Suspect in 1983 'racially-motivated' murder bragged about killing, GBI says

SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. — The GBI agent testified the murder of Timothy Coggins in Spalding County may have been over a woman and Channel 2's Richard Elliot learned the two suspects may have bragged about the killing for decades.

Deputies led Frankie Gebhardt and then Bill Moore into a Magistrate courtroom to hear the case against them Thursday morning.

A magistrate court judge needed to decide if she would send the case onto Superior court.

Gebhardt and Moore are accused of killing Coggins in 1983. They have been charged with felony murder.

GBI agent Jared Coleman said the two men stabbed Coggins nearly 30-times, then chained his body to the back of a pickup truck and dragged him into the woods.

Coleman said over the years, Gebhardt and Moore bragged to witnesses about the killing.


“They were proud of what they had done,” Coleman said.

The GBI believes the two may have carried out the murder because Coggins was socializing with a white woman.

“They felt that they were doing the right thing, like almost protecting the white race from black people,” Coleman said.

The suspects’ attorney brought up that the motive could also have been a drug deal gone bad/

The judge eventually agreed there was enough evidence to proceed.

Outside the courtroom, Coggins family said hearing the new details for the first time was hard on all of them.

“Extremely difficult, extremely difficult to hear to hold your tears, to hold your emotions, to contain your emotions listening to gruesome details of a loved one that was by himself,” said Coggins’ niece, Heather Coggins.

Three other people arrested in the case are facing other charges.

The case could go before a grand jury as early as next week.