GRIFFIN, Ga. -- A white man charged with murder in what Georgiain 1983 went on trial Wednesday with both sides lambasting the original investigation. Prosecutor Marie Broder told jurors during opening statements that authorities botched their investigation after Timothy Coggins was stabbed, cut and dragged behind a pickup truck, but that didn't mean Frank Gebhardt, 60, was innocent of murder.
Gebhardt's attorney, Scott Johnston, said multiple pieces of evidence were missing.
"Where did it go?" Johnston said. "The state does not get a pass because the case was old."
Gebhardt and another man areand other crimes in the killing of Coggins near Griffin, Georgia, in 1983. The killing remained unsolved until last fall, when authorities announced the arrests of Gebhardt and brother-in-law Bill Moore, who awaits trial.
A prosecutor has said the 23-year-old Coggins was killed because he had been "socializing" with a white woman.
Court documents accuse the men of stabbing and cutting Coggins to death. A prosecutor has said Coggins also was attached to a chain and dragged through the woods behind a pickup truck.
A jury of 10 whites and two blacks is hearing the trial, which opened with testimony about Coggins' horrific injuries.
Broder told jurors they would hear from multiple witnesses who will testify that Gebhardt bragged about killing Coggins.
"You'll hear that he's not ashamed of it," she said. "You'll hear he's proud of it."
Broder told jurors the original investigation into the killing was "shameful" and that authorities didn't care about Coggins. Johnston agreed, saying Coggins was "just another dead black man in 1983."
Johnston said missing evidence included tire impressions, a bloody sweater, hair samples, a wooden club and an empty Jack Daniels bottle.