A Black Georgia man killed in 1983 was murdered for socializing with a white woman.
The case of 23-year-old Timothy Coggins was long believed to be racially-motivated, but the case went cold for 34 years. However, recent evidence brought new life to the case and led to the arrests of Frank Gebhardt, 59, and William Moore, 58, who on Wednesday during their bond hearing were accused of brutally stabbing Coggins.
“The murder of Timothy Coggins was due to Coggins socializing with a white female and that Coggins had been stabbed multiple times and drug behind a truck by Franklin Gebhardt and William Moore Sr.,” Spalding County District Attorney Benjamin Coker told the court, according to CNN affiliate WSB-TV.
Three other people were arrested in connection with the case for obstructing the investigation at the time of the murder, including two individuals who were in law enforcement at the time.
Last month, Coggin’s niece, Heather Coggins, recalled to CNN that her uncle often hung out with white people, which might have made him a target. She said that Wednesday’s hearing felt strange, because she could hardly believe it was happening after all these years.
“It was very difficult hearing some of the things today, and seeing the defendants was very difficult as well. It’s the first time we’ve had a chance to see them up close and personal,” she said. “When are we going to wake up? This seems like a movie, as if we’re watching it on Lifetime. It definitely doesn’t feel like something that we are going through as a family, but it is real.”