Carlton Michael Gary (1 Viewer)


Carlton Michael Gary

A.K.A.: "The Stocking Strangler"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 8 +
Date of murders: 1975 - 1978
Date of arrest: May 3, 1984
Date of birth: December 15, 1952
Victims profile: Elderly women
Method of murder: Strangulation, mostly by using stockings
Location: New York/Georgia, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in Georgia on August 27, 1986

Carlton Gary, 46, was sentenced to death in Muscogee County in August 1986. Between Sept. 11, 1977, and April 19, 1978, eight elderly women in Columbus were raped and strangled in their homes. One survived.

Carlton Michael Gary (born December 15, 1952) is an American serial killer convicted of the murders of elderly women in Columbus, Georgia from 1977-1978. He is believed responsible for several more in Albany and Syracuse, New York.

On December 1, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Gary's latest appeal, clearing the way for an execution date to be set. On December 4, a court set a December 16 execution date for Gary. On December 15, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles denied a request to stay his execution. On December 16, only hours before the execution, the Georgia Supreme Court halted the execution to hold a hearing and determine whether DNA tests should be conducted to determine Gary's guilt or innocence.


Soon after Carlton Gary moved to Albany, two elderly woman were beaten, raped, and strangled. One died, the other survived. Carlton Gary was brought to police attention after he mugged an elderly woman in her home. Gary blamed a robbery accomplice for the rape and murder of the retired teacher after police lifted his fingerprints from her home. He then admitted robbing the apartment around the time of the rape and murder of an 85-year-old retired school teacher. Gary admitted seeing the woman on the ground, but blamed it all on his accomplice, whom he testified against in court. He was never charged with rape and murder mainly because he told the police that he had left the building and that the rape and murder must have occurred while he was outside waiting for his accomplice. The Albany police department charged his accomplice with the crime. Later on, the accomplice was acquitted after further investigation.

Carlton Gary moved to Syracuse, New York after getting out of prison in 1975, two more elderly woman were attacked, raped and strangled in their homes. One died, the other survived. Both attacks occurred within four days of each other. The two survivors were not able to identify Gary positively as the crimes occurred in the dark; at least one victim was sure that her attacker was a mustachioed black male, and she was strangled with a scarf.

Gary was never charged for any of these crimes but was instead sent back to prison for parole violation and robbery after he was caught trying to sell coins stolen from the same apartment building as one of the surviving Syracuse victims. In August 1977 Gary escaped from his low security prison by sawing through the bars of his cell and made it back to Columbus, Georgia.

Gary is alleged to have raped and/or murdered seven elderly woman between 1977-78 in Columbus. Known there as the Stocking Strangler, in three of the cases he was convicted of beating, sexually assaulting and strangling the victims, mostly by using stockings. Two of the survivors testified that he strangled them into unconsciousness before raping or attempting to rape them. The one Georgia survivor positively identified him as her attacker in court. However, she had previously positively identified three other black men as the attacker, and in her initial statement had indicated that it was too dark to even distinguish the race of the attacker.

Sometimes Carlton Gary would simply attack and kill his victims, as is the case in his strangulation murder of the director of the Education Division of the Columbus Health Department. His standard modus operandi, however, was to rape and murder his victims. Gary's oldest known victim was 10 days from her 90th birthday; his youngest was 55 years old. (below it says he murdered a 40 year old)

His fingerprints were found at four of the crime scenes. All of his victims were elderly white women who lived alone. He also robbed banks and restaurants in and around Georgia. When, during an attempted robbery of a South Carolina restaurant, a female employee stated that his gun wasn't loaded, he fled the restaurant and was apprehended stuck in a swamp behind it. Gary was indicted for the murders on May 5, 1984, convicted on August 26, 1986 and sentenced to death the following day. He is currently on Georgia's death row.


Questions have been raised over the propriety of Gary's conviction. According to a small group of supporters, Gary's lawyer was refused state funding to carry out a defense. Those same supporters claimed that initially, Gary's fingerprints were not held to match the crime scene prints until seven years after, when the case was re-examined. They also claim Gary's interview at which he supposedly confessed was not recorded, nor were notes taken, and Gary's confession was written by a police officer in the days following the interview, from his own recollection. When submitted as evidence, the confession was unsigned and undated, and Gary denied having made it. They allege Gary's semen antigen secretion did not match the perpetrator's. Furthermore, a cast made from a bite wound on a victim allegedly did not match Gary's. His supporters claimed that the prosecution withheld this evidence at trial.

An appeal hearing concluded that Gary had been denied his Constitutional right to due process, but refused leave to appeal.

In 2007 Gary was positively linked through DNA to the rape and murder case of 40-year-old Marion Fisher. Marion was raped and murdered after leaving a bar in Nedrow, New York.

Carlton Gary was born in 1952 and soon showed signs of very high intelligence. But instead of being nurtured and becoming a normal member of society he was malnourished and abused. By his late teems he was a heavy drug user with arrests for robbery, arson, and assault. Continuing down his grim path, a series of murders focused on old women coincided with Gary's arrival in Albany, New York, in 1970.

Eventually arrested for one of the killings Gary managed to lay blame on an accomplice, though he admitted being present at the scene, and was sent to prison on burglary charges. John Lee Williams was convicted of murdering the woman, based in part on Gary's testimony, and was sent to prison. He was later released when Gary recanted years later.

Gary escaped Onondaga County Correctional Institution in August, 1977, and went home to Colombus, Georgia. Less than a monthy later he beat, raped and killed Ferne Jackson, 60, and over the next seven months killed six more elderly women in similar fashion. He also left his calling card at the crime scenes, one of the victims own stockings was always left knotted tightly around their necks. The media soon dubbed the unknown slayer "The Stocking Strangler" for obvious reasons.

Authorities were in a pressure cooker because of the racial ramifications of the crimes. Evidence showed the killer was black, which proved to be true, and all the Colombus victims were white. Adding to the difficult situation was William Hance, another black serial killer stationed at nearby Fort Benning, who was posing as a white radical group called "The Forces of Evil" in letters to police.

Hance threatened that the fictitious group would begin killing black women if The Strangler was not stopped. One of the letters also named a woman who was supposedly being held by The Forces but Hance actually had already killed the Colombus prostitute. Though it was all a concocted to draw attention away from his own killings, in the end it basically accomplished just the opposite and Hance was apprehended.

Meanwhile Gary was finally jailed on armed robbery charges in late 1978 but managed to escape yet again in 1983 having never been formally accused in his serial killings. He managed to elude police until May 5, 1984, when he was nabbed in Albany, Georgia and charged with three of the Colombus killings. Gary was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was never charged with any of the Albany, New York slayings.

Carlton Gary

In Columbus, Georgia 1977-1978 they had what people were calling the "Stocking Stranglings" which put fear in the city of Columbus. Seven well-respected women were assaulted and strangled in there own homes. This put the whole city on edge for months after. The stangler made no attempt to hide his crimes and, indeed, he seemed to flaunt them before the police and public.

Also during this time The news media started getting letters from a person who refered to himself as the chairman of the "Forces of Evil". In these letters he threatened to kill a black woman every time the "stocking strangler" killed a white woman. He also claimed to be holding a black woman captive and said that he would kill her if he was not paid a ransom of $10,000.

The letters were written on army stationary and the Forces of Evil killer was quickly identified as Pvt. William Hance, a Fort Benning soldier. Hance, a black man, was arrested and eventually tied to the murder of three prostitutes, one of whom he had first knocked unconcious, then propped up against a tree and crushed her by driving a car into her. Hance was convicted of murder and sentence to death.

It was 1984 before police made ana rrest on the stocking stangler case. Columbus Police Department traced a handgun stolen from one of the victim's home to Michigan and back to Phenix City, Alabama, just across the state line from Columbus to a man named Jim Gary. Jim Gary told police that he had bought the gun from his nephew, Calton Gary.

Carlton Gary was arrested on May 3, 1984 in Albany, Georgia. He turned out to be a Columbus native and had a long criminal history. In 1986 Gary was tried and convicted of three of the stocking stranglings and sentenced to death.

Despit the heavy weight of the evidence against Gary, which included a partial confession and an eye-witness identification of Gary by an elderly woman that survived one of his attacks, there are still people in Columbus who insist he is not the Stocking Strangler. Part of this has to do with Gary's personality and looks. With a better than average I.Q. (115), he has what a number of his friends and aquaintenances call "star quality" which is not uncommon in characteristics of certain types of serial killers.

Carlton Gary

A native of Columbus, Georgia, born December 15, 1952, Gary was blessed with a near-genius IQ, but that gift of nature was cruelly balanced by the rigors of childhood and adolescence. Rejected by his father at an early age, Gary was malnourished as a child, and he suffered at least one serious head trauma in elementary school, knocked cold in an accident that left him unconscious on the playground. A heavy drug abuser in his teens, he began logging arrests in 1966, his rap sheet listing charges of robbery, arson, and assault before he reached his eighteenth birthday.

Gary surfaced in Albany, New York, during the spring of 1970, in time for a series of rape-murders targeting elderly women. In May, Marion Brewer was strangled with a pillow case in her Albany hotel room, followed two months later by 85-year-old Nellie Farmer, slain in a nearby apartment.

Gary was arrested as a suspect in the latter case, and he admitted being on the scene, but he fingered an accomplice -- John Lee Williams -- as the killer. Williams was convicted and sentenced to prison on the basis of Gary's testimony, his verdict subsequently overturned after Gary recanted.

Escaping prosecution for the murder, Gary was convicted of burglary, receiving stolen property, and possession of drugs, drawing a term in the Onondaga County Correctional Institution at Janesville, New York. He escaped from custody on August 22, 1977, and headed home to launch a one-man reign of terror.

On September 16, 60-year-old Ferne Jackson was raped, beaten and strangled to death at her home in the Wynnton district of Columbus, Georgia, found with a, nylon stocking knotted tight around her neck. The same M.0. was demonstrated nine days later and a few blocks distant, in the slaying of 71-year-old Jean Dimenstein Florence Scheible, age 89, who was killed in identical fashion on October 21, and 69-year-old Martha Thurmond who died the same way, two days later.

On October 28, 74-year-old Kathleen Woodruff was raped, beaten, and manually strangled at home, her slayer forgetting the traditional stocking in his haste to escape. Ruth Schwob survived the "Stocking Strangler's" attack on February 12, 1978, triggering a bedside alarm, but the killer was determined, traveling a mere two blocks before he raped and strangled 78-year-old Mildred Borom the same morning.

By early March, police knew they were searching for a black man in the string of homicides, and since his victims had been white, a threat of mounting racial violence dogged investigators on the job. They were distracted, later in the month, by threatening communications from another killer -- self-styled "Chairman of the Forces of Evil" -- who threatened to murder selected black women if the strangler was not swiftly apprehended.

Three deaths would be traced to the "chairman" before his arrest on April 4, but prosecution of the Stocking Strangler's competition brought police no closer to their man. On April 20, the killer claimed his final victim in Columbus, strangling 61-year-old Janet Cofer in her home, leaving the usual stocking knotted around her neck.

A week later, on April 27, 1978, Greenville, South Carolina experienced the first in a series of armed robberies by the "Steakhouse Bandit," a gunman who invaded restaurants near closing time. Eight months passed before Carlton Gary was arrested in nearby Gaffney, following a similar holdup, and he confessed to the entire series, drawing a sentence of 21 years in prison for armed robbery. Transferred to a minimum-security prison at Columbia, four years later, he escaped from custody on March 15, 1983.

Another 14 months would pass before Gary's ultimate arrest, on May 3, 1984, at a motel in Albany, Georgia. Held as a fugitive from South Carolina, and linked with an October 1977 burglary in Columbus, Gary was charged with the Scheible, Thurmond, and Woodruff murders on May 4.

A jury convicted him of all counts in August 1986, deliberating for three hours before his penalty was fixed at death.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans

Carlton Gary (1977-1978) aka "the Stocking Strangler" was a "granny-killer" from Atlanta, Georgia with a genius IQ who raped and killed 7 elderly women, strangling them with their own stockings. It is unknown if the motive was sex, lust for murder, or robbery. He was eventually picked up on narcotics dealing.

The most interesting thing about this case is that he had a rival who operated at about the same time in Atlanta, a copycat killer named William Hance, who sent letters to the newspapers saying "No more grannies" and threatened to kill a black women every 30 days unless the granny killer stopped or was arrested. Hance also demanded $10,000 for his services. His notes were signed "the Forces of Evil". Hance was caught by police tracking the last activities of the 3rd black woman he killed, and he turned out to be a Fort Benning soldier.

The case proved to be a good example of cooperation between Army CID and Atlanta police, both assisted by FBI agent Robert Ressler. Both Gary and Hance received sentences of death by electrocution.

Defense will get review of bite mold

28 december 2005

The Stocking Strangler's teeth are now in play, you could say -- pending further examination, anyway.

Attorneys for the man convicted of three of the seven infamous serial murders of 1977-78 have won their bid to have a long-missing bite-mark mold from the last victim examined by an expert to see if it casts doubt on Carlton Gary's guilt.

Gary was not convicted of the April 20, 1978, strangling of 61-year-old Columbus school teacher Janet Cofer, from whose left breast the impression of an apparent bite mark was made. Prosecutors used evidence from that case during Gary's 1986 trial "solely to show similar mode, method and motivation," U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land writes in his order Thursday granting funds for further examination of the bite cast.

Prosecutors have operated on the theory that one person committed all seven murders, so any evidence that might clear Gary in one case could undermine the claim that he is the "Stocking Strangler" -- so named for the killer's strangling women with their own hosiery.

Gary's attorneys first sought the bite-mark mold in 2003, but no one knew where it was. It was not used as evidence in the 1986 trial, and Gary's defense attorneys weren't told about it then. Prosecutors later claimed it was irrelevant because Gary had dental work after the murders.

Last month, Muscogee County Coroner James Dunnavant discovered the mold stashed back in an old file cabinet in an office storage room. For years Dunnavant's predecessor, Coroner Don Kilgore, had kept the mold in his desk drawer, occasionally showing it off. But no one knew what happened to it after Kilgore died in 2000.

Now that the cast is available, the only way to determine whether it's relevant is to have it examined, Land writes: "The bite mark was withheld, and it may, or may not, be exculpatory, material evidence. It appears the only way to find out is through discovery."

Prosecutors are required to turn over to defense attorneys in such prosecutions any evidence that might be "exculpatory," or of possible use in showing a jury that the defendant is not guilty of the crime.

Land is granting the defense $1,500 to have Atlanta forensic dentist Dr. Thomas David examine the mold to see if it's still useful, and if it is, to make an "exemplar" or "negative impression" of the cast. Land's order also authorizes the defense to take a deposition from Dunnavant.

Whether the defense seeks anything beyond this initial examination depends on David's conclusions.

Gary was convicted of killing Florence Scheible, Martha Thurmond and Kathleen Woodruff. He was sentenced to death.

The case is before Land as part of Gary's federal "habeas corpus" appeal process, in which the District Court judge considers legal points not previously excluded in appeals. The decisions of the District Court are subject to appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and, ultimately, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Seeds of Doubt: Fame & Scandal

Seeds of Doubt

For six months in the late 1970s, the quaint Southern town of Columbus, Georgia, was terrorized by a serial killer known as the "Stocking Strangler," who raped and garroted seven elderly white women in their homes. In an exclusive book excerpt, David Rose uncovers shocking new evidence that suggests the African-American man sentenced to death for the crimes may be the latest victim of Columbus's Old Boy brand of justice.

Excerpted from The Big Eddy Club: The Stocking Stranglings and Southern Justice, published by The New Press.

On March 22, 2001, I visited Georgia's most notorious convicted serial killer on death row and made a request so intimate that I would never dream of asking it of my best friend.

Nevertheless, I had every reason to believe he would comply. You see, I was trying to save his life.

On May 30, 2007, Judge Clay Land of the Federal District Court in Columbus, Georgia refused to grant Carlton Gary a new trial over the bite cast that the state failed to disclose for 20 years.

His petition now goes to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.For Land, the expert testimony he heard in February, which stated that the cast from the wound on Janet Cofer's body does not match Gary's teeth, was not enough to necessitate a new trial even when considered along with all the other exculpatory evidence that was not shared with the defense from the original 1986 trial.

It was "possible," but not "probable," that the jury would have reached a different verdict, and thus, Land asserted, it doesn't clear the bar set in precedents by the Supreme Court.As Land's opinion put it: "Even assuming that the bite mark cast is favorable to Petitioner, the Court finds that, when considering it collectively with the other undisclosed evidence, it does not reasonably put the whole case in such a different light to undermine confidence in the verdict." He did not address the rather obvious question: if Gary did not bite Janet Cofer, then who on earth did? There will now be a hearing in the 11th Circuit regarding the bite and all the other material that Land originally rejected in 2004, such as the semen (serology) type—though it will likely not take place for several months.

After that, there will be only the Supreme Court. If Gary doesn't win in the 11th Circuit, his case could finally come to a close.I arrived that morning at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison, 40 miles south of Atlanta, for a meeting with Carlton Gary, known throughout the Deep South as the "Stocking Strangler"—the African-American man who had raped and strangled seven middle-aged and elderly white women in Columbus, Georgia, between September 1977 and April 1978. From a large plastic folder I produced an open envelope, a sheet of plain paper, and some plastic cling wrap. I gave them to Gary and explained what I wanted him to do: produce a sample of his semen in the privacy of his cell, and then give it to me.

I had already met with Gary on five previous occasions, starting in 1998. Like all the prisoners, he was wearing regulation white slacks and a polo shirt, with white, rubber-soled shoes. A big man, well over six feet tall, he was freshly groomed, his hair, beard, and mustache trimmed. His eyes, which he said had been damaged by a lack of light in jail before his trial, were protected by dark glasses, but I could see them well enough. They met mine and held my gaze. He was 50 but looked younger, a little thickset but muscular, in visibly good shape.

When I returned after the lunchtime visitation break that afternoon, Gary and I were locked in a little square room just off an echoing hallway. Gary slid the envelope, now sealed, across the table, and I slipped it into the folder. Then I gave him a second envelope. In front of me, he plucked about 30 hairs from his head, complete with roots.

He placed them inside the second envelope and gave it back. By matching the DNA in the roots and the semen, I would be able to prove that the semen was his. Thanks to funding from Vanity Fair, I planned to conduct vital tests—tests that might prove his innocence.

For the first time in my life, I was acting not simply as a reporter but as a participant in a legal drama. If that meant relinquishing a measure of journalistic independence, I considered it justified by what was at stake.

Columbus, population 185,000, is Georgia's second city, 110 miles south of the state's capital, Atlanta. Founded in 1828, it has long been prosperous and influential. The chemist John Stith Pemberton first mixed the recipe for the soda drink that would become Coca-Cola in his Columbus drugstore in the 1870s.

"Mother of the Blues" Ma Rainey was born and raised in Columbus, as was the writer Carson McCullers. Most of her novels, including her masterpiece, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, were set there.

Running across the city is a racial fissure, its line marked by the east-west thoroughfare known as Macon Road. With exceptions unusual enough to be noticeable, white people—about 65 percent of the total—live to the north, and black to the south. No longer legally segregated, they mingle at work and use the same stores and restaurants, but in general they do not mix in their social lives, or at home.

Most of the remains of antebellum Columbus are to be found in Wynnton. Once known as the "millionaires' colony," its placid exclusivity dates back to the period before the Civil War, when its mansions were at the heart of a social whirl that is said to have rivaled more famous centers of the old, slaveholding South, such as Charleston and New Orleans. There were picnics, barbecues, marching bands and orchestras, full-dress hunts and balls.

As late as the 1970s, Wynnton remained a kind of Arcadia, writes the Columbus journalist and author William Winn: "Nearly every house, however modest, has a lawn, and every spring Wynnton is ablaze with pink and white azaleas, the neighbourhood's particular glory." Later, the district was to become synonymous not with colorful flowers but with rape and murder.

The horror began to surface on Monday, September 12, 1977, when an elderly woman named Gertrude Miller was raped and strangled at her home, in Wynnton. She survived, but at 10 a.m. on September 16 the police received a call that Mary "Ferne" Jackson, 59, Columbus's director of public health education for 26 years, had not shown up for work. When Jesse Thornton, the first police officer to respond, arrived at Mrs. Jackson's house, he saw no sign that anyone had forced an entry.

Many years later, Thornton would tell a murder-trial jury what happened next. The first space he came to was the hallway, and right away, "I could see something that wasn't right. There was stuff laying on the floor, papers, articles, just scattered all over the floor. There was a pillow on the floor, there was a suitcase that was opened, the drawers had been opened on the dresser, and stuff was pulled out and hanging out of it." He continued down the passage towards Jackson's bedroom, his hand poised over his weapon. "Once I got to the bedroom, I looked inside," Thornton said. "That's when I saw the body on the bed."

The Columbus medical examiner, Dr. Joe Webber, conducted a postmortem. The killer, he wrote in his subsequent report, had tied a nylon stocking and a dressing-gown cord together to make a single ligature, which was wrapped around Jackson's neck three times, leaving three "very deep crevasses."

The white of her left eye was "almost obliterated" by bleeding—the result, he believed, of a massive blow to her head. The white of her right eye was a mass of tiny, pinpoint hemorrhages, a common sign of strangulation. Her sternum, or breastbone, had been fractured, an act which would have required the application of enormous force. Finally, her vagina was bloodied, torn, and bruised. Although Webber could not find spermatozoa, he thought that Jackson had been raped. Later, traces of seminal fluid would be found on the sheet.

There was no obvious motive for Jackson's murder. Despite ransacking her house, the killer had left her jewelry and other valuables untouched.

Ferne Jackson was murdered barely a month after the capture of David Berkowitz, the sexually driven "Son of Sam," who killed or seriously injured a dozen women in New York. The F.B.I. had recently coined the term "serial killer." It took just eight days after Jackson's murder for it to become apparent that one was at large in Columbus.

Jean Dimenstein, the owner of a small department store, was 71. To enter her home on the night of September 24, the strangler removed the hinges of the door leading from the garage to the kitchen. Her murder was essentially similar in its method to Jackson's. Florence Scheible, 89, who was almost blind and used a walker to get around, was raped and murdered on October 21, and Martha Thurmond, a retired teacher of 69, on October 25.

All the victims lived within a few blocks of each other in Wynnton, as did Kathleen Woodruff, 74, the widow of former University of Georgia football coach George C. Woodruff. A cultured woman who had been a close friend of Carson McCullers, Kathleen was strangled on December 28 with a varsity-football scarf.

The murders, and the evident inability of the cops to do anything to prevent them, plunged the city into terror. Sales of locks and firearms soared.

Augmenting the efforts of the local police was a "stocking stranglings task force" assigned by the governor, with dozens of agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and extra patrols by state troopers and soldiers from Fort Benning. None seemed effective. On February 12, 1978, still known in Columbus as the "night of the terrors," the strangler attacked Ruth Schwob, 74, the widow of a textile tycoon. Trained in judo, she fought back and survived by pressing a panic-alarm button, but even as the police rushed to her residence the strangler made his way through an alley to the home of Mildred Borom, 78, two blocks away, and killed her with the cord from a blind.

Perhaps the night of the terrors scared even the strangler. For his last murder, he moved out of Wynnton to Steam Mill Road, a mile and a half away. There, on April 20, eight months after his first attack, he killed Janet Cofer, 61, an elementary-school teacher. And then, without apparent explanation, the stocking stranglings stopped. Months, then years passed, with no new murders but no solid leads either. Six years after Mrs. Cofer's murder, no one had been charged.

Meanwhile, having examined the crime scenes and the bodies, Columbus coroner Donald Kilgore made a public announcement. All the victims had been white, but, after examining the pubic hair found at the crime scenes, Kilgore said he was sure the killer was black. In the Deep South, this was not an incidental matter.

I had first found my way to Columbus in 1996. With the Summer Olympics in Atlanta fast approaching, my editors at the London Observer had sent me to assess the state's handling of death-penalty cases. I soon discovered that Columbus had sent more prisoners to death row than anywhere else in Georgia, despite a relatively low crime rate. It also had a long history of black men being killed in other, uglier ways for alleged crimes against whites. From the start of Reconstruction, in 1865, Columbus had been beset by lynchings—two of them involving a family that would come to play a key role in Carlton Gary's case.

In the small hours of June 9, 1900, Simon Adams, a black farm laborer aged 19, was caught trying to burgle the home of his employer, E. H. Almond, who lived a little to the north of Columbus, in Muscogee County. Adams made the mistake of trying to enter Almond's home by the window of the bedroom used by his daughters, who were 10 and 17. When one of them raised the alarm, he tried to hide in their wardrobe. The men of the house found him and tied him up at gunpoint.

A few hours later, still bound and chained, Adams was entrusted to the care of a bailiff, who was to take him to the county jail in Columbus. The bailiff, from a powerful landowning family, was a big, jug-eared man named A. Brewster Land.

There was a direct road from Almond's house to downtown Columbus, but Land did not use it. Instead, he took a detour through the woods, close to the Chattahoochee River. A vigilante posse was waiting. They seized Adams, dragged him to a 30-foot, rocky overhang known as Lovers' Leap, and pushed him into the water. Adams survived the plunge, but the men on the shore began firing their rifles as the current carried him downstream. The last time he came up for air a round from a Winchester entered his skull behind his ear.

Land was asked later if he knew any of the men he met in the woods. "I didn't recognize anybody," he said. "I was more concerned with the guns than the men behind them." Like most lynchings, Simon Adams's murder was officially put down by the coroner as the work of "persons unknown."

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, white racists in Georgia public life defended lynching as necessary and justified, especially in cases where black men were alleged to have had sex with white women. In 1897, the Atlanta Journal columnist Rebecca Latimer Felton wrote, "If it takes lynching to protect woman's dearest possession from drunken, ravening, human beasts, then I say lynch a thousand a week if it becomes necessary."

At a Georgia State Bar Association meeting in 1899, J. F. DeLacy from Eastman declared, "The chief cause of the discontent and disorder that occasionally breaks out is the uncertainty of punishment for the commission of crime." If citizens could only be sure that people they know to be guilty would be found guilty, DeLacy argued, they wouldn't be forced to take matters into their own hands.

In June 1912, Brewster Land's nephew, 12-year-old Cedron "Cleo" Land, was killed by a shotgun blast to the eye. The supposed assailant was a black boy who was probably 14, T. Z. "Teasy" McElhaney. Although they were of different races, Cleo and Teasy were known to be frequent playmates, and Teasy claimed that they had been playing with the gun when it accidentally went off. He was charged with murder, but his all-white jury found him guilty only of manslaughter. That wasn't enough for Cleo's father, Will Land, and his uncles, Brewster and Ed. With the help of 15 other men, they seized Teasy from the courthouse, bundled him onto a streetcar, and, when they reached Wynnton, turned him out and, in front of a large crowd, opened fire. The coroner was unable to determine how many bullets killed Teasy, but the Columbus Ledger put the number at between 25 and 50.

Until then, no white person had ever stood trial for killing an African-American in Columbus, but the brazenness of this attack demanded a response. The three Land brothers were tried for Teasy's murder. The all-white jury reached its decision immediately, without discussion: "Not guilty."

Brewster Land went back to his farm. His son, John, would become the first judge to handle the stocking-strangler murder case.

By May 1984, John Land had been a judge for 20 years and was widely regarded as one of the most powerful men in Georgia—the controller of the "Fish House Gang," a secretive, statewide network of businessmen, lawyers, and rising politicians that held regular catfish fries in Columbus. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he had served in the state assembly as a vehement segregationist.

Judge John Land, who handled Gary's case pre-trial. From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group.Carlton Gary appeared in Land's court for the first time on May 9, 1984, indicted as the stocking strangler. The police had been on his trail since the middle of March, when Detective Michael Sellers had made a link between Gary and a gun stolen in Wynnton at the time of the murders. It was possible, the police thought, that this weapon had been taken by the strangler. Their manhunt ended on May 3, when a swat team stormed a motel room in Albany, Georgia, surprising Gary in bed. Later that day, Sellers and two colleagues drove him back to Columbus.

In some ways, Gary was a perfect suspect. His childhood, spent in Columbus until he was 13, was unsettled, and he had been in trouble with the law since his teens. The most damning incident from his past was his connection to the 1970 rape and strangulation of Nellie Farmer, a woman of 84 who lived alone in a long-stay hotel in Albany, New York. Gary told the Albany cops that he had merely acted as a lookout for the killer, a habitual criminal named John Lee Mitchell, and he testified against Mitchell at his trial. The jury, however, found Mitchell not guilty. After pleading guilty to robbery charges, Gary was sentenced to 10 years and released on parole after five.

In August 1977, less than a month before the first stocking strangling, Gary escaped from another jail, in upstate New York, where he had been doing time for handling stolen property, and made his way back to Columbus. Just two months before his 1984 arrest, he had again escaped from prison—this time in South Carolina, where he'd been jailed in connection with a bungled 1979 restaurant robbery.

Other aspects of Gary's character were harder to square with the profile of a serial killer, however. A talented musician, he had played bass and keyboards in clubs across the northeast, and at the time of the stranglings he had been modeling clothes for a downtown Columbus fashion store, the Movin' Man, appearing in advertisements on local television up to five times a night. He had continued to live in Columbus for almost a year after the last murder. Above all, he was a magnet for women. Several of his girlfriends would later describe him to me as an attentive—and entirely normal—lover.

"He was always a very sharp dresser, real neat," says Floyd Washington, the proprietor of the F&W Control Tower, a big Columbus nightclub that Gary frequented. "He used to wear suits, sports coats, top-line dress shirts, and sometimes a little bow tie. Let me tell you, he never had a problem with no ladies. He was a very good dancer. Over the years I knew him, he had many girlfriends, very attractive ones, with good jobs. The idea that he would leave this club with a beautiful girl and then leave her to go and rape an old woman—it just don't add up."

Less than a week after Gary's arrest, Judge Land assigned him a local attorney who had been raised in and around Wynnton: William Kirby. "From an early stage, I formed a view about Carlton Gary," Kirby told me in 2001. "I thought there was a pretty good chance he was telling the truth—that he really was innocent."

But Gary wanted to choose his own lawyer, and he settled on August F. "Bud" Siemon III. Siemon, a tall, well-built man with startling blue eyes, was an Atlanta defense specialist who had fought a dozen capital trials. His client had avoided a death sentence each time. Gary decided to retain Kirby as co-counsel, along with his experienced investigator, Don Snow.

August "Bud" Siemon, Gary's trial attorney. Deprived of funds, he almost went bankrupt as a result of the case. From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group.

On August 28, 1984, after a meeting with Gary in jail, Siemon appeared in Judge Land's court, saying he had been asked to take over the defense. Land was happy to agree. But the conditions he set were severe. First, Siemon would have to work for nothing. Georgia law said the courts must give men on trial for their lives a lawyer, Land said, but there was no stipulation that public funds had to be provided for a defendant's counsel of choice. Second, he refused Gary's request to keep Kirby and Snow as co-counsel and investigator.

Land recused himself the following May, when it emerged that he might have to be called as a witness to Gary's treatment by the police. But his replacement, Judge Kenneth Followill, took Land's original ruling and applied it even more severely, deciding that it meant that the state could not give the defense a single cent for any purpose in any conceivable circumstance. Above all, there would be no money to pay for experts to challenge what looked like the state's most vulnerable point—its scientific testimony. "We couldn't even make long-distance phone calls," says Siemon, whose efforts to cover the case's costs would eventually drive him to the brink of bankruptcy.

In January 2001, John Land, by then long retired, granted me an interview at his bungalow in north Columbus. There was much in his life that he now regretted, he told me, including his support for racial segregation. Land said he also had misgivings about the trial of Carlton Gary. And while he stood by his decision not to pay Siemon, he thought Followill had been wrong to deny Gary money for experts. "If they had asked for expense money, I would have given it to them, as being necessary to the defense, in order to have a fair trial," Land told me.

Gary's trial did not start until August 1986, and when it did the case presented by District Attorney Bill Smith, a former F.B.I. agent, looked overwhelming.

Police witnesses testified that they had found fingerprints that matched Gary's from four of the crime scenes. Gertrude Miller, the elderly woman who survived the strangler's first attack, identified Gary in court, saying that he was the man who had raped her. Detective Sellers said that, on the night of Gary's arrest, he and two colleagues interrogated Gary for eight hours. They had neither taped nor taken notes of these conversations, but Sellers testified that Gary had admitted being at the crime scenes and had blamed someone else for the murders—a friend named Malvin Crittenden. That, the prosecution said, fitted Gary's standard pattern: his false accusation against Crittenden called to mind his behavior after his arrest in Albany, New York, in 1970, when he accused John Lee Mitchell of murdering Nellie Farmer. District Attorney Smith told the jury that Gary had surely killed her too.

Smith's case did have weaknesses. Gary's pubic hairs had been compared to those found on the victims, and they did not match. Similarly, it appeared that there were certain biochemical differences between his bodily fluids and those left by the killer. But these difficulties did not exclude him, Smith insisted, and they did not trouble the jurors (of whom nine were white and three African-American).

They began to deliberate at 5 p.m. on August 26, 1986. Less than an hour later, they had their verdict: guilty on all counts. The next day, after a short sentencing hearing, they condemned Gary to death.

In the autumn of 1991, having lost his direct appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, Carlton Gary submitted a petition of habeas corpus—a further appeal of a type that occurs in almost every capital case, when a defendant seeks a new trial on the grounds that his constitutional rights to due process, equal protection under the law, and effective legal representation were violated in the original hearing. The case was assigned to Judge Daniel Coursey, a lay preacher in the United Methodist Church.

Bud Siemon had spent thousands of dollars handling Gary's trial and first appeal; now he was off the case. Representing Gary for his state habeas appeal was the Georgia Death Penalty Resource Center, a not-for-profit organization. In the autumn of 1992 the center's director, Michael Mears, asked his newest lawyer, Jeff Ertel, to take on Gary's case. A rugged, down-to-earth figure with sandy hair and an open, easy manner, Ertel had spent 11 years as a deputy sheriff in upstate New York and was fresh out of law school. "I went back to Buffalo to see my mom and she asked me what kind of work I was doing, and I said, 'I'm fighting an appeal for a black guy on death row who was convicted for raping and murdering a bunch of white women who were about your age.' After that she didn't ask me about my work too much. But when I met Carlton I began to think about it differently. I liked him immediately, and when I got to know him better, I liked him a lot."

Throughout the United States, the 1963 Supreme Court case of Brady v. Maryland means that prosecutors are supposed to turn over evidence that might exculpate a defendant or weaken the state's case. But in Georgia, the prosecution has wide powers to decide what is in fact exculpatory before the trial, and if it decides that documents or other testimony would not be materially helpful, it can keep them secret. It is only later, during post-conviction appeals, that it can be compelled to hand over almost everything—by which time, owing to the strict rules of procedure, it may be too late to make any difference.

Working through the paper mountain, Ertel came across evidence in the files of former district attorney Bill Smith (by this time he had become a judge) that Ertel believed was tailor-made for a habeas appeal. Some of it concerned the testimony of Gertrude Miller—the rape survivor whom Smith had described as his "star witness." Smith had laid heavy emphasis on Miller in his closing speech to the jury, claiming that there was no way she could have gotten her identification wrong: "Don't you know that every night Mrs. Miller has laid her head on her pillow and closed her eyes to go to sleep, that she has seen the face of this man? It's burned into her memory, it's forged into her memory, she can't put it out of her mind if she wants to." Despite being shown thousands of police photos, Smith said, she had never accused anyone before she recognized Gary.

In fact, Ertel discovered evidence indicating that Gary was by no means the first man she had identified. In Smith's files were no fewer than nine separate documents that cast grave doubt on Miller's testimony in court—prior identifications that she had made of other suspects, and of police sketches of men who looked nothing like Gary. Smith testified at the state habeas hearings that he had not turned the statements over to Gary's defense because he had not considered them to be exculpatory.

Ertel also discovered documents that cast doubt on other parts of the prosecution's case. For example, the police had always claimed that their best fingerprint match with Gary came from a window screen at the home of Kathleen Woodruff, but the officers who dealt with the crime scene had recorded there were "no legible latents [print marks made visible when treated with chemical powder] developed."

Other papers raised questions about Gary's supposed confession. He had always claimed that he made no incriminating admissions, and that his interrogation was taped. Detective Sellers still denies this, saying that he made the only record sitting at his kitchen table at 4:30 a.m. on the night of the interrogation, when he wrote Gary's confession out from memory. But in the Columbus files, Ertel found what looked like early versions of Gary's statement—with tape-recorder meter marks written in the margins.

These versions suggested that Gary had not admitted being at the scenes of the crimes or having stood by while Malvin Crittenden committed the murders. Sellers testified that although the meter marks did refer to a tape, this had not been made by the police when they questioned Gary. Instead, he said, the marks related to a recording he had made of a meeting in his office shortly before the trial, in which he had gone over the case with the detectives. He had, he added, destroyed these tapes soon afterwards.

Ertel knew from his study of the trial that, on the autopsy report and photographs of Janet Cofer's body, Bud Siemon had noticed a deep bite mark left by the killer on Cofer's left breast. Siemon could not afford to pay an expert to compare these images with Carlton Gary's teeth, so he asked Judge Followill for funds. Followill, as usual, refused. Ertel decided that it might be worth trying to open this issue again.

"I went through a list of accredited experts looking for a forensic dentist," Ertel said. "I saw there was a guy in Atlanta called Thomas David. I basically picked him at random and called his office. His assistant took a message, and he called me right back. I told him what it was about, and he said he wanted to talk to me right away, but not on the phone. So I went over there to see him."

Dr. David had served for more than a decade as a consultant odontologist with Georgia's State Crime Lab. More used to working with prosecutors than defense lawyers, he was also accredited with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (G.B.I.), the state medical examiners, and the F.B.I. When Ertel arrived in his consulting room, he came straight to the point. "I know about this case," David said. "I'm the guy they showed the bite cast to."

Ertel stared at him in amazement. "Bite cast? What bite cast?"

David told him that two months after Gary's arrest, on July 6, 1984, Bill Smith and his assistant, Doug Pullen, had been to see him. In addition to the photos from Cofer's body, they had, he said, shown him a solid dental mold, an impression made from the wound on her breast when it was still freshly inflicted. The killer had left behind deep traces of both his upper and lower teeth. "There appeared to be a 'crowding' of the lower teeth that made them particularly distinctive," David told Ertel.

David said he told Bill Smith that he should obtain a dental impression from his suspect: "It was my belief that this comparison could either positively prove or disprove that Mr. Gary was the attacker." Nine years later, Smith's response continued to trouble him. David told Ertel that Smith had then asked him whether, even if Gary's teeth did not match the cast, "I would testify … that I could not necessarily eliminate that individual as a suspect. I said I could not." In the state habeas hearings, Smith testified that he had not contacted Dr. David again because he insisted the bite only showed an impression of the upper teeth.

David's answer seemed not to have been what Smith and Pullen wanted to hear. His affidavit went on: "As Mr. Gary's trial progressed, it became apparent that the District Attorney was not going to use the bite-mark evidence. I had strong misgivings as to why he chose not to use what I believed to be highly relevant evidence."

It took only a short visit with his client Carlton Gary for Ertel to confirm that, far from exhibiting overcrowding, Gary's lower and upper teeth were well spaced and even. Gary told him that the only dental work he had had done since the last strangling, in 1978, had been performed while he was in prison in South Carolina. However, this had been only to his upper teeth. The dentist who had treated him, Dr. Paul Hahn, confirmed Gary's assertion.

The cast from the bite on Cofer's breast had been made by a dentist in Columbus, Dr. Carlos "Sonny" Galbreath. Months before the trial, David had spoken to him on the phone, and Galbreath told him that, instead of keeping the mold in the Columbus Police Department's guarded-exhibits store, Smith and Pullen had given it back to him. Sometime in June 1993, Ertel phoned Galbreath and asked whether he still had the cast. "I think I have it here at home," he told him. A few days later Galbreath phoned Ertel. He sounded apologetic, and said he had been mistaken. The cast had been lost or destroyed.

The bite cast was particularly important because Gary had no recourse to DNA evidence. Soon after the first of (to date) 180 inmates was freed from death row by DNA testing, in 1993, Ertel tried to obtain the semen swabs from the stranglings. State officials told him they had all been destroyed. By 1993, Doug Pullen had become Columbus's district attorney. "It is considered, if I follow correctly, by the Crime Lab to be a bio-hazard at the time it was taken," Pullen testified at Gary's state habeas hearings, in December 1994. "There was nothing that could have been done with it, and it was not maintained."

By 2006, Ertel had handled more capital cases than he could easily count, and he told me that Gary's state habeas appeal was the strongest he had seen: "I think with any case other than Carlton's, we would have got a new trial at state habeas." Even as he filed the brief, he warned Gary to expect the worst.

On November 13, 1995, Judge Coursey issued a 10-page decision denying every count in the appeal. He gave no reasons for rejecting the fresh evidence.

Gary had one shot left: a second habeas petition, this time in federal court. In the fall of 1998, I met with the attorneys Gary had been assigned by the court in Atlanta, Jack Martin and Michael McIntyre. Martin, a genial man with a rippling laugh, had successfully defended Richard Jewell, the security guard wrongly accused of planting a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics. I made him a promise. It seemed to me that the case against Gary had one unexplained and potentially significant weakness. I told him I would find an expert in England prepared to examine the issue pro bono.

Even though DNA-testing techniques had not been invented at the time of the stranglings, investigators did possess an older method for testing semen that could be very effective: secretor typing. Most people, about four-fifths of the population, are "secretors," meaning that in their saliva, semen, and other fluids they secrete chemical markers that give away their blood group. A "group-O secretor" would be someone from the common O blood group whose semen contained a relatively large amount of the relevant marker.

The tests carried out on semen collected from the murder scenes of Ferne Jackson, Florence Scheible, and Martha Thurmond indicated that the stocking strangler was a "non-secretor," whose body fluids contained only tiny traces of the group-O marker. As for Carlton Gary, the police took a saliva sample from him after his arrest. It revealed that, together with some 40 percent of the population, he was an O secretor.

The state's main expert was a forensic serologist named John C. Wegel, who worked at the G.B.I. crime lab in Atlanta. At the trial, he insisted that, despite the apparent discrepancy, Gary could not be eliminated. Perhaps, Wegel argued, the killer had not really been a non-secretor but what he called a "weak secretor," because the tests had revealed tiny traces of the blood-group-O marker. In that case, Wegel went on, it was possible that Gary had produced the semen found at the murders after all. Giving testimony in 2000, he said that in his view, it was appropriate to use both absorption-elution and absorption-inhibition in order to determine secretor status.

Even then, he had to explain what looked like a second big discrepancy—the fact that Gary, according to tests on his saliva, was in fact a very strong secretor, producing much higher concentrations of the chemical marker in his bodily fluids than the killer had. Wegel testified that it was possible that Gary secreted at higher levels into his saliva than into his semen—which had never been tested.

It was also possible, he said, that Gary's levels had changed between the murders, in 1977 and '78, and his arrest, in 1984: "Periodically, if you would test someone over a given amount of time, you will see that the titre [concentration] can in fact fluctuate." Deprived of funding, Gary's trial attorney was in no position to challenge Wegel's testimony.

Near my home in England, I found Dr. David Roberts, a consultant hematologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford. He agreed to read the documents and trial transcripts relating to serology.

A few days after receiving the papers, Roberts called to say that he had found the record not only baffling but apparently incomplete. First, there was no evidence to support the theory that Gary secreted much less in his semen than in his saliva—not only because Gary's semen had never been tested but because semen invariably contained higher concentrations of the marker chemicals than saliva.

Second, there was a gap in the record: Wegel's original laboratory notes. Wegel had told the court that he had performed two separate tests on the crime-scene semen—"absorption-inhibition" and "absorption-elution." According to Roberts, the two tests were very different, and the correct one to use when trying to identify a rapist was absorption-inhibition. Because it was relatively insensitive, it would not detect the very low levels of marker chemicals left behind by a non-secretor. Absorption-elution, on the other hand, was about 100 times more sensitive. Its danger was that its very sensitivity might give rise to "false positives"—findings that someone was a "weak" secretor, when in reality they were not. (Wegel rejected Dr. Roberts's analysis of his working procedures.)

Roberts wondered whether the reason Wegel had used both tests was that he had drawn a blank with absorption-inhibition. If so, he should have concluded that the strangler was a non-secretor—and so excluded Carlton Gary as the source of the semen. Perhaps, Roberts speculated, Wegel had then gone on to perform absorption-elution—and only then detected the very low chemical levels that made him assert that the killer might be a weak secretor. There was only one way to find out, said Roberts: he needed to examine Wegel's lab notes from 1977 to '78. But the state had never turned them over, and they appeared to be missing.

Martin and McIntyre filed a request under the Georgia Open Records Act, asking to look at Wegel's laboratory worksheets. At the end of February 2000, they were told that the worksheets from the Florence Scheible and Martha Thurmond killings could not be found anywhere, but that those from the Ferne Jackson case were available.

The worksheets quickly confirmed Dr. Roberts's hunches. On April 22, he swore an affidavit. The worksheets, it said, showed that Wegel had indeed found no trace of chemical markers when he tried absorption-inhibition. It was only when he used the hypersensitive absorption-elution method that very low levels showed up. "Based on this new information," Roberts stated, "it is my firm opinion that Mr. Gary is excluded as a possible donor of the stains believed to be semen in the Jackson case." Repeating his insistence that absorption-elution was not hypersensitive, Wegel stood by the evidence he gave at the trial, stating that the worksheets did not suggest that Gary was excluded at all.

Martin and McIntyre used Roberts's declaration to apply to the Federal District Court for an evidentiary hearing. The hearing was set for November 21, 2000, in the court of Judge Hugh Lawson, in Macon, a city of similar size to Columbus, 60 miles southeast of Atlanta. The defense attorneys also asked the judge to allow them to conduct a controlled test of Gary's semen, to ascertain whether the state's assertion—that he might have secreted at lower levels in his semen than in his saliva—was true.

On November 17, Jack Martin was at his desk in Atlanta when the phone rang: it was Susan Boleyn, Georgia's assistant attorney general, the lawyer responsible for resisting appeals on behalf of the state. According to Martin, Boleyn sounded a little embarrassed as she told him that Wegel's worksheets for his tests on the semen from the bodies of Florence Scheible and Martha Thurmond had also just been discovered at the G.B.I. laboratory.

David Roberts was unable to travel to Georgia, so in his place Martin called another expert serologist, Rodger Morrison. He was the director of Alabama's state crime lab, in Huntsville, and most of his 500-plus courtroom appearances had been as a witness for the prosecution, not the defense. Morrison said he knew of no case where anyone had been found to be secreting less in their semen than in their saliva. But the way to be sure, Morrison said, was to test Gary's semen now, because "what literature there is available indicates that there does not appear to be any significant change in secretor status over a period of time." Martin asked Morrison what he would conclude if a new test on Gary's semen were to confirm that he was a strong secretor. "It would be my opinion that he would be excluded as a source of that sample," Morrison said.

By the beginning of 2001, it was starting to become apparent that my relationship with Gary's lawyers ought to be put on a more formal basis, since I was coming up with evidence that might prove decisive in Gary's federal habeas appeal. Accordingly, Jack Martin appointed me as a paralegal investigator on behalf of his law firm, Martin Brothers P.C. My new role had one great advantage. It meant that when I visited Gary on death row, I could carry documents and writing materials, and take contemporaneous notes.

Almost five months after the hearing in Macon, there was still no word from Judge Lawson as to whether he would grant the semen test that might definitively prove Gary's innocence. Meanwhile, on behalf of the state, Susan Boleyn had submitted a written brief opposing it: "Even if the semen evidence in the Jackson, Scheible and Thurmond cases were … to exclude petitioner as the rapist of these women, the semen evidence does not in any way undermine the testimony of the surviving victim who testified that petitioner Gary raped her and attempted to strangle her with her stockings."

Over lunch one day in Atlanta, Martin and I agreed that Boleyn's argument might seem less acceptable to Judge Lawson if we could show him that the defense experts' claims about Gary were true. Afterward, I decided to try to get the job done myself.

So it was that I made my death-row visit in March 2001 to collect a semen sample from Gary. Afterward, I prepared the sample according to instructions from Brian Wraxall, the head of the Serological Research Institute, in Richmond, California, and sent it to him, together with the strand of hair from Gary's head, and copies of all the documents about the serology of the stranglings case.

Wraxall first DNA-matched the hair roots to the semen. Then he tested the semen. "I determined that the donor is an O secretor and that his H antigen was detected to at least a dilution of 1 in 3000," he told me via e-mail on April 24, 2001. "In my opinion he is not a low level secretor." Later, he elaborated, saying it was inconceivable that someone secreting at such high concentrations could have been classed as a "weak secretor" earlier in his life. The concentration of the blood-group marker in Gary's semen was more than 3,000 times higher than the strangler's.

Martin filed a new motion, enclosing affidavits from Wraxall and me and asking the judge to take account of our tests. Predictably, Boleyn opposed it: "It appears that the testing … was done, not at the instigation of his attorneys, but at the instigation of a non-party journalist," she wrote.

Another two months went by. Finally, on June 29, 2001, Judge Lawson issued two orders. The first denied the defense's request for a test of Gary's semen; the second denied to consider the test we had arranged ourselves. "The court refuses to receive information regarding Mr. Rose's and Mr. Wraxall's testing," he concluded. "The fact that petitioner may be a normal secretor today does not prove he is innocent of the rapes that occurred in 1977.

Apparently there is a disagreement among experts as to whether Mr. Gary could be excluded as the perpetrator of the rape in the Thurmond case. However, the existence of this disagreement does not prove he is innocent." Moreover, he added, "Mr. Wraxall does not state that petitioner could be excluded as the source of the semen in the Jackson, Scheible, Borom and Woodruff cases."

That marked the end of Lawson's involvement in the stranglings case. He was about to hand over the rest of the appeal to Columbus's new federal judge, a man whose surname was very familiar. Once again, the fate of Carlton Gary would be determined by a member of the Land clan.

A short, anxious-looking man with dark, bushy eyebrows and deep, triangular furrows that ran to his mouth from the sides of his nose, Columbus's new federal judge, Clay Land, was part of a new generation of Southern conservatives, a group for whom the white-supremacist rhetoric of the 1950s seemed as distant as his family's rural origins. Unlike his predecessors, Land, appointed to the bench by George W. Bush in 2001, was a Republican. Before he contemplated becoming a judge, he had served three full terms for the G.O.P. as a senator in the Georgia State Assembly. Judge John Land—the son of the lynch-mob leader Brewster Land and the man who had made the rulings that had denied Gary funding—is Clay's great-uncle.

Part of the cast made from the bite mark left by the strangler in the breast of his final victim, Janet Cofer, showing the wide gap that existed between his two upper front teeth. One of the teeth is also out of normal alignment.

Carlton Gary has never had such a gap, say those who knew him well at the time of the murders.A few months before Land's investiture, I had tracked down a man I had long been wanting to meet: Sonny Galbreath, the dentist who made the mold of the bite wound left by the strangler in the breast of his final victim, Janet Cofer.

Whether it had been lost or destroyed, the cast seemed irretrievable. Yet there was one unanswered question that made me want to interview Galbreath. Bill Smith and Doug Pullen had claimed in the state habeas hearings that the cast was of the killer's upper teeth only, and that because Gary had had dental work on his upper jaw while he was in prison in South Carolina after the last of the stranglings, a comparison would have no relevance. But Dr. David had said in his affidavit that the cast included the lower teeth as well, and these, he said, had displayed a distinct pattern of overcrowding.

I met Galbreath for coffee at the Columbus Hilton and soon discovered why he had been forced to close down his practice in 1993. A devoted weekend hunter, he had accidentally blown the ends off several of his fingers with a rifle. He seemed friendly and easygoing, and was happy to recall how he had made the cast by pouring a liquid alginate into Cofer's wound.

Later, he said, he had also made a replica of the bite itself, a negative copy of the tooth cast known as a "cast stone" or "exemplar." He also remembered being contacted by Jeff Ertel. At the time, he said, Doug Pullen was still Columbus's district attorney."Doug and I go way back," Galbreath said. "He and I go bird hunting.… So when the attorney [Ertel] called me, I called Doug. I asked him if I could show the tooth cast to the attorney." He slapped his thigh, unable to restrain a chuckle. "Doug said, 'On no account can he look at [that] model. You tell him his reputation precedes him.… You don't show him anything.'"

This was not what Pullen had said in his testimony at the state habeas hearing in 1994. Although he confirmed that he and Galbreath were friends, he said they had not discussed the cast at all.

Then Galbreath made an unexpected disclosure. "I do know this," the dentist said. "The model is still in existence." Galbreath said that when he shut his practice, he had given the cast to the Columbus coroner, Donald Kilgore. Kilgore died in 2000, and Galbreath thought it must have passed into the care of his successor, James Dunnavant. He promised he would speak to Dunnavant the following week.

Over the next two months I called Galbreath at least nine times. On each occasion he was adamant that the cast could be found, and was probably with Dunnavant. But eventually, he admitted defeat. The cast, it seemed, had vanished.

Later, when I visited Columbus in November 2002, Galbreath told me something else that sounded significant: the cast had revealed that one of the strangler's upper front teeth was "rotated" 20 degrees or more out of its proper alignment.

I asked Gene Hewell, the proprietor of the Movin' Man fashion store, if he had ever noticed that Gary had a rotated front tooth. "Hey, he worked for me as a model," Hewell said. "Believe me, there ain't too many models with twisted front teeth." Later, I asked Gary himself. "The business I was in, if I'd ever had a twisted tooth, it would have stuck out a mile," he said. He meant stealing, not modeling clothes.

After more than seven years, Gary's federal habeas appeal in Georgia's Middle District Court was rapidly approaching a conclusion. Judge Clay Land had already ruled that many of the issues on which Gary had fought his state appeals were procedurally barred. Of those that Land did agree to consider, only two looked as if they stood any chance of success: the serology and, just possibly, the bite cast.

Land issued his final, 95-page order on September 28, 2004. With regard to the cast, he said that he was bound to defer to the judgment made seven years earlier by the state habeas court: that, even had the bite cast been found, it would have been irrelevant, because Gary had had work done on his upper teeth.

However, in the section that dealt with serology and Gary's secretor status, Land's order contained two surprises. First, he ruled that the state's failure to give John Wegel's laboratory worksheets to Gary's defense at the trial constituted a violation of his right to due process under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Second, although he endorsed almost all the decisions made by his great-uncle Judge John Land and later by Judge Followill to refuse Gary funding, there was one exception: "Given petitioner's repeated requests for a serological expert, the court finds that the trial court was unreasonable in denying this request."

Having raised Gary's hopes, however, Judge Land set about dashing them, more conclusively than any court had before. To vacate Gary's conviction, Land said he would have to be convinced that had these mistakes not been made the jury would have come to a different verdict. Instead, Land ruled that there was enough evidence to convict without resorting to the "inconclusive" serology results.

The concluding paragraph of his long order was particularly bleak: "It has been eighteen years since twelve jurors unanimously found Petitioner guilty of crimes that warrant the imposition of the death penalty under Georgia law. Petitioner has avoided the execution of this sentence by taking advantage of every legal avenue available to him. This Court finds no legal obstacle standing in the way of Petitioner's journey to his final destination."

Gary filed an appeal with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, one tier below the U.S. Supreme Court, against Land's rejection of his federal habeas petition, and an oral hearing was set for the first week of December 2005.

On the afternoon of November 9, four weeks before the hearing, Michael McIntyre was poring over some paperwork in his office when the phone rang. Almost exactly four years earlier, Susan Boleyn had called Jack Martin to say that the state had located the missing laboratory worksheets. This time, she was calling with news that was even more dramatic.

"Michael," she said, "I have something to tell you. The folks in Columbus have found the missing bite cast." Two years after testifying that the cast was nowhere to be found, she said, James Dunnavant had discovered it in the back of an old metal cabinet. Martin and McIntyre filed a motion with the 11th Circuit asking for Gary's December hearing to be indefinitely postponed: the whole factual basis on which this part of the appeal had been decided was, it was clear, mistaken. The three judges agreed at once, and returned the case to Columbus, in the hands, once again, of Clay Land.

The belated discovery of the cast produced no signs of contrition from Boleyn and the state. When Martin and McIntyre asked Land to allow an expert to examine the cast, and for funds to pay him, Boleyn resisted, arguing that the cast was not enough to get Gary a new trial, whether it matched or not. Land did not agree: "Undermining the state's evidence of the bite mark on Janet Cofer would have resulted in undermining the State's whole case," he declared. There was only one way to find out whether it really did—to allow the bite to be compared with Gary's teeth. The defense had already chosen its expert: the same Dr. Thomas David who had been shown the cast by Bill Smith, Doug Pullen, and the cops more than 20 years earlier. David, said Land, would be paid with public money.

In February 2006, Dr. David visited the G.B.I. crime lab and inspected the cast by naked eye. Several things were immediately apparent. First, it was still attached to a signed and dated label, establishing that it had, as claimed, been made by Dr. Galbreath in April 1978 from a bite around Cofer's nipple. Second, the cast found by Dunnavant was not the positive, ridged model that David was shown in 1984, but the cast stone negative or exemplar.

Making an exemplar is the usual first step in comparing a cast with a suspect. Back in March 2001, when everyone assumed that the cast had been lost, Gary told me that an exemplar had been made from his own teeth in 1984, when he was waiting to be tried at the Columbus County jail.

Examination of the cast by microscope, David wrote in a report in May 2006, showed that the strangler's lower teeth were, as he had always stated, crowded and uneven. The exemplar he was finally able to make from Gary confirmed that his are straight and well-spaced. In December 2006, he delivered his final report. The cast, he said, revealed "several inconsistencies" with Gary's lower teeth, a conclusion he stated to "a reasonable degree of scientific certainty."

He also confirmed what Galbreath had told me in 2002—that the killer had a wide gap between his upper front teeth, one of which was rotated.

Meanwhile, there was still more new evidence. In October 2006, I traveled to the lakeside home in Americus, Georgia, of Jim Covington, a retired special agent with the G.B.I. In the 1970s, he spent almost a year as co-leader of the stocking-stranglings investigation. Covington told me that, 20 years after Gary's trial, his concern that an innocent might be executed had prompted him to come forward, and he gave me yet more documents that had not been shared with the defense.

On the night of the terrors, Covington had taken charge of the crime scene at the home of Ruth Schwob, who had survived the strangler's attack. On the air-conditioning unit that the killer had climbed on to enter her kitchen window, Covington found a footprint from a sneaker sized 9.5 or 10—four sizes smaller than Gary's feet. Covington had pictures, as well as a map he had made of the trail of footprints from Mrs. Schwob's house to the home of Mildred Borom, the strangler's sixth victim. He also had a memo containing Schwob's description of her attacker—he was, she told the cops, "small and muscular." Gary is six feet three inches tall, large, and powerfully built.

Newly discovered footprint evidence also undermines the state's claim that Gary had killed Nellie Farmer in upstate New York, back in 1970. In the Albany police files, I found yet more documents that were not shown to Gary's Columbus jury: reports from forensic scientists saying that, after raping Farmer, the murderer had stood at her sink and washed himself—leaving two shoe prints on the bathroom mat. They were size nine.

Finally, new doubts were cast on the fingerprints at the strangling crime scenes that allegedly matched Gary's. I had always found it strange that none of the prints had been photographed in situ when they were found. Eddie Florence, a Columbus print-ID officer for 18 years, told me that such photos were taken as a matter of routine procedure, even in relatively minor cases such as burglary.

There were dozens of photos of the strangler crime scenes, but none that included fingerprints. The crime-scene prints exist only as pieces of tape, supposedly lifted from the victims' homes, stuck on pieces of cardboard: other than the testimony of the police, there is no independent evidence that proves they are what they are supposed to be.

At Gary's trial, District Attorney Smith told the jury that the Columbus detective Richard Smith (no relation) had visited Gary in South Carolina after his arrest there for robbery in 1979. Smith, he said, was "obviously a good detective … and it's just unfortunate, members of the jury, that he didn't come back and have his [Gary's] fingerprints compared with the stocking strangler's latent prints on file in the Columbus Police Department." Had he done so, Smith suggested, the case would have been solved five years earlier.

Smith left the police department in 1979 and is now the president of Realogy Corporation, the largest U.S. residential-real-estate brokerage firm. In 2003, I interviewed him in his huge office overlooking Central Park in Manhattan and asked him why he had not brought Gary's prints back to Columbus. He said that in fact he had, together with samples of Gary's saliva and pubic hair. He asked Columbus's print-ID section to compare them with the prints from the strangling crime scenes. No match was found. "I don't know how they missed that one," Smith told me calmly. "They should have caught it if there were prints which could have been identified. To this day, no one knows why they didn't."

On December 4, 2006, Jack Martin filed a brief with Judge Clay Land, asking for another evidentiary hearing—to hear testimony about the bite cast, the footprints from Columbus and Albany, and Richard Smith's trip to South Carolina in 1979. Land agreed to hear testimony about the cast, and convened another hearing on February 14, 2007. Martin called a series of witnesses who had known Gary well in the 1970s, including Gene Hewell of the Movin' Man: all of them said that Gary had never had gaps or twisted teeth.

On that basis, Dr. David was able to go further than he had in his affidavit. Taking the physical evidence of the bite cast and the descriptions of Gary in happier times, he stated with scientific certainty that Carlton Gary was excluded beyond a reasonable doubt as the man who bit Janet Cofer. The state had no evidence with which to rebut his opinion, and could not attack his credentials—it had used Dr. David as a prosecution expert witness many times in the past.

During the years I have worked on this book, I have been asked the same question innumerable times: do I believe that Carlton Gary is innocent? It is the wrong question to ask. One must assume that the prosecutors who tried the 180 men who have been freed from death row because of new DNA tests believed they were guilty, but belief is no substitute for properly tested evidence.

Instead, we need to put two different questions. The first is, did he get a fair trial? My answer to that is a resounding negative. He was starved of resources and was facing a prosecutor who not only hid exculpatory evidence from the defense but lied. The second question is whether we should entertain real doubt as to Gary's guilt. The answer to that seems equally clear.

For now, the final act of this drama cannot yet be written. Gary's defense has submitted a brief arguing that he should now get a new trial: in making up his mind, it states, Judge Land must consider not only the bite cast but all the other areas of the original prosecution case which have now been thrown into doubt. At the end of March 2007, Susan Boleyn submitted her reply. It said that the court should not have looked at the bite cast at all, and that the defense is at fault for failing to find it years earlier. Land's ruling is expected in May or June. Even then, the matter will not end: the losing side, whichever it is, will undoubtedly submit a further appeal, first to the 11th Circuit, and then, perhaps, to the Supreme Court.

For the time being, however, history has come full circle. The scion of the Lands who led the mobs that murdered Simon Adams and Teasy McElhaney must decide whether to halt Gary's legal lynching.



(260 Ga. 38)
(389 SE2d 218)

SMITH, Presiding Justice.
Murder, etc. Muscogee Superior Court. Before Judge Followill.

Carlton Gary was convicted by a jury in Muscogee County on three counts each of murder, rape and burglary. He was sentenced to death on each of the murder counts. 1

1. Between September 11, 1977 and April 19, 1978, eight elderly women were raped in their homes. One woman survived; the other seven were strangled to death. Seven of the victims lived in the Wynton area of Columbus. One victim lived two miles away, but had attended choir practice in Wynton the evening she was murdered.

Police had no viable suspects in the case until 1984, when a gun stolen from the Wynton area in 1977 was discovered in Michigan -- a consequence of that state's gun registration laws -- in the possession of Carlton Gary's cousin. After further investigation, Gary was arrested for burglary on May 3, 1984. His fingerprints matched those taken from the scenes of four of the murders.

Gary admitted to law enforcement officers that he was present at seven of the crime scenes (the eighth he could not remember), but claimed he was only a burglar. He blamed the murders on another. Further investigation revealed that in other instances in New York and in South Carolina, Gary had committed violent crimes and blamed others. For example, he raped and murdered an 89-year-old woman in her home in Albany, New York in 1970. His fingerprints were found at the crime scene. Gary claimed one John Mitchell committed the murder. Mitchell, however, was acquitted by a jury. In another New York crime involving rape and burglary, Gary admitted only to being a "lookout" and blamed the rape on another. In all these cases, no evidence other than Gary's own statements and testimony supported his claim that another person was involved in the crime with him.

The defendant does not question the sufficiency of the evidence, and we find that it supports the conviction. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U. S. 307 (99 SC 2781, 61 LE2d 560) (1979).

2. Trial counsel, August F. Siemon, represented the defendant pro bono. His first move upon entering the case was to secure the dismissal of the defendant's court-appointed attorneys. Later, he sought additional court-appointed counsel. The trial court denied the motion after Siemon stated: "There is no question in my mind that I have the personal resources to provide representation to [the defendant]." We note that the defendant was represented by two additional attorneys (acting pro bono) during much of the pre-trial proceedings.

The defendant also sought funds for forensic and investigative assistance. These requests for funds were denied.

During the pre-trial proceedings and at the outset of the trial, attorney Siemon stated to the trial court that, because of the lack of funds and time, he was not prepared to try the case. The case proceeded to trial over his objection. When the case came to this court on appeal, we exercised our discretion under the Unified Appeal Procedure to remand the case to the trial court for a hearing to determine whether, for any reason, including lack of funds, the defendant was denied effective assistance of counsel. See Rule IV (B) (1) of the UAP, Ga. Court & Bar Rules at 9-15.

On remand, the trial court appointed two attorneys to represent the defendant on the question of effectiveness of trial counsel. However, the defendant obtained the services of attorney Frank L. Derrickson, who, as had trial counsel, represented the defendant pro bono. The issue came on for hearing. The defendant refused to waive his attorney-client privilege as to any of his three trial attorneys, and none of them testified on behalf of the defendant. Lead trial attorney Siemon was called as a witness by the state; however, the defendant invoked his attorney-client privilege to prevent his attorney from answering any questions about tactical decisions he made while representing the defendant.

(a) The defendant contends the court erred by refusing to dismiss his two court-appointed attorneys after attorney Derrickson entered the case on remand. However, although these two attorneys were not dismissed, they did not actively participate in, or interfere with, the proceedings on remand. Hence, there was no denial of the defendant's right to choose his own counsel. Cf. McKaskle v. Wiggins, 465 U. S. 168 (104 SC 944, 79 LE2d 122) (1984) (court may appoint standby counsel for pro se litigant over his objection, so long as standby counsel's role is suitably limited).

(b) The defendant contends he was denied effective assistance of counsel at trial. The trial court found as follows:

In this case ample opportunity was given this defendant through a hearing before this court with counsel of his own choosing (and additional counsel, if he chose so to avail himself) to urge any and all possible errors affecting the trial or prejudicing the defendant. . . . This defendant refused to accept the opportunities provided him. For reasons probably known only to itself the State elected to go further than even the defendant in the course of the hearing and attempted to elicit from defense counsel, August F. Siemon, reasons for various avenues of conduct. To each and every material question the defendant asserted his privilege not to have his counsel testify. This is true even though the defendant was made inescapably aware by this court that this was his opportunity to have these possible issues litigated. It is therefore the finding of this court that as to those issues addressed during the hearings on remand that the defendant knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived those issues after having been repeatedly advised by the court that his conduct would amount to such a waiver. Therefore these issues are resolved adversely to Carlton Gary.

A defendant cannot be forced to litigate an issue. Cf. Morrison v. State, 258 Ga. 683 (3) (373 SE2d 506) (1988). The defendant was given an opportunity to prove he was denied effective assistance of counsel. He declined to do so. We agree with the trial court that he knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently has waived any issue of effectiveness of trial counsel.

(c) In his post-remand brief, the defendant continues to claim, as he did in his original appellate brief, that the trial court's refusal (prior to the original trial) to appoint additional counsel or to provide funds for forensic and investigative assistance was an abuse of discretion, see Isaacs v. State, 259 Ga. 717 (13) (a) (386 SE2d 316) (1989), and that he was penalized improperly for exercising his right to retain his own attorney pro bono.

3. The defendant contends the conditions of his solitary confinement while awaiting trial had an adverse impact on his ability to stand trial. However, not only has this issue been litigated -- and relief denied -- in a pre-trial habeas corpus petition filed by the defendant on this issue, but also in a special trial to determine his competence to stand trial. The special jury found him competent to stand trial. See OCGA 17-7-130.

While awaiting his trial, the defendant was held in "administrative segregation" for his own protection. He was in a private cell with a commode, a lavatory, a bunk with mattress, blanket and pillow, a skylight, a television, a radio, and reading materials. He was given extensive visitation privileges. The record does not support the defendant's claim of unconstitutionally harsh conditions of confinement. The special jury's finding that he was competent to stand trial is supported by the evidence.

4. The defendant was caught in an escape attempt in December of 1985. Afterward, he allegedly began behaving in a "bizarre" manner. On March 10, 1986, the day his trial was scheduled to begin, he filed a special plea of incompetence. He was examined by Doctor Jerald Lower, who concluded the defendant was deliberately feigning mental disorder. The defendant claimed he was suffering from sensory deprivation disorder; however, expert testimony was presented at the competence hearing that such condition is associated only with complete sensory deprivation not at all consistent with the condition of the defendant's incarceration.

The defendant contends he was denied due process by the court's refusal to grant him funds for examination by an independent mental health expert. See Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U. S. 68 (105 SC 1087, 84 LE2d 53) (1985). We disagree. Nothing before the court reasonably indicated that the defendant's sanity would be a significant factor at trial. The denial of funds was not error.

5. The percentage of black citizens aged 18 and over in Muscogee County is 31 percent. The percentage of black citizens aged 18 and over in Spalding County, to which venue was changed (see fn. 1, supra), is 24.7 percent. The defendant contends the selection of new venue in Spalding County was racially motivated. The circumstances of this case do not establish prima facie that racial discrimination motivated the trial court's decision to change venue to Spalding County.

6. There was no abuse of discretion in the conduct of voir dire. Curry v. State, 255 Ga. 215 (336 SE2d 762) (1985).

United States v. Meester, 762 F2d 867, 884-85 (11th Cir. 1985). The defendant now contends Judge Followill should have been recused because he was a party litigant represented by counsel at the hearing on the motion to recuse. This contention was not raised until more than a year after the hearing and is not timely. Romine v. State, 251 Ga. 208 (2) (305 SE2d 93) (1983). Compare Isaacs v. State, 257 Ga. 126 (355 SE2d 644) (1987).

8. The defendant was given ample notice of the date of his competency trial.

9. The only surviving victim of the defendant's strangulation attacks testified at trial and identified him as her assailant. The defendant was not entitled to a hearing outside the presence of the jury to determine the admissibility of the testimony of this witness, Watkins v. Sowders, 449 U. S. 341 (101 SC 654, 66 LE2d 549) (1981), and her testimony was admitted in evidence properly. Pruitt v. State, 258 Ga. 583 (4) (373 SE2d 192) (1988).

10. There was no error in the conduct of the Jackson-Denno hearing or in the admission in evidence of the defendant's pre-trial statements. See, e.g., Parks v. State, 254 Ga. 403 (1) (330 SE2d 686) (1985).

11. As noted in Division 1, supra, extrinsic transactions demonstrating the defendant's modus operandi were admitted in evidence. In view of the relevant similarities between the extrinsic transactions and the crimes on trial, the court did not err by allowing their admission in evidence. Hamilton v. State, 255 Ga. 468, 471 (339 SE2d 707) (1986).

12. The defendant was not, as he claims, denied the right to present mitigating evidence by the trial court's rulings on funds and travel expenses. Many potential witnesses who had known the defendant during his life were either present at trial or were readily available. The defendant can name no one whose testimony he was unable to secure as a consequence of any ruling by the trial court.

13. The jury found that the three offenses of murder were committed while the offender was engaged in the commission of the offenses of rape and burglary. See OCGA 17-10-30 (b) (2). The evidence supports these findings. OCGA 17-10-35 (c) (2).

14. After reviewing the record, including the proceedings on remand, we conclude the sentences of death were not imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice, or other arbitrary factor. OCGA 17-10-35 (c) (1). The sentences of death are not excessive or disproportionate to sentences imposed in similar cases, considering both the crime and the defendant. The similar cases listed in the appendix support the imposition of death sentences in this case.


Douglas C. Pullen, District Attorney, Michael J. Bowers, Attorney General, Susan V. Boleyn, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Joseph L. Chambers, for appellee.


1 The defendant was arrested on May 3, 1984. He was indicted the next day. After numerous pre-trial hearings, and a change of venue, the case was tried in Muscogee County by a jury that had been selected in Spalding County. The trial began on August 11, 1986 and concluded on August 27, 1986. A motion for new trial was filed on September 25, 1986 and was denied on October 18, 1986. The case came to this court for review. We remanded the case to the trial court for a hearing on the question of ineffectiveness of counsel. The case was redocketed in this court on June 22, 1989, and the case was argued orally on September 12, 1989.

August F. Siemon III, Frank L. Derrickson, for appellant.


Carlton Gary in 1970

Accused strangler Carlton Gary, right, on the night of his arrest, with Detective Mike Sellers, May 3, 1984.
Ed Ellis/The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group.

August "Bud" Siemon III (left) and Carlton Gary in court

Carlton Gary

Bite Mark Evidence

The strangler's first murder victim, Mary "Ferne" Jackson.
From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group.

Janet Cofer

Jean Dimenstein

Kathleen Woodruff

Martha Thurmond

Ruth Schwob

Florence Scheible

Movie Poster: The Big Eddy Club

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