Wayne Bertram Williams: Atlanta Child Killer Police circulated this photo at the time showing victims of the Atlanta killings. Photo from CNN Forensic Fiber Analysis Case Study The best-known, if not the best-reasoned fiber case in American legal history involving fiber evidence issues is the Wayne Williams trial growing out of the famous Atlanta murders of twelve African-American males in 1979-1980. The Williams case involved all of the subjects still in controversy as we enter the world of forensic science and forensic evidence in the 21st century (Kiely 142).
Wayne Bertram Williams was born on in Atlanta Georgia on May 27, 1958. Both his parents, Faye and Homer Williams were both school teachers. Wayne graduated from high school with honors and attended Georgia State University for a year. He had dreams of making it big in the music industry and he was running his own business as a talent scout. He earned money by doing odd jobs and selling photos of accidents to the local newspapers. Wayne William’s Flyer Provided by: Atlanta’s Missing & Murdered
Between 1979 and 1981, the city of Atlanta had a series of atrocious murders affecting African-American male children in the low income areas of the city. Over 30 children were reported missing in a 22-month period beginning of July 1979, and many children’s lifeless bodies were recovered, in the Chattahoochee River, alongside dirt roads, and in abandoned buildings, with the exception of one that is still missing, (Kiely 143). Most of the children were brutally assaulted and strangled. These murders were known as the Atlanta Child Murders.
The FBI became interested when it became more evident that these murders were linked, as the victims were from the same geographical area, most have died from strangulation, and green-yellowish fibers were found on many of the children’s bodies. The police enforcement agency started surveillance over bridges that crossed the Chattahoochee River because a large number of the bodies were ditched in the river. In the morning on Friday, May 22, 1981, two police officers were on a stakeout on the James Jackson Parkway Bridge.
One officer, Freddie Jacobs saw a 1970 Chevrolet station wagon slowly cross over the bridge than pull into a liquor store parking lot, turned around, and was crossing back over the bridge. The other police officer, Bob Campbell saw the car lights switched off and the car stop. He then heard a huge splash in the water and saw ripples in the water when the car lights were switched back on and commenced driving across the bridge. At that time the police office radioed the FBI Agent Greg Gilliland, the agent pulled over the station wagon and the driver was Wayne Williams.
Williams had some story that he was trying to locate a woman’s house he had an appointment with the next day. The FBI and the police found the address to be non-existent and the phone number was wrong. Two days later, Nathaniel Cater’s body was pulled from the Chattahoochee River. At that time the police were watching Williams while waiting for search warrants for the home and the cars. The FBI had collected an enormous amount of fibers collected as evidence from the deceased victims. The FBI wanted to see if any of the fibers matched Williams’ cars and home.
The FBI got search warrants to enter Williams home and vehicles to take and compare the samples removed from the victims. The prosecutor was reluctant to take Williams to trial on fiber evidence alone; he wanted traditional evidence such as fingerprints or an eyewitness. On June 21, 1981, Wayne Williams was arrested and indicted for the murder of two male adults, Jimmy Payne and Nathaniel Cater. The fiber evidence used to connect Wayne Williams to the murders was taken from Williams, his home, and cars by three state’s experts- FBI Agent Harold Deadman, GBI employee Larry Peterson, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police employee Barry Gaudette.
To compare the fibers found in Williams’ environment with those found on the victims, the state’s experts used a variety of microscopes: In this regard, Agent Deadman, a microanalyst, described which microscopes could be used to compare fibers: 1) a sterobinocular microscope, which can magnify a single fiber about seventy times, and which is used to visually compare fibers; 2) a compound microscope, which can magnify a single fiber approximately 400 to 500 times, and which, like the stereobinocular microscope, is used to visually compare fibers; 3) a comparison microscope, which can magnify two ibers side by side, and which is used to compare the microscope and optical properties of the two fibers; 4) a microspectrophotometer; 5) a polarizing light microscope, which is used to examine the optical properties of fibers in a more discriminating fashion that provided by a comparison microscope; and 60 a fluorescence microscope, which is used to determine the type of light a fiber emits after it has been illuminated with a certain type of light. Additionally, a scanning electron microscope was used occasionally by the state’s experts. (Supreme Court)
Agent Deadman testified about the fibers taken from Williams’, the cars, and his dwelling. He took samples of fibers from a bedspread, a blanket, and carpeting in Williams’ bedroom, fibers from the carpet in a white station wagon and a LTD, trunk liner fibers from a Plymouth and the LTD, fibers from a throw rug and a carpet used on the porch or garage, carpet fibers in a workroom, vacuum sweepings from the station wagon and from Williams’ house; fibers from a leather jacket owned by Williams, fibers from a glove that was in the station wagon, toilet seat cover fibers, and fibers from the carpet in the kitchen of Williams’ home.
The evidence supplied by the expert state witnesses concluded that seven fiber associations between Wayne Williams and Jimmy Payne. Fibers matching Williams’ bedroom bedspread, blanket, and carpet all were found on Payne’s’ body. In addition, fibers from the station wagon and the throw carpet on the porch were also linked to Payne and Williams. The state expert witnesses testified to the five fibers found on Cater’s body to be consistent with the fibers collected in Williams’ bedroom, workroom, and station wagon.
Thus linking Cater inside Williams bedroom, workroom, and station wagon. Although there was significant fiber evidence, as set forth above, the court recognized that the principal support for the state’s fiber evidence case was expert testimony concerning the alleged uniqueness of two types of carpet fibers recovered and analyzed by the state’s experts: the green nylon carpet in Williams’ bedroom, and the green-black rayon floorboard carpet of the 1970 Chevrolet station wagon Williams was driving the night he was discovered near the Jackson Parkway bridge (Kiely 150).
The carpet found in Williams’ bedroom was central to the forensic fiber testimony in the case, being referenced as unique in its textile makeup and in its pattern of commercial manufacture, sale, and subsequent distribution (Kiely 150). Deadman concluded that there was a one in 7792 chance of randomly selecting a home in the Atlanta area and finding a room containing carpet similar to the Williams bedroom carpet. Regarding the green-black 1970 Chevrolet carpet, both Deadman and his fellow expert Peterson testified that they had information indicating that in the Atlanta area only 620 out of over two million cars had that type of carpet.
Deadman explained that this data had been supplied by the General Motors Corporation (Kiely 151). The strong association of having fibers rare, unique, and uncommon make the probability factor higher and more believable (Saferstein). The jury saw the significance of the fiber evidence in linking Williams with Payne and Cater in his home and car. It took the jury 12 hours to decide Wayne Williams fate. On February 27, 1982, the jury found Wayne Williams guilty for murdering Payne and Cater. He was sentenced two consecutive terms of life imprisonment (Wiki).
Wayne Williams’ has appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia and was not granted a new trial. | Works Cited Photo 1. CNN. Justice. Atlanta Child Murders. June 1, 2010. Source: Homicide Task Force. http://www. cnn. com/2010/CRIME/05/31/atlanta. murders. victims/index. html Photo 2. Atlanta’s Missing & Murdered. http://atkid. weebly. com/map–people-of-interest. html Kiely, Terrence. Forensic Evidence: Science and the Criminal Law, Second Edition. New York: CRC Press, 2005: 142 -153. Print. Supreme Court of Georgia.
Wayne Bertram Williams v. The State. December 5, 1983. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wayne Williams. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Wayne_Williams Saferstein, Richard. Criminalistics An Introduction to Forensic Science. Ninth Edition, New Jersey: Pearson, 2007. Print. Atlanta Child Murders In Memory A jury found Wayne Williams guilty of murdering: Nathaniel Cater, 28 Jimmy Ray Payne, 21 Police attributed these deaths to Williams (closed cases): Alfred Evans, 13 Yusef Bell, 9 Eric Middlebrooks, 14 Christopher Richardson, 12
Aaron Wyche, 10 Anthony Carter, 9 Earl Terrell, 11 Clifford Jones, 13 Charles Stephens, 12 Aaron Jackson, 9 Patrick Rogers, 16 Lubie Geter, 14 Terry Pue, 15 Patrick Baltazar, 11 Curtis Walker, 13 Jo Jo Bell, 15 Timothy Hill, 13 Eddie Duncan, 21 Larry Rogers, 20 Michael McIntosh, 23 John Porter, 28 William Barrett, 17 These cases remain open: Edward Smith, 14 Milton Harvey, 14 Jeffery Mathis, 10 Missing person whose body was never found: Darron Glass, 10 http://www. cnn. com/2010/CRIME/05/31/atlanta. murders. victims/index. html