Two suspected murderers bragged about stabbing a black man and dragging him behind a pickup truck for socializing with a white woman, an investigator testified in court.
William Moore Sr. and Frank Gebhardt, two brothers-in-law from Georgia, were charged with murdering Timothy Coggins after police uncovered new evidence in the 34-year cold case.
Jared Coleman of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation claimed the murder was racially motivated, saying, “Something had happened between a black man and a white woman.”
“They were proud of what they had done. They felt like they were protecting the white race from black people,” Coleman added.
Coggins, who was stabbed nearly 30 times before his body was chained to a pickup truck and dragged into the woods, was found dead at the age of 23 in Spalding County.
The brutal murder case went cold until new witnesses came forward this March, according to the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office.
“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 the crime happened today it would be prosecuted as a hate crime,” the sheriff’s office said when the suspects were arrested in October.
Moore and Gebhardt were charged with murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and concealing the death of another.
Three others, including two who were employed by local police departments in Georgia, were charged with obstruction.
On Thursday, the judge ruled there was enough evidence for the murder case to go before a grand jury.
Outside the courtroom, Coggins’ family said hearing the new details for the first time was hard on all of them.
“Extremely difficult, extremely difficult to hear, to hold your tears, to hold your emotions, to contain your emotions listening to gruesome details of a loved one that was by himself,” said Coggins’ niece, Heather Coggins.
With News Wire Services.