Timothy Coggins, a black Georgia man, was murdered some 34 years ago all because he had been seen “socializing with a white female,” prosecutors claimed as they asked a judge to deny bond for two suspects accused in the recently revived cold case.
“The murder of Timothy Coggins was due to Coggins socializing with a white female,” Griffin (Ga.) Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ben Coker told the judge at a court hearing Wednesday for the 1983 killing, according to the Associated Press.
Coker detailed how Coggins, then just 23 years old, died after being dragged behind a pickup truck through the woods. He had been stabbed and had sustained cuts on his neck, back and stomach.
In mid-October, authorities arrested five individuals, including two law-enforcement officers, in the 30-year-old cold case after the Spalding County, Ga., Sheriff’s Office reopened the case in March after receiving new information.
Frankie Gebhardt, 59, and Bill Moore Sr., 58, were both charged with murder in Coggins’ killing. Defense attorneys attempted to finesse bond for these old thugs, asking the judge on Wednesday to free them, claiming that the men were too old and frail to be a danger, but the judge denied the request and both men will remain jailed.
“It was very difficult hearing some of the things today, and seeing the defendants was very difficult as well,” Heather Coggins, one of Timothy’s nieces, told AP. “It’s the first time we’ve had a chance to see them up close and personal.”
Three other defendants have been charged with obstruction in the case. Lamar Bunn—a police officer in Milner, Ga., about 10 miles from Griffin, which is the capital of Spalding County, according to AP—was suspended from duty pending the outcome of the case, while Gregory Huffman, who was a detention officer with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, was fired. The third person charged with obstruction is Sandra Bunn, 58.
Read more at Time magazine.