CNN correspondent Soledad O’Brien investigated the infamous Atlanta slayings from 1979 to 1981. 29 black youths and young adults were killed. O’Brien interviewed Wayne Williams, who was found guilty of two of the murders and blamed for many of the others, on Friday, January 2 at 9pm on CNN. Williams, an Atlanta native who was 23 years old at the time, was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in Georgia’s Hancock State Prison at Sparta. One of the original investigators in the cases said he never believed Williams was guilty of any of them. Author James Baldwin raised questions about the investigation and trial of Williams in his essay The Evidence of Things Not Seen.
In 2010, CNN broadcast the documentary, The Atlanta Child Murders, with interviews by Soledad O’Brien. The network invited viewers to cast votes on whether Williams was “guilty,” “innocent” or the case is “not proven.” 68.6 percent of respondents said Williams was guilty. 27.1 percent chose “not proven.” Williams is now 56 years old. CNN is airing O’Brien’s interviews again on Friday, January 2, at 9pm.