Wayne Williams

Case Study by Alyson Schutte

Background

Wayne Williams was born on May 27, 1958 in Atlanta. Little was ever reported about his childhood life, but it is to be known that he was raised in the Dixie Hills neighborhood of Southwest Atlanta, Georgia to Homer and Faye Williams. HIs parents were teachers. Wayne graduated from Douglass High school and developed an interest in radio and journalism, eventually, constructing his own carrier-current radio station. He later attended Georgia State University. Wayne was known as a man whom befriended people and took music producing very seriously. He was always seen hanging around radio stations. Wayne was very interested in music and kept to himself for the most part growing up.
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The Crime

Wayne Williams became the prime suspect in the murder of more than 20 black youths from 1979 to 1981 in Atlanta, Georgia. His public journey to infamy began on July 28, 1979, when a woman in Atlanta came across two corpses hidden under bushes at the side of the road. Both were male, black, children. One child was murdered with a gun and the other by asphyxiation. This discovery marked the start of a string of killings lasting 22 months in Atlanta that became known as the Atlanta Child Murders, and it would continue in late September. As the killings happened, the same pattern was seen. Each young 12-15 year old child was strangled and some even had there hands tied behind their back. The bodies of the victims were found in wooded areas, but in April 1981, Wayne changed his MO: The bodies were now being dumped in the Chattahoochee River. The change in the MO allowed investigators to narrow down their search and they were able to link Wayne to a murder due to police arriving on scene while Wayne Williams was there and a body was discovered two days later. The fibers found on the body matched perfectly to Waynes. He also failed multiple lie detector tests when asked to take them. Soon after, another body was discovered that matched his fibers as well. Therefore, he was convicted of killing two adults. The investigators were never able to prove that Wayne had killed the youth victims, however physical evidence showed a 98% match (which is not enough in court). Wayne Williams was not accused for the other murders, however when he was given his life sentence and imprisoned for the murder of two male adults, all of the Georgia killings stopped. Wayne never confessed to the murders, instead defended himself on stand in court. Wayne was given the nicknames The Atlanta Monster, The Atlanta Child Killer, The Atlanta Child Murderer, and is responsible for the murder of two victims, but is questioned to be responsible for thirty one.