Coleman Convicted in Retrial for 1973 Murders
DECATUR, Ga. (AP) _ Wayne Carl Coleman was convicted of murder Monday for the second time in the 1973 slayings of six members of a family, a crime so highly publicized that an appeals court ordered a retrial in another county.
A DeKalb County Superior Court jury deliberated about 3 1/2 hours before convicting Coleman in the killings of Ned Alday, his brother Aubrey, sons Jimmy, Jerry and Chester, and Jerry’s wife, Mary, on May 14, 1973.
Coleman stood with his hands in his pockets and shifted his weight from one leg to another but otherwise showed no reaction to the verdict.
The sentencing phase of the trial will begin Tuesday. Prosecuting attorney Charles Ferguson has said he will seek the death penalty.
Defense attorney Tom West said he was disappointed with the verdict, but that the jury’s lengthy deliberations indicated there is a good chance Coleman, 41, could be given a life sentence.
″They’re taking this very carefully. One of the jurors was crying ... the jury seems to be sympathetic to Wayne,″ West said.
West said the sentencing phase of the trial ought to be completed by Thursday.
Coleman, his half-brother Carl Isaacs and a third man, George Dungee, were convicted and sentenced to death in 1974 for the slayings, one of the state’s most notorious mass murders.
The victims had interrupted a burglary at Jerry Alday’s trailer in the southwest Georgia town of Donalsonville. The five Alday men were shot to death one by one at the trailer and Mary Alday was killed in a nearby field after she was repeatedly raped, according to trial testimony.
A federal appeals court ordered new trials in 1985, ruling that excessive publicity made it impossible for the three to get fair trials in Seminole County, site of the murders and first trial.
Carl Isaacs was convicted of murder and again sentenced to death at his retrial in Perry in January. Dungee is to be tried later this year in Columbus.
Coleman did not testify at the trial. Psychologist Howard Albrecht said Coleman was a ″depressed, passive individual, with few leadership capabilities″ and would suffer a severe anxiety attack if called to testify.
In his closing arguments, West portrayed Coleman as a passive, dim-witted accomplice of clever murderers. He also attacked the testimony of Billy Isaacs, Carl Isaacs’ brother, who turned state’s evidence in the original trial and testified against Coleman last week.
Billy Isaacs was 15 at the time of the killings and received a 40-year sentence for his role.
Also Monday, defense attorneys called Carl Isaacs to the witness stand, but he refused to testify.