Franklin Gebhardt found guilty in Spalding County cold case murd


Source: WGCLSource: WGCL


A jury in Spalding County found Franklin Gebhardt guilty of killing Timothy Coggins. 

Gebhardt was sentenced to life in prison. 

Closing arguments ended Monday and jurors deliberated in the cold case murder trial that many are calling racially motivated.

A Spalding County jury found Gebhardt guilty of killing Coggins in 1983. Coggins was killed in Griffin and police say his death stemmed from his interaction with a white woman. Gebhardt and his brother-in-law Bill Moore both face murder charges. Moore is being tried in a separate trial. 

Monday saw compelling closing arguments from both the prosecution and the defense teams. The State said Gebhardt not only confesses to killed Coggins, but had details only a killer would know.

The defense was quick to rebut, challenging those claims and questioning the prosecution’s witnesses. Many of those witnesses who testified in this case are currently serving time in jail: one for child molestation and another for methamphetamines. 

Several witnesses called to the stand last week by the prosecution say Gebhardt not only confessed to the murder but bragged about killing Coggins. 

Police told CBS46 Coggins’ death was brutal, saying the young black man was stabbed multiple times, chained and dragged from the back off a pick-up truck.  Police also said Coggins’ body was found near Gebhardt’s home. 

The one thing both sides could agree on is that the original investigation was not well done.

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