A decades-old investigation in the U.S. state of Georgia into the murder of a black man in 1983 culminated in the arrest of five white people on Friday, including two law enforcement officers charged with hindering the probe, officials said.
The body of Timothy Coggins, 23, was found on Oct. 9, 1983, in a grassy area near power lines in the community of Sunnyside, about 30 miles (48 km) south of downtown Atlanta.
He had been “brutally murdered” and his body had signs of trauma, the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Investigators spoke to people who knew Coggins, but the investigation went cold, Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix said at a news conference.
This past March, new evidence led investigators from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Spalding County to re-examine the case.
Dix did not provide details on the nature of the evidence, saying more tips were received after authorities, over the summer, announced to the media the case was re-opened.
Some witnesses confessed they lived with knowledge about the case for years, but were afraid to come forward, Dix said.
“It has been an emotional roller coaster for everybody that was involved,” Dix said.
Police arrested five people on Friday in connection with the slaying. Frankie Gebhardt, 59, and Bill Moore Sr, 58, were each charged with murder, aggravated assault and other crimes.
Authorities did not immediately say where Gebhardt and Moore lived.
Gregory Huffman, 47, was charged with obstruction and violation of oath of office, Dix said. Huffman was a detention officer with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office but his employment was terminated after he was arrested.
Lamar Bunn, a police officer in the town of Milner, which is south of Spalding County, was also arrested and charged with obstruction, as was Sandra Bunn, 58. She is Lamar’s mother, according to Atlanta television station WXIA.
Investigators are convinced the murder was racially motivated, Dix said.
“There is no doubt in the minds of all investigators involved that the crime was racially motivated and that if the crime happened today it would be prosecuted as a hate crime,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
Several members of Coggins’ family appeared at the news conference where authorities announced the arrests.
The family held out for justice all this time, said Heather Coggins, a niece of the victim.
“Even on my grandmother’s death bed, she knew that justice would one day be served,” she said.
It was not immediately clear if any of the five arrested people had an attorney, and they could not be reached for comment.
Dix promised more arrests in the case, as the investigation continues.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Robert Birsel)
Trump’s attacks on Biden’s mental fitness just draw attention to his own problems: Joy Reid panel
MSNBC host Joy Reid gave some helpful advice to President Donald Trump and his children, who frequently attack former Vice President Joe Biden for his mental health: It makes you look worse.
Speaking to her closing Wednesday panel with Jason Johnson and Howard Fineman, Reid showed a super-cut of Trump's knack for getting words wrong, not knowing how to pronounce simple things, slurring his words, stumbling down the stairs, not knowing where to go, dragging his feet and more.
"Well, you know, my pretext for all my students this fall will be: person, woman, man, camera, tv, and if they can do that, I know they're at least as smart as the president," joked Johnson. "Here's the thing. Joe Biden demonstrated that he literally can ride a bike and do something else at the same time. Like, I have always thought the argument that Joe Biden has lost a step or has some sort of mental deficiency was a complete lie. It's Republicans just projecting. What's important to remember is that no matter how much they spout this nonsense, every single time Donald Trump opens his mouth, he looks worse. There is nothing Joe Biden can say that is more foolish or incoherent than Donald Trump in the middle of a substantive interview."
Here’s how Trump’s ‘nasty’ jab at Kamala reveals his misunderstanding of women
President Donald Trump has reprised one of his most common attacks on women — "nasty" — to describe Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
On Wednesday, writing for The New York Times, Katie Rogers broke down how the president's continual attacks on women in politics — combined with his characterization of women voters — reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of modern gender norms.
Congresswoman criticizes Republican press guy for claim Black folks don’t care about Kamala Harris: Does he know any?
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) hilariously mocked former press secretary Ari Fleischer, who worked for former President George W. Bush's White House. Fleischer claimed Black people won't be that excited about Sen. Kamala Harris on the ticket.
"She's just not that historically exciting to African-Americans," said Fleischer speaking to Laura Ingraham during a Fox News appearance after the announcement.
During a conversation with MSNBC's Joy Reid, the host called Fleischer "a sort of a bygone era Republican voice" and asked Bass to listen to his comments.
"I wonder how many African-Americans," asked Bass, chuckling.