After Thirty -Six Years of Alday Family Killings in our state
Posted in the Iron City Forum
#1 Feb 25, 2009
1973 Georgia Murders Back in Courts
NEW YORK TIMES
Published: January 4, 1988
LEAD: Fourteen years after six members of a south Georgia family were murdered, the case, which has caused many Georgians to debate the justice of the legal system, is before the courts again.
Fourteen years after six members of a south Georgia family were murdered, the case, which has caused many Georgians to debate the justice of the legal system, is before the courts again.
Three men were convicted in what Jimmy Carter, who was then Governor, called ''the most heinous crime in Georgia.'' But their verdicts and death sentences were overturned in 1985 by a Federal appeals court that said they were entitled to new trials because of ''inflammatory and prejudicial pretrial publicity.'' The decision caused 100,000 Georgia residents to send Congress a truckload of petitions calling for the judges' impeachments.
A retrial for one of the three men, Carl J. Isaacs, is scheduled to begin Monday before Judge Hugh Lawson Sr. of Superior Court in Perry, halfway across the state from rural Donalsonville, where the crime occurred. Two other Georgia judges had disqualified themselves, and a third was removed from the case by the Georgia Supreme Court for possible prejudice.
The two other defendants are awaiting separate trials. Boasting Is Reported
Mr. Isaacs, who is now 34 years old, was sentenced to die in 1974, along with his half-brother Wayne C. Coleman, now 41, and Mr. Coleman's friend, George E. Dungee, 49, for the murders.
Since Mr. Isaacs's trial, a number of fellow prisoners and law-enforcement officers have said that Mr. Isaacs spoke openly and even boasted about his role in the murders. In an interview with The Atlanta Constitution in 1976, Mr. Isaacs said he committed the murders and expressed remorse.
According to evidence at Mr. Isaacs' first trial, the members of the family were shot to death over a period of several hours on May 14, 1973, as they returned to the home of Jerry Alday after a day of work on the family farm. The victims were Ned Alday, 62; his brother, Aubrey, 57, and three of Ned Alday's sons, Jerry, 35, Jimmy, 25, and Chester, 32, as well as Jerry Alday's wife, Mary, 25, who was shot to death after being raped.
Nine days before, Mr. Isaacs and the two other defendants, had escaped from a prison camp at Poplar Hill, Md., where Mr. Isaacs was serving a sentence for burglary, Mr. Coleman for robbery and Mr. Dungee for failure to pay child support. The three men drove to Baltimore and picked up Mr. Isaacs's brother Billy, then 15, who later admitted his participation in the murders and testified against the others.
Billy Isaacs testified that the four had driven to the Alday home looking for money and drugs and were interrupted in their attempted burglary by the return of the family members. A confession by Mr. Coleman was read at his first trial.'Overwhelming Evidence'
A series of appeals culminated in a December 1985 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit that all three men were entitled to new trials. Most recently, they have been held on death row in a state prison in Jackson.
#2 Feb 25, 2009
In a 128-page opinion, one of the longest in the court's history, three Federal judges said there was ''overwhelming evidence of guilt'' of the three men. But ''inflammatory and prejudicial pretrial publicity,'' the judges wrote,''so pervaded the community as to render virtually impossible a fair trial before an impartial jury.''
The judges noted that surviving members of the Alday family had paid $5,000 to hire a special prosecutor, Peter Zack Geer, a former Georgia Lieutenant Governor who was a nephew of the trial judge, Walter I. Geer. The sheriff of Seminole County, where the crime had occurred, was quoted as saying,''If I had my way about it, I'd have me a large oven and I'd precook them for several days.''
In such an atmosphere,''it is inconceivable to think,'' the appeals court wrote, that the defendants ''received an impartial assessment.'''Outrage of the Century'
A petition drive was begun in Georgia demanding the impeachments of the Appeals Court judges who made the ruling, R. Lanier Anderson 3d, Frank M. Johnson Jr. and Thomas A. Clark. A committee of the United States House of Representatives rejected the petitions.
#3 Feb 25, 2009
Peter Zack Geer called the appeal decision ''the outrage of the century.'' He said,''The judges ought to be required to go down to Seminole County, lay down on the Alday family graves and apologize.''
Gov. Joe Frank Harris said he was ''outraged'' by the appeals decision.''It indicates that something is terribly wrong with our judicial system,'' he said.''
The Georgia Attorney General, Michael J. Bowers, attempted unsuccessfully to have the appellate decision reversed.''The legal system is not working,'' Mr. Bowers said,''when it takes over 12 years to mete out justice in a case where the defendants did not put up one shred of evidence.''
A lawyer for Mr. Coleman, Donald E. Wilkes Jr., said at the time of the appeals court decision,''The Federal courts have done what the Georgia courts did not have the courage or the integrity to do: that's to recognize the fact that our clients are the victims of a terrible injustice, no matter how guilty they may have been.''
#4 Feb 25, 2009
List of Victim's Birthdays
from Spring Creek Baptist Church Cemetery
Ned Alday- September 7,1910 in then western part of Decatur County (now Seminole County)
Aubrey Mennie Alday- March 10,1916 in then the western part Decatur County (now Seminole County)
Jerry Alday- March 15, 1938 in Seminole County
Chester Addis Alday- March 7,1941 in Seminole County
Mary Estelle Campbell Alday - July 9,1946 in Miller County
Jimmy Cecil Alday -October 14,1947 in Seminole County
#5 Feb 25, 2009
Death Sentence Imposed for '73 Georgia Killings
Published: January 31, 1988
LEAD: A jury today sentenced Carl Isaacs to die in the electric chair for the 1973 murders of six members of a family.
A jury today sentenced Carl Isaacs to die in the electric chair for the 1973 murders of six members of a family.
The jurors, including an alternate who replaced a sick juror this morning, returned six separate death sentences against the defendant for the killings of members of the Alday family.
The jurors deliberated the sentence about two and a half hours today. They had deliberated for about five hours Friday before halting for the night when one juror became ill and another was heard sobbing.
A previous conviction of the defendant and two companions was thrown out in 1985 by a Federal appeals court, which ruled that publicity had prevented the defendants from getting fair trials in Seminole County, where the well known family lived.
The retrial was moved to Houston County. A jury found the defendant guilty of murder Monday and on Friday began debating his sentence. They had the option of selecting life in prison.
Ned Alday, 62 years old, his brother, Aubrey, 57, his sons, Jerry, 35, Chester, 30, and Jimmy, 25, were shot one by one on May 14, 1973, when they arrived at Jerry's home, where the defendant and his companions were interrupted in a burglary after their escape from a Maryland prison, according to testimony.
Jerry Alday's 26-year-old wife, Mary, was taken to a woods six miles away, where she was raped and killed.
District Attorney Charles Ferguson asked the jury to reinstate the death sentence thrown out in 1985. He showed the jury pictures of the victims' bullet-riddled bodies and noted that a defense psychologist who examined the defendant had testified he would be likely to commit similar crimes if released.
The defense lawyer, G. Terry Jackson, cited testimony that his client had been neglected and abused as a child.''There is no excuse for this crime, but there is a reason,'' Mr. Jackson said.''You have the ability, all by yourselves, to give Carl Isaacs life if you feel that something went wrong somewhere.''
The defendant's half-brother, Wayne Coleman, and one of Wayne Coleman's prison companions, George Dungee, also had been sentenced to die in the Alday killings. Wayne Coleman will be retried in Columbus, and George Dungee in Decatur
#6 Feb 25, 2009
Here is a timeline of the true story:
Alday family murders
May 5, 1973 Carl Issacs, Wayne Coleman and George Dungee escape from Maryland State Prison. They pick up Billy Issacs, Carl's 15 year-old brother
May 10, 1973 Richard Miller is abducted in McConnellsburg, PA. He is murdered in Allegheny County, MD.
May 14, 1973 Carl Issacs, Billy Issacs, and Wayne Coleman enter the Alday home in Seminole County (Donalsonville), Georgia looking for money and guns. The Maryland work camp escapees kill Jerry Alday, his father Ned, two brothers and an uncle. Jerry's wife Mary, who had witnessed some of the killing, was forced into a car and raped repeatedly before she was killed.
May 15, 1973 The body of Mary Alday is discovered.
May 17, 1973 On the day that the Alday family is buried, West Virginia police capture George Dungee, first of the Issacs gang to fall into custody.
May 18, 1973 West Virginia police capture Carl Issacs, Billy Issacs and Wayne Coleman
December 31, 1973 Jury selection begins in Seminole County for Carl Issacs. The racially mixed jury has six women.
January 2, 1974 Carl Issacs goes on trial for the Alday family murders. He will be convicted and sentenced to death.
January 6, 1974 George Dungee goes on trial for the Alday family murders. He will be convicted and sentenced to death.
January 14, 1974 Wayne Coleman goes on trial for the Alday family murders. He will be convicted and sentenced to death.
July 28, 1980 Carl Issacs plans to escape, along with four other inmates. He is moved to a new "Death Row," foiling his attempt, but 4 other men succeed. Three are recaptured 4 days later in North Carolina, the fourth dead at the hands of his fellow escapees
December 9, 1985 3 judge panel finds that pretrial publicity about the Alday family murders made a fair trial virtually impossible in Seminole County
June 3, 1986 Supreme Court orders a new trial in the Alday family murders
September 9, 1988 Murder One, a movie based on the Alday family murders starring Henry Thomas and James Wilder, shot almost entirely in Toronto, Canada, opens to mixed reviews
June 28, 1990 U.S. Supreme Court rejects Carl Issac's appeal of second death sentence
February 18, 1993 Billy Issacs released from Georgia prison
April 21, 2003 U.S. Supreme Court upholds Carl Issac's death sentence
May 6, 2003 The man who orchestrated the Alday Family murders, Carl Isaacs, is put to death by lethal injection. At the time he had been on death row longer than any other person
#7 Feb 25, 2009
Maybe with Carl Isaacs gone, with 2 of his cohorts serving life sentences,
with his younger brother, Billy, paroled 9 years ago and living quietly in
the Florida Panhandle, maybe, people say, the Alday case can finally be
put to rest.
Sheila Isaacs, Billys wife, says killing Carl Isaacs will not assuage the
pain.Itll have a life of its own even after Carls gone, she said.
The killings have become part of the fiber of Donalsonville.
Hearing about it was part of growing up, said Chad Robinson, assistant
chief of Donalsonvilles 8-member police force. He was born 15 days after
the murders. His grandmother, Sara, was on the 1974 jury that convicted
and sentenced co-defendant George Dungee to death.
Peter Zack Geer Highway is named for the former lieutenant governor the
Aldays paid $5,000 to be special prosecutor in the three 1974 trials.
River Road, where the 525-acre Alday farm was located, is now Ned
Survivors adorned the Alday graves with a $20,000 slab of polished East
Indian marble. It still draws the curious and reflective.
The farm that Ned Alday lost during the Depression and toiled to buy back
was long ago sold off. After hearing Isaacs was to be executed, Alday
family members last month created a makeshift memorial near the cornfield
where Jerry Aldays trailer once stood. The memorial bears 6 small wooden
crosses with names: Ned, Aubrey, Jerry, Mary, Jimmy and Chester.Killed
May 14, 1973, it states.
What happened in that trailer that day is often considered Georgias most
heinous crime. Part of the enduring notoriety is how the victims
encountered their ghastly fate, singularly or in pairs. And part of it has
to do with the legal odyssey.
Carl Isaacs intensified the visceral reactions to the murders by taunting
the system.The only thing the Aldays ever did that stood out was getting
killed by me, he once said. The fact that Isaacs, who has tried to escape
from prison at least 3 times, remains alive is seen by many as the
systems cruelest failure. And there are many who rue the fact that Isaacs
has survived long enough to avoid the electric chair, which Georgia
discarded in 2001.under then Governor Roy Barnes.
#8 Feb 25, 2009
It was the law, not Carl Isaacs, that became our ultimate predator, Faye
Alday Barber, Neds daughter, wrote in a letter to the editor of a local
newspaper in 1998.
Isaacs has had at least 10 defense attorneys. Jack Martin, Isaacs lawyer
since 1996, will make last-ditch efforts in state and federal courts to
avoid death. Part of Martins argument in court will be that waiting on
death row for nearly 30 years is cruel and unusual punishment, and his
client should be given a life sentence.
On Friday, the Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Isaacs request for
clemency. In that hearing, Martin argued it is unfair that co-defendant
Wayne Coleman, Isaacs half brother, is serving a life term. Martin argued
that Isaacs, whose cancerous bladder was removed 2 years ago, is not the
same rage-stoked sociopath he was on the afternoon long ago when the
Aldays were slain.
He is not the devil, said Martin.
He points to Isaacs younger brother, Billy, as a case in point. Billy,
who testified against his brother and spent 21 years in prison for his
part in the crimes, has been paroled and lives a peaceful life.
Martin argues that the state has dragged out the case. Refusing to move
the original trials to another venue persuaded a federal appeals court in
1985 to vacate the 3 death sentences and order new trials.
It was evident from the start that those in Seminole County wanted
If I had my way about it, Id have me a large oven and Id precook them
several days, just keep them alive and let them punish, the late Seminole
Sheriff Dan White once said.And I dont think that would satisfy me.
Even Isaacs 1st court-appointed attorney, the late Willis Conger,
despised having to defend his infamous client.Id rather take a
whipping, he said.
Inflammatory and prejudicial publicity, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals ruled,So pervaded the community as to render virtually
impossible a fair trial.
Peter Zack Geer called the appeals court ruling the outrage of the
century and said,The judges ought to be required to go down to Seminole
County, lay down on the Alday family graves and apologize.
An unsuccessful petition drive to impeach the judges collected nearly
Former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers, who wrestled with the case
during most of his 24 years with the state office, says the happenstance
of the murders still draws people to the crime, which has been detailed in
3 books and a movie.
The Alday family was minding its own business and evil intruded into
their life from nowhere, said Bowers.It was the total randomness that
Disbelief that such an abomination ever visited this nondescript town
still lingers like the ever present humidity.
Sheriff Jerry Godby, a farmer that day who unwittingly watched the killers
drive past him, said the event is still hard to fathom.
#9 Feb 25, 2009
People have moved here since; theyve heard about it, and theyll ask,
This didnt really happen, did it? said Godby, who is scheduled to
witness the impending execution.And I tell them,Yes, it really
Jimmy Carter was governor when 3 brothers and a slow-witted companion
headed south in a stolen car to see the ocean.
Isaacs, 19, half brother Wayne Coleman, 26, and George Dungee, 35, had
left a minimum security prison in Maryland, picked up Billy Isaacs, then
15, and killed a teenager and stole his car. Carl Isaacs had been
transferred to that prison because weeks earlier, he had been raped
repeatedly during a riot in another facility.
The Isaacs brothers and Coleman were among the 12 children born to Betty
Isaacs, a tough-luck, hard-drinking roadhouse waitress. The children
endured poverty, parental drunkenness, foster homes, violence and reform
When Carl Isaacs was 11, a teacher wrote a long letter complaining he was
malnourished, uncared for and smelly. His grammar was atrocious, but his
mind keen, she said. He was likable and had leadership qualities.
The four drove to Florida and wandered into Georgia with a car overheating
and low on fuel. They stopped at the isolated trailer of Jerry Alday, who
was part of a clannish, religious, self-reliant family with roots in
Seminole Countys red clay since the Civil War.
The trailer was unlocked, so the outlaws entered. Ned, 62, and his son,
Jerry, 35, soon pulled up in a jeep, no doubt wondering why a car with
Pennsylvania plates was there. They were confronted by Carl Isaacs and
Coleman, both holding pistols.
According to testimony from Billy, who was a star prosecution witness for
both sets of trials and allowed to plead to burglary and armed robbery for
a 40-year sentence, the events are as follows:
Carl Isaacs took Jerry Alday into one bedroom. Coleman took Ned into
another. Ned was shot in the head 7 times, Jerry 4 times.
Moments later, Jimmy Alday, 25, another of Neds sons, arrived on a
tractor. Carl asked him,You heard shots, didnt you? The man said he
hadnt. Carl replied,Youre going to hear something now, and shot him
Then Jerrys wife, Mary, 26, entered the trailer. She worked for the
county Department of Children and Family Services, trying to help children
much like the young men who had suddenly intruded into her life. Carl
knocked the groceries out of her hand and spun her up against the wall,
She was hysterical. Carl told her to shut up but she couldnt.
Next, Chester Alday, 32, and his Uncle Aubrey, 57, pulled up in a pickup
truck.The 2 men inside were laughing when we got to the truck, Billy
Again, Carl Isaacs took the older man to one bedroom and Coleman took the
younger to the other. Several shots came from both rooms and Carl walking
out laughing.That bastard begged for mercy, Billy recalled his brother
Then, Carl Isaacs and Coleman raped Mary on the kitchen floor before
blindfolding, gagging and forcing her into her car. The two vehicles were
driven to a wooded area where Dungee raped her, as Carl Isaacs did again.
Dungee made her lie down and requested a chance to kill someone. He was
The case was a slam-dunk, former agent Angel remembers. Fingerprints, a
car from Pennsylvania, a lookout report for the Maryland escapees quickly
focused the investigation. All 4 were captured four days later in West
#10 Feb 25, 2009
In May of 1973, Carl Isaacs escaped from a Maryland penal institution and, accompanied by his younger brother Billy Isaacs, his half-brother Wayne Coleman and a friend, George Dungee, drove to Florida. Almost out of gas in Georgia, they saw a gas pump behind the rural mobile home belonging to Jerry Alday and Mary Alday and stopped to investigate. They discovered there was no pump; however, the trailer was empty, and they decided to burglarize it. Jerry Alday and his father Ned Alday pulled in behind the trailer, unaware that it was being burglarized. Carl Isaacs met them and ordered them inside at gunpoint. Carl Isaacs shot and killed Jerry Alday, and then both he and Coleman shot and killed Ned Alday. Jerry's brother Jimmy Alday drove up on a tractor and was also forced inside at gunpoint, then shot by Carl Isaacs. Jerry's wife Mary Alday then drove up, then Chester and Aubrey Alday (Jerrys brother and uncle) drove up in a pickup truck. All were forced inside. Aubrey was taken to the south bedroom where Carl Isaacs shot and killed him, while Chester Alday was taken to the north bedroom and killed by Coleman. Coleman and Carl Isaacs raped Mary Alday on her kitchen table. Afterward, they drove to a heavily wooded area several miles away where Mary Alday was raped again. Dungee then killed her. The gang drove to Alabama and were arrested a few days later in West Virginia, in possession of guns later identified as the murder weapons, and property belonging to the victims. After his original trial, Carl Isaacs was interviewed by a film maker who was producing a documentary about the case. The defendant admitted shooting Jerry, Ned, Aubrey and Jimmy Alday, raping Mary Alday, and burglarizing the trailer. These admissions were introduced in evidence at the retrial. Younger brother Billy Isaacs testified against his brother in exchange for a plea agreement calling for a 40 year sentence. He was paroled in 1994. Carl Isaacs was the longest serving inmate on death row in any state in the U.S.
Isaacs v. State, 226 S.E.2d 922 (Ga. 1976).(Direct Appeal)
Isaacs v. Kemp, 778 F.2d 1482 (11th Cir.1985).(Habeas Granted)
Isaacs v. State, 355 S.E.2d 644 (Ga. 1987).(Recusal)
Isaacs v. State, 386 S.E.2d 316 (Ga. 1989).(Direct Appeal)
#11 Feb 25, 2009
Isaacs asked for a "regular institutional tray" of pork and macaroni, pinto beans, cabbage, carrot salad, dinner roll, chocolate cake and fruit punch, but he pushed the meal away.
Isaacs declined an opportunity to make a final statement, but did ask for a final prayer. After the prayer he mouthed Amen.
EYE COLOR: Blue
HAIR COLOR: Brown
COUNTY: Seminole County
Convicted murderer Carl Isaacs has been scheduled to die by lethal injection, after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld his death sentence, the Georgia attorney general said. The state Department of Corrections set Isaacs' execution for May 6 at 7 p.m. at the Georgia Diagnostic & Classification Prison in Jackson. The Supreme Court denied his appeal Monday, ending his last chance to escape the death penalty.
#12 Feb 25, 2009
Isaacs, convicted as the ringleader of the 1973 Alday family murders in Seminole County, has been on death row for 30 years. Isaacs, 49, and two other men, George Dungee and Wayne Coleman, were convicted and sentenced to die in 1974. But a federal appeals court granted them a new trial on grounds that pretrial publicity and community outrage prevented them from getting a fair trial. Isaacs was convicted again and sentenced to die after a 1988 trial in Houston County Superior Court, but Dungee and Coleman had their sentences reduced to life in prison. Isaacs appealed again in 2001 to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming his rights were violated 32 times during the retrial. But that court upheld his death sentence last year.
In May of 1973, Carl Isaacs escaped from a Maryland penal institution and, accompanied by his younger brother Billy Isaacs, his half-brother Wayne Coleman and a friend, George Dungee, drove to Florida. On the afternoon of May 14, 1973, they were in Seminole County, Georgia, and their car was almost out of gas. They thought they saw a gas pump behind the rural mobile home belonging to Jerry Alday and Mary Alday and stopped to investigate it. They discovered there was no pump; however, the trailer was empty, and they decided to burglarize it. Dungee remained in the car while Carl Isaacs and Wayne Coleman entered the trailer. While they were inside, Billy Isaacs warned them two men were approaching in a jeep. Jerry Alday and his father Ned Alday pulled in behind the trailer, unaware that it was being burglarized.
Carl Isaacs met them and ordered them inside at gunpoint. After their pockets were emptied, Jerry Alday was taken into the south bedroom of the trailer while Ned was taken to the north bedroom. Carl Isaacs shot and killed Jerry Alday, and then both he and Coleman shot and killed Ned Alday. Soon afterward, Jerry's brother Jimmy Alday drove up on a tractor, walked to the back door, and knocked on the door. Coleman answered the door,stuck a pistol up in the guys face, and ordered him inside. He was taken into the living room and forced to lie on the sofa. Carl Isaacs shot and killed him. After Carl Isaacs went outside to move the tractor, which was parked in front of their car, Jerry's wife Mary Alday drove up. Carl Isaacs entered the trailer behind her and accosted her. Meanwhile, Chester and Aubrey Alday (Jerrys brother and uncle) drove up in a pickup truck. Leaving Coleman and Dungee to watch Mary Alday, Carl and Billy Isaacs went outside to confront the two men, and forced them at gunpoint into the trailer. Once inside, Aubrey was taken to the south bedroom where Carl Isaacs shot and killed him, while Chester Alday was taken to the north bedroom and killed by Coleman. Coleman and Carl Isaacs raped Mary Alday on her kitchen table.
Afterward, they drove to a heavily wooded area several miles away where Mary Alday was raped again. Dungee killed her. They abandoned their car in the woods and took Mary Aldays car, which they later abandoned in Alabama. They stole another car there, and were arrested a few days later in West Virginia, in possession of guns later identified as the murder weapons, and property belonging to the victims. After his original trial, Carl Isaacs was interviewed by a film maker who was producing a documentary about the case. The defendant admitted shooting Jerry, Ned, Aubrey and Jimmy Alday, raping Mary Alday, and burglarizing the trailer. These admissions were introduced in evidence at the retrial.
#13 Feb 25, 2009
Prosecutors called the slayings the most gruesome murders in the state's history. A community left hanging for almost three decades by the legal tap dance of a convicted killer trying to evade execution will soon close a tragic chapter of its history. Carl Isaacs, 49, has been on death row since 1974. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal and Isaacs, convicted as the ringleader of the massacre of the Alday family, is now scheduled to die by lethal injection on May 6.
The Gateway Restaurant on U.S. Highway 84 serves as a gathering place for Donalsonville residents to swap the latest news. A table known as the "gossip table" lies in the restaurant's front left corner. Local residents sitting there Wednesday said it was high time justice was served. "I knew every one of the Aldays and they were good people who tended their own business," Don Crawford said. "For the judicial system to carry it out as far as they did -- something's wrong." Roy Ray said, "Carl Isaacs got stabbed a couple of years ago in jail. They should have let him die then." "This is coming about 29 years too late," Bob Ray said.
#14 Feb 25, 2009
Isaacs, his stepbrother Wayne Coleman, and George Dungee were convicted in 1974 for the murder of the Aldays and sentenced to die. The three received retrials in another Georgia county in 1988. Isaacs was again sentenced to die, but Coleman and Dungee had their sentences reduced to life. Isaacs appealed his sentence in 2001, claiming his rights were violated 32 times during the retrial. Isaacs' almost 30-year evasion of his date with death has long stuck in the craw of residents of this small farming community. "It ain't nothing but a damn lawyer's scheme," Ray said from his chair at the Gateway. Other Donalsonville residents also expressed their frustration with the lengthy appeals process Isaacs has gone through but said they were relieved justice would soon finally be served. "It's been long in coming, it's going to finally bring to close a wound that's needed closing for a long, long time," said Ashley Register, who sat on a jury that convicted Dungee in 1974.
#15 Feb 25, 2009
Register said the 1988 retrial angered local residents, who he said gave Isaacs and his gang a fair trial. "There's always been a feeling that the murderers should finally get what's coming to them," Mayor David Fain said. "That's probably not very Christian-like but it's time to put this behind us." The Isaacs gang gunned down Ned Alday along with three sons and a brother inside a family mobile home. A daughter-in-law was raped and killed by the gang. Just about everyone in Donalsonville has some connection to the Aldays, and thus to the crime. "There's 3,300 people in this town and 9,000 in the county," Kathy Fox, a distant Alday relative, said. "When you go downtown you pretty much know everybody." Fox, who works as a secretary at Commerce State Bank, said she was just 18 when the killings happened. She said the tragedy changed the small farming community forever, as people who never worried about locking their doors learned the meaning of fear. "I was in college in Dothan back then, driving back and forth every day, and my mother didn't want me to go to school," she said. "We didn't know where they (the Isaacs gang) were at. People didn't want to let their children out of the house. J.C. Earnest, a brother-in-law of Ned Alday's said, "We just didn't think things like that could happen in Seminole County. Things like that happened in other states." Fain said he hopes the execution of Isaacs next month will put some of the fear that has lingered since the killings to rest. He said he's tired of his community being known as the site of some of the most gruesome murders in state history. "It's created a lot of anguish among people," he said. "People are ready to see an end to it." Fox said it was a shame many of the people closest to the Aldays are not alive to see their loved ones' killer finally brought to justice. Many family members and friends of the slain family have died in the almost 30 years Isaacs has been on death row. "You would like to know that they were going to finally be at peace in their hearts and minds," she said.
#16 Feb 25, 2009
Over the years surviving, members of the Alday family have expressed bitterness over the length of time it has taken to get Isaacs into the Georgia death house. In a letter to the editor of a local newspaper in 1998, Faye Alday Barber, the daughter of Ned Alday, said there was something wrong with a legal system. She wrote that her family had become the victims of "legal plunder" and a justice system that acted like a "predator. For 25 years my family has pursued justice," Barber wrote. "The only thing that stood between the Alday family and justice was the law, and it was the law, not Carl Isaacs that became our ultimate predator. Our courts and legislators are nothing but vandals at the gates of justice. It took them a quarter of a century, but they beat us; they won. Like Pontius Pilate, they simply washed their hands of innocent blood. We lost our family, our farms, and our heritage. We lost hope... but liberty was not lost; it was stolen." She said the family dog, Tub, saw the bodies removed from the crime scene and never got over it. "He went out into the field and laid down, refused to eat or sleep, wouldn't let anyone touch him, and over a period of time his hair fell out, exposing rib bones that protruded through his skin," Barber wrote. "He was a pitiful sight. He became so thin that when it rained, he could have crawled under a honeysuckle vine to keep from getting wet. A veterinarian said (Tub) grieved himself to death. That dog had more compassion for my family than our courts."
The slain members of the Alday family are buried in Spring Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Seminole County. They are remembered with gray marble headstones. Seminole County Sherriff Jerry Godby, who knew the Aldays before he became sheriff, said they were a hardworking family that had raised peanuts,l cotton, corn, wheat and soybeans and also had raised hogs. Godby said he has asked to witness the execution of Isaacs. If executed, Isaacs will die eight days from the 30th anniversary of the slayings. Asked what he thought of the nearly 30-year wait to get Isaacs into the death house, Godby said: "It's about time." Last year, the Georgia legislature unanimously passed a bill requiring state officials to contact the families of victims of criminals on death row twice a year. The proposal was inspired by the family of Ken Alday, who was killed in Seminole County in 1973. His killer, Carl Isaacs, is on death row, but Alday's family has complained they aren't informed of developments in Isaacs' case.
#17 Feb 25, 2009
Carl Isaacs (GA)- May 6, 2003
The state of Georgia is scheduled to execute Carl Isaacs May 6 for the murders of six members of the Alday family in Seminole County in 1973. Isaacs, a white man, is believed to be the longest serving death row inmate in the United States.
In 1974, the state sentenced Isaacs, as well two of his co-defendants George Dungee and Wayne Coleman to death for the murders, but a federal appeals court later vacated the convictions on the grounds that pretrial publicity and community outrage obstructed the fairness of their initial trial. In 1988, Isaacs went to trial again and received another death sentence; however, Dungee and Coleman had their sentences reduced to life in prison.As an inmate sentenced to death in Georgia for a crime committed in 1973, Isaacs stands in a unique and rather troubling place in history. His first death sentence, handed down in 1974, came two years after Furman v. Georgia and two years before Gregg v. Georgia. In Furman, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Georgias capital punishment statute, claiming that the systems arbitrary and often disproportionate nature constituted cruel and unusual punishment. In Gregg, the high court revisited the issue, and found the states new death penalty statutes constitutional; this decision effectively reinstated capital punishment in the United States.Isaacs, who arrived on death row just two years after the courts massive commutation in 1972, has encountered the exact problems the court criticized in its Furman decision throughout his journey through the justice system. He is the only one of his co-defendants facing execution for the murders a fact that epitomizes the arbitrary nature of the death penalty process. Furthermore, attorneys for Isaacs have argued that errors by the trial court including the allowance of a controversial prayer during jury selection gave the jurors a biased opinion toward him from the very beginning. This case, now three full decades old, has cost the state of Georgia millions of dollars. Had prosecutors simply sought a life sentence for Isaacs in 1974, they would have saved a significant portion of that money, which could have been used for education and violence prevention. Unfortunately, the states desire to use the justice system as a vehicle for revenge has trumped the logical arguments, and now Isaacs is facing a very serious execution date.
By state law, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has the sole authority to commute death sentences. Please contact the board and request clemency for Carl Isaacs.
#18 Feb 25, 2009
States of Georgia Executes Carl Isaacs
The state of Georgia executed Carl Isaacs on May 6, 2003. On Friday, May 2, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Isaacs' request for clemency. The state Supreme Court and US Supreme Court denied requests for an appeal on May 6. Death penalty opponents observed vigils in nine locales around the state.
1) Case Background
Isaacs has served the longest time on death row of any one in the nation. To kill a 49 year old for a crime he committed when he was 19 certainly seems especially inhumane. Isaacs has also had bladder cancer and the state provided medical treatment to remove his bladder to keep him alive only to be able to eventually execute him.
Isaacs along with 3 other men were invovled in the killing of six members of the Alday family in Seminole County, Georgia. The murders were especially heinous, with one of the women being raped. The fact that of the four co-defendants, only one was sentenced to death, especially when one of the co-defendants in particular appears to have been equally culpable as Isaacs points to the arbitrary nature of the death penalty.
Isaacs had a chaotic life growing up and lived in various foster homes and was subject to abuse. He served time in prison and was badly abused before being let out and commissioning the Alday murders.
Amnesty International - Urgent Action Appeal
USA (Georgia) Carl Isaacs (m), white, aged 49
Carl Isaacs is scheduled to be executed on 6 May 2003 in Georgia. The crime for which he is set to die took place 30 years ago when he was 19 years old. He is now 49, having already served the equivalent of a life sentence.
On 14 May 1973, six members of the same family were murdered near their mobile home in Seminole County in the rural southwest corner of Georgia: Jerry Alday aged 35, Ned Alday aged 62, Jimmy Alday aged 25, Mary Alday aged 26, Chester Alday aged 32 and Aubrey Alday aged 57. Mary Alday was also raped.
Four people were tried for the crime in 1974: Carl Isaacs, his 15-year-old brother Billy Isaacs, his half-brother Wayne Coleman aged 25, and a friend George Dungee aged 34. The three adult defendants were sentenced to death. Their convictions were overturned on appeal in 1985 on the grounds that pre-trial publicity had prejudiced the fairness of their Seminole County trial. At a retrial in another county in 1988, Carl Isaacs was again sentenced to death and he has been on death row ever since. According to the states case, Carl Isaacs shot Jerry, Ned, Jimmy and Aubrey Alday.
Wayne Coleman and George Dungee were resentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. They are still in prison. According to the state's case, Wayne Coleman killed Chester Alday and also shot Ned Alday, while Mary Alday, who was allegedly raped by Wayne Coleman and Carl Isaacs, was killed by George Dungee. Billy Isaacs served 19 years before being released.
Carl Isaacs was diagnosed with cancer in recent years, and had to have his bladder removed.
#19 Feb 25, 2009
Since Carl Isaacs was first sentenced to death in 1974, more than 60 countries have abolished the death penalty in law. Today, 112 countries are abolitionist in law or practice. In 1972, in Furman v Georgia, the US Supreme Court overturned the USAs capital laws because of the arbitrary way in which the death penalty was being handed out, and there was hope that the USA might move toward abolition. However, the Supreme Court did not find the death penalty to be unconstitutional per se, and state legislatures quickly set about rewriting their capital laws to take account of the Furman ruling. In Gregg v Georgia in 1976, in a decision that would place the USA squarely on the wrong side of history in relation to the death penalty, the Supreme Court approved the new capital laws. Executions resumed in the USA with the execution of Gary Gilmore in Utah in January 1977. Since then, more than 840 men and women have been put to death in 32 states and at the federal level.Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases, unconditionally. Every death sentence is an affront to human dignity, every execution a symptom of, rather than a solution to, a culture of violence. The death penalty has not been shown to have a unique deterrent effect, carries the risk of irrevocable error, and extends the suffering of one family that of the murder victim to another the loved ones of the condemned. In effect, the death penalty for murder imitates and takes to new heights of calculation what it seeks to condemn, the deliberate taking of human life.
The death penalty in the USA is arbitrary, discriminatory, and inevitably cruel. Who is sentenced to death is influenced not only by the crime itself, but issues such as race or status of the murder victim or the defendant, where the crime is committed, the quality of legal representation and political considerations. The US capital justice system is characterised by error, both in terms of convictions and sentencing. More than 100 people have been released from death rows since 1973 after evidence of their innocence emerged. A landmark study published in 2000, and covering a 23-year period, found that the error rate in capital cases was 68 per cent. In other words, in almost seven out of every 10 cases, appeal courts had found that the conviction or sentence should not stand. Inadequate legal representation and prosecutorial or police misconduct were the main errors. The study expressed grave doubts that the courts were finding all such errors.
#20 Feb 26, 2009
Support for a moratorium on executions has grown over recent years in the USA as the evidence of the unreliability and unfairness of the death penalty system has mounted. However, most politicians have failed to offer human rights leadership, preferring to defer to perceived public support for judicial killing. Their failure of leadership has left the USA increasingly isolated on this fundamental issue, and given the lie to the USAs self-proclaimed status as the worlds most progressive force for human rights.
As of 30 April 2003, there had been 849 executions in the USA since 1977, including 29 in 2003. Georgia has carried out 32 executions.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your own language, in your own words:
- expressing sympathy for the surviving members and friends of the Alday family and acknowledging the very serious nature of the crime for which Carl Isaacs was sentenced to death;
- opposing the death penalty and calling for clemency for Carl Isaacs;
- noting that Carl Isaacs was the only one of four defendants to receive a death sentence;
- noting that Carl Isaacs, who was 19 at the time of the crime, has been under sentence of death for almost 30 years, the equivalent of a life sentence;
- noting that in the same period more than 60 countries have abolished the death penalty, bringing to 112 the number of countries that have turned their backs on executions in law or practice;
- urging the Board members to offer principled human rights leadership in the interest of the reputation of Georgia and the USA by commuting this death sentence.
APPEALS TO: Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles
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