More than 3 decades later, final suspect in racially motivated murder takes guilty plea

More than 3 decades later, final suspect in racially motivated murder takes guilty plea

William “Bill” Moore plead guilty Thursday for his involvement in the murder of Timothy Coggins.

SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. — The second defendant involved in a racially motivated murder 34 years ago will spend the next 20 years in prison.

William “Bill” Moore plead guilty Thursday for his involvement in the murder of Timothy Coggins.

Moore and Frank Gebhart stabbed Coggins in 1983 and then dragged his body behind a truck and dumped it in a field off Minter Road in Spalding County.

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Moore was sentenced to 30 years, with 20 to serve, 10 on probation, and banishment.

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“This plea agreement was entered with the consent of the Coggins family. Words cannot describe what this day means to the Coggins family, The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and District Attorney Ben Coker’s Office,” the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

“It wasn’t just a murder. It was a brutal heinous killing, and now we don’t have to tell our kids and our grandkids any more than no one cared for your Uncle Tim, and now we have someone who’s guilty, who will spend the rest of his life in prison,” Heather Coggins, Timothy’s niece, said at the time.

The Sheriff’s Office said the investigation that spanned more than three decades was a team effort and said it was relieved to finally bring justice for the Coggins family.

“We promised that we all would fight this fight as hard as we could to the very end to get justice for Timothy and his family. We kept that promise, finished the fight, and we will continue to stand by and support the Coggins family.”

“Today marks the end of a long and arduous journey for the family of Timothy Coggins. My heartfelt thanks goes out to law enforcement for their work on the case. May Timothy rest in peace, and may his family begin to heal,” Spalding County District Attorney Benjamin Coker said in a new release.