Wayne Williams Case Study

By Viviana Trejo

The Suspicions

Wayne Williams has been the prime suspect for more than 20 black youth murders between the 1970's and 1980's. Reason to suspect him was the fact that they found fibers from his car and home on one of the bodies.

The beginning of the Atlanta Child Murders

The first murder was committed on July 28, 1979 and would be the first of over 20 murders lasting for 22 months. They found 2 young black youths hidden in bushes in Atlanta, one murdered by a gunshot wound and one murdered by asphyxiation.

A crack in the case

In 1981, the child murder decided to change his MO and started dumping bodies in the Chattahoochee River, which narrowed down the area searched by the police. One night at 3 in the morning, police were watching an area by the river near a bridge when they heard a really loud splash. That is when they met Wayne Williams who was driving the car that was on the bridge at the time of the splash. They had no evidence to prove that he was responsible for the splash so they let him go. A few days later, they found the body of 27 year old Nathaniel Carter downstream and that's when they brought Williams in for questioning. His alibi was not strong and he failed many polygraph exams.

Arrest and Trial

On June 21, 1981, Williams was arrested and he would be convicted on February 27, 1982. While he was convicted on eyewitness testimony and fibers that matched him, he went to jail for 2 murders even though he is linked to 20 other murders. He is currently serving 2 consecutive life terms.