Wayne Williams Case Reaction Assessment
The Wayne Williams case also known as the Atlanta Child Murders has been one of the most interesting cases to learn about. Between 1979 and 1981, at least 28 African-American children and adults disappeared in Atlanta, Georgia. The bodies of all but one of the missing individuals were eventually found, the majority of them having been violently attacked and asphyxiated. The FBI soon became involved in the incident as it became increasingly likely that the murders were linked, with victims being from the same geographical area, the majority having died from asphyxiation, and green-yellow fibers being found on numerous bodies. The FBI placed surveillance over numerous bridges in the area where some of the bodies had been dumped. One morning on May 22nd, an officer staking out the area heard a sudden splash. Upon investigating the noise, they discovered Wayne Bertram Williams driving. After briefly questioning Wayne, they allowed him to leave but police kept a close eye on Wayne until his arrest.
When the investigation continued, Wayne Williams’s house was searched and they found certain fibers and dog hairs on his clothing and in his car. These fibers matched those on the bodies of the dead kids. There were also blood stains in the car that matched the victims. There was also a nylon cord says the detective but in the interview with William, he denied the cord being there. Wayne Williams was officially convicted of two murders, that of Jimmy Payne and Nathaniel Carter. This conviction led the police to conclude that Williams was also responsible for the deaths of a total of 29 young children and black individuals. William still to this day denies being the killer in the incidents.
After watching the videos given to us on the case and reading up on the case along with other research on my own, I believe that the evidence presented in this case was enough. There are not many cases like this but they do exist. The fibers alone were the biggest part of the case. What were the odds that the fibers in Williams clothing, home and car would match those of the bodies of the victims? This alone was enough along with him being the in area where the bodies were dumped. According to NCJRS “Transferred fibers do not stay with a person long, so that the fibers on a murder victim are most likely from the scene of the crime. Expert witnesses testified that it was highly unlikely that any environment other than that present in Wayne Williams’ house and car could have produced the combination of fibers and hairs found on the victims, especially when there were so many varied origins.” I believe this shows us how important something so small as fibers can make or break a case. A fiber is the smallest unit of a textile material that has a length many times greater than its diameter. Fibers can occur naturally as plant and animal fibers, but they can also be man-made. A fiber can be spun with other fibers to form a yarn that can be woven or knitted to form a fabric. The type and length of fiber used, the type of spinning method, and the type of fabric construction all affect the transfer of fibers and the significance of fiber associations. This becomes very important when there is a possibility of fiber transfer between a suspect and a victim during the commission of a crime. This is where the investigators and workers in the lab such as criminalist have to work hard together to prove that a certain piece of evidence like fibers can prove a crime.
“Fibers Evidence.”FBI. FBI, 01 Mar. 2011. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.