When Timothy Coggins chose to spend an evening at the People’s Choice bar in Griffin, Georgia, he had no idea of the tragedy that awaited him. Although he went missing that evening, it took the police two days to identify his mutilated body which was located in Sunny Side, Spalding County. Crime Junkies’ ‘Captured: Timothy Coggins Killer(s)’ chronicles the gruesome crime and shows how the prosecution was able to bring the perpetrators to justice about 34 years after the incident. If you are intrigued by this case and want to know where the perpetrators are at present, we have you covered!
How Did Timothy Coggins Die?
Timothy Coggins was 23-years-old at the time of his murder and resided with his family in Griffin, Georgia. He shared a strong bond with his loved ones and was especially close to his mother as well as his seven other siblings. People who knew Timothy described him as a kindhearted and down-to-earth young man who loved to help others and had high aspirations for his future. However, he had no idea that a harmless evening in a bar would lead to him losing his life.
On October 8, 1983, Timothy decided to spend the evening at the People’s Choice bar in Griffin, Georgia and was looking forward to a relaxing time. Interestingly, his friend, former Spalding County sheriff’s deputy Jesse Gates dropped him off at the bar. Moreover, while dropping Timothy off, Jesse noticed several white men loitering around the bar, which seemed suspicious. However, Jesse had no idea it would be the last time he saw Timothy as the 23-year-old disappeared soon after.
The police discovered Timothy’s body on October 9, 1983, in the Sunny Side neighborhood of Spalding County. According to the podcast, Sunny Side was a majorly white area, and police were quite surprised to find a black victim in that area. Moreover, from the looks of it, Timothy was tortured and beaten mercilessly before being murdered as he was stabbed multiple times. The attackers even carved a symbol in his abdomen, which looked like the Confederate battle flag. Later, an autopsy determined that the stab wounds led to Timothy’s death.
Who Killed Timothy Coggins?
Unfortunately, the investigation into Timothy’s murder proved extremely challenging as the police had no leads or witnesses to work with. Authorities searched the crime scene meticulously and even canvassed the local areas but to no avail. Even Timothy’s family and friends were at a loss since they had no idea why anyone would hurt such a peaceful soul. Besides, even though the nature of the murder made it look like a hate crime, there was nothing to lead the police towards a possible suspect.
Even though local law enforcement officers were bombarded with quite a few tips during the initial investigation, all of them turned out to be dead ends, and detectives found themselves back on square one. Without any progress on the case, the investigation remained dormant for years and soon turned into a cold case. In fact, the podcast mentioned that even Timothy’s family had given up on their hopes for closure and had no idea if his murderer would ever be punished. However, the case was picked back up by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in 2016.
Special Agent Jared Coleman was tasked with finding the murderer. Upon being handed the case, Jared went through the evidence files and decided to interview everyone associated with the murder. He received his first breakthrough when Franklin Gebhardt and his brother-in-law, William “Bill” Moore Sr., confessed to killing a black man. According to the podcast, Franklin and William were both behind bars when they confessed to a fellow inmate who informed the police.
From there, the investigation proved pretty straightforward, as other witnesses came forward, and the police soon gathered enough evidence to arrest Franklin and William. Additionally, Franklin’s sister, Sandra Bunn, and nephew, Lamar Bunn, were arrested for helping the accused run from the law, while another individual, Gregory Huffman, who was a detention officer, was arrested for obstruction of justice.
Where Are Franklin Gebhardt and William Moore Sr. Now?
When produced in court, Franklin was convicted of several charges, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and concealing the death of another. As a result, the judge sentenced him to life in prison along with an additional 30 years in 2018. On the other hand, in the same year, William pled guilty to concealing the death of another as well as voluntary manslaughter, which netted him 20 years in prison along with ten more years of probation.
Hence, Franklin remains incarcerated at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in unincorporated Butts County, Georgia. On the other hand, William passed away in October 2021 while spending his days at the Augusta State Medical Prison in Augusta, Georgia.