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1983 Lynching Case of Black Man Finally Nears an End as Accussers Are Tried

Clockwise from left to right; Gregory Huffman, Bill Moore Sr., Frankie Gebhardt, Sandra Bunn, and Lamar Bunn. (Collage by NBC News/Images courtesy of Spalding County Sheriff’s Office)

GRIFFIN, Ga. (AP) — A white Georgia man has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison in what prosecutors have said was the racially motivated slaying of a black man in 1983.

News outlets report a jury on Tuesday convicted Frank Gebhardt on charges including murder. Witnesses said Timothy Coggins was stabbed 30 times and dragged behind a pickup in a killing driven by racial hatred.

Judge Fletcher Sams immediately sentenced Gebhardt to life plus 20 years in prison.

Coggins’ body was found in Spalding County on Oct. 5, 1983. Prosecutors have said Coggins was killed because he was dating a white woman. The case remained unsolved for decades.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the jury deliberated for about six hours.

Another defendant, Bill Moore Sr., will be tried later.

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