Whatever Happened To Convicted Killer Wayne Williams?

Convicted killer Wayne Williams is serving a life sentence at Georgia's Telfair State Prison for two murders he was found guilty of committing in Atlanta in the early 1980s. But while Williams was convicted of the two killings in 1984, police suspect him of being the person who murdered 29 children and young adults in the city from 1979 to 1981 — the so-called "Atlanta Child murders" according to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

During those years, African-American boys from ages 7 to 17 vanished at such a regular rate — only to be found dead weeks and months later tucked away in various parts of the city — that parents stopped letting their kids play outside and others stopped sending their kids to school, per the New York Times, who reported the city even implemented a curfew while the killer was at large. 

Williams has always maintained his innocence, though the child murders did stop once he was behind bars. But that doesn't prove anything. What does prove things is DNA, and in 2019, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the case would be re-opened so that investigators could apply DNA technology to the evidence from the case to see if anything new can be determined, according to the City of Atlanta Police Department

According to the AJC, Williams said in a statement, "I stand fully ready and willing to cooperate with any renewed investigation to find the truth on what happened with the purpose of straightening up any lies and misconceptions of my unjust convictions." 

While lengthy DNA testing is carried out, Williams will remain in prison

While Williams hopes the DNA tests will exonerate him, one DNA test done in 2010 on scalp hairs found on an 11-year-old victim, Patrick Baltazar, did not exactly prove Williams' innocence. 

CNN reported that year that the scalp hairs had the same type of DNA sequence as Williams' hair, but it also matched roughly 2% of the world population's DNA sequence. What's more, is that the type of DNA testing done was not the most conclusive. Because the hairs were only partial, scientists only did a mitochondrial DNA test, which only traces the maternal line, giving an incomplete DNA result. Nucleic DNA testing is required — which includes the father's lineage — in order to be fully conclusive. 

 As per the new DNA testing, Reporter Newspapers reported on January 21 of this year that the Atlanta Police Department said they planned to start "hand-carrying [evidence] for DNA analysis within the next 60 days."

APD spokesperson Officer Steve Avery said in a written statement, (via Reporter Newspapers) "The cases are being actively investigated and this work requires meticulous and time-consuming effort to sort through evidence that is decades old ...The public should not expect results anytime soon ... Once submitted, there is no estimated time for the results to be returned from the lab, but it is likely to take months," Avery said.