From 1979 to 1981, Atlanta, Ga., had a predator problem. Some say it still does.
Forty years ago, police believed — or led the public to believe — that the solution to the predator problem was to incarcerate a black man named Wayne Williams, who was said to be responsible the deaths of 26 black males and two black females. Collectively and historically, the deaths are dubbed the Atlanta Child Murders, though six of the victims were adults. 14 of the rest of the victims were children between the ages of 9 and 13, and eight were adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17.
Authorities at the time referred to the names of the victims as “The List,” and they referred to the circumstantial evidence that tied Williams to The List as “The Pattern.” Investigations into The List and The Pattern were dropped following the conviction of Williams for the murders of two adult men.
However, Atlanta police have been reexamining The List via cold-case investigations. So far, the two females have been dropped from The List as unrelated cases. Another case was closed, classified as an accident. And examiners finally determined that another had died at the hands of a family member. So that means The List is now 24 victims long, all male.
A large number of the murder victims were known to have prostituted themselves to adult men. In some cases, they were last seen either near or with known pedophiles or known pederasts. Some of the offenders even admitted to having sex with the murdered children and adolescents, but none were ever charged with a crime.
The murder victims who were adults appeared to have been in the business of procuring children as prostitutes for other men. Their shared involvement with an underground pedophile ring suggests their deaths were somehow tied to a loosely knit network of predators.
A pedophile ring run by truck driver John David Wilcoxen was linked to murder victims Earl Terrell, Darron Glass, Lubie Geter and perhaps others. Police dismissed the men as suspects despite witnesses who confirmed that the aforementioned children had been associated with these pedophiles.
The child porn ring involved hundreds of children in several metro Atlanta counties. Teen boys were taken to the men’s homes or a hotel on Stewart Avenue where they were paid $5 to perform sexual acts and $10 to be photographed.
The suppression of the pedophilia and pederast aspect of these cases suggests that the Atlanta political establishment was protecting this ring. It could have been used as part of the national brownstone compromise network. Some of the murders — particularly those of the adults — may have even been “cleanup” operations to prevent the exposure of this network.
Williams, who Winter Watch can only characterize as a very strange character, even claimed in a 1992 journal entry that he had been trained to kill by the CIA at age 18 or 19 just after graduating high school. This training, he said, took place at a camp just outside of Atlanta under the supervision of a former World War II spy Mitch WerBell III, an OSS operative.
In 1980, George H.W. Bush, the V.P. under newly elected President Ronald Reagan, inserted himself into the Atlanta situation at one point and tried to steer the investigation. He told local authorities that if they couldn’t handle the case, the FBI and U.S. Attorney General could intervene. This forced Atlanta’s D.A. to pursue a weak case against Wayne Williams.
Other predators seemed to come from the underbelly of Atlanta’s poorer cesspool of criminality.
Trackers find a suspicious abandoned house: UPI, “Eerie, abandoned house may furnish link to identity of Atlanta child-killer” (Jan. 5, 1981)
The source also said investigators suspect that a cult was involved in some of the cases, citing Saturday’s discovery of the abandoned house and a find on an earlier weekend search. Langford said he had also heard reports that a cult was involved. A search leader said neighbors reported seeing a black man and a black child using the house about two months ago.
Later in April, 1981, a source close to the investigation revealed that some of the 24 missing and murdered children were known to frequent the abandoned house in the northwest part of Atlanta considered a homosexual rendezvous.
Katherine Whetson, who lead the search at the house Saturday, said it had an odor similar to what she recalled from the area where the body of 7-year-old Latony Waison was found. “Two rooms smelled like decaying flesh and one had several mattresses in it,” she said.
Two bibles were nailed to the wall. Ms. Whetstone said one of the Bibles in the house was open to a passage that was “about mixing blood and murderers.”
Another passage, Jeremiah 16:2 through 16:4, said, “Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shall thou have a son or daughter in this place.
“For thus saith the Lord concerning the sons and concerning the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land:
“They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth; and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.”
The causes of death varied. Most common was suffocation and asphyxiation, but bludgeoning, stabbing and shooting were also methods used. Most serial killers settle on one method.
Criminal profiler John E. Douglas said that while he believes that Williams committed many of the murders, he does not think that he committed them all. Douglas added that he believes that law enforcement and authorities have some idea of who the other killers are.
“It isn’t a single offender, and the truth isn’t pleasant,” Douglas cryptically said.
Before Williams’ arrest, Atlanta police stated that there were multiple perps in these killings, not just one.
Who Was Wayne Williams?
Wayne Bertrand Williams at age 22 was passing himself off as a music promoter. He put up ads seeking talented youth, which indicates that he might have been involved in procuring children for pedophiles. If Williams was a homosexual, he was in the closet about it.
Williams lived at 1817 Penelope Road with his parents, Homer and Faye Williams, who were teachers. He was born on May 27, 1958, and grew to 5 feet 7 inches tall and a pudgy 180 pounds. He was considered intelligent and well-educated.
Many cases seemed to be lumped into the Williams’ tally, but he was found guilty of just two murders. Both victims were adults, ages 21 and 27 years old.
No one ever reported seeing any victims present at Williams’ house. Indeed, his parents’ house where he lived would not have allowed for much privacy, let along bringing around and killing adult males and adolescents.
Additionally, court records show that the (carpet?) fibers that somehow investigators found on the water-drenched corpse of 27-year-old victim Nathaniel Cater were a lighter color.
Cater, at 27, didn’t fit the victimology either. He was both older and larger. All of the six adults killed were criminal types, and several were “bad-asses” and potential threats.
Was Williams merely an errand boy assisting a clean-up/cover-up death squad? Or was he simply the patsy for a cleanup operation in which police could have been involved?
The Splash and Stop at the Bridge
The arrest of Williams was based on a splash that was heard near a bridge over the Chattahoochee River, which was based on a stakeout where Williams was searched. Williams was only arrested when Cater’s body turned up several days later. But two witnesses stated they saw Cater alive two and three days after the splash at the bridge.
My impression when watching Williams in interviews is that he is a bullshit artist living in a clown world. He fits perfectly into our current culture. He does a lot of chin dropping in his body language, which is a possible sign of deception. As you will see, he runs a lot of distraction. Unfortunately, lying seemed to be par for the course for many associated with these cases.
But readers should listen below to both the accounts of the bridge “splash” and stop, as well as Williams’ contorted, bizarre explanation of his nocturnal activities. Stop at 00:50:25. To our sensibilities, it’s all sketchy from both the police and Williams. I really don’t believe anybody in these accounts.
Listen to his account of going out and driving around at 2:30 a.m. the morning of “the splash.” He claims it was to check the location (far from his home) of one Cheryl Johnson, who he claims called him to audition. This is nonsensical. And why is he calling “Cheryl Johnson” from a pay phone at 2 a.m.? Who makes calls at that hour? (Note: Affordable answering machines weren’t introduced to the consumer market until 1984 by ATT.)
And what’s with all the people calling him and interpreting his sleep at midnight that night? And why would he “have another stop at 1 a.m.”? I realize that it is a personal bias, but I believe people who are out at that hour ( and who aren’t working) are weird at best and evil at worst. Was he out pimping some kid? Was he a courier making a body dump for others? It was widely known that the river bridges were being watched.
It also seems a stretch to believe he could make a living as a talent scout for kids. Something is just off about him (and many others in this cesspool), which may make him a convenient patsy. Under cross examination, prosecution witness Sharon Blakely (a “one-time business associate”) testified that Williams had a “split personality.”
Ultimately, I believe Williams had some indeterminable peripheral involvement that was serious and involved the Atlanta Child Murders, most likely as a procurer, which might explain the fibers found on victims. But he has been falsely tagged for all of it for the reasons mentioned in our takeaway. The system never pursued any of the other cases attributed to Williams.
Although lumped in with The List of 28 initially and now dropped, the unsolved case of female LeTonya Wilson, age 7, is illustrative. Wilson was abducted by two black men from a second-floor window of an apartment and was later found dead of unknown causes. A maintenance man had replaced the glass in the window a few days before. The same man confessed to another murder and had pictures of “all the victims” in his room when arrested.
The cold case of female victim Angel Lenair, age 12, was lumped in to The List. Two men were questioned, one of which wore a belt fashioned of electrical cord, and had been arrested for grabbing a child. It is suspected that she was held in houses at 1954 Beecher and/or 1415 Westridge streets.
The case of Jefferey Mathis, age 10, was lumped in with the Atlanta Murders. He was last seen leaving to the Star Service Station on Gordon to buy cigarettes (or a loaf of bread). Months later, a girl said she saw him get into a blue car with a light-skinned man and a dark-skinned man on East Ontario. Witness Willie Turner said he saw Mathis in a blue Chevy Nova nearly two weeks after he went missing. Later, Turner was held at gunpoint by the driver of the Nova.
Aaron Wyche, age 10, case closed, attributed to Williams, was last seen at Tanner’s Corner Grocery (826/828 McDonough Blvd.) getting into a blue and white Chevy with two black men. The description of this car matched the exact description of a car that tried to pick up children at Jefferey Mathis’ school. The children recalled the license plate number, which was registered to a car found with different plates on the same street and in front of a house where Mathis’ family reportedly first looked for him when he went missing.
A female witness said she saw Wyche being led from Tanner’s Corner Grocery by a 6-foot, 180-pound black male, approximately 30 years old with a mustache and goatee. Williams is 5-feet, 7-inches tall, 180 pounds, was 22 years old at the time and clean shaven.
The witness greeted Aaron, who acknowledged her, and went on as if nothing was wrong. The man and Wyche entered a blue, late ’70s Chevrolet, where Wyche sat close to the man in the front.
The cold case of Darren Glass, age 10, was lumped into The List. Kenneth Bernard Brown, 17, lived on First Ave off Memorial, near Glass. He witnessed a black man wearing a green shirt, dark pants, silver bracelet and black flat cap take a crying boy (age 10 to 12) out of a light blue Chevy Nova on Memorial street. He brought the boy to the woods, then Kenny heard a shot and saw him carry a boy to his trunk and drive south on 2nd Avenue.
The cold case of Earl Terrill, age 10, is attributed to Williams. He had been reported to have been at pedophile John David Wilcoxen’s home with another boy pretending to be Terrell’s older brother in the past.
Larry Rogers, 20, was either last seen at Simpson Road NW and West Lake Avenue NW on April 1, 1981, getting into a faded green Chevy station wagon with a light-skinned man.
Edward Hope Smith, age 14, was a close friend of Lee Goosh, 15. He stated that “a man in my neighborhood snatched some kids in December. It’s a kidnapping deal.” He said he only knew that the man was black, but he added that “there’s a lady in the neighborhood who knows who he is, but she’s scared to tell.”
Clifford Jones, 13, was raped and killed on Aug. 20, 1980, by strangulation. This closed case was attributed to Williams. However, three witnesses at a laundromat saw the manager, James Brooks, strangle, beat and dispose of Jones. One of them, who the police dismissed as “retarded,” witnessed Brooks and two other black men anally rape Jones before strangling him with a yellow rope. Then they washed his body with soap and a rag and redressed him.
Two other witnesses saw a black man carry a large item out to beside the dumpster while wearing a hooded robe, and another witness claimed that he had seen the robe at Brooks’ house, where Brooks had previously taken Jones and another man. According to CORE public information officer Al Starkes, the laundromat managed by Brooks was known to be a location for homosexual encounters.
Another victim attributed to Williams was Timothy Hill, age 13. He was connected to multiple pedophiles and pederasts who were acquainted with each other. Hill was known to frequent the house of Thomas Terrell, nicknamed “Uncle Tom,” who admitted to having sexual encounters with Hill.
Frankie Mealing said that he had sex with Hill and another boy at a house owned by Terrell. According to Mealing, at least 10 victims on The List had been to one of Terrell’s houses. Mealing’s roommate was a man named Larry Marshall (real name Larry Hill) and one 15-year-old witness acquainted with Yussef Bell, age 9 (attributed to Williams), said that Marshall took him and Hill out for sexual encounters.
William Barrett, age 17, case closed, attributed to Williams. A neighbor reportedly saw him later, a few blocks from home in the Kirkwood-East Lake area along Memorial, getting into a two-door white car with a black man carrying a purse. A 32-year-old custodian from Southwest High School, Harold Wood, had ran out of gas about a mile from the scene and was arrested and questioned. Wood described a black man with a white over blue Cadillac standing where the body was found and staring at him before driving away.
Lubie Geter, 14, was last seen at the Stewart-Lakewood Shopping Center on GA-6, selling car deodorizers. He had been seen getting into a red pickup, a white pickup, then a white-and-black Cutlass. A woman later testified that she saw him getting into a car with Wayne Williams in front of the Sears at the mall.
The murder of Joseph Bell, age 15, was attributed to Williams. His friend, Eugene Laster, age 21, reported seeing Bell get into a station wagon with Williams on Westview Drive. Jo Jo’s half-brother Edward Mays said that he had talked to Eugene on the day of his disappearance, and at that time Laster did not know the type of car or who drove it.
What’s with Cap’n Peg Drive in?
A strange account: That same afternoon, a man claimed to have seen Wayne Williams at the South River. The next day, Cap’n Peg’s received a call from Jo Jo saying he was “almost dead.” On March 7 at 7 p.m., Jo Jo’s mother received two calls from a woman saying she had him. A witness signed an affidavit saying they saw someone other than Wayne Williams murder Bell at the last place Timothy Hill was seen.
From page 240 of The List: On the morning after he would be questioned at the FBI field office in Atlanta, Wayne Williams called a press conference. One question he was asked was to explain his associations with younger children. Williams produced a contract which showed that his relationship with children was completely professional. The address listed in the contract for his Gemini singing group was 325 Georgia Avenue — astonishingly, the same address as Cap’n Peg’s.
“Victim Jo-Jo Bell’s sister said she had seen Wayne Williams in Cap’n Peg’s watching her as she danced with Jo-Jo. The manager of Cap’n Peg’s at first denied ever having seen Wayne Williams. But as the media attention mounted, he said that Wayne Williams had been a regular customer.”
Other known pedos were customers of Cap’n Peg.
In 2007, the FBI performed DNA tests on two human hairs found on Patrick Baltazar, age 11. The mitochondrial DNA sequence in the hairs would eliminate 98% of African American persons by not matching their DNA. However, they matched Williams’ DNA, and so did not eliminate the possibility that the hairs were his.
Among the items seized from his home after his arrest were “a king-sized bedspread from Williams’ bed, containing light violet acetate fibers consistent with those found on eighteen of the victims; white dog hairs with black tips from the family dog similar to those hairs found on nine victims; and coarse yellowish-green carpet fibers from the wall-to-wall carpeting which had the same characteristics as those found on thirteen of the victims,” according to Lloyd’s case study.
In the 1981-1982 aftermath of Williams’ arrest the Atlanta bloodbath continue unabated although with fewer male youth and more adults and females. There were also a dozen or so murders of whites during this period, with blacks ultimately convicted.
Felton Talley, 26, and Robert Duke were considered suspects in the cases after the police got an anonymous tip that the two had been claiming to have had murdered 25 young black adults in Atlanta and were going to kill another.
On May 12, 1981 — just 10 days before Williams bridge incident — Talley and Duke had barricaded themselves in a boarding house, and Talley was killed by police fire. Online information on these individuals looks strangely scrubbed.
Winter Watch Takeaway
The reality of Hotlanta that few mention is that it was a center for predators, some who were interlinked and involved in an epidemic of child rape and killings during this period and up to present day.
There were multiple killers carrying this out before, during and after “The List” and “The Pattern.”
From 1990 to 2010, data compiled by the Serial Killer Information Center project shows 40.3% of U.S. serial killers were black, and Atlanta is a largely black city. Blacks make up 13.4% of U.S. population.
There was and is a back story developing that these were KKK murders. Yet almost all the sighting of the victims in these inner city neighborhoods involved them with black men, often preying in pairs.
The idea — beyond pinning it all on just one man, Williams — was to divert attention from Atlanta’s plague of black predators problem and also from the power structure using and abusing these youth.