From top [L-R], Frankie Gebhardt, Lamar Bunn, Bill Moore, Sr., Sandra Bunn, and Gregory Huffman were arrested in connection to the racially motivated murder of Timothy Coggins, 34 years ago in Spalding County, Georgia
Police in Spalding County have arrested five people, two of them employed with local police departments in Georgia, in a “racially motivated” murder that occurred more than three decades ago.
The body of Timothy Coggins was found in a grassy area in Spalding County on Oct. 9, 1983. 23-year-old Coggins, who is black, was “brutally murdered” and died from multiple forms of trauma, according to the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities launched their investigation, conducting interviews and gathering evidence in their hunt for Coggins’ killer: “No stone was left unturned,” officials said in a press release, but the case “went cold” until this March, when “new evidence came to light.” Reopening the 34-year-old hate crime to the public, enabled new witnesses came forward, some of them previously afraid to speak up about Coggins’ death.
Police on Friday arrested the group of five people in the case, two of them facing murder charges, three others were charged with obstructing the course of justice.
Frankie Gebhardt, 59, and 58-year-old Bill Moore Sr. were charged with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and concealing the death of another, according to the news release.
Police arrested the gang of five in connection to the racially motivated murder of Timothy Coggins [photo], on Oct 9, 1983
Sandra Bunn, her 32-year-old son, Lamar Bunn, and Gregory Huffman, 47, were charged with obstruction.
Huffman, who worked as a detention officer with the sheriff’s office, also faces a charge for violations of oath of office, ABC News reported. One other suspect, Lamar Bunn, had worked for the Milner Police department.
“Based on the original evidence recovered in 1983 and new evidence and interviews there is no doubt in the minds of all investigators involved that the crime was racially motivated and that if it happened today it would be prosecuted as a hate crime,” police sources revealed.
Coggins’ family thanked the police for their on-going effort and dedication to solving the 1983 murder.
“We know that there’s be tireless nights and we know that you guys have put in so many hours making sure that these people were brought to justice,” the victim’s niece, Heather Coggins told WSB-TV. “The only unfortunate part in this is that our grandparents, Timothy Coggins’ parents are not able to see this today.”
All of the suspects arrested in connection with Coggins’ death are white. They are are currently being processed at the Spalding County Jail. It is unclear when they will be arraigned.