GBI: Timothy Coggins sustained dozens of stab, slash wounds and lacerations; was drug behind vehicle

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Frankie Gebhardt and William Moore Sr. will stand trial in the brutal 1983 murder of Timothy Coggins. Authorities say the crime was racially motivated.


Sworn testimony given in the Thursday morning preliminary hearing of Frankie Gebhardt and William “Bill” Moore Sr. provided graphic details of the 1983 murder of Timothy Coggins, a crime authorities say was racially motivated.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Jared Coleman testified that Coggins sustained numerous horrific wounds at the hands of Gebhardt and Moore.

“There was a total of 29 inflicted injuries plus the two teeth being knocked out,” Coleman said. “Five lacerations, 17 stab wounds and six slicing wounds consistent with defensive injuries.”

Coleman described in detail wounds to Coggins’ face, neck, chest, abdomen, legs and back.

He also said Coggins was partially undressed, wearing only blue jeans that had been pulled down around his knees.

Also detailed were statements provided in interviews conducted over the years with individuals reporting to have knowledge of the crime.

One such alleged witness is Christopher Vaughn, who Coleman said was interviewed three or four times.

“He was approximately 10-years-old at the time (of the incident) and used to hang out around Mr. Gebhartd. He was with Mr. Gebhardt at a party and Gebhardt admitted that he and William Moore Sr. had taken Mr. Coggins to a power line off of Minter Road and stabbed him 28 to 32 times. Mr. Gebhardt stated that Mr. Coggins had been messing around with his old lady. Old lady is usually a term for your partner or significant other. Mr. Gebhardt further discussed that a metal chain was attached to Mr. Coggins’ body and attached to the back of a pickup truck belonging to Mr. Moore, and that Mr. Coggins was drug into the wood line behind the truck,” Coleman said. “On another occasion, Mr. Vaughn was in the presence of Mr. Gebhardt, again, Mr. Gebhardt told Mr. Vaughn he’d killed Mr. Coggins. Mr. Vaughn observed Mr. Gebhardt in an argument with another man where Mr. Gebhardt made the statement, ‘I got away with it once.’ And again, Mr. Gebhardt confided that Coggins was murdered, drug behind the truck and that his body was stabbed again after being drug.”

Spalding County Senior Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder asked Coleman if he had been able to identify any media reports of this crime from 1983, and Coleman said he had located one newspaper article, and that it did not reveal any details of Coggins injuries or that it was believed he had been dragged behind a vehicle.

On another occasion, again, Mr. Gebhardt was in an argument with a man and Mr. Gebhardt threatened the man that he would kill that man like he did down the road.
Coleman then explained that in 1983, Gebhardt lived down the street from the scene of Coggins’ murder.

He also testified that Vaughn reported Gebhardt confided he disposed of the knife used to kill Coggins in a well on his property.

Coleman said the location of three wells was discovered, but the well in question was located too close to the residence, and that had it been excavated, the structure would have likely sustained significant damage.

Another witness – a former co-worker of Gebhardt and Moore – reported that both defendants “would brag about killing Mr. Coggins and dragging him down the road.”

The witness said Gebhardt and Moore both referred to something having occurred between Coggins and a white woman.

Coleman said a white woman was interviewed in 1983, and she stated she and Coggins had danced together at the People’s Choice Club.

According to Coleman, other statements reported that Coggins was murdered as a result of a drug deal with Gebhardt.

Another witness was cited reporting that at one time, while conversing with Gebhardt and Moore – that Moore, while intoxicated – said “he missed the good old days when you could kill a black man for no reason.”

Coleman said another witness alleged Moore stated he had stabbed and killed Coggins, and that if he was arrested as a result of Gebhardt “running his mouth,” that he would kill him in jail.

The GBI agent also testified that one of Gebhardt’s girlfriends recounted two statements that defendant allegedly made – claiming Gebhardt would threaten her that, “if she kept on, she was going to wind up like the n-word in the ditch,” and also that he would threaten her by saying, “You will make me drag you down the road like we drug the n-word down the road.”

Coleman testified that investigators were able to determine the murder was racially motivated.

Asked by Broder if he believes they are ashamed of what they did, Coleman responded, “You mean the defendants? No, they were proud of what they had done.”

He later stated, “Based on all of the interviews, they felt they were doing the right thing, almost like they were protecting the white race from black people.”

Spalding County Chief Magistrate Judge Rita Cavanaugh ruled the state had presented probable cause for the cases to be bound over to Superior Court for trial. Both defendants will stand trial on charges of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and concealing the death of another.

Also present for the Thursday morning preliminary hearing was Sandra Bunn, who has been charged with obstructing the investigation into Coggins’ murder.

At numerous points during Coleman’s testimony, Bunn was witnessed laughing.


Frankie Gebhardt and William Moore Sr., the two men charged with the 1983 murder of Timothy Coggins, were on Thursday morning bound over to stand trial in Spalding County Superior Court.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Jared Coleman was the lone witness in the preliminary hearing held before Chief Spalding County Magistrate Court Judge Rita Cavanaugh.

Gebhardt and Moore Sr. were arrested earlier this year, and Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ben Coker is hopeful their trials will be heard in the summer of 2018.

The GRIP will post a detailed article of today’s preliminary hearing later today.


  1. Chris Vaughn is a child molestor. The guy is only testifying to get time off his 50 year sentence. I was in jail with the dude, I know. What I didn’t know is what Chris was charged with and to think the state is gonna give that kind of scum years off his sentence to “testify.” How desperate is this crooked county?

  2. Heather Stowe says:

    Sick and twisted they will get what they deserve on judgement day

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