Murder has no statute of limitations and because of that, a deceased 23-year-old black man’s family may finally be getting some justice.
Police in west-central Georgia have arrested five people in connection to the 1983 brutal beating death of Timothy Coggins. On Friday (October 13), Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix announced the charges, which include offenses committed by two people who worked in law enforcement and allegedly helped to cover up the unspeakable crime.
On October 9, 1983, Coggins was found dead on a power line after suffering multiple forms of trauma. According to Sheriff Dix, Coggins was targeted and killed because he was black.
“There is no doubt in the minds of all investigators involved that the crime was racially motivated, and if the crime happened today it would be prosecuted as a hate crime,” Dix said, according to WSB-TV.
59-year-old Frankie Gebhardt and 58-year-old Bill Moore Sr. were charged with felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault and concealing a body. 58-year-olds Lamar Bunn, a Milner Police Department employee, and Sandra Bunn were charged with obstruction of justice. Spalding County Detention Officer Gregory Huffman was charged with obstruction and violation of oath of office, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
Huffman was subsequently fired from the sheriff’s office Friday morning.
The break in the case came when a new witness emerged earlier this year. The witness reportedly had been threatened not to work with authorities and renewed coverage of the case inspired them to come forward.
“Thanks to the assistance of both local and statewide new media coverage, previously unknown witnesses stepped forward and when interviewed, many of the witnesses stated that they had been living with this information since Coggins’ death but had been afraid to come forward until now or had not spoken of it until now,” Dix said.
The sheriff revealed that the investigation is not over and expects more arrests connected to the case to be made.
(Photo: Spalding County Sheriff’s Office)