Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Carlton Gary: The Columbus, Georgia Stocking Strangler

The Wrong Guy

What about his confession to the Jackson and Dimenstien killings? It turned out that Livas was one of those criminals who was willing to confess to just about anything. He would soon sign a confession that he was the assassin of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and President William McKinley in 1901 and had been in the infamous Lindbergh baby kidnapping of 1932! Perhaps Livas figured he had nothing to lose. Or maybe he just thrived on the attention he could get by claiming guilt in other crimes. At any rate, he remained in jail but as a suspect in the rape and murder of Beatrice Brier only.

Martha Thurmond
Martha Thurmond
Martha Thurmond was a bespectacled 69-year-old woman with dark hair, a strong jaw, and thin lips. She had taught elementary school for nearly 20 years before her retirement. A widow, she lived alone and was deeply concerned about the rash of slayings in the city. She shared her fears with others in her demographic group of aging white females. "We just have to wait," she said, "and pray it won't be us next."

She had been expected at her mother-in-law's house. When she did not show up, a niece had gone to check on her. There was no answer to knock or doorbell and, probably with a sinking feeling of dread, the niece phoned the police.

The officers found that Martha Thurmond had been strangled in her home.

Columbus had lost four citizens, all elderly white females, to the wrath and heartlessness of a mysterious murderer.

Oddly for a serial murderer, it is believed that Gary downshifted from rape and murder to less serious crimes. He began robbing fast food restaurants.

Tragically, he did not abandon rape and murder.

Kathleen Woodruff
Kathleen Woodruff
Kathleen Woodruff was an elegant and wealthy socialite with high cheekbones and a long nose. She was well known to all in the Wynnton area. Her late husband, George C. Woodruff, St. was a prominent industrialist. Three days after Christmas the 77-year-old woman was found dead in her home. She had been raped and strangled.

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