Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Atlanta Child Murders

Wayne Williams

Between 1979 and 1981, at least 29 black children in Atlanta fell victim to a mysterious serial killer (or killers). Eventually, an African-American man by the name of Wayne Williams was convicted of several of the murders, and the killings stopped. The evidence against Williams has always been considered rather flimsy, and several researchers who have examined the case believe he was railroaded. The more conspiracy-minded researchers have suggested that the murders were in fact carried out by members of the Ku Klux Klan, who intended to use the killings as a means to spark a race war. The new Dekalb county sheriff has reopened the case, and has pledged to look into KKK involvement in the killings.
So is there anything to this? Probably not. When dealing with criminal justice matters, it is best to rely on Occum’s Razor: The simplest explanation is usually the right one. It is more plausible to think that these murders were the work of a single madman (or perhaps a more than one), rather than the result of a dark racist conspiracy. I also tend to think that given the intelligence level of the average Klansman, it is unlikely that a group of them would be able to keep such a tremendous secret to themselves for so many years. But the new investigation is certainly a positive step, and may help to reveal if Williams was truly responsible for all of the murders, or for that matter any of them.


Post a Comment

<< Home