Depraved duo to stand trial in Griffin, Ga., for truck dragging death 35 YEARS after abducting and viciously murdering a young Black man, 35 years ago
Brothers-in-law Frank Gebhardt, 59, and Bill Moore, 58, are charged in with felony murder of Timothy Coggins in rural Georgia on Oct 9, 1983
Victim Timothy Wayne Coggins, 23, was stabbed 30 times and dragged behind a truck, later the killers then ‘argued over who could take the most credit for it’
Cops say the suspect’s careless talk broke the cold case in a crime that was racially motivated – after Moore and Gebhardt bragged about their heinous crime
They bound and dragged their victim behind a pickup truck, in a BECAUSE Coggins was ‘socializing with a white female’
Gebhardt and Moore who are being tried separately, have been charged with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and concealing the death of another
Jury selection in Gebhardt’s trial begins on Monday in Spalding County
Brothers-in-law Frank Gebhardt, [left[, and William Moore Sr, [right] are charged with felony murder in the Oct 9, 1983 death of Timothy Coggins near Griffin, Georgia
The first trial in a shocking 35-year-old cold case murder of a black man is set to begin, with prosecutors saying the two white defendants’ own bragging is the main evidence in the racially charged case.
Brothers-in-law Frank Gebhardt, 59, and William Moore Sr, 58, are charged with felony murder in the October 9, 1983 death of Timothy Wayne Coggins near Griffin, Georgia, about 40 miles south of Atlanta.
Coggins, who was 23, was stabbed roughly 30 times and dragged through the woods behind a pickup truck, in a slaying that prosecutors have said was motivated by Coggins ‘socializing with a white female’.
On Monday, jury selection in Gebhardt’s trial was scheduled to begin in Griffin Superior Court, after the two defendants succeeded in severing their cases.
Related: Decades-old hate crime solved in Ga! Two law enforcement officers, three others arrested in 1983 ‘racially motivated’ murder of 23-year-old man in Spalding
23-year-old Timothy Coggins [photo], was stabbed 30 times and dragged behind a truck by his alleged killers, Gebhardt and Moore in Oct 1983
[Photo], site where police found the mutilated body of Timothy Coggins in 1983
The cold case was broken by the killers’ own braggadocio, police said
In 1983, the two suspects worked as laborers in a pulpwood mill, and they were spotted by multiple witnesses talking to Coggins outside a gas station, later driving away in Gebhardt’s gold Mercury Comet, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The case remained cold until March of 2017, when a tipster came forward with information implicating Gebhardt and Moore.
Despite the brutality of the crime scene, no DNA or other physical evidence is expected to tie the two defendants to the murder.
Instead, prosecutors will rely upon testimony that the men boasted of the deed after the fact, even allegedly arguing about who could take the most credit.
Alleged racist killer Bill Moore Sr., [left], and his lawyer, Harry Charles, [right], listen as an agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Jared Coleman testifies during a preliminary hearing in Nov 2017
Smirking killer, Frankie Gebhardt, [left], seen smiles as his lawyer, Larkin Lee, right, cross examines Jared Coleman during a preliminary hearing Nov 2017
The prosecutor said Gebhardt bragged about it when he drank, and threatened a witness that if they spoke to authorities, they would be dragged down the road like Coggins had been, Coker said.
One witness said that Gebhardt told a girlfriend she had better be careful, or she might ‘wind up like that n***** in the ditch.’
Another witness, who was 10 years old at the time, claimed that Gebhardt believed Coggins was ‘messing around with his old lady’ and targeted him for that reason.
The victim’s relatives wipe away tears during a preliminary hearing in a Spalding County courtroom in Griffin, Ga Nov 2017
The victim’s brothers [photo], beside the new headstone on Timothy Coggins’ grave in Zebulon, Georgia. The memorial was installed Dec 30, which after the arrests of the killers and three others held for onstruction in the case
Yet another witness said that the two suspects were involved in a gun deal gone bad with Coggins.
Prosecutors insist that whatever the motive, race was certainly a factor. “They were proud of what they had done,” said GBI investigator Jared Coleman, who works with the Bureau’s cold case unit.
“They felt like they were protecting the white race from black people.”
Gebhardt’s attorney, Larkin Lee, has noted the lack of any DNA evidence, even though Coggins was stabbed repeatedly.
However, Gebhardt allegedly told a witness that he disposed of the knife down a well on his property. Coleman said authorities didn’t excavate the well because it would compromise Gebhardt’s home. And the chain used to drag Coggins back and forth up to seven times under the power lines off U.S. 19 also was never found.
Gebhardt’s trial is expected to take two to three weeks. Moore’s trial date has not yet been set.
Both men are being held without bail in Spalding County Correctional Institution pending the resolution of their trials.