Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Atlanta Child Murders Case: Convicted Killer Wayne Williams Takes a Polygraph Test

[See also this ABC News coverage of Williams’ February 22, 1982 testimony at his murder trial, in which he denied ever having seen murder victims Jimmy Ray Payne, 21, and Nathaniel Cater, 27.]

Between 1979 and 1981, in what came to be known as the Atlanta Child Murders, depending on whom one believes, almost 30 or over 30 children, teenagers, and 20-something blacks were murdered, most of them males. Wayne Williams was convicted of two of the killings, and was assumed by the authorities to have committed all of them. Having researched this case on and off for a few years, I am convinced that what is called the “Atlanta Child Murders” were actually several sets of killings by a number of different killers. However, I'm not yet ready to publish my findings. The reason I am posting this item now is that one of my least favorite TV personalities, Soledad O’Brien (see here, here, and here), is hosting a two-hour special tonight on CNN at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. A tip ‘o the hat to Racha Penrice, her racist lede notwithstanding:

From 1979 to 1981, the Atlanta Child Murders shook up Black Atlantans and other Black people throughout the South.
Whites cared, as well, in some cases more than blacks did. Just because blacks are indifferent or happy about whites getting murdered by blacks, does not mean that whites share their racist callousness. The attitude behind Penrice’s lede explains why she cites only works on the killings by black writers, including two novels and the almost worthless essay by James Baldwin, The Evidence of Things Not Seen, while not mentioning at all what is by far the most important work on the killings, The List, by Chet Dettlinger and Jeff Prugh. Oh, but Dettlinger and Prugh are white, so that leaves them out in the cold. The truth means nothing; black racial back-scratching means everything!


Anonymous said...

I saw the CNN program again tonight. Williams in his interview said that he was arrested because the authorities wanted the killer to be black in order to prevent a race war. This is the exact opposite of reality. A black man, who was in charge of Atlanta's FBI office, said that the Atlanta police fully expected the killer to be white.

This was the feeling of the Community as well as the national press.

David From TN

Nicholas Stix said...

You’re right, of course, David. Local black racists (including black police officials) have been obsessed with the fantasy that the KKK was going into black neighborhoods and killing black kids ever since the killings began.

When I began studying the killings about five years ago, the first thing that became obvious to me was that no white could go into those neighborhoods and scoop up black children. And one of the best things about the special was that whichever producer wrote it emphasized that point, from the get-go.

As a young man, Wayne Williams had a precocious intelligence, but as the special showed, whatever remains of that intelligence, it has a lot of blind spots, most dramatically, his belief that he could beat a polygraph.

Anonymous said...

If you seriously believe that a white man or men could go into a black ghetto and abduct young black boys and girls and not be noticed is living in a realm of fantasy. Also wayne williams must have been the most 'catholic' of all known serial killers. He strangled shot and stabbed his victims who ranged from young boys to young girls to young men to grown men. He goes against the grain of all known serial killers he doesnt seem to have either a type of victim or either a method of killing. To call the case the Atlanta Child Murders is a misnomer in itself as the man was convicted of the murder of two adults. The district attorney even admited that this was the only case he had ever tried were he could not say were when or even how the victims were killed. Also fibre evidence works both ways ie the fibres found on the victims should have shown the well known law of transfer. No known fibres were found from the victims anywhere in the vicinity of wayne williams enviroment. For the deaths of ten children to be brought into the court when a man is on trial for the murder of two ADULTS is ridiculous and should never have been allowed. I believe that there were many different killers from close family to child molesters. One thing a mans life has been ruined to appease the so called justice system.

David In TN said...


This program is being repeated at 4 pm ET Wednesday on HLN. It's two hours long.

David In TN said...

HLN shows it again at 2 pm ET on Thursday, June 9.

David In TN said...

I saw the three hour ID Channel program on the Atlanta Child Murders that ran Saturday Night, March 23. Nothing new. The same old "The Klan did it," from a stepmother." The cops and FBI men who worked the case were circumspect. They feel Williams did many of the killings at the least.

It was felt family members killed 3-4 of the victims on the list. The two adult males Williams was convicted for were relatively small physically and mentally retarded, easy prey.

The trial was discussed. Williams took the stand and blew up under cross examination, sealing the guilty verdict.

The current Atlanta mayor and police chief (both black females) are "reopening" the case. They still think "the Klan" did it.

The program was a wast of time. Where are the TV specials on the NOI/Zebra Killings?