The Atlanta Child Murders ////// 56 

The Atlanta Child Murders ////// 56 

TrueCrimeGarage.com 

In Atlanta, Georgia over a two year period between the summer of 1979 through the spring of 1981 there was a killer striking with an unheard of frequency. At least 28 African-American children and young adults were killed. This series of murders is sometimes called the Atlanta Child Murders. When it comes to criminal investigations we often hear how "it's not like it is on tv" yet this case was different, very different because it truly was a lot like how you would see a case work out on tv. The Atlanta Murders has all of the necessary attributes of a really good mystery and movie like investigative drama. An unknown person or persons is killing a major cities African-American youth sometimes at the rate of two or three a month and remains undetected despite the police's best efforts. The FBI and BCI units are called in. They even assembled a group of "Super Cops" from all over the country to come to Atlanta and lend their expertise. When the killer is finally caught it turns out to be one of the cities' own, a native. Then years after Wayne Williams is convicted of the murders some would come forward and wonder just how guilty is he and was he in fact responsible for all of the murders? 

Beer of the Week - Hop Circle Sessions IPA by Red Brick Brewing Company 
Garage Grade - 4 and 1/4 bottle out of 5 bottle caps

24 comments

  • Blackdog 967

    Blackdog 967 Pensacola, Fl

    Y'all rock! So glad your reviewing this one! I grew up in Atlanta during this time. Cheers lads!

    Y'all rock! So glad your reviewing this one! I grew up in Atlanta during this time. Cheers lads!

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Great episode! I am 46 and have lived in Metro Atlanta my whole life. I remember vividly when this happened. It was always referred to as "The Missing and Murdered Children." I had assumed Wayne Williams was guilty for all of them. Thanks for your insight! And, Dekalb county is pronounced "Dee-cab"!

    Great episode! I am 46 and have lived in Metro Atlanta my whole life. I remember vividly when this happened. It was always referred to as "The Missing and Murdered Children." I had assumed Wayne Williams was guilty for all of them. Thanks for your insight! And, Dekalb county is pronounced "Dee-cab"!

  • David Davis

    David Davis Montgomery AL

    I know that the cpt. is anxious to show that he has repudiated his white skin privilege, but this episode on the ACMs was absolutely ridiculous. 1. Anyone who knows anything about the modern Klan knows that they couldnt plan a trip to the toilet, much less a complicated series of murders. 2. In addition these groups memberships usually are about 50% government informants/ undercover agents, which make it even less likely that such a group could have been involved without it being uncovered. 3. No selective pleading please! Either you have not researched this case very thoroughly, or your research has been limited to the black racist/left conspiracy websites that push "the white folks did it", theory. 4. The idea that the Atlanta authorities wanted to cover up Klan\white involvement, when the Mayor, Chief of Police, Director of Public Safety, and presiding judge were all black, is somewhat humorous. 5. "In interviews, Wayne Williams doesnt seem that bad". Gee, neither did Ted Bundy, or John Wayne Gacy. 6. No one in LE, so far as I've ever seen, has ever believed that Williams was involved in all of the listed murders, the two girls, for example. At the time it seems to have been widely believed one of the victims was probably the victim of parental abuse whose parents linked to the murders as a coverup. 7. Yes Virginia, there is such a thing as black racism, and the determination to believe that a white person had to have been responsible certainly contributed to the delay in solving this case costing lives, and the same racism fuels the conspiracy theories regarding this case today. If someone wants a rational (if obviously somewhat biased) alternative to the Cpts. superficial coverage of the case I recommend "Night Stalker, The Atlanta Child Murders, by Jack Mallard, who prosecuted the case. Sorry guys, I usually find the show entertaining this was definitively a one-bottle cap performance. Maybe next you can "prove" the innocence of Lizzie Borden and OJ :)

    I know that the cpt. is anxious to show that he has repudiated his white skin privilege, but this episode on the ACMs was absolutely ridiculous.
    1. Anyone who knows anything about the modern Klan knows that they couldnt plan a trip to the toilet, much less a complicated series of murders.
    2. In addition these groups memberships usually are about 50% government informants/ undercover agents, which make it even less likely that such a group could have been involved without it being uncovered.
    3. No selective pleading please! Either you have not researched this case very thoroughly, or your research has been limited to the black racist/left conspiracy websites that push "the white folks did it", theory.
    4. The idea that the Atlanta authorities wanted to cover up Klan\white involvement, when the Mayor, Chief of Police, Director of Public Safety, and presiding judge were all black, is somewhat humorous.
    5. "In interviews, Wayne Williams doesnt seem that bad". Gee, neither did Ted Bundy, or John Wayne Gacy.
    6. No one in LE, so far as I've ever seen, has ever believed that Williams was involved in all of the listed murders,
    the two girls, for example. At the time it seems to have been widely believed one of the victims was probably the victim of parental abuse whose parents linked to the murders as a coverup.
    7. Yes Virginia, there is such a thing as black racism, and the determination to believe that a white person had to have been responsible certainly contributed to the delay in solving this case costing lives, and the same racism fuels the conspiracy theories regarding this case today.
    If someone wants a rational (if obviously somewhat biased) alternative to the Cpts. superficial coverage of the case I recommend "Night Stalker, The Atlanta Child Murders, by Jack Mallard, who prosecuted the case. Sorry guys, I usually find the show entertaining this was definitively a one-bottle cap performance. Maybe next you can "prove" the innocence of Lizzie Borden and OJ smile

  • Bobber

    Bobber Philadelphia

    Absolutely fantastic episode.

    Absolutely fantastic episode.

  • Tim

    Tim Chino Hills, Ca

    Great episode guys. However, Capitan, I could not disagree with you more about law enforcement and their efforts to resolve cases in poor neighborhoods. Personally, I believe that most cops care deeply for the victims of the crimes they investigate. Of course there is always going to be racists and generally bad individuals in any population, but the cause of poor police work in these areas are not due to a lack of the police caring. Closer to the real answer is poor communities have poorly funded police forces. Although over the last couple of decades there has been a lot of federal block grants for policing related issues, in 1979 the local police force in Atlanta was funded strictly with community and state tax dollars. In addition, at that time, no department was prepared to handle a case of this magnitude. Although it sounds like the Atlanta Police department held back evidence from the “Super Cops” when they weren’t provided toxicology reports on the victims, I would suggest this was because a toxicology screen was not done on the victims. I could also see because of egos, politics, and other things, the “Super Cops” were not told this out right. Policing and investigation was far different at that time as well as our ability to identify agents. I could easy see a corner determining the cause of death was strangulation with a ligature and deciding not to run toxicology test. I wonder if their were toxicology screens run on the Hillside Strangers victims and what they would be looking for. Secondly, in regards to the Police not releasing the profile, I don’t believe this has nefarious motives either. If they determined that the killer was watching media reports and modifying his actions to conceal his activities, why would they want him to know that they suspected he was an African American in his twenties. While the general public may have benefited from this “educated guess”, alerting him could have made it more difficult to catch him. They all but admitted that their only hope of catching him was waiting for more victims. I have no doubt that if the police thought they could convict Williams on the other murders they would have done so. I am also sure that if they could prove that anyone else was responsible for any of the remaining unresolved murders they would attempt to convict them as well. On another note, I think the misconception that serial killers want to be caught, developed from Edmund Kemper, also known as the Co-ed Killer. Kemper turned himself in after killing his mother. Later in interviews he stated that his mother was always who he had wanted to kill and that he hoped he would be caught so that he would stop killing. Tim

    Great episode guys.

    However, Capitan, I could not disagree with you more about law enforcement and their efforts to resolve cases in poor neighborhoods. Personally, I believe that most cops care deeply for the victims of the crimes they investigate. Of course there is always going to be racists and generally bad individuals in any population, but the cause of poor police work in these areas are not due to a lack of the police caring.

    Closer to the real answer is poor communities have poorly funded police forces.
    Although over the last couple of decades there has been a lot of federal block grants for policing related issues, in 1979 the local police force in Atlanta was funded strictly with community and state tax dollars.
    In addition, at that time, no department was prepared to handle a case of this magnitude.

    Although it sounds like the Atlanta Police department held back evidence from the “Super Cops” when they weren’t provided toxicology reports on the victims, I would suggest this was because a toxicology screen was not done on the victims. I could also see because of egos, politics, and other things, the “Super Cops” were not told this out right.

    Policing and investigation was far different at that time as well as our ability to identify agents. I could easy see a corner determining the cause of death was strangulation with a ligature and deciding not to run toxicology test. I wonder if their were toxicology screens run on the Hillside Strangers victims and what they would be looking for.

    Secondly, in regards to the Police not releasing the profile, I don’t believe this has nefarious motives either. If they determined that the killer was watching media reports and modifying his actions to conceal his activities, why would they want him to know that they suspected he was an African American in his twenties. While the general public may have benefited from this “educated guess”, alerting him could have made it more difficult to catch him. They all but admitted that their only hope of catching him was waiting for more victims.

    I have no doubt that if the police thought they could convict Williams on the other murders they would have done so. I am also sure that if they could prove that anyone else was responsible for any of the remaining unresolved murders they would attempt to convict them as well.

    On another note, I think the misconception that serial killers want to be caught, developed from Edmund Kemper, also known as the Co-ed Killer. Kemper turned himself in after killing his mother. Later in interviews he stated that his mother was always who he had wanted to kill and that he hoped he would be caught so that he would stop killing.

    Tim

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Tim I agree with what you are saying. I didn't that normally they don't care just meant in this case there was a ton of pressure from the government to close this case asap and it seemed like they didn't care much about the other victims making them just numbers. Thanks for your thoughts and thanks for listening. Cheers Captain

    Tim

    I agree with what you are saying. I didn't that normally they don't care just meant in this case there was a ton of pressure from the government to close this case asap and it seemed like they didn't care much about the other victims making them just numbers. Thanks for your thoughts and thanks for listening. Cheers

    Captain

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    David Davis First thanks for listening. So much of what you are saying I agree with. Wether I believe in the Sanders theory or not I don't believe all the cases are connected here. I do think they rushed to close all the cases and I think there is clear evidence of that. Again thanks for your thoughts they really do help us make the show better and help us get better. Cheers Captain

    David Davis

    First thanks for listening. So much of what you are saying I agree with. Wether I believe in the Sanders theory or not I don't believe all the cases are connected here. I do think they rushed to close all the cases and I think there is clear evidence of that. Again thanks for your thoughts they really do help us make the show better and help us get better. Cheers

    Captain

  • Drivinthebus

    Drivinthebus Smyrna, GA

    This is the first episode of the the podcast that I have listened to and I look forward to going back and listening to previous episodes. Very interesting and very well done, although, the Captain's fierce belief in Wayne Williams' innocence was starting to drive me crazy after awhile. But he did rightfully point out other theories worth taking into consideration and all of the many flaws with the investigation and prosecution. I drive over the South Cobb Bridge (the original bridge has since been replaced) 3 times per week, the bridge where Nathaniel Cater's body was dumped and the infamous turnaround took place leading to Wayne Williams being pulled over and identified as a suspect. I think about this case every week. To this day, the lack of evidence is amazing to me, but I still feel very confident that Wayne Williams committed many (but not all) of the murders. Keep up the great work!

    This is the first episode of the the podcast that I have listened to and I look forward to going back and listening to previous episodes. Very interesting and very well done, although, the Captain's fierce belief in Wayne Williams' innocence was starting to drive me crazy after awhile. But he did rightfully point out other theories worth taking into consideration and all of the many flaws with the investigation and prosecution.

    I drive over the South Cobb Bridge (the original bridge has since been replaced) 3 times per week, the bridge where Nathaniel Cater's body was dumped and the infamous turnaround took place leading to Wayne Williams being pulled over and identified as a suspect. I think about this case every week. To this day, the lack of evidence is amazing to me, but I still feel very confident that Wayne Williams committed many (but not all) of the murders.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Beth

    Beth Baltimore

    So after Williams was arrested did the killings stop? Love you guys, keep keeping it real.

    So after Williams was arrested did the killings stop? Love you guys, keep keeping it real.

  • Chris

    Chris Dayton

    Beth from Baltimore asks a question I have been wondering as well. Certainly does not prove anything regarding Williams, but if the murders stopped after his arrest it also doesn't bode well for his innocence. I also think the idea that Williams could not have easily gotten away with a portion of these murders right under his parent's nose (thus linking carpet/clothing fibers and dog hair to victims) might be problematic. I say "might" because how easily he could manage this is contingent on whether both of his parents were actively teaching at the time of the murders. If they were, and especially if they taught at a primary or secondary school full-time, this would allot Wayne Williams a solid 8 hours a day, five days a week with an empty house to (mis)use as he sees fit. If I understand correctly, he operated his own amateur radio station out of this home. Consider his posted flyers seeking talent, a radio station to show off (which I imagine he could easily up-sell as a recording studio, these kids likely would not have known the difference), and it becomes quite do-able. All he would have to do is have the victim's body out of sight (a car trunk?) before the work day was over, and do his dumping at night. Great show guys! Getting ready to get into the next episode, Johnny Gosch, right now. Truly a "rabbit hole" case that can get very weird very quickly.

    Beth from Baltimore asks a question I have been wondering as well. Certainly does not prove anything regarding Williams, but if the murders stopped after his arrest it also doesn't bode well for his innocence.

    I also think the idea that Williams could not have easily gotten away with a portion of these murders right under his parent's nose (thus linking carpet/clothing fibers and dog hair to victims) might be problematic. I say "might" because how easily he could manage this is contingent on whether both of his parents were actively teaching at the time of the murders. If they were, and especially if they taught at a primary or secondary school full-time, this would allot Wayne Williams a solid 8 hours a day, five days a week with an empty house to (mis)use as he sees fit. If I understand correctly, he operated his own amateur radio station out of this home. Consider his posted flyers seeking talent, a radio station to show off (which I imagine he could easily up-sell as a recording studio, these kids likely would not have known the difference), and it becomes quite do-able. All he would have to do is have the victim's body out of sight (a car trunk?) before the work day was over, and do his dumping at night.

    Great show guys! Getting ready to get into the next episode, Johnny Gosch, right now. Truly a "rabbit hole" case that can get very weird very quickly.

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Chris • Dayton Yea for sure the Johnny Gosch case is a huge rabbit hole. Dig the thoughts on ATKID thanks for sharing. I wish I had more answers. Thanks Captain

    Chris • Dayton

    Yea for sure the Johnny Gosch case is a huge rabbit hole. Dig the thoughts on ATKID thanks for sharing. I wish I had more answers. Thanks

    Captain

  • Kassie

    Kassie

    Sad, does not sound like these cases were investigated like they should have been.

    Sad, does not sound like these cases were investigated like they should have been.

  • Nicholas Macarages

    Nicholas Macarages

    Captain, I understand where you are coming from with being sensitive to minorities. However, I completely disagree with the comment you made where you said that we shouldn't even identify ourselves as white or black. Colorblindness is not the answer to racial unity. We should be proud of our heritage/culture and share that with others. We shouldn't ignore things that make us unique.

    Captain,

    I understand where you are coming from with being sensitive to minorities. However, I completely disagree with the comment you made where you said that we shouldn't even identify ourselves as white or black. Colorblindness is not the answer to racial unity. We should be proud of our heritage/culture and share that with others. We shouldn't ignore things that make us unique.

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Nicholas Macerates Totally agree. Just saying we should start with the idea that we are all humans before anything else. Thanks for listening cheers. Captain

    Nicholas Macerates

    Totally agree. Just saying we should start with the idea that we are all humans before anything else. Thanks for listening cheers.

    Captain

  • Nicholas Macarages

    Nicholas Macarages

    I understand. I think your comment didn't come across exactly how you intended. Please cover the Jeffrey MacDonald case. It's a controversial one and I'd love to know what you guys think happened.

    I understand. I think your comment didn't come across exactly how you intended.

    Please cover the Jeffrey MacDonald case. It's a controversial one and I'd love to know what you guys think happened.

  • Hume Man

    Hume Man Sidney, Iowa

    The idea that a bunch of white guys could operate in African-American neighborhoods and snatch or lure all these kids and young people, without attracting attention, is beyond absurd. Great show, though. I am a faithful listener even though I don't drink beer. Too many crime podcasts are overly pretentious. Thank you for your efforts.

    The idea that a bunch of white guys could operate in African-American neighborhoods and snatch or lure all these kids and young people, without attracting attention, is beyond absurd.

    Great show, though. I am a faithful listener even though I don't drink beer. Too many crime podcasts are overly pretentious. Thank you for your efforts.

  • Agent66

    Agent66

    Love that you guys went over this! Like some of the other listeners, I also disagree with the Captain and others who think Williams is innocent for whatever reason. 1. The Captain mentioned that Williams' parents would've known about people in their house, especially if their son is killing them, however I would like to point to two other serial killers - John Wayne Gacy and Jeffery Dahmer. Both men did kill their victims in their home (Dahmer did I believe four or five at his grandmother's house and ended up because she began to complain about the smell) and their loved ones knew NOTHING ABOUT IT. So yes, you can murder someone, especially strangle them, in a house without someone knowing. 2. I also have to dismiss this whole idea of the KKK being involved. I won't start a rant about the black community (because I am black and I have things to say about 'our' community), but I will say this is why I personally believe these communities refuse to better themselves; cause it's all white people's fault. 2B. To go with that, if you know anything about serial profiling and serial killers (as any arm chair detective will tell you) most serial killers target their own racial groups, with very little deviation. Cases like Gary Ridgeway and Dahmer vary, as for Ridgeway he targeted prostitutes, while Dahmer targeted the gay community, but those larger groups can have some variation. There have been NO known serial killers who have targeted members of different races - ie, there has - to my knowledge - never been a white serial killer who has exclusively killed black victims. 3. I'm actually a bit surprised the Captain's take, especially when he even mentions that a white person luring black children away would be HIGHLY suspicious in the neighborhood. Throwing a little fuel on this - I know that many black parents have that 'talk' with their black children, which is about being wary of white adults, especially white adults in authority. It's the reason police will sometimes have difficulty in getting statements in all black neighborhood. Personally, even if these kids needed money, I highly doubt they would be willing to get into a white person's car willy nilly. And if they DID, all of the witnesses would have said it was a lone white man in this type of car or it was primarily a white man and a black man. 4. IIRC, in the late 90's, early 2000s (?) there was apparently new evidence in this case and Williams was again tried and found guilty. If there is all of this evidence that supports his innocence, why have we not found it? in 2016? As I mentioned in my comment on Johnny Gosch, it took nearly 20 years for John Walsh to find justice for his son. it's been over 40 years and there still hasn't been evidence on the contrary. Not to mention, the killings STOPPED after Williams was arrested. And to my knowledge, this is the ONLY serial killing of black children. There have been no others, so if there is another killer, wouldn't he be able to move elsewhere and start again? 4B. Why are you both so shocked at the time frame? Ted Bundy, Dahmer, Zodiac, Jack the Ripper...time didn't seem to slow these guys down. 5. I will agree that the Captain is right in poverty being a factor, however - in many other cases, with missing or murdered black children/teens/YA, they NEVER get the media attention this case did. A good reference is when Natalie Holloway (?) disappeared and news outlets couldn't stop talking about her despite the fact that there were...I think two or three missing minority children at the same time. I remember the aftermath of this - I think the trial? Maybe, I was a young kid - and it was probably the most I've ever seen the news cover black people that didn't involve a white victim. 5A. I don't think we can stop identifying ourselves by race, but yes, we are humans first and foremost. It's kinda disappointing and stunning that in 2016 we're still having these issues of race, especially when we still can't sit down and discuss these things like civilized people. Again, as someone who is black and has white friends, they are surprised when I mention things that have happened to me or provide an insight on what's happening in this world. Like me, they're disappointed that we're still doing this in 2016, but that's why we talk about these things. We just wish others would do the same. 6. Last thing - agreed with the Captain. Police - do your damn job! People - be f***ing human!

    Love that you guys went over this! Like some of the other listeners, I also disagree with the Captain and others who think Williams is innocent for whatever reason.

    1. The Captain mentioned that Williams' parents would've known about people in their house, especially if their son is killing them, however I would like to point to two other serial killers - John Wayne Gacy and Jeffery Dahmer. Both men did kill their victims in their home (Dahmer did I believe four or five at his grandmother's house and ended up because she began to complain about the smell) and their loved ones knew NOTHING ABOUT IT. So yes, you can murder someone, especially strangle them, in a house without someone knowing.

    2. I also have to dismiss this whole idea of the KKK being involved. I won't start a rant about the black community (because I am black and I have things to say about 'our' community), but I will say this is why I personally believe these communities refuse to better themselves; cause it's all white people's fault.

    2B. To go with that, if you know anything about serial profiling and serial killers (as any arm chair detective will tell you) most serial killers target their own racial groups, with very little deviation. Cases like Gary Ridgeway and Dahmer vary, as for Ridgeway he targeted prostitutes, while Dahmer targeted the gay community, but those larger groups can have some variation. There have been NO known serial killers who have targeted members of different races - ie, there has - to my knowledge - never been a white serial killer who has exclusively killed black victims.

    3. I'm actually a bit surprised the Captain's take, especially when he even mentions that a white person luring black children away would be HIGHLY suspicious in the neighborhood. Throwing a little fuel on this - I know that many black parents have that 'talk' with their black children, which is about being wary of white adults, especially white adults in authority. It's the reason police will sometimes have difficulty in getting statements in all black neighborhood. Personally, even if these kids needed money, I highly doubt they would be willing to get into a white person's car willy nilly. And if they DID, all of the witnesses would have said it was a lone white man in this type of car or it was primarily a white man and a black man.

    4. IIRC, in the late 90's, early 2000s (?) there was apparently new evidence in this case and Williams was again tried and found guilty. If there is all of this evidence that supports his innocence, why have we not found it? in 2016? As I mentioned in my comment on Johnny Gosch, it took nearly 20 years for John Walsh to find justice for his son. it's been over 40 years and there still hasn't been evidence on the contrary. Not to mention, the killings STOPPED after Williams was arrested. And to my knowledge, this is the ONLY serial killing of black children. There have been no others, so if there is another killer, wouldn't he be able to move elsewhere and start again?

    4B. Why are you both so shocked at the time frame? Ted Bundy, Dahmer, Zodiac, Jack the Ripper...time didn't seem to slow these guys down.

    5. I will agree that the Captain is right in poverty being a factor, however - in many other cases, with missing or murdered black children/teens/YA, they NEVER get the media attention this case did. A good reference is when Natalie Holloway (?) disappeared and news outlets couldn't stop talking about her despite the fact that there were...I think two or three missing minority children at the same time. I remember the aftermath of this - I think the trial? Maybe, I was a young kid - and it was probably the most I've ever seen the news cover black people that didn't involve a white victim.

    5A. I don't think we can stop identifying ourselves by race, but yes, we are humans first and foremost. It's kinda disappointing and stunning that in 2016 we're still having these issues of race, especially when we still can't sit down and discuss these things like civilized people. Again, as someone who is black and has white friends, they are surprised when I mention things that have happened to me or provide an insight on what's happening in this world. Like me, they're disappointed that we're still doing this in 2016, but that's why we talk about these things. We just wish others would do the same.

    6. Last thing - agreed with the Captain. Police - do your damn job! People - be f***ing human!

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Hume Man • Sidney, Iowa I agree. Wasn't saying it was def the KKK but wanted to point out that theory. Much love Captain

    Hume Man • Sidney, Iowa

    I agree. Wasn't saying it was def the KKK but wanted to point out that theory. Much love

    Captain

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Agent66 Great stuff thanks!! Captain

    Agent66

    Great stuff thanks!!

    Captain

  • Jeremy

    Jeremy KY

    [quote=Hume Man] The idea that a bunch of white guys could operate in African-American neighborhoods and snatch or lure all these kids and young people, without attracting attention, is beyond absurd. Great show, though. I am a faithful listener even though I don't drink beer. Too many crime podcasts are overly pretentious. Thank you for your efforts. [/quote] Exactly, I was so annoyed during the episode that this wasn't mentioned. I'm not a fan of cops, but those "super cops" he's joking about contained a number of very dedicated profilers, in the early days of its use.

    Hume Man wrote:

    The idea that a bunch of white guys could operate in African-American neighborhoods and snatch or lure all these kids and young people, without attracting attention, is beyond absurd.

    Great show, though. I am a faithful listener even though I don't drink beer. Too many crime podcasts are overly pretentious. Thank you for your efforts.


    Exactly, I was so annoyed during the episode that this wasn't mentioned. I'm not a fan of cops, but those "super cops" he's joking about contained a number of very dedicated profilers, in the early days of its use.

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Jeremy • KY Thanks!!! Captain

    Jeremy • KY

    Thanks!!!

    Captain

  • Pokwok

    Pokwok Montreal

    Doubt this'll get seen, but I guess I just felt I had to say it. Haven't finished the episode yet, and I should preface by saying I'm a huge fan of the show, am going through all the episodes I can, and love the dynamic between the co-hosts. I even enjoy the Captain's anti-cop bias most of the time, as most of the time we should be skeptical of the police, because time and again, particularly with high profile cases, we see the political and public pressure either force them to make errors or to straight up cut corners. But I really don't see why the Captain was so dead-set against the "supercop" profile, nor why he was so convinced it was completely ridiculous to suspect Williams. A couple of assumptions are being made here by the Captain that I think are probably false, or at least not entirely true -- it is not necessarily politically convenient for the cops to suspect a black serial killer over a racist white serial killer. Think about it - this is Atlanta. A lot of these cops are black themselves, and live among the community that does want to believe this was a racist white killer (and who could blame them? It always happens that when there is a killer in a somewhat insulated community that the community doesn't want to believe that it could be one of their own, and this is exactly why the most successful serial killers are the ones that are trusted and ingrained in the communities they prey upon). Why wouldn't the cops want to validate the community's beliefs (a community that many of these cops are part of?). But if we step back and try to be objective, the profile makes sense. The serial killer had to be someone the community wouldn't look twice at, and a racist white guy bringing kids and young men into his car, all while the whole community is under the impression that a white guy is killing young men and boys, would send off red flags to everybody, and even if there were tips about white guys in the area, most of those tips weren't actually connected to victims or led to an arrest. There probably were some white cops that expected it or wanted it to be a black guy, but surely there were also (I would expect even more) cops that wanted it to be who the community and the media were convinced it would be. Not to mention the fact that the murders themselves really don't fit the profile of a racist killer - the victims were all boys, they were killed in a specific way that suggested the killer was enjoying the act of killing itself followed by the necrophilia, and not in a way that suggested a passionate hatred for the victims. Racist killers generally brutally beat and torture their victims. I'm sure everybody wanted to put the case to rest, and perhaps corners were cut when convicting Williams, and nobody should ever be charged or convicted simply for fitting a profile. But the fact that the alibi he gave to the police at the time he was pulled over, near where a body was later found, turned out to be a lie is a huge strike against him. I'm not saying it's him, but we certainly can't be sure it wasn't him either. Considering the community was on edge and that people clearly wanted to believe something in particular about the murderer, we need to take any eye-witness testimonies and tips with a grain of salt. Now I would say that this would be counter-balanced by the police wanting to believe something in particular about the murderer as well if we knew that the police unreasonably wanted the serial killer to be a young black man, but I just don't see anything to suggest that the cops would want to be biased in this way in this particular case. Falsely arresting and charging a young black man for racist reasons in 1980 Atlanta could only cause more tension, more political turmoil, and more distrust of police by the community and the media -- hell, it would do these things even if there was more evidence against Williams. There's no way the police didn't understand this, and I just don't buy that the police force as a whole (not saying there weren't individual racist cops, but as a whole) could be racist enough to inflict all these problems upon themselves just because they want the killer to be a young black man. I get that this was the 80s, but even by then the police knew that black serial killers are relatively rare. If the victims were shot, if the victims were robbed, then maybe I could see the police-bias-against-young-black-men kicking in, but it was clear early on that this was a serial killer. They needed to have another reason to assume the perp was black, and in my opinion that reason was a legitimate one, and it was based on the evidence they had.

    Doubt this'll get seen, but I guess I just felt I had to say it. Haven't finished the episode yet, and I should preface by saying I'm a huge fan of the show, am going through all the episodes I can, and love the dynamic between the co-hosts. I even enjoy the Captain's anti-cop bias most of the time, as most of the time we should be skeptical of the police, because time and again, particularly with high profile cases, we see the political and public pressure either force them to make errors or to straight up cut corners.

    But I really don't see why the Captain was so dead-set against the "supercop" profile, nor why he was so convinced it was completely ridiculous to suspect Williams. A couple of assumptions are being made here by the Captain that I think are probably false, or at least not entirely true -- it is not necessarily politically convenient for the cops to suspect a black serial killer over a racist white serial killer. Think about it - this is Atlanta. A lot of these cops are black themselves, and live among the community that does want to believe this was a racist white killer (and who could blame them? It always happens that when there is a killer in a somewhat insulated community that the community doesn't want to believe that it could be one of their own, and this is exactly why the most successful serial killers are the ones that are trusted and ingrained in the communities they prey upon). Why wouldn't the cops want to validate the community's beliefs (a community that many of these cops are part of?). But if we step back and try to be objective, the profile makes sense. The serial killer had to be someone the community wouldn't look twice at, and a racist white guy bringing kids and young men into his car, all while the whole community is under the impression that a white guy is killing young men and boys, would send off red flags to everybody, and even if there were tips about white guys in the area, most of those tips weren't actually connected to victims or led to an arrest. There probably were some white cops that expected it or wanted it to be a black guy, but surely there were also (I would expect even more) cops that wanted it to be who the community and the media were convinced it would be. Not to mention the fact that the murders themselves really don't fit the profile of a racist killer - the victims were all boys, they were killed in a specific way that suggested the killer was enjoying the act of killing itself followed by the necrophilia, and not in a way that suggested a passionate hatred for the victims. Racist killers generally brutally beat and torture their victims.

    I'm sure everybody wanted to put the case to rest, and perhaps corners were cut when convicting Williams, and nobody should ever be charged or convicted simply for fitting a profile. But the fact that the alibi he gave to the police at the time he was pulled over, near where a body was later found, turned out to be a lie is a huge strike against him. I'm not saying it's him, but we certainly can't be sure it wasn't him either. Considering the community was on edge and that people clearly wanted to believe something in particular about the murderer, we need to take any eye-witness testimonies and tips with a grain of salt. Now I would say that this would be counter-balanced by the police wanting to believe something in particular about the murderer as well if we knew that the police unreasonably wanted the serial killer to be a young black man, but I just don't see anything to suggest that the cops would want to be biased in this way in this particular case. Falsely arresting and charging a young black man for racist reasons in 1980 Atlanta could only cause more tension, more political turmoil, and more distrust of police by the community and the media -- hell, it would do these things even if there was more evidence against Williams. There's no way the police didn't understand this, and I just don't buy that the police force as a whole (not saying there weren't individual racist cops, but as a whole) could be racist enough to inflict all these problems upon themselves just because they want the killer to be a young black man. I get that this was the 80s, but even by then the police knew that black serial killers are relatively rare. If the victims were shot, if the victims were robbed, then maybe I could see the police-bias-against-young-black-men kicking in, but it was clear early on that this was a serial killer. They needed to have another reason to assume the perp was black, and in my opinion that reason was a legitimate one, and it was based on the evidence they had.

  • Steven

    Steven Madison, WI

    Just wanted to say that I discovered your podcast as a result of the "Atlanta Monster" podcast that covers this particular case and its very odd twists and turns. I appreciated getting a somewhat different retelling of the events (and a few things left out of AM, at least as of episode 7). I haven't listened to your other episodes much yet, but I was wondering if you do revisits if there are substantial developments in a case. AM has provided a few small leads that probably wouldn't change the overall conclusion each of you reached, but could flesh out a few things.

    Just wanted to say that I discovered your podcast as a result of the "Atlanta Monster" podcast that covers this particular case and its very odd twists and turns. I appreciated getting a somewhat different retelling of the events (and a few things left out of AM, at least as of episode 7). I haven't listened to your other episodes much yet, but I was wondering if you do revisits if there are substantial developments in a case. AM has provided a few small leads that probably wouldn't change the overall conclusion each of you reached, but could flesh out a few things.

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Hi Steven, We do and we are working at getting better about doing follow up shows. Im looking forward to checking out that show, when I get time! Cheers Nic

    Hi Steven,
    We do and we are working at getting better about doing follow up shows. Im looking forward to checking out that show, when I get time!
    Cheers
    Nic

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