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Posted: Tuesday, February 24th 2004 at 5:45am

Convicted killer blamed for Atlanta child murders seeks new trial

By The Associated Press
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT

The man blamed for killing 24 young Atlanta blacks wants a new trial based on his claims that members of the Ku Klux Klan were responsible for the deaths and that evidence used against him was unreliable.

The 146-page federal court filing says Wayne Williams, 45, should be retried because law enforcement officials covered up evidence and that carpet fibers linking him to the crimes wouldnt stand up under scientific scrutiny.

The undisclosed evidence thats catalogued in here of other suspects ... raises serious doubts about Mr. Williams guilt. We believe hes innocent, said defense attorney Jack Martin on Tuesday.

Williams is serving two life sentences for the murders of Nathaniel Cater, 27, and Jimmy Ray Payne, 21. They were two of 29 blacks whose slayings between 1979 and 1981 led to one of the most intensive investigations of the century. Most of the victims were children.

Williams writ of habeas corpus petition filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta alleges that authorities didnt tell the defense about evidence that the KKK could have been responsible for the murders.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead called the court filing nonsense.

Theyve made all kinds of claims over the years, and it hasnt held water yet, Bankhead said. They got the right guy.

The main prosecution evidence against Williams was tiny fibers found on the bodies and matched to rugs and other fabrics in the home and cars of Williams parents.

The court filing says the fibers werent identical to those in Williams home, and theres no direct connection between him and the bodies.

Williams, who is black, contended that he was framed and that Atlanta officials covered up evidence that the KKK was involved in the killings to avoid a race war in the city.

Williams has been imprisoned since 1984 and will be up for parole in October 2005.


Associated Categories: State News

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