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Wayne Williams and the Atlanta Child Murders
Transcript of Wayne Williams and the Atlanta Child Murders
Wayne Bertram Williams
Longitudinal and Cross-Sectional microscopic views of the tri-lobal yellowish-green nylon fiber presented as evidence during trial (Ernest).
The Atlanta Child Murders
More than two dozen African-American children and young-adult males were killed in Atlanta, Georgia during a two-year period spanning from July 1979-May 1981(Murderpedia.org).
Photo Courtesy of CrimeLibrary.com
"Wayne Bertram Williams." Wayne Williams | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers. Murderperdia.org. 17 Mar. 2014 <http://murderpedia.org/male.W/w/williams-wayne.htm>.
"Part 5: Wayne Williams and the Atlanta Child Murders." FBI. 07 Feb. 2014. FBI. 17 Mar. 2014 <http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2014/february/serial-killers-part-5-wayne-williams-and-the-atlanta-child-murders/serial-killers-part-5-wayne-williams-and-the-atlanta-child-murders>.
Polk, Jim. "Atlanta Child Murders." CNN. 06 Sept. 2010. Cable News Network.17 Mar. 2014 <http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/06/09/williams.dna.test/>.
Bardsley, Marilyn, and Rachel Bell. "The Atlanta Child Murders." Famous Atlanta Child Murders and Wayne Williams — — Crime Library. Crime Library. 17 Mar. 2014 <http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/predators/williams/index_1.html>.
Deadman, H. A. "Fiber Evidence and the Wayne Williams Trial (Conclusion)." FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin 53 (1984): 10-19. NCJRS. Www.fbi.gov. 25 Mar. 2014 <https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=94475>.
Deadman, H. A. "Fiber Evidence and the Wayne Williams Trial, Part I." FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin 53 (1984): 12-20. NCJRS. Www.fbi.gov. 25 Mar. 2014 <https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=93717>.
Manuel-Logan, Ruth. "Black Conspiracy Theories 101: Atlanta Child Murders." News One RSS. 13 June 2012. 30 Mar. 2014 <http://newsone.com/2020573/black-urban-legends-atlanta-child-murders/>.
Ernest, Richard N. "The Case of the State of Georgia vs. Wayne B. Williams." Layout5. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. <http://www.e-gunlab.com/hpc_ww.shtml>.
The Physical Evidence
The Evidence at Trial
The trial began on December 28, 1981 and was significant because this was the first time fiber evidence, as opposed to fingerprints, eyewitness testimony, or DNA (which had not been developed at this point in history), played the lead role (Deadman).
By this time, the manufacturer of the yellowish-green nylon carpet fiber, Wellman Corporation, had been determined and it was confirmed that they produced the carpet found in Williams' home (Deadman).
Investigators produced probability/statistical data to determine that it would be a 1 in 7,792 chance of randomly finding that type of carpet in other homes (Deadman).
Prosecutors used charts and photographs to educate the jury on fiber evidence and emphasized the association between the unusual carpet fibers and the multiple matches found on several victims (Deadman).
Testimonies from expert witnesses gave weight to the abundance of circumstantial evidence presented in court (Deadman).
In total, there were 28 different types of fibers found on the victims that were linked to 19 articles of evidence found within the home, on the dog, and in vehicles of Wayne Williams (Murderpedia.org).
The vast majority of the victims were young Black males under the age of 16 years (FBI.gov).
Many were kidnapped, strangled/suffocated, and their bodies disposed of in remote areas (FBI.gov).
The motive for their killings is still unknown (FBI.gov).
Photo Courtesy of CNN.com
June 22, 1980
The FBI joins the investigation at the request of the Atlanta Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (FBI.gov).
May 22, 1981
A "loud splash" heard during a stake out, at approximately 2:25am, on the James Jackson Parkway bridge leads, to a major break in the investigation (Murderpedia.org).
May 24, 1981
The body of Nathaniel Cater washed up on the shore of the Chattahoochee River, downstream from the James Jackson Parkway bridge (Murderpedia.org).
July 28, 1979
The case, officially, opens after the discovery of the bodies of Edward Smith and Alfred Evans, both 14 years old (Murderpedia.org).
Wayne Williams was found guilty in the deaths of Nathaniel Cater and Jimmy Ray Payne on February 27, 1982.
He was sentenced to serve two consecutive life sentences (Murderpedia.org).
After his conviction, he was attributed with 23 of the 29 child murders and the case was officially closed(Murderpedia.org).
A Timeline of Major Events
Wayne Williams became a key suspect following the discovery of the body of Nathaniel Cater and was placed under surveillance (Bardsley and Bell).
Search warrants were obtained for Williams' home, cars, and dog in order to compare hairs/fibers found on several victims to those in Williams' everyday environments (Bardsley and Bell).
Fiber and hair samples were collected from the carpet in Williams' home, his bedspread, a blanket, leather jacket, carpeting in Williams' car, and the family dog (Murderpedia.org).
He was arrested on June 21, 1981 and charged with the murders of Nathaniel Cater and Jimmy Payne, both adults (Bardsley and Bell).
CNN: Night on the Bridge
Prior to the development of Williams as a suspect in the murder of Nathaniel Cater, the Georgia State Crime Lab had located numerous yellowish-green nylon fibers, and violet acetate fibers, amongst others, on the bodies of several victims between July 1979 and May 1981 (Deadman).
It was concluded that the yellowish-green fibers were from a tye of carpeting material and,most likely, originated from a single source due to their unusual cross-sectional shape and other physical properties, although the originating source had yet to be identified (Deadman).
When Nathaniel Cater's body was found, yellowish-green nylon fibers were recovered from the hair on his head, similar to the ones found on previous victims (Deadman).
This discovery, combined with an unverifiable alibi for Williams' presence on the bridge, prompted authorities to issue a search warrant, which was served on June 3, 1981 (Deadman).
That same day, preliminary associations were made between these fibers and evidence collected from Williams' home and dog (Deadman).
Williams was subsequently arrested (Murderpedia.org).
Photo Courtesy of murderpedia.org
Photo Courtesy of Newsone.com
Photos Courtesy of e-gunlab.com