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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Special Investigations: Atlanta Child Murders

Nearly 30 years after the trial of accused serial child killer Wayne Williams, CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien interviews Williams about the evidence used to connect him to more than two dozen murders of young adults and children that terrified the city of Atlanta, Ga. – and horrified a nation – for two years. A new, enterprising investigation of the case, including evidence never before shared with the public, is the subject of a new, two-hour documentary, ATLANTA CHILD MURDERS, debuting Thursday, June 10 at 9pm ET and PT.

Online at, CNN’s Special Investigations unit has launched an interactive map of the murders, case evidence, and iReports that include submitters’ memories of the dark months of fear that gripped the city. Online users will also be able to vote their verdict on the case following the premiere broadcast on Thursday evening.
O’Brien secured the first television interview in more than 10 years with Williams. With this exclusive access, she directly challenges Williams, who has always maintained his innocence, on the fiber evidence, alibi discrepancies, and eyewitness reports that he and his supporters continue to dispute.
People who recall the terrible months during which Atlantans first feared for their children’s safety, suggest police were slow to mount a coordinated law enforcement investigation of the murders as serial killings in the early 1980s because the victims were poor and African American.
The documentary also explores whether race may have been a factor in why the killer was able to move unremarkably in the mostly minority neighborhoods where the murders took place. For years, African-American serial killers have been perceived as rare by concerned citizens and sometimes even law enforcement. Recent research by psychologist Eric Hickey, PhD, explained in the documentary, finds that now one of every five serial killers is African-American.
Speaking to O’Brien for the documentary, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, himself the youngest of three adolescent brothers, recalled helping to search for the young victims on weekends during the summer of 1980, when he was just 11 years old.
“We literally would walk through wooded areas – chaperoned. And we would walk for a period of time – before nightfall,” says Reed, recalling that his brothers also carefully guarded his personal safety at the time. By the spring of 1980, the murders had attracted so much national concern that entertainers Sammy Davis, Jr. and Frank Sinatra even held a benefit concert in Atlanta to aid the investigation.

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Anonymous said...

OK. I don't fault CNN for showing this account of the Atlanta murders and it should be shown...but NOW?? For two hours in the middle of the most diasterous oil spill in US history, they stick in this filler? Just who is interested in these murders? If there was a race related conflict that was a fire storm, I could see showing this documentary, but to show this, when viewers want to see news about the oil gushing under the Gulf, is ridiculous and then CNN wonders why every other media outlet on cable beats them.
Why don't they just show "How the Grich Stole Christmas." It would make about as much sense.

Chris Costa said...

I believe without a shadow of a doubt that this man is not the killer and my gut feeling is that the police,FBI and witnesses were tainted,and you can take that to the bank.....Chris from Canada!

Anonymous said...

I too believe Mr. williams is innocent. I followed this story back in the early eighties. This man is not the killer.

KCDiva said...

I do believe Wayne Williams killed one or two people during this time, but I do not believe he did the rest of the killings. If the truth were to be told, I believe some high-profiled politicians' legacies would be tainted.

Anonymous said...

I am a journalist from Atlanta. During that time I covered the trial and the evidence against Wayne Williams was overwheliming. He was guilt and is being punished for the crimes he commetted. arlene peck

Anonymous said...

Yes,I believe he is guilty as much evidence including 2 human hairs found on one of the children murdered.not to mention the dog hairs.I can't say he killed all of them but strangulation, come on people that tells alot in it's self. you herd what he said about poor black children being worthless.

Elmira said...

I feel that there was not enough evidence to convict Williams for the majority of the murders. I feel that Williams arrogant attitude may have been hurtful to his defense.To fully get to the bottom of this matter, all victims should have been reexamined. I feel that Black Americans were once again given a pacifier and a quick end to a hideous time. It is a sad shame that so many blacks had to die before police actually took notice. And there was some allegations that caucasian hairs were found on a few victims, but this was quickly dismissed by officials. I do feel that to avoid greater stress among the races that a scapegoat by the name of
Williams was selected to take the fall for all of the crimes. Elmira

Anonymous said...

I believe Williams is guilty. The evidence speaks for itself. He should have been put to death. from Ks.

Anonymous said...

The FBI knows they dont have the right man. And thats the saddest of all .. All the wrongs of the federal small g/government.
Sincerely no proof!And didnt prove. Now that should be a sad sititution for all peoples of AMERICA... And Scary

Queen said...

Personally,I think this man is a sick S.O.B! That deserves to rot in prison. He didn't give those children the oppurtunity to see the light of day. So neither should he! Respect the victims and their families. Fry his A@$!

Anonymous said...

I think williams is a killer because he sits in his car and waits to pounce on children going to the store or public events. He is also a con man,he does not physically put them in his car he cons them to make a quick response to get them in.The police scanner is a nice toy to pretend your a undercover officer also to know where the police will be.Some people in Atlanta know or seen him parked on side streets they hold the answer to where he likes to stalk some of you are on the comments to the killings on cnn reports.Its easy to hide on the street if you are parked and blended in amoung cars,but his vision can not be blocked. How many cars did he have? He is a big time killer.

Anonymous said...

What ever happend to the story were Williams followed a child into a store and acted like a police officer. Some serial killers are bold,so they can get what they want. Many children have ben taken out of stores by other people without a cry.I believe Williams has ben seen doing something like this,other people just go do there daily duties without observing there soroundings. Is he playing undercover cop? He loves to park near stores and pick up victoms and drive down main roads and then kill. He gains victoms trust.To sit in a car for 5 hours at night is just to long to think he is not guilty,just to much stalking,guilty.

Anonymous said...

One person commented and I quote "Just who is interested in these murders?" All I can ask this person is did you ever think about the Mothers?

Anonymous said...

To all viewers concerning this matter, we can come up with every theory in the book but we are missing one theory that was not used, and that theory is called the "common sense theory". Wayne William was a short, fat man who was 21 years of age at the time of the murders, who was looking for young men for his talent show between ages 11-21, of course the six -9 years did not hang around the Omni but the older people did, have we every thought its no way he could have done it without a trace to be heard

curiousity said...

A thought... Wayne was protecting 4his Father the real killer. The few Hairs found could be consistant. The one sketch of other person of interest has hair and hailine similar to father. I saw one flash of that sketch and I immediately thought of father. Wayne is and was a fool thriving on attention. I am a fan of Soledad, but wish the interview was not given as it only fuels his ongoing overinflated ego. Wayne enjoys the attention whether he knows or not that his Father may be guilty.