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From July of 1979 through June of 1981, a string of murders of African-American youths terrorized Atlanta’s black population.
Blamed on Wayne Williams, a “lone nut” black man who was convicted of the murders, the killings have receded in the public consciousness in the two decades since they began.
This program presents evidence suggesting that the killings were the result of a well-organized conspiracy by Atlanta Ku Klux Klan elements, aimed at triggering a race war.
Based on information from a 1986 article in Spin magazine, the broadcast highlights the activities of the Sanders family, several of whose members belonged to the Atlanta Klan. The Sanders connection was called to the attention of the Atlanta police by a reliable informant. When Charles Sanders tried to recruit the informant into the Klan, he allegedly told him about the plot to start a race war by killing black children and sought the informant’s help in committing more killings. The source reported that Sanders swore to sodomize and kill 14 year old Lubie Geter Geter was subsequently murdered.
Circumstantial evidence pointed toward the Sanders family and a tap was put on Charles Sanders’ phone. That phone tap yielded more references to the Klan killing black children. Other credible sources contributed information about the killings. Jo Jo Bell was the next black youth to disappear. The restaurant where he worked received a call shortly afterward saying ” ... They’re about to kill me....” Tim Hill (Jo Jo’s best friend) disappeared twelve days later.
The next night, a woman called the same restaurant and said that she was trying to get Tim Hill released. (The woman sounded white.) Like Jo Jo, Tim still would be found in a river. Amid indications that a racial explosion was brewing, pressure was building to bring the investigation to a close.
In June of 1981, Wayne Williams (an Afro-American) was charged with the killings. Although the evidence against him was almost non-existent, Williams was prosecuted and convicted. In order to obtain the conviction, prosecutors permitted testimony to be changed, physical evidence to be disregarded and then extrapolated from the cases in which Williams was charged to 29 murders. However, no one could connect him to the other killings. (Recorded on 7/25/99.)