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Wayne Williams Case Study

Who was Wayne Williams?

Wayne Williams was a DJ from Dixie Hills, Atlanta. He also scouted local musicians, many of whom were teenagers. He was in his early 20’s during the time he committed the crimes. He was also known for making up stories about himself that were false.

Tell me generally about the victims (the 5 W’s).

The victims were young people and from Atlanta. Unfortunately, they were murdered. These murders took place between July of 1979 and May of 1981.

What did most of the victims have in common?

Most of the victims were young boys.

How and when did police first encounter Williams?  What was the outcome of this meeting?

Williams first encountered the police when his car was above the sound of a splash in a river heard by a stakeout team. He claimed that he was going audition a young singer. However, this was found to be false after the address and phone number that he gave police did not exist.

What happened two days later?

Two days later, the body a Nathaniel Cater was found in the river.

What evidence did the police have that allowed them to arrest Williams?

Fibers and hair found on a victim were the same as fibers and hair found in Williams’ home, car, and dog. He also failed a polygraph test. People who worked with him saw scratches on him around the time of the murders, which could be from the victims fighting back.

Explain the carpet evidence, both from DuPont and Chevrolet.

Yellowish-green nylon fibers and violet acetate fibers were found on the victims. They determined that those fibers came from a carpet, and then determined that the carpet was manufactured by West Point Pepperell, and not a lot had been sold. Williams had this carpet, and not many other people had it.

How did probability enter the case?

Investigators concluded that finding this type of carpet in a home was a 1 out 7,792 chance. It was extremely unlikely to find this in a home, and it was in Williams home. So their is a very small chance that the carpet fibers was from someone else’s home.

What was the verdict and the sentence?

The verdict was that Williams was guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison.

In your opinion, was the evidence against Williams conclusive?

I personally don’t think that the evidence would have been conclusive alone, because the fibers don’t give a definite answer, and the other evidence was circumstantial. However, I think the combination of the fibers, the river incident, and the scratches together, clearly point to Williams. There is not a coincidence big enough that would account for that evidence.. All of these unlikely events came together and pointed to Wayne Williams.

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