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Wayne Williams Trial: 1981

Williams Takes The Stand

Other than attack the credibility of prosecution witnesses, there was little the defense could do, except present Williams himself. Describing himself as a "carefree, happy-go-lucky person," Williams went on, "I haven't killed anybody, or thought about it, or plan on thinking about killing anybody."

Assistant prosecutor Jack Mallard pressed Williams on his reasons for being out at 3:00 A.M. Williams said he was searching for the address of a singer with whom he was to meet in the morning. Mallard wondered why he had not asked for directions.

"Me being in Cobb County at three o'clock in the morning?" Williams sounded incredulous. "Sir, they've got the Ku Klux Klan up there'."

Mallard pounced. "If you're so afraid of the Ku Klux Klan, what are you doing in Cobb County at three o'clock in the morning?"

Williams hurriedly mumbled an excuse but soon recovered his composure, insisting loudly, "Sir, I haven't killed anyone!"

The expected lengthy jury deliberation actually took less than 12 hours. On February 27, 1982, Williams was convicted of double murder. That same day, Judge Clarence Cooper imposed two consecutive life terms.

In the years following his conviction, Wayne Williams has maintained his innocence. His conviction ended any further investigation into the murders of the 22 other victims. Since the conviction, Williams has gained support from many unlikely people, including relatives of some of the victims, former investigators who worked on the cases, and even a retired Georgia State Supreme Court justice.

Many of his supporters question the wisdom of closing the cases of all the victims based on Williams's conviction on only two counts of murder. They also dispute the contention that the murders ended with his arrest and incarceration.

Williams continues to fight for a new trial. Bloodstains found in his car could have come from the two victims. New advances using DNA testing could prove conclusively if the blood matches the DNA of the victims. Thus far, many requests to have the bloodstains analyzed have been denied.

Colin Evans and

Ron Formica

Suggestions for Further Reading

Baldwin, James. The Evidence Of Things Not Seen. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1985.

Fischer, Mary A. "Was Wayne Williams Framed?" Gentlemen's Quarterly (April 1991): 228ff.

Koltz, Charles. "The Atlanta Murders." New Jersey Law Journal (December 3, 1981): l1 ff.

Wilson, Colin and Donald Seaman. Encylopedia of Modern Murder. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1983.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988Wayne Williams Trial: 1981 - Prosecutors Use Microscopic Analysis, Williams Takes The Stand, Suggestions For Further Reading