TIMOTHY COGGINS: Jury deliberations underway in ‘racially-motivated’ cold case murder trial


SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. – A verdict could come today in a “racially-motivated” cold case murder trial in Spalding County.

Frank Gebhardt, 60, is accused of murdering Timothy Coggins, a young black man, in 1983. Gebhardt and his brother-in-law, William Moore Sr. — who will be tried separately later this fall — are accused of stabbing Coggins some 30 times before dragging him by a chain, behind a pickup truck. Prosecutors say the two defendants were sending a message, targeting Coggins because he socialized freely with white women.

Stay with WSBTV.com and watch Channel 2 Action News throughout the day for any developments from the courthouse. Follow Channel 2’s Richard Elliot on Twitter for LIVE updates throughout the day.

After just a few days of testimony, jurors began deliberating Monday afternoon.

Throughout the trial, jurors heard testimony from several witnesses who said Gebhardt talked about the crime often over the years. Law enforcement officials also testified about the 1983 investigation, or lack thereof, into the murder. The prosecution called it “incomplete” and “shameful.”

[5 things to know so far about the Timothy Coggins murder trial]

“They didn’t care about Timothy Coggins,” prosecutor Marie Broder said.

Prosecutors have faced an uphill battle in court because of a lack of evidence.

When the case was reopened last year, significant evidence collected from the crime scene had disappeared. Tire impressions from the truck that allegedly dragged Coggins’ body back and forth under the power lines off Minter Road, where his body was found, were gone. Same for the victim’s bloody sweater, which contained hair samples. Also missing: a wooden club and an empty Jack Daniels bottle.

LIVE updates from the courthouse:

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