Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Carlton Gary: The Columbus, Georgia Stocking Strangler

A Ghost with a Name

Carlton Gary may well be one of the most slippery criminals ever. On April 30, 1984, the police almost caught him. The Lincoln was found at an apartment complex and police moved in but Gary had spotted their light and fled out the back door. He was naked and holding his clothes.

Carlton Gary
Carlton Gary
Within days, the police raided a room and found three of his robbery and cocaine accomplices but no Carlton Gary. The most wanted and dangerous man in Georgia was still wanted, dangerous, and free.

On the early morning of May 3, 1984, acting on a tip, a S.W.A.T. team went to a Holiday Inn in Albany, Georgia. Carlton Gary was in a room with a woman. When that woman came out of that room to go to an ice machine, S.W.A.T. members asked her to come to a room for questioning. She agreed to cooperate with authorities and told them that Gary had a gun on the nightstand.

Trying to decoy him into opening the door, she went back to it and knocked but ran away before he answered it. Gary opened the door, saw the police, and tried to shut it but officers kept it open with their shoulders. Then the team swarmed into the room and captured him.

Extreme wickedness; is something that is hard for normal people to fathom. It is somehow mind-boggling that a vicious, serial rapist and murderer is a human being made of flesh and blood. A detective riding in the back seat with Carlton Gary on the way to police headquarters commented on the sense of unreality he felt. "He had been a ghost," the officer recalled. "Now I was sitting in the back seat with him. He was a human being. A couple of times I leaned over and brushed against him just to see if he was real."

True to his pattern, Gary confessed to having been at the homes of the Wynnton area victims but denied raping or murdering them. His accomplice, Malvin Alamichael Crittendon had done that. "I did the burglaries," Gary explained, "and Michael killed the old ladies."

Crittendon existed and was located by the police. He denied taking part in the Stocking Stranglings and police could find no evidence to connect him to them.

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