Episode 5

Wayne’s World

Payne makes contact with the alleged Atlanta Monster.


My way is the right way and it’s the truth about what happened.

– Wayne Williams


I’ve recently been told that if I release this podcast, “bad things” are going to happen to me in the sense of a threat on my life, or my safety, or that of my family.

– Neil Strauss, Journalist/Host


I’ve recently been told that if I release this podcast, “bad things” are going to happen to me in the sense of a threat on my life, or my safety, or that of my family.

– Neil Strauss, Journalist/Host


The police say he did it. He did it. You know, you believe the police. I mean, at least you want to believe the police.

– Eric Cameron


Jefferey Mathis

Age 10

Last Seen 03/11/1980

Patrick Baltazar

Age 12

Last Seen 02/06/1981

Timothy Hill

Age 13

Last Seen: 03/11/1981

Joseph “Jo Jo” Bell

Age 15

Last Seen: 03/02/1981


Operator: Hello, you are receiving a call from- 

Wayne Williams: Wayne Williams.  

Operator: … an inmate at a correctional facility. Press 1 to consent to the delivery of a pre-recorded message with information on how you can arrange to receive calls from your incarcerated loved one. Your cell phone location may be collected and possibly used for investigative purposes. You are now being transferred to Securis Customer Care.  

Operator: Thank you for calling Securis Technologies, the leading provider of inmate telephone services. You are receiving a call from an inmate in a correctional facility where we provide service. Please spell out the letters of your first name. 

Payne Lindsey: P-A-Y-N-E. 

Operator: Okay, so is your first name Payne? Please spell out the letters of your last name. Okay, so is your last name Lindsey? 

Payne Lindsey: Yes. 

Operator: To access your account, you need to create a four digit security passcode. Thank you, you have successfully created a passcode. Please enter your five digit zip code. Thank you. One moment please. To continue press 1. Your confirmation number is 2018011715420714925759. 

Payne Lindsey: Wow.  

Operator: If you would like me to repeat that, press 9. 

Payne Lindsey: No. 

Operator: Your Advance Connect Account has been successfully opened. You can start receiving calls within an hour. Good bye. This conference is being recorded. 

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Payne Lindsey: Wow.  

Operator: If you would like me to repeat that, press 9. 

Payne Lindsey: No. 

Operator: Your Advance Connect Account has been successfully opened. You can start receiving calls within an hour. Good bye. This conference is being recorded. 

Dewayne Hendrix: My bad. 

Wayne Williams: Everybody’s here. Okay.  

Dewayne Hendrix: Yeah. Can you hear him Wayne? 

Wayne Williams: Oh yeah. 

Dewayne Hendrix: Payne, can you hear Wayne? 

Payne Lindsey: I can. Can he hear me? 

Dewayne Hendrix: Okay, he does. 

Wayne Williams: No problem.  

Wayne Williams: Okay, is this Payne? Is that your? 

Payne Lindsey: Yeah, this is Payne, that’s my first name. We have Payne, Wayne and Dewayne. 

Wayne Williams: All right, to tell it my way, to me it’s not really what’s important, because my way is the right way and it’s the truth about what happened. To me, let the guilt fall where it may, wherever, because there’s only one truth. Truth is truth, you know. And all this, I guess the fake truth as we say, as we hear all the time, I’m not into that either. And the truth in this case is, it’s really simple. It’s not complex or anything, but it’s just, it’s the truth that people may not want to hear and it’s the truth that they have to hear to understand what happened and continues to happen.  

Wayne Williams: Now, let me give you just a little … By the way, if times goes and we have to close and call it. Because I’ll explain to you as we go, the mechanics of how we got to communicate and all because it’s kind of weird here, you know? So basically, what we were looking for from a documentary point of view, there’s a multi-part thing to telling this story. You can’t tell it in 60 minutes like you and I both know. It’s not important, in other words, people don’t need to hear and see what, that’s not what’s important.  

Wayne Williams: These other people have a story to tell. They’re gonna tell my story for me, is what I’m saying. You understand what I’m getting at? You’re gonna, you will fully understand once we get into this. Because one thing about prison, you can’t fool these guys in here. If these people thought I had killed somebody or done something like that, I’d have been dead the first day I hit the county jail. Are you understanding me? I’m in a close security prison in a dorm with 80 other inmates, shanks and all of that floating around. You got Crips, Bloods, GD, all kind of gangs here and I got darn good relations with all of them. If they thought any, I wouldn’t be here. Are you understanding what I’m saying? 

Wayne Williams: This is the reality you’re gonna get to telling this story man. You know, you can’t fool a con. They can smell a rat if there’s a rat. You know, it’s almost like a dog you know? A dog knows a evil person from the good. They’ll start growling, so you know it’ll come out. This isn’t about Wayne. This isn’t just about me. This is for all those families who never got justice of all these years. They deserve some answers. Because I’m in a prison now with two family members. I’m here with a uncle and a cousin of two of the murder victims. We play ball everyday together. Do you understand what I’m saying? We need to tell their story. I see that hurt and pain.  

Wayne Williams: We have shared things. There’s a bond right there that needs to be told. Family members we’re in contact with, they have given us information in at least eight of the cases, they know who killed their people, but the police refuse to act on it. These are the things that we need to bring out in these documentaries. 

Payne Lindsey: I’ve heard from the FBI, the APD and victims’ families. Now it was time to hear from Wayne. I asked Wayne what he wanted to say. What did he personally want to put out to the world? 

Wayne Williams: My thing is put the facts out and it’ll speak for itself. We don’t need to doctor it up. Just put it out there and when we explain like, things like the bridge, so-called bridge incident, what did and did not happen. Like Dewayne and I have talked this through. It’ll make sense now, once we can go through this. You’ll hear it all. You’re not gonna believe it, it’s incredible. Also, in the podcast, in other words, there’s another component on this. I have been doing a lot of work with the younger generation, in particular the music committee, community, getting them involved. Okay, one of which by the way, is my cell mate. He’s a 21-year old kid, grew up and everything. He’s a writer, not only a rap star, but he’s very intelligent. 

Wayne Williams: He actually wrote that the name of my life story, is called Shattered Dreams. He actually wrote the theme song for that, and I want to include in the podcast through Dewayne, some of his writings and all, comments on the social commentary. You know, that’s another way of telling it, reaching the younger audience. The reason why, this is somebody, and you may find this incredible but, this is somebody who lives with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we on the same rec week. He knows me probably better than my own family at this point. And if you want to know what Wayne Williams is really like, Anthony Spencer’s the person you ask, do you understand what I’m saying? 

Wayne Williams: And the other part I’m asking you to do, like I said, is on the young man I want to watch, is a recording artist, Anthony Spencer. Let me first give you- 

Operator: Thank you for using Securis, goodbye. 

Dewayne Hendrix: Just hold tight, he gonna call back in like 30 seconds. 

Payne Lindsey: I was pretty surprised. Did Wayne have an artist he was trying to manage from prison? Another young black male like Jimmy, but this time the artist was his cell mate. From what I could tell, Wayne was doing in prison exactly what he was doing in Atlanta in the 1980s. Being a talent scout. 

Dewayne Hendrix: Okay, we back. 

Wayne Williams: Okay. Like I said, that’s my roommate and he’s gonna, you know, I really want to tell in music, his words about as a young kid just hearing about this, about getting that story out to the young people. Do you understand what I’m saying? That’s a powerful way. As a matter of fact, what I want you to do, I want you to just introduce yourself briefly to him right here. Here he is right now. Just tell him who you are, and what we’re gonna be doing. Just very brief, here he is. 

Anthony Spencer: Hey, how you doing sir? 

Payne Lindsey: Pretty good, how you doing? 

Anthony Spencer: Likewise, likewise. Well, like Wayne was saying, my name is Anthony Spencer, and pardon me, you know, I just started like really becoming aware of everything that’s going on. Been going for some time and it was really like hell being removed from eyes, and I just been doing a lot of writing, theme writing on those type of things and oh yeah, I’m working on something like specifically for this and I’m gonna have it done as soon as possible, like no later than tomorrow. Like, I’ll have it finished. So here’s Wayne. 

Wayne Williams: Okay. Yeah, he keeps me level here. He keeps me level. 

Payne Lindsey: This was almost unbelievable to me. Had Wayne tried to promote fellow inmates as artists before? Or was this the first time? And how exactly could someone develop a music career from prison? Anthony sounded like a young, eager and amiable guy. And above all, he sounded excited to send me his music inspired by Wayne’s story.  

Wayne Williams: This is somebody who knows me better than anybody and we need to put him out there because the public relations are trying to reach the age group you’re going for. You meet this guy and his family and you will understand. We need to put him out there. Get with Dewayne. Get with his mother. And we want to go ahead and we want to put him out there and eventually land him out there. It’s not just a artist but a commentary and basically, he’s got his own story to tell you. Probably, he’s got the type of story that should end up on Lifetime by itself. And in the meantime, Payne, get in touch with Spencer’s mom. She’s in Atlanta. 

Dewayne Hendrix: I’m gonna call, first I’m gonna call Anthony’s mom and then tell her that I’m gonna be giving you her information. 

Payne Lindsey: These phone calls with Wayne and Dewayne took a lot of coordinating. The prison email system, phone protocol and of course, our schedules. It took multiple calls before I began meeting anyone outside of the prison. I asked Wayne why he thought he was in jail today. Some people I talked to seemed to think he was a scapegoat and that maybe this whole thing was orchestrated. Dewayne Hendrix went as far as to say it was a full-fledged conspiracy. But I wanted to hear what Wayne thought. 

Wayne Williams: Hear me clear. There was not and never was a conspiracy to get me before the fact. Nobody knew the route I was gonna take the night of May 22 regarding that bridge. Not even me. I am a Gemini. 

Payne Lindsey: Gemini. There’s that word again. The band that Wayne was developing in the late 70s. Now Wayne was using it as his astrological inspiration for how he lived his life, including that fateful night on the Jackson Bridge. Gemini is symbolized by twins. Dual personality, volatility, and a tendency to switch up routines.  

Wayne Williams: Okay, by birth, I’m a Gemini. That was a last minute decision I made because I’m the type of person, I am liable to change my mind in a heartbeat on when, I like driving, getting in a car and just going. Do you understand what I’m saying? I’m a free spirit. That was a decision I made. The only conspiracy that came in, was once my name hit those FBI computers and it got to Washington. That’s when they panicked because they had Iran-Contra going and because two people in government knew of my background working for the agency and they were afraid that it would expose that. The state, Lewis Slayden didn’t even want to prosecute me.  

Payne Lindsey: Right. 

Wayne Williams: They had a meeting on June the 20th, the Sunday before, excuse me, the Saturday before in which George Bush personally came down and threatened him and said, “If you don’t arrest Wayne Williams, the feds will take this case and prosecute it as a civil rights violation.” Slayden didn’t even want to prosecute this case. I have nothing but love for Atlanta and Fulton County and Georgia. My enemies was the federal government and still is. It is not those people. If it was up to … Let me tell you something. The sheriff of Fulton County, when I was in Fulton County Jail before I went to trial, when I had my rec, a lot of people. There was a hill behind the old jail, I used to go out with one deputy who didn’t even have a gun. We used to go out there across the street from the jail and go to the store and all that. That’s how much they were concerned and they’d say, you know, “We ain’t worried about this.” Are you understanding what I’m trying to tell you? 

Wayne Williams: When a person does a crime and the public doesn’t understand, say a burglary, if he do one burglary in a neighborhood and they’ve had 20 burglaries in the neighborhood, they don’t give a damn, you’re gonna wear all of those cases so they can close the books. Because prosecutors in Georgia are elected officials. They are not appointed, they’re elected. And that’s one of the biggest flaws in the criminal justice system. They go on votes. It’s about closing cases, bottom line. Whoever, for every suspect they came up with, they- 

Operator: You have one minute left. 

Wayne Williams: … they, that’s the way it works. It was simply a matter of reputation to close the cases to make it look good. Over 90% of the black community knows I didn’t do this or thinks I’m innocent. But with the white community, it’s just the opposite. It’s only 50% of the white community, because of articles like CNN and what you have. It’s a racially polarized perspective and the sad part about is, these white communities, pardon my language, don’t know diddly shit about what happened. The ones who are telling you I didn’t do this are the ones who know. But you know, it’s just like the thing going on with the police killings today and the stings in the stadium. In other words, nobody won’t ever, “Well let’s just play it by”, that isn’t the point. The point is pardon my language, just like in my case, if those athletes had been just any other person other than a athlete, pardon my language Payne, but you’re gonna hear this, they would be just another nigger to anybody else. That’s the same thing in this case. Are you understanding the relationships why we have to tell it like this? 

Wayne Williams: Because the black community has a different perspective on the Atlanta Murders than the white community. Totally different. Because they know and they feel that their community has been slighted by the white community who was more concerned with just throwing money at this and having press conferences. That’s the whole hurt. 

Operator: The caller has hung up. 

Payne Lindsey: Wayne talked rapidly during our conversation. Maybe it was a habit formed from having to maximize time while using the prison phone system. Or maybe, it’s just Wayne. Some of what he was saying directly reflected the opinions of people like Monica Pierson and Collenda Lee. These murders were not handled properly in the eyes of much of the black community. However, what he said about press conferences was a little conflicting. Didn’t Wayne rally his own press conference at his house? If he was so opposed to sensationalizing the news, why would he have done that? The next thing Wayne brought up was his attorney, Lynn Whatley. 

Wayne Williams: Next conference call, we’re gonna have to involve the attorney, Lynn. And I’m gonna tell you point blank, I don’t use this language, but he’s a asshole okay, to deal with. But he’s an essential asshole to tell this story because he’s been burnt so many times I don’t think people understand what Lynn’s problem is. Why he doesn’t return calls, that’s what infuriates Dewayne. You know, I’ve been through it myself with him. We’ve been through knock … But let me tell you something, Lynn has done everything legally correct. He’s been blocked at every step of the way by the courts and prosecutorial misconduct. You’re gonna find, like, what his frustration is in the case because of a connection that Dewayne and I will get into with you later on it. There was, he’s not afraid or anything, but it has to do with some of his family. You’ll understand as you talk with him on that.  

Wayne Williams: But the main thing is, Lynn will be able to make available to you things like the court transcripts and he’ll be able to tell you what went on behind the scenes, you know. He’ll be able to tell you what the Supreme Court Justice told us before he died about the call he got from the Vice President of the United States. You know during the original Georgia Supreme Court thing. He’ll be able to tell you what happened on the DNA test that when they went back in 2009, to test the two blood samples we had and went back and the very next day the state crime labs said, “Oh, we lost that overnight.” You’ll get all of that. 

Payne Lindsey: Yeah. 

Wayne Williams: Go ahead and pay that man a visit. Don’t wait on me. Because he’s heard of you, we talked about it, but you know where Lynn is. Go ahead and see him, but like I say, don’t get frustrated with him. When he talks crazy, talk crazy right back. This is what he- 

Operator: Thank you for using Securis. Good bye. 

Payne Lindsey: In a matter of just a few minutes, Wayne had made some pretty big claims about this case. From involvement from the Vice President, to lost evidence. I had to talk to his attorney, Lynn Whatley.  

Lynn Whatley: Hello, this is Lynn Whatley. Please leave your message at the sound of the tone. Thank you.  

Operator: At the tone, please record your message. When you’ve finished recording, you may hang up or press 1 for more options.  

Payne Lindsey: No matter how many times I tried to call Wayne’s attorney, Lynn Whatley, I never got an answer. Finally, he responded to one of my texts and told me he was completely busy for the foreseeable future. Wayne said he would talk to me and that he would provide me with all of the information I needed to see his side of the story clearly. But apparently Lynn didn’t have the time to talk. In fact, he seemed to be actively avoiding me. The next person I contact, per Wayne’s request, was Tracy, Anthony Spencer’s mom. Wayne’s cell mate. I wanted to know more about the person Wayne’s been living with the past few years. Especially given how highly Wayne spoke of him.  

Tracy McCain: Anthony Spencer, he is my oldest son. He’s been a good kid all his life. Never in any trouble in school, not a reprimand or anything. Everybody loves Anthony. His goodness, his heart. He’s a good person. And when the incident happened, he went to jail. Everyone was in disbelief. So I said, “Okay. You know, let me have a fish fry, let me try to raise some money to do something. Maybe a lawyer.” You know. So I went and bought all this fish and I sold $600.00 worth of fish in two hours. 

Payne Lindsey: That’s a lot of fish. 

Tracy McCain: That’s a lot of fish. But they came to support him, you know. He’s a really good person. Some of his friends had planned a armed robbery. A robbery. To rob the Chinese delivery man. 

Payne Lindsey: From what his mom told me, Anthony was likely at the wrong place at the wrong time. He wasn’t part of the plan, but he was there. Besides that, I knew very few details about the incident.  

Tracy McCain: But the judge said at the end of the trial that he didn’t want to sentence Anthony to 10 years. He knew that he didn’t deserve that. Judge said it was, I felt it, it was heartfelt. He didn’t want to do that, but he said, by law he had to. He had no choice. Anthony’s in Telfair Prison. He started off in Waycross, and then he went to Valdosta and now he’s in Telfair. Anthony has been in prison this summer, seven years.  

Payne Lindsey: How’s that been?  

Tracy McCain: It’s rough. I have a 10 year old and Anthony spent so much time with him, and it hurts me to see them hurt, you know? ‘Cause they miss their sibling. Yeah, it’s rough. You know, I feel like he should be out here. He made a mistake. But he should be out here living his life. He doesn’t know how to drive. I don’t even know if he’s ever even had sex. You know, nothing, he hasn’t even begin to live his life. Anthony does the newsletter in prison and since he’s been at Telfair, he met Wayne and I think that helps to have someone that you can communicate with that’s there and that really understands what’s going on. Opposed to me really understanding what prison life was like. You know when Anthony first emailed me and told me that he met Wayne Williams, I was like, “What? Boy, who? Stay away from him. Do you know who that is?” He was like, “Yeah Ma.” I said, “Boy, that is accused Atlanta Child Murderer.” I said, “Now I don’t think he killed them kids, but I don’t know what Wayne been doing. Stay away from his ass.” You know, exactly what I told him. 

Tracy McCain: And he was like kind of distraught. You know, like, “Oh.” And then he kept coming at me with it. “Well this person is gonna call you and this person and this person gonna call you.” And I’m looking at the email like, “Pshh, whatever.” You know? Recently, probably about a month or so ago, and I could just hear in his voice how much his attitude and his spirit had lifted, you know and I started listening to him. I said, “This really means something to him.” You know, I can’t tell him what to believe and what to think. That’s only for me to do for myself.  

Tracy McCain: Wayne, to me, sounds like he gives him good advice. And I just hope their relationship is a good relationship. You know, like I said, I don’t know too much about Wayne personally. But I spoke with Wayne a few weeks ago and I was like, “Huh? Wayne Williams?” So I called my daughter, I said, “Guess what? I just got off the phone with Wayne Williams. Oh my god!” You know? And she was like, “What, Mom?” And I was like, “Yes.” I was like, “I can’t believe this.” And I called all my sisters, you know. It was like meeting, he’s a icon. I mean, it’s like that was something. It’s deep. You know, and I’m not into celebrities. I’m just not, because they don’t do nothing for me. But to actually speak to Wayne Williams and know from doing the little research that I’ve done on him, which didn’t tell me too much, he’s a very intelligent guy. Very intelligent. I was just excited. 

Payne Lindsey: You said he was like a icon, right? 

Tracy McCain: Yeah. 

Payne Lindsey: What do you think he represents? 

Tracy McCain: I don’t know exactly what he represents. He represents his self. And I know he’s been advocating to get out of there and like everybody else, he just wants to live his life, but he’s, I think he’s a good person. I think he probably was just a scapegoat and he seemed kind of weird, you know, from when I look at the films and stuff back in the day. Like a little nerdy type.  

Payne Lindsey: Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

Tracy McCain: You know, but he was smart. Smart. I know he was into electronics and radio. You know, but it’s not like he kept to his self back then, you know? It’s sad, but I don’t know. I really don’t know what he represents. I don’t know what he represents. I talked to him, that was that brief five minute conversation. 

Payne Lindsey: What he’d say to you? 

Tracy McCain: He just told me, called me, addressed me, “Ms. McCain.” And told me who he was and then he proceeded to talk about Anthony and how bright and intelligent he really thinks he is and he’s talented. You know, he told me how talented he is and he said he has his lawyer helping with Anthony’s case. And he said he didn’t want anything. He just want us to advocate for him. 

Payne Lindsey: In what way? 

Tracy McCain: I’m assuming like, his story, or whatever he’s trying to convey to the outside world, that he wants us to grab a hold of that and help convey the message. Because everybody doesn’t listen to podcasts. Like I said, I didn’t even know what a podcast was, you know, and that’s all he asked in return. 

Payne Lindsey: As a mother, is there any part of you that has any sort of fear or a sense of uneasiness that Anthony’s cell mate was accused of doing something like that? 

Tracy McCain: I don’t think, because I know, I don’t think he done it. I don’t think he did anything. My fear was for like five years, was that something would happen to my son.  

Payne Lindsey: Inside prison. 

Tracy McCain: Inside prison. That was my biggest fear. 

Payne Lindsey: Yeah. 

Tracy McCain: You know, I just prayed for him. You know that he comes out of this thing unscathed. 

Payne Lindsey: Yeah. 

Tracy McCain: And in his right mind. 

Payne Lindsey: Yeah. 

Tracy McCain: You know to be, become a productive citizen outside those wall. And now I’m just like, I’m smiling every day because I know it’s, now we’re on countdown. I’m just ready for my son to get busy, get to work, live his life. Find a nice lady, get married, have me some grandbabies. What more could you ask for? You know, and I can fatten him up and feed him everything and bake him everything. You know, hey, I’m just ready for him to come home. 

Payne Lindsey: Of course, Tracy isn’t the only one who’s unsure about Wayne’s conviction. After meeting Tracy, I spoke to another family member of a victim. Jeffrey Mathis’ cousin, Mel. Growing up, Mel saw firsthand what Jeffrey’s murder did to his family emotionally. And he told me his entire family doubts they’ll ever get closure. 

Payne Lindsey: What can you tell us about Jeffrey? 

Mel: Jeffrey, you know, he was a very good kid. He was very, amenable, smart. He was playful, liked to go to the stores and stuff and make pocket money and stuff. He was a very good kid and the night he went missing, his mother sent him to the store to run a errand for her. And he was taking so long to come back so she sent his oldest brothers to go look for him, and he never did return. And it was over 11 months before they found him. 

Payne Lindsey: What does your family think about what happened to him? 

Mel: All that we know is that he just, back in 1980 he went to the store, and he never did return. So far as us ever knowing what really happened to him? Probably never gonna know. 

Payne Lindsey: Do you think Wayne Williams is involved in his murder?  

Mel: Mmm. No. I never did think that.  

Payne Lindsey: Why not? 

Mel: Well, it’s, I couldn’t really see him as really being anyone to hurt anybody. He was just too much of like a intelligent, whiz, kind of like guy and he wanted to be like known into the media. You know, kind of a big entrepreneur guy. And I just couldn’t see him even hurting anybody. He just didn’t look that energetic enough, to me he didn’t. But I don’t know. If he is guilty of some of the murders, you know, I would just hope for them to just say, “Well we just gonna go after him for those and then bring the right other killers to justice for the rest of these cases.” And just properly prosecute them. My family has just been through hell and like chaotic mess, not knowing what happened. And we don’t know anything. 

Mel: They had to get it over with. They had to get it over with. And it was just like, when they solved the case, it’s like the world just stopped listening. We just really want to know what happened and why. That’s about it. We just want to just get closure. 

Payne Lindsey: And what’s it gonna take? 

Mel: Well, it’s gonna take the right people at the right time to come along and say, “Well, let me try to right this wrong. Just give these families closure, because they need it.”  

Payne Lindsey: If there were so many people like Mel and Anthony’s mom, who aren’t convinced of Wayne’s guilt and the only evidence of his involvement was trace fiber evidence, how was he in jail? Well, the FBI profilers played a huge part in that. At the time of the Atlanta Child Murders, FBI profiling was pretty new practice. I asked McComas and Popcorn for more detail about the profile that was made prior to Wayne Williams arrest. And I have to admit, it was eerily accurate.  

Mike McComas: Our profilers, John Douglas being one of them, had given us 21 points that we could look for that this guy would resemble and one of them was is that he would be very conscious of the news media and also John said he would be driving a white car, which he was. He said he’d be an only child, which he was. I think out of the 21 points, he hit about 20 of them. It was spooky. Yeah, it’s an amazing science which I’ve never understood, but we had two guys that were the best in the world at that time at it. In my layman’s terms, I think he’s a sociopath and I think he exhibits all the characteristics. 

Jim Procopio: Based on the profile, it basically is going to be a black male, released from prison, arrested for a minor traffic infraction. Impersonated a police officer. And we got a list of 3,000 names and damned if Wayne Williams name wasn’t on that list. We eventually would have sent two agents out to interview him. Wayne was on that list, because he had been arrested for, of all things, impersonating a police officer. We’re expecting a guy with one eye in the middle of his forehead and horns. We’re expecting the devil himself and what we got was, “Who is this guy?” Small, not very threatening at all, “Who is this guy?” “That’s Wayne Williams.” “Get him out of here. Get him the hell out of here, he’s not the killer.” Because he comes across as a nerd. 

Payne Lindsey: Let’s refer back to Jasper and Eric Cameron. They grew up in west Atlanta, during the 1980s. What did they think when Wayne Williams turned out to be the boogie man, according to the news? 

Eric Cameron: He’s like the picture. He’s like the poster child for the Atlanta Missing and Murdered kids, you get what I’m saying now? Like that’s when they say the Missing and Murdered Kids, that’s the first thing I think about, Wayne Williams. That was the boogie man of Atlanta. Like, they show us this picture of him, and you know, we be judgemental, you know? He looked like, yeah. You know, he had the glasses, and he looked like he could do some shit like that. You know how people be judgemental you know, really, but it was, it was kind of hard to believe. Honestly, I think he could have done some things. But I don’t think he killed all those kids. 

Eric Cameron: You know, my whole thing was, at the time, it was like a lot of racial stuff going on. And I think at the time, they didn’t want it to be something that would separate the city racially. You know they didn’t want to find out it was some white guys or the Klan or something. You know, they didn’t want that because they knew what would happen.  

Jasper Cameron: Kind of like what’s going on now with the Trump thing. Like, divisive.  

Eric Cameron: It would be so divisive. 

Jasper Cameron: Yeah. Anything that divide people, you could bring in confusion and really to tear apart everything.  

Eric Cameron: We like, “The police say he did it. He did it.” You know, you believe the police. I mean, at least you want to believe the police.  

Jasper Cameron: Back then though, you looked at police officers as your safety net. You know, certain people had a bad experience with a cop, but for the most part, you looked at Police as like, they’re here to protect and look out for us and make sure we’re okay. Today, to be honest with you, it’s so much information, good or bad, that … How can I say this? It’s always a beautiful thing, but sometimes with everything being so open, I don’t know if that’s good. Because it desensitize people. The way it is now, man, the world just so desensitized man. Like you’ll get more attention now from going up to somebody and taping and recording slapping them on the street, than really helping them. 

Eric Cameron: Back in the day, you see something happening, you would help. Now, the first thing you hear somebody holler, “World Star!” You know. 

Jasper Cameron: Nah, for real! 

Eric Cameron: It’s like tragic shit going on and somebody hollering “World Star!” Like really now, you don’t look at the police the same. Like. 

Jasper Cameron: Yeah, people don’t look at them the same. 

Eric Cameron: They don’t look at them the same, for whatever reason. You know, it’s kind of like, they, it’s the police. “Eh, I don’t know. You know I can’t really, let me see. Let’s look at the evidence.”  

Jasper Cameron: Yeah. 

Eric Cameron: You know, “Let’s dissect the evidence.” You know everybody a forensic scientist, all these shows on TV now and all of this. “Let’s check the evidence.” 

Payne Lindsey: I began asking Wayne for some hard evidence. I needed names, stories and leads to follow up on, or else I couldn’t even tell the story he was painting for me. Jasper and Eric were right. In times of doubt, you have to go back to the evidence. And unfortunately, there’s not too much to go off of in this case. But Wayne promised me that he had big things to share. Things that would shake the foundation of his conviction.  

Wayne Williams: You’re gonna get to hear from Sidney Dorsey, who was the ex, he was one of the persons responsible for putting me in prison. Now he wants to tell the story about the witnesses he paid and why he did what he did. I’m not into theories, I’m into facts and what I’m saying is there’s some facts that we have from an investigative point of view from the inside of the case, that have never been revealed publicly. These are the types of things that I want to put out and let people come to their own conclusion on. You’re gonna hear from a number of people who were involved in this case who didn’t necessarily come forward and they’ll explain to you their reasons and all on this. You’re gonna have an abundance of people that are going to say, “Okay, well let me show you this.” That’s what’s gonna happen. 

Wayne Williams: And you’re gonna find out all of what happened behind the scenes on this. It’ll be one of the biggest stories you’ve ever done, I promise you that. Once you hear their stories, you’re gonna say, “Oh my gosh.” You’re gonna really understand this story. 

Payne Lindsey: But it was hard to get the details out of him.  

Wayne Williams: You’re gonna find out about all of that. You’re gonna get all of it. You’re gonna get all of it. You’re gonna get that. We’re gonna get all of that for you. You’re gonna get the whole deal. All of this is gonna open up. You’re gonna have more than enough background on that. I’m gonna definitely talk about that. You aren’t gonna believe it, it’s incredible. These are things that you’re gonna learn as we talk. All of this you’re gonna get. All of that. You’re gonna get all the, trust me, you’re gonna get all of that. You’re gonna get the whole details. We got a lot to talk about man. But believe me, you’re gonna get it all. You’re gonna get that. You’re gonna get all of that. Don’t, don’t worry about it. That’s gonna come. 

Payne Lindsey: Over time, I picked up on some of Wayne’s stories and began looking into them. The next thing Wayne brought up was physical evidence that linked some of the victims to other suspicious groups.  

Wayne Williams: Over, I think it’s several thousand fingerprints that they took in this case. There is not a single fingerprint … The victims had … If you’re saying 20 or 30, however many it was, we don’t even know. If you’re saying these folks had association with Wayne Williams or his environment, surely there would have been some forensic evidence or fingerprint from some of the victims in the house, car, something of mine. Nothing. Do you understand what I’m saying? This was a true witch hunt. So, you … And we want to attack the witnesses that lied and why they lied, under this right here. Because they were trying to get a half million dollar reward. 

Payne Lindsey: Wayne seemed to be right about this. The fiber evidence at least. A Washington Post article from 1982 quotes crime lab micro-analyst, Larry Peterson, who worked this case and stood behind the fiber evidence. He’s quoted saying, “We didn’t have any bullets or fingerprints. Only what we got off the bodies.” 

Wayne Williams: You’re saying you’ve got groups of killings, some of them were unrelated to others, they just happened at the same time. 

Dewayne Hendrix: Right. 

Wayne Williams: You’ve got 6 to 8 cases that we know that white supremacists were involved in. We know this for a fact, including certain physical evidence. Caucasian fibers you’ve never heard about. We’ve known for a fact in 6 of those murders, we know this for a fact based not just on the assumption, but based on the physical and biological evidence to finding Caucasian fibers in addition to witnessed. In other words, from the scientific evidence, we know this for a fact. But I don’t want it to be put out where the KKK did all the Atlanta Murders. Oh, no, no, no, we’re only saying we know they did six. 

Payne Lindsey: According to FBI records, two Caucasian head fibers were found on the body of Charles Stephens. But it didn’t seem to be a recurring pattern, from what I could find at least. And then, Wayne brought up a homosexual ring.  

Wayne Williams: We know that another six cases were involving a homosexual ring going on in Atlanta. A black homosexual ring.  

News Reporter 1: It’s been learned that investigators have now found this man, Tom Terrell and questioned him today about his role in some type of homosexual ring operated out of this home in northwest Atlanta. That ring apparently involved the latest child victim, Timothy Hill, and through recent findings may have linked together several other children on the task force list. 

Payne Lindsey: I read about this man Tom Terrell in my research and he did seem like a pretty suspicious and potentially dangerous man. Tom Terrel owned two houses on Gray Street. One that may have been a haven for pedophiles and sex offenders. And one that was his place of residence. A witness said that he’d had sex with one of the Atlanta Child Murder victims, Timothy Hill at one of Tom Terrell’s houses on Gray Street. He also claimed to have seen at least 10 other victims at the same house. 

News Reporter 1: Terrell knows this man, Larry Marshall, now in a Connecticut jail on armed robbery charges. Marshall is believed to have known at least three of the victims, Patrick Baltazar, Timothy Hill and Joseph Bell, who is still missing. Before his arrest, Marshall shared a house in west Atlanta with this man, Jerry Thornton. Thornton says police showed him pictures of the child victims and he recognized 10 of them. And Marshall is an acquaintance of Tom Terrell. Terrell lives in this house on Gray Street Northwest, where several of the victims are said to have spent some time. The house has also been linked to an alleged sex-for-hire ring involving young boys. Police have been watching the house and investigators have talked to Terrell a number of times. So far though, no one revolving around this homosexual ring has been arrested as a suspect. 

News Reporter 2: It’s not known what Tom Terrell has told police, or just how helpful Larry Marshall might be if he decides to cooperate. But even investigators who are skeptical about Marshall’s possible contributions to the case, say this sex ring is an important investigative theory certainly worth following up. 

News Reporter 1: These are members of Gay Dignity, homosexuals who don’t like what the media has been reporting the last few days. Those reports center around a possible sex ring that includes homosexual men, one of them being Marshall. Investigators know Marshall knew Timothy Hill and possibly other boys on the task force list. Hill and the others hung out here in the northwest Atlanta home owned by an admitted homosexual. Although there is no hard evidence, the task force is looking into the possibility that some type of sex ring may be involved in the killings. These gays think the word homosexual has been used too much. 

News clip: You know, they reemphasize homosexual in every adjective or nouns in most cases, when they’re talking about this incident, rather than just speaking the word sexual. As I’ve stated early in many cases when there’s rape and so involved, the headlines do not read, Heterosexual man, it reads Sexual Assault or something like that. But it does not read Heterosexual. And the word black, you know, another comparison. When it’s a person who is a criminal, they don’t refer to the person as a black man, or a yellow man or a Chinese man, they refer to them as a man.  

News Reporter 1: The gays already think they are stereotyped and that the latest theory involving homosexuals will do nothing to help the problem. They’re afraid that if it is a homosexual committing the crimes, then they all will be condemned, not just the one person. They have now offered to help the task force in any way hoping to stop the implications. 

Calinda Lee: Clearly homophobia was and continues to be rampant. People are not necessarily speaking candidly and freely about gay identity. There is a lot of incredibly inappropriate conflation with gayness and predatory behavior, and particularly with gayness and predatory behavior towards children. So it’s not a distant step for people who are thinking in that way to think, “Well certainly somebody who’s gay would be somebody might be a danger to children.” And et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Although there’s clearly no real evidence for such a connection.  

Calinda Lee: And so, that clearly seems to have had a role to play in how people were thinking, first of all, about the murders, thinking about the children. Thinking about the taboo around talking about how some of the children were assaulted. Not just because of a kind of respect for the victims, but also because of a sense of a soiling, of taintedness because of any kind of connection with homosexual activity. So like, all of that was a part of that conversation. And then you have these murders, clearly of young, black, gay men. Whether it’s part of this pattern or a separate issue. It’s hard for me to understand how the murders of these fully adult, albeit young men, feel the same as the murders of six and eight and nine year olds.  

Calinda Lee: But all of that serves together to further marginalize, vilify, shroud in secrecy and taboo and taint, the victims and to some extent, ultimately the man who’s accused of the murders. 

Monica Kaufman: During that time period, we were not looking at child trafficking the way we are now. We didn’t talk about child prostitution back then and how children could have been picked up and used for illicit means. During that time, very homophobic time too, people could not accept people for who they were. And every person who was a homosexual was considered to be a pedophile, which is not true. It was so disheartening to see that negativity that also was pointed at the gay community. But that was the time. Thanks to be to God we have grown. But that was really very frightening. That was never looked into as far as I know, by law enforcement. Sex trafficking. Not homosexuality, but sex trafficking. So you know, did they look into known pedophiles? I mean it could have been a pedophile who did this. 

Payne Lindsey: No matter how you slice it, Wayne became a suspect the night he was stopped on the bridge.  

Mike McComas: We had two people under both sides of the bridge. Police cadets, and of course, we kept them hidden out. Then in close proximity, we had a chase car on each side of the bridge and they too blended in so that they couldn’t be seen.  

Mike Tovey: And about 2: 00 or 3: 00 in the morning, they heard a huge splash.  

Jim Procopio: Woke up the two guys underneath the bridge. One of them who was a high school swimmer. He said, “That’s a body hitting the water.” And he looks up and he radios his friend across the bridge, “Is there a car on the bridge?” 

Mike Tovey: There was only one vehicle on that bridge.  

Jim Procopio: The guy says, “Yeah, it’s starting to move slowly.” 

Mike McComas: The car appeared to be just starting up again like it had been stopped and it was going two or three miles an hour, then across the bridge, circled around a convenience store. 

Jim Procopio: Pulls around right in front of a police car hiding in the bushes. And goes back up the highway toward 285. Well they chased him down. 

Mike Tovey: And as soon as he pulled off- 

Mike McComas: That’s when our cars tagged him. 

Mike Tovey: They got him. 

Payne Lindsey: There’s a lot of ambiguity about what actually happened that night. So I asked Wayne for his account. The officers Wayne mentioned in his account are Agent Greg Gilliland of the FBI, two rookie Atlanta Police Recruits, Officer Bob Campbell and Officer Freddy Jacobs, and Atlanta Police veteran Carl Holden. Allegedly the Recruit Officer Campbell was stationed under the bridge and officer Jacobs was stationed on the bridge, and Holden was in his car at a nearby liquor store. The James Jackson Parkway Bridge connects two counties, Fulton County and Cobb County. And apparently at the time of the incident, there was a liquor store on the Fulton County side. South Cobb Parkway, the route Wayne was apparently taking that night, goes over the Chattahoochee River. The Chattahoochee of course, is where bodies have been showing up. 

Wayne Williams: I hadn’t even gone to sleep. I had been up all week doing the pictures and so I was dead tired. I was coming from trying to find a address off the South Cobb Parkway. It turned out to be a fake address one of the auditions, we had that quite often. And the address was no good, so I was returning home. And as I came home, like I said, I went south on South Cobb Parkway, crossed the bridge and as I crossed the bridge, I turned into that gravel parking lot to my right. We usually turned, you know, turn on the lights, went through a number, turn back on road, proceeded about a quarter of a mile, and then what I identify as the liquor store is on the left. So I picked up some boxes there. Crossed the street, I made a call and turned back north, going back across the bridge to get on I-285. As I approached the bridge, I saw a car headlights come halfway in the road. He pulled back and let me pass and turned in behind me. 

Wayne Williams: It turned out that the headlights belonged to Carl Holden, the Atlanta Police officer who was parked beside the liquor store at the bridge. They followed me onto 285 before I was stopped. Campbell below the bridge, he says he heard a splash. This was the radio sequence, one one thousand, two one thousand, three. During this time, Campbell said he was asleep, he got up, he walked about 50 yards to the edge of the river, he shined his light on the water, he says he saw ripples. He said he looked up at the bridge, he looked back down at the river three times, then he said, “Freddy is there a car on the bridge? I just heard a splash.” 

Wayne Williams: Freddy says, “Yes, it’s coming towards me, I’ve gotta duck.” FBI Agent Gilliland, “Yeah, I’ve got it, he’s coming towards me.” Stops. That’s the timing sequence they testified to in court. There’s the contradiction. During that sequence, there’s no way any car could have been going south on the bridge turn into the gravel parking lot, and turn back north, that’s a absolute impossibility. That car of mine had to have been traveling north the entire time of the sequence. Bottom line is, there was no splash.  

Payne Lindsey: Next time, on Atlanta Monster:  Do you hear my voice? 

Paul: Not yet. So you have to go to the opposite side of the bridge. 

Tyler: So we have the rope with the clip that can clip onto Randy and then we have it clipped on this side, staked into the ground over here. 

Paul: So we want to get a camera on Payne as quick as possible. Then Cameron will have his camera up here.  

Donald: We’re good up here, we’re waiting on your call. 

Payne Lindsey: Good down here? 

Payne Lindsey: Action. 

Payne Lindsey: Atlanta Monster is an investigative podcast told week by week, with new episodes every Friday. A joint production between HowStuffWorks and Tenderfoot TV. Original music is by Makeup and Vanity Set. Audio archives, courtesy of WSB News, Film and Videotape collection, Brown Media Archives, University of Georgia Libraries. For the latest updates, please visit AtlantaMonster.com or follow us on social media. One last thing, we’ve set up an Atlanta Monster tip line. Anyone with information, leads, or personal accounts pertaining to the Atlanta Child Murders, can call us and leave a message. The number is 1-833-285-6667. Again, that’s 1-833-285-6667. Thanks for listening. 

Anthony Spencer: (Rapping). Yo. 


More Episodes

Episode 6

The Splash

Payne and the team gear up for a closer look at the so-called “bridge incident.”

Episode 7


Payne explores theories of Klan involvement within the case. 

Episode 8


What car did Wayne really drive? Where did the reward money go? And was Wayne scouted by the CIA? 

Season 1

Atlanta Monster

Its 1979, and Atlanta is a city on the rise. It finds itself neck-and-neck with Birmingham as the hub of the New South. It’s been branded, “the city too busy to hate.” But in the summer of ’79, two kids go missing: 14-year-old Edward Hope and 13-year-old Alfred Evans. Both male. Both black. They would later be found dead. Murdered.

Season 2

The Zodiac Killer

The second installment in the Monster franchise, ‘Monster: The Zodiac Killer’ dives into one of the most notorious, unsolved serial killing sprees in history. Despite sketches, cyphers and taunting letters to the press, the question still remains: who is the Zodiac?

Season 3

DC Sniper

DC Sniper reinvestigates the beltway sniper attacks. This true crime podcast places the listener in Montgomery County, Maryland on October 2nd, 2002 when an unidentified sniper began randomly killing people going about their daily lives.

Season 4

Le Monstre

In the 1980’s and 90’s a kidnapper and serial killer terrorized the country of Belgium. His unspeakable crimes had the nation on edge as he preyed on its most vulnerable. After law enforcement proved unable or unwilling to stop him, 400,000 Belgian citizens took to the streets to protest what they believed was a high ranking cover up and government conspiracy.