4306-Criminal Behavioral Analysis
January 18, 2014
Wayne Williams was officially convicted of two murders, that of Jimmy Payne and Nathaniel Carter. This conviction led the police to conclude that Williams was also responsible for the deaths of a total of 29 young children and black individuals. Unlike other serial killers, Williams continues to protest his conviction and insists that he has been framed for the crimes he did not commit.
Wayne Williams and the Atlanta Child Killings
Wayne Williams has been convicted in 1982 for the murders of Jimmy Ray Payne and Nathaniel Cater. However, his conviction led the police and the people of Atlanta to conclude that Wayne was also responsible for the series of killings between 1979 to 1981 that resulted to the deaths of 29 children and young black men. These murders were dubbed as the Atlanta child-killings (Montaldo, 2014). Despite the conviction, Williams continues up to this day to insist that he is innocent of the crimes attributed to him.
These killings began in 1979 with the deaths of Edward Hope Smith and Alfred Evans, both young black boys, who never made it back to their homes. The police thought their deaths were drug-related and did not deepen their investigation. But the situation became worrisome for Atlanta when two boys with no negative backgrounds disappeared to later turn out dead. The mother of the fourth murdered boy, Camille Bell, was able to get the support of the community and put pressure on the police to investigate the four murders. Bell was convinced that these were racially motivated, and possibly committed by the Ku Klux Klan. The killings, however, did not stop. They began to worsen in March of 1980. In one case, that of Jeffrey Mathis, an eyewitness told police that the boy got in the backseat of a blue car driven by a white man. The same car was also identified in the case of another victim. Also, a blue car but with two black men was reported to be seen in Mathis' school, with the passengers trying to lure the boys away from the school. But in all of these reports, the police did not investigate further even if they were given the license plate. The police continued to maintain that these murders were not connected even when the murder-spree continued all throughout the summer of 1980. There were many instances when witnesses would lead police to evidence but they were not able to follow them up. This continued even during the formal inquiry these killings (Bardsley & Bell, 2013).
Williams Became A Suspect
Eventually, the media picked up the stories and with the help of other concerned organizations, pressured the police into conducting a formal inquiry into all of these killings. At this point, Williams was not a suspect. He only came into police radar on May 22, 1981 when he was stopped and questioned near the Chattahoochee River. Williams told the police he was on his way out of town to audition a singer. However, a body turned up in the river a week later, which made the police suspect Williams of wrongdoing. In the long run, the police apprehended Williams and connected him to the cases of Payne and