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"Atlanta child murders" case: New push to review evidence

New review in Atlanta child murders case

Atlanta's mayor and chief of police are leading a push to re-examine evidence from a string of murders from 1979 to 1981 that terrorized the city's black community.

Wayne Williams was given two life sentences in 1982 for convictions in the deaths of two adults, thought to be among 29 black children and young adults killed. After Williams' conviction, police closed 22 other cases, blaming them on Williams without formally charging him.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Police Chief Erika Shields announced Thursday that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will review evidence in the so-called "Atlanta Child Murders."

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Bottoms said she started thinking about re-examining the evidence after speaking with Catherine Leach-Bell, whose 13-year-old son's murder is one of the cases that remain open.

Bottoms cited the vast advancements in DNA technology since Williams' conviction in the decision to review the case. "It may be there is nothing left to be tested," Bottoms said, "But I do think history will judge us by our actions and we will be able to say we tried."

Bottoms reportedly said the new examination will assure the families of the victims, that "we have done all that we can do to make sure their memories are not forgotten and, in the truest sense of the word, to let the world know that black lives do matter."

The Atlanta Police Department, the Fulton County District Attorney's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will all reportedly work to gather old evidence in the case to be re-examined.

The update comes as a new documentary detailing the disturbing case, produced by Will Packer, is set to air on Investigation Discovery.