Past catches up with 2 men accused of dragging black man to death in 1983

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Timothy Coggins was found dead on Oct. 9, 1983, in a grassy area near a power line along Highway 19, roughly 30 miles southeast of Atlanta. The 23-year-old was stabbed 29 times and two of his teeth were knocked out after he was dragged behind a truck, bound by a chain, Spalding County prosecutor Marie Broder said in court Thursday. 

William Moore Sr. and Frank Gebhardt were arrested and charged with murder last month based on their claims to friends and family and witnesses who spotted them with Coggins the night he disappeared. One witness overheard Moore say he “missed the good ol’ days when you could kill a black man for no reason,” testified GBI Special Agent Jared Coleman, who said the slaying was racially motivated. 

Murder suspect Frank Gebhardt enters a courtroom before the start of a preliminary hearing in Spalding County, Georgia Thursday, November 30, 2017. Gebhardt is also charged with killing Timothy Coggins in 1983. 
Photo: Alyssa Pointer/ AJC

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Three others, including two members of law enforcement, face charges of helping Moore and Gebhardt avoid prosecution. Moore and Gebhardt are charged with malice murder and felony murder, among other counts. Their case will go before a grand jury Dec. 5. 

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