs.

Years after Williams arrest it was revealed that the authorities had examined the Ku Klux Klan as part of their probe in the murders, and Williams, in a CNN documentary, would curiously reject repeatedly to discuss whether he received the CIA training that included the right means to perform a choke team.

Although the Atlanta Police Department stated that he was responsible for most of the child murders, Williams was arrested on Father's Day in 1981 and was not accused of youth slayings, but in the murders of Nathaniel Cater and Caterina Ray Payne, both adults whose bodies were discovered in the chat tahoochee river. He was found guilty of both killings in 1982 and sentenced to life in prison.

The former news reporter and wannabe music producer was 23 at that time. He was convicted by the time-consuming forensic technology that linked the dog's hair and many fibers – some from Williams & Home – and Car – to Cater and Payne. One lawyer would tell CNN decades later that he and others felt the chances were "astronomical" that someone else might have been associated with all the different fibers found on the body. The case was far from over. It would continue to emerge for years.

Atlanta & # 39; in panic & # 39;

Da-DeKalb County Police Chief Louis Graham, who controversially expressed doubts that Williams was behind the murders, reopened five cases from his jurisdiction in 2005 – to no avail.

  Wayne Williams was right for the slaughter of two young African Americans.

"The bottom line is no one who has ever testified or claimed that they saw me beat another person, choke another person, stab, beat or kill or hurt someone," Williams told CNN, "because I did not the." [19659002] He said Atlanta was "in panic" over the killings and was bent to judge a black man because arrest of a white man could have triggered a race war and "Atlanta would have flared."

"It may well be manipulated in this case, blinking and simple, simply because they had a suspicion – it was Wayne – and that the manipulation undoubtedly continued even after my attempt and until that point," says Williams to CNN.

Retired FBI scientist Harold Deadman, who testified about the Hair Foundations in Williams & # 39; s investigation in 1982 and later became head of the FBI's DNA lab, said in CNN's 2010 documentary that the hair found on Patrick & # 39 ; s body was the strongest finding with this particular type of test.

"That would probably rule out 98% of the world's population," Deadman said.

Of the 1,488 African American hair samples in the FBI's database, the FBI said only 29 had the same order – in other words, only 2½ of every 100 African Americans.

None of the Caucasian or Spanish hair samples in the database had this order. When these samples are added in the sum, the odds increase to almost 130-to-1 against the hairs of someone other than Williams.


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