Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Carlton Gary: The Columbus, Georgia Stocking Strangler


Being on the jury was something of an ordeal. The notoriety of it led to their being sequestered. Their mail, newspapers, magazines, and all other contact with the outside world were heavily censored. Their conditions were difficult and the jurors chafed under the restrictions. "It was awful being locked up for such a long time," Childers said. "It's like you're a criminal or something. It's a real strange experience for a free person to be locked up like that. They treated us well but it was like being in jail."

T.H. Askins was a worker at the Dundee Mill Bleachery when he was chosen as a Gary juror. The mill would not pay Askins for the time he was not there and the $25-a-day juror fee was not as much as he could have earned. However, he understands the concept of civic responsibility. "That's OK," he commented on the financial loss. "I knew it was my duty." All in all, he said, the time he spent as a sequestered juror was "pretty miserable."

Perhaps the most heartrending testimony came from one of the victims who had survived an attack. Jean Frost was now 64. When she had been 55, she had been robbed, beaten, raped so viciously her vagina had copiously bled, strangled and left for dead. She told the story of her attack and was followed by a detective who told how Gary's fingerprints had been found in her home. He also testified that Gary had confessed to the robbery but pinned the physical assault on another man.

That other man came into court to testify to the time he had spent behind bars because of Gary's false accusation.

After the prosecution rested, the defense called Jerome Livas, who had confessed to the Stocking Stranglings (among many other crimes) to the stand. They also called officers involved in the investigation in an attempt to suggest, as Jordan wrote, "that police had molded the evidence to fit Gary."

August "Bud" Siemon III (left) and Carlton Gary in court

The jury convicted him on all nine counts of which he was charged. The punishment for the three first-degree murders could be either life imprisonment or death. They sentenced him to death.

As is typical in death penalty cases, Carlton Gary's has been appealed many times. Execution dates have been set and stays issued. This clever, twisted, cruel man remains on Death Row as of this writing.

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