Unit 2: Physical Evidence
The Atlanta Child Murders: A Case Study in Fiber Analysis
Please research the Wayne Bertram Williams case and answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper.
Who was Wayne Williams? 23 year old african-american freelance photographer
Tell me generally about the victims (the 5 W’s). All victims under his age, mostly boys ages 7-14, all african-americans, in and around Atlanta, between July 21, 1979 and June 21, 1981,
What did most of the victims have in common? mostly under 15 years old that lived in black neighborhoods. They were dumped into Chattahoochee River.
How and when did police first encounter Williams? What was the outcome of this meeting? The police first encountered Williams May 22, 1981 after they heard a splash near a bridge and saw him climbing into his station wagon. The police let him go due to the lack of probable cause.
What happened two days later? A body of a boy named Nathaniel Carter turned up in the river that the bridge, that Williams sped away from, went over.
What evidence did the police have that allowed them to arrest Williams? A poor alibi and was arrested for impersonating a police officer earlier that same year. He then later failed multiple polygraph examinations.
Explain the carpet evidence, both from DuPont and Chevrolet. DuPont helped the FBI by helping them link the fibers to Wellman Inc. which allowed them to find out that the company only made 16,397 square yards of that fiber in the specific color. Chevrolet allowed gave details to the FBI about their car carpets in pre-1973 cars. The fibers that were given allowed the FBI to link the fiber to the fiber that was found on the victims pants.
How did probability enter the case? They said finding the rare fiber that was found in William’s car and on the victim would be 1 in 7,792
What was the verdict and the sentence? Verdict was guilty he was sentenced to life in prison.
In your opinion, was the evidence against Williams conclusive?
Yes, I believe that the evidence was conclusive enough to make the conviction. A hair and fiber analysis and a witness testimony would have been enough to say Williams was guilty if I was part of the jury.