There were so many fiber matches between the defendant’s household and the victims that it was statistically impossible for the
victims not to have been in the defendant’s home and cars.
But 4 witnesses saw the last murder victim up to two days after the defendant allegedly threw his body off a bridge.
Five bloodstains had been found in the station wagon driven by the defendant. Prosecutors claimed that the blood droplets matched in type and enzyme to the blood of victims.
The police sketch artist who testified said that none of the dozens of suspects that she was asked to sketch looked anything like the defendant.
The defendant’s alibi was shredded: he said he was headed to a non-existent address to see someone he had never met before and who was never found.
The medical examiner was unable to establish the time frame for the death of the last victim, and in fact, didn’t even declare it to be a homicide until the trial.
The killings stopped after the defendant was arrested. Or did they? Some say another twenty murders that could have been the work of the same person occurred after the defendant was arrested.
In January of 1982, Wayne Bertram Williams was found guilty for the murder of Jimmy Ray Payne and Nathaniel Cater. He is currently serving two life sentences. After his conviction for those two murders, Atlanta authorities “administratively cleared” over two dozen other homicides.
But was he guilty? Dekalb County Police Chief Louis Graham doesn’t think so. “After Wayne Williams was arrested, there was this decision by some people to close the cases and I have never been one to espouse that kind of investigation or paint that kind of broad brush,” Graham said. “I have never believed that he did anything.”
Graham is having his cold-case squad re-examine four of the “administratively cleared” cases, to see what can be discovered 20 years later.
Here’s an excellent summary of the case at CrimeLibrary.com. Reading some of what happened back then makes me shake me head, knowing what I do about investigative techniques now. For instance, at least one of the bodies was covered with a wool blanket. What was some of the key evidence at trial? Fibers. Hmm. “Well, if your 12-year-old son isn’t back by tomorrow, you be sure to give us a call.” And the Georgia court system left a little to be desired. Should be quite interesting to follow.