Blood Echoes: The Infamous Alday Mass Murder and Its Aftermath
Thomas H. Cook
Edgar Award nominee: A true-crime account of a vicious massacre and the legal battles that followed
It was not a clever killing. On May 5, 1973, three men escaped from a Maryland prison and disappeared. Joined by a fifteen-year-old brother, they surfaced in Georgia, where they were spotted joyriding in a stolen car. Within a week, the four young men were arrested on suspicion of committing one of the most horrific murders in American history.
Jerry Alday and his family were eating Sunday dinner when death burst through the door of their cozy little trailer. Their six bodies are only the beginning of Thomas H. Cook’s retelling of this gruesome story; the horrors continued in the courtroom. Based on court documents, police records, and interviews with the surviving family members, this is a chilling look at the evil that can lurk just around the corner.
from the richest soil on earth. In Colquitt, Georgia, however, things took a different turn. In the small town approximately eighteen miles from where their daughter’s body had been found, the mother and father of Mary Alday were receiving friends and neighbors much as the Aldays had been doing for the last two days in Seminole County. Mary’s death had sent shock waves through that community as well, but the agonizing details of Mary’s last hours had been concealed from Mary’s mother. Although
Wayne Carl Coleman, were white. The third, George Elder Dungee, was black. A fourth man, the younger brother of one of the escapees, was suspected of having joined the gang. The next day, suspecting that the men Poole had seen around Lawrence Schooley’s truck might be the same as those who had escaped from Poplar Hill, Good presented her with two separate photographic lineups. One consisted of six pictures of black men, all were wearing glasses. She identified George Elder Dungee as the man
with its title reference to the Alday defendants as “Too Evil to Be Called Animals,” had been purchased in Seminole County. As a result of the pervasive and inflammatory nature of such media coverage, Hill requested a change of venue, which would allow the trial to take place in a less prejudicial location, and went on to suggest certain more appropriate sites, beginning with various Georgia counties, but ranging even farther, to such places as Cook County (Chicago), Illinois; Kings County
continued at its own excruciating pace, producing a maddening array of legal maneuvers and countermaneuvers. On October 31, 1980, approximately two months after the escape from Death Row, the Georgia State Supreme Court refused to review the June 13, 1980, ruling of the Superior Court of Tattnall County denying habeas corpus relief to Wayne Coleman. A month later, on November 25, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia transferred Isaacs’ and Dungee’s petitions to
in the iron recapitulations that gave his actions their only discernible structure. Thus, toward afternoon, Carl and Billy broke into a house while everyone else waited in the car. Approximately twenty minutes later, the Isaacs brothers returned to the car, their arms filled with shirts, watches, radios, and several rifles. For a time, there was general jubilation at the ease with which the burglary had been committed, the loot passed around and fondled lovingly, the totemic objects of their