//Cold Case Solved 34 Years Later

Cold Case Solved 34 Years Later

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GRIFFIN – Timothy Coggins was brutally stabbed in a field off Minter Road in Sunnyside, GA, over 34 years ago, chained behind a vehicle and dragged in a field. Two months later the investigation was closed. Evidence was lost over the years. But in December, the GBI reopened the investigation along with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office. After conducting hundreds of interviews, a picture of what really happened began to appear.

According to witnesses, two men – William “Bill” Moore, now 58, and Franklin Gebhardt, now 59, had provided details over the decades about how Coggins had been killed. Gebhardt had said how he had thrown the knife used to stab the victim down a well. The knife, victim’s undershirt, shoes and socks were never recovered originally.

Because of the new investigation, on Thursday, August 16, 2018, in front of the Honorable W. Fletcher Sams, Moore pled guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter and Concealing the Death of Another for the murder of Timothy Coggins and sentenced to 20 years to serve, followed by 10 years on probation. He was also banished from the Griffin Judicial Circuit. The family of Timothy Coggins and law enforcement agreed with this guilty plea.

On June 26, 2018, a Spalding County jury convicted Moore’s co-defendant, Gebhardt, 59, for Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Battery, Aggravated Assault, and Concealing the Death of Another. Mr. Gebhardt was immediately sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison.

A Hydrovac system was utilized to excavate a well on Gebhardt’s property. It was the first time in the State of Georgia that such a system was used for well excavation. In the well, a white tank top, shoes, socks, a chain, and a knife were some of the items recovered. This evidence was presented to the jury.

Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Benjamin D. Coker and Chief Assistant District Attorney Marie Broder prosecuted the case. The lead investigators were GBI Special Agent Jared Coleman and Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Captain Mike Morris.