Published On: Sat, Oct 14th, 2017

Cold Case: Two arrested for 1983 murder of Timothy Coggins, three others linked to cover-up

Police have arrested five people in west-central Georgia, in connection to the 1983 death of a 23-year-old black man in a case which involved a deep cover-up.

Frankie Gebhardt, 59, and Bill Moore Sr., 58, were charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and concealing the body of Timothy Coggins. Coggins was found dead on October 9, 1983 on a power line after suffering multiple forms of trauma.

On Friday, Spalding County, Ga., Sheriff Darrell Dix announced the charges, including against two people who worked in law enforcement and allegedly helped to cover up the deed.

“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,” said Dix, according to WSB-TV.

Lamar Bunn, a Milner Police Department employee, and Sandra Bunn, 58, were charged with obstruction. Gregory Huffman, a detention officer with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, was charged with obstruction and violation of oath of office.

Huffman was fired from the sheriff’s office Friday morning.

A new witness came forward earlier this year, which led to a re-examination of the case. The sheriff said recent media coverage helped witnesses, who said they had been once threatened 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.

Coggins’ family thanked the current sheriff and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for taking another look at this case.

“We have always wanted justice, held out for justice, and knew that we would have justice,” said Coggins’ niece, Heather Coggins. “The only unfortunate part in this is that our grandparents, Timothy Coggins’ parents, are not able to see this today.”


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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco


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