Grand Jury Indicts Georgia Men on Murder Charges in Racially Motivated 1983 Killing

Frankie Gebhardt; William Moore Sr. (Spalding County, Ga., Sheriff’s Office)
Frankie Gebhardt; William Moore Sr. (Spalding County, Ga., Sheriff’s Office)

Two white men are set to head to trial after a grand jury indicted them on multiple counts, including felony murder, in relation to the 1983 killing of a young black man.


The grand jury came to its decision Tuesday, indicting Franklin Gebhardt and William Moore Sr. on charges of felony murder, aggravated assault and concealing a death. It was not quite clear when their trials are scheduled to start, according to Fox 2 Now.

Back on Oct. 9, 1983, the brutalized body of 23-year-old Timothy Coggins was found in Sunny Side, Ga. His body, authorities say, had also been dragged behind a truck.

In October of this year, authorities arrested five people in connection with Coggins’ death, including this duo and two law-enforcement officers.

Last month, more details about the 34-year-old case came to light, with prosecutors alleging that Coggins was killed because he had been seen “socializing with a white female.”

“The murder of Timothy Coggins was due to Coggins socializing with a white female,” Griffin (Ga.) Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ben Coker said at the time.


Last week it was revealed in a probable cause hearing that, to add insult to injury, Gebhardt and Moore had bragged about the killing for years, Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent Jared Coleman testified, citing witnesses.


Coleman said that Coggins had multiple injuries at the time of his death, including five lacerations, 17 stab wounds and six slicing wounds, including several defensive wounds on his arms.

One witness, who was just 10 years old at the time, says he heard Gebhardt say that he and Moore had stabbed Coggins “28 to 32 times,” according to Coleman.


At one point, Gebhardt and Moore allegedly tied a chain to Coggins before dragging him down the road behind a truck.

The agent also said that Gebhardt once threatened his wife, saying, “If you keep on, you’re going to wind up like that nigger in the ditch.”


Coleman said that based on interviews with witnesses, Gebhardt and Moore thought they were “doing the right thing.”

“They were proud of what they had done,” Coleman said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They felt like they were protecting the white race from black people.”


Gebhardt also allegedly threatened witnesses, telling Coleman and a Spalding County deputy that if they gave him a list of people who were talking to investigators, he would “make them stop talking to us,” according to Fox 2 Now.

Meanwhile, defense attorneys are trying to argue that it would be too much effort to have a trial, given the time that has passed since Coggins’ death.


“We’re going to have to piece it together, and it’s going to be difficult to piece together 1983 again,” Martin Lee, Gebhardt’s defense attorney, said.

You know, because it’s so inconvenient to try to find answers for the family of a brutally slain black man.


Harry Charles, a defense attorney representing Moore, claimed that Coker couldn’t win the case because “his witnesses are the scum,” indicating that the witnesses were involved with drugs.

Read more at Fox 2 Now and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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A slow painful death seems fitting.