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The Stocking Strangler: My Home Town Serial Killer (A True Story)

When Theresa writes non-fiction, it is always somehow related to an event or something that touched her personal life in some manner.

I've been around for a long, long year

Stole many a man's soul and faith

... Pleased to meet you

Hope you guess my name

— The Rolling Stones "Sympathy for the Devil"

Wilhelm Gallhof-Halbakt.jpg 10 January 2010

Wilhelm Gallhof-Halbakt.jpg 10 January 2010

You're resting peacefully and comfortably alone in your own home, when suddenly without any warning, experiencing the horror of an unknown predator creeping into your home like a lion out to kill a sleeping sheep, all the while never saying one word to you while on top of you, punching you in the face, raping you and then choking the life out of you with one of your very own stockings. Before leaving you to succumb to death, this predator places a pillow over your face, not to suffocate you, but as some sort of final ritual.

Unfortunately, this was a horrific reality for seven mature women living in my home town at the hands of a serial killer known as "The Stocking Strangler," for obvious reasons.

Author's Note

My intent in publishing this article is not to rehash the entire gruesome story of these heinous crimes, but rather attempt to recreate the sense of fear that gripped my home town. Interestingly, however, I do have a bit of a small connection to part of the story ...are you intrigued?

The Fountain City

File: Columbus Historic District Fountain 4th Street.JPG Author: Deutschlandreform 12 October 2012 CC-BY-SA-3.0

File: Columbus Historic District Fountain 4th Street.JPG Author: Deutschlandreform 12 October 2012 CC-BY-SA-3.0

On the Grounds of the Bradley Library

My mother and my middle sister, sitting on a bench on the grounds of the Bradley Library in my home town.  My mother always cut my middle sister's hair like Dorothy Hamill for some reason.

My mother and my middle sister, sitting on a bench on the grounds of the Bradley Library in my home town. My mother always cut my middle sister's hair like Dorothy Hamill for some reason.

A year before I was to be married, beginning in September of 1977, my lovely home town, Columbus, Georgia, was terrorized by a serial killer of the most heinous kind, targeting mature women living alone in the affluent and historic area of the city known as Wynnton.

I was familiar with the Wynnton area only because my dear mother loved to take my siblings and I to the Bradley Library, which was located in that area of town. The grounds are beautiful, as I remember, filled with endless azalea bushes, pine trees and dogwood trees which all present as a floral wonderment during Spring. In addition to that, my mother loved to take all of us children to the different parks around my home town, including a beautiful one located right in the heart of the Wynnton area. I was a young child then, but still remember loving to go there, as there was much shade from the beautiful Oak trees, swing sets and picnic tables. Many people enjoyed jogging around that park for its peaceful and lovely setting. I mention this fact about the jogging for a specific reason as you will note later.

My home town is, or was, such a friendly city, yet modern in a lot of ways, with much going for it. It is a bustling city where one can always find something interesting to do. Columbus is also called the "Fountain City" because so many homes and churches have fountains. Columbus also has a national historic district in its downtown area that contains historic homes from the 19th century.

Although I refer to Columbus as my home "town," it is actually the second largest city in Georgia (Atlanta is the first). Columbus is located about 100 miles south of Atlanta. It is located on the Chattahoochee River. The Army base of Fort Benning adjoins the city.

My home town was known for having a high quality of life all around. One of the best aspects as far as quality of life was its low crime rate for a city of its size, which may have made it all the more shocking when a serial killer terrorized my home town.

At that time, I worked at the A&P (Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company) grocery store as a cashier just up the road from my home. I worked to save up to help pay for my upcoming wedding in September of 1978. We lived far from the historic district. Again, there is a reason I mention this fact here.

Columbus Historic District

File: Columbus Historic District Sign Fourth Street.JPG 12 October 2012 Author: Deutschlandreform CC-BY-SA-3.0

File: Columbus Historic District Sign Fourth Street.JPG 12 October 2012 Author: Deutschlandreform CC-BY-SA-3.0

Stocking Strangler victim, Jean Dimenstien  From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Jean Dimenstien From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

On the night of September 25, 1977, unsuspecting Jean Dimenstien was about to become prey to the focused hunter just outside her front door. The calculating predator, after skillfully removing the hinge pins off her front door, like a wild animal encroaching upon its prey, entered her home with great stealth. Then after overpowering her with great ease, punching her in the face, raping her, and strangling her to death with her own nylon stocking, the predator left just as quietly as he came, with his prey dead in her own bed.

Understandably, with the report of such a violent murder against Ms. Dimenstien, the older women of my home town, who lived alone, delved into great panic. They went out and bought up all the locks and deadbolts they could get their hands on to secure their homes. Even women who had never owned a gun before bought one.

Ms. Dimenstien was actually "The Stocking Strangler's" third victim by then, but I wanted to set the scene as to the kind of lengths this sociopath would go to in taking the hinge pins off the front door to carry out his evil obsession with killing mature women. It is enough to make chills run down anyone's spine! This is the kind of killer my once peaceful home town was now faced with, and how utterly terrifying for the entire citizenry.

National Registry of Historic Places

File: 1617 Summit Drive.jpg National Registry of Historic Places  19 May 2014 Ken Owens Photography CC-BY-SA-3.0

File: 1617 Summit Drive.jpg National Registry of Historic Places 19 May 2014 Ken Owens Photography CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Stocking Strangler's first victim, Mary "Ferne" Jackson   From the Columbus-Ledger Enquirer Group

The Stocking Strangler's first victim, Mary "Ferne" Jackson From the Columbus-Ledger Enquirer Group

Just Ten Days Earlier

Just ten days earlier of the unhinging of the door savage murder, on the night of September 15, 1977, the "Stocking Strangler" slipped in through a window of a brick home, once again in the affluent Wynnton area of my home town. Mary Willis "Ferne" Jackson, who also resided alone, awoke to find an intruder in her bedroom. "The Stocking Strangler’s" signature killing of choking the life out of women with their own nylon stocking all started with Ms. Jackson.

Ms. Jackson was found dead with a stocking tied tightly around her neck and a pillow covering her face.

My thought is that the killer went through the drawer to find a nylon stocking to choke the life out of Ms. Jackson by using her own stocking. Seems he was making the callous killings more personal by using the women's own stockings. Obviously, the motive was not burglary.

Was Ms. Jackson really the first victim?

Ms. Jackson's Murder

According to Columbus police detective Ronald Lynn, who was quoted in Murder in the Peach State as saying, "The only real sign that anything had been gone through was an open dresser drawer. We found it peculiar because there was a bank envelope containing money in the drawer that he would had to have seen."

Read all About "The Stocking Strangler" of My Home Town

The only Eye Witness

From the Book "Murder in the Peach State"

Bruce Jordan wrote in Murder in the Peach State, "Stakeouts were arranged throughout the Wynnton area. Marked and unmarked patrol cars combed the neighborhood. Undercover police officers were hidden inside the homes of elderly residents who were thought to be the most likely targets."

It turns out that five days before Ms. Jackson's murder, another older woman living alone in the same neighborhood had been attacked and survived! However, due to the severity of her injuries, the only eye witness was unable to speak to the police.

Then, after being hosptalized, the only eye witness had recovered enough to talk to police. She informed the police that her attacker had been a stranger, and was a black male. This confirmed suspicions of the police from the unhinged door murder, as they had found black hairs at that crime scene, not of the victim, but what looked like that of a black man. At that time, the police did not want to get the black community riled up prematurely before more evidence was gathered. Remember, this was a time before DNA.

Now that the stalking "Stocking Strangler" was behind bars, the police called off the Wynnton area stakeouts.

White Silk Stockings - Tranquil Garden CC-BY-SA 3.0 22 May 2007

White Silk Stockings - Tranquil Garden CC-BY-SA 3.0 22 May 2007

What about the confession to the Jackson and Dimenstien killings?

It turned out that Livas was one of those criminals who was willing to confess to just about anything. He would soon sign a confession that he was the assassin of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and President William McKinley in 1901 and had been in the infamous Lindbergh baby kidnapping of 1932!

Just as everyone else in my home town did, I, too, let out a gasp of horror. I remember becoming sick to my stomach at the very thought of knowing that heartless killer was free to continue his brutal murdering spree.

Obviously, Jerome Livas wasn't "The Stocking Strangler," however, he did remain in jail as a suspect in the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Beatrice Brier, only.

But wait ...This Time it was still Daylight

Stocking Strangler victim, Florence Sheible  From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Florence Sheible From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Just 10 Days shy of Her 90th Birthday

This time the predator didn't wait, or maybe couldn't wait, for the cover of darkness to attack. Yes, in the middle of the day, Florence Sheible, just 10 days shy of her 90th birthday, suffered the same fate as the other women did at the hands of this present evil one.

Maybe the killer didn't like the thought of Mr. Jivas staking claim to his heinous handiwork.

It was reported that Ms. Sheible preferred radio to TV because she was nearly blind. She also had trouble with mobility and used a four-legged walker. A few hours later her son dropped by to visit her. He found his mother dead with a pillow over her face and a stocking tightly knotted about her neck.

I can just imagine what a field day psychiatrists, psychologists, and the like, were having with this one! I mean, we're talking about a nearly blind 90-year-old woman who could barely walk?

Stocking Strangler victim, Martha Thurmond From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Martha Thurmond From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

When Martha Thurmond did not show up at her mother-in-law's, a niece had gone to check on her. After knocking on her Aunt's door with no answer, the niece called the police.

Once again, officers found Ms. Thurmond strangled in her home.

Just Three days after Christmas

Stocking Strangler victim, Kathleen Woodruff  From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Kathleen Woodruff From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

The heartless predator did not care about the time of year, for he carried out his wrath on Kathleen Woodruff, a 77-year old woman, just three days after Christmas. Ms. Woodruff was found dead in her home, raped and strangled, just like all the Strangler's other victims.

A task force had been formed to work specifically on finding "The Stocking Strangler" who was also called "The Chattahoochee Choker."


Stocking Strangler victim, Ruth Schwob  From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Ruth Schwob From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Gasping and Gurgling Sounds were Heard

On the cold night of February 11, 1978, once again the Strangler set his sights on another older woman, Ruth Schwob. Unknown to the killer, Ms. Schwob had installed an alarm button next to her bed which would ring at one of her neighbor's home; the home of Dr. Burdette.

The killer slithered in through a window, like a rattler ready to strike, and attacked Ms. Schwob. She woke up face-to-face with a young black male with his hand around her throat. The terrified woman managed to press the alarm button. Ms. Schwob struggled with all her might. Then, without speaking a word, the Strangler's muscular hands wrapped a stocking around her neck.

The predator had no clue that an alarm had gone off next door and that Dr. Burdette had called the police. Within two minutes after being called, the police arrived at Ms. Schwob's house. Through the open window, police heard someone gasping for air. They were not too late for Ms. Schwob was still alive and the officers had hope they might catch the elusive killer that very night!

Thankfully, when the officers made it into Ms. Schwob's bedroom, she was still alive, however, she was alone. Immediately after having the stocking loosened around her neck, Ms. Schwob began vomiting.

A neighbor reported seeing a black man running through his yard, and the ambulance personnel had also seen a black male running across a road just before they arrived at Ms. Schwob's address.

Enter Stage Left ...Me

That's me, when I was young and a bit dumb, for what I was about to do.

That's me, when I was young and a bit dumb, for what I was about to do.

Yep, thats' me, young and a bit dumb, for what I was about to do next!

As I mentioned previously, I worked as a cashier at the A&P grocery store part-time to help pay for my upcoming wedding. Anyway, the older more mature women worked during the day as cashiers, and all of us younger ones filled in during the evenings and on weekends.

One of my co-workers, who I will call John, was a stock clerk, (I'm thankful I can't seem to remember his last name) was a seemingly well-mannered, hardworking and very intelligent young black male. John kept his hair cut low and very neat. I say John was young, not meaning as in teenage years, but maybe in his early 30s, possibly late 20s. I was only 18 at the time. John always had his clothing so neat and starched with seams. He was soft-spoken and quiet. John did have a very distinct facial feature of a very angular face shaping into an almost perfectly square jawline. I remember thinking that I've never seen anyone with such a square jawline. All of us who worked at the A&P grocery store had to take a test and score high to be employed there. Those who scored a 100 or close to 100 were hired before others. Surprisingly, for that time, the pay was quite good.

I have always been very observant of people, just in their mannerisms and how they relate to others. I think I would have made an excellent Behavioral Analyst for the FBI, but I never heard of such back in the day.

I noticed that after the older women left for the day, when John would sometimes have to help out on the registers, how he would make a point of commenting to the older more mature women who came through his line about their hair. He would not say how nice their hair was looking or anything like that, but instead would ask questions of them, inquiring why they styled their hair in the manner in which they did, or what they put on their hair. How odd, I thought.

John even did this to my mother who came through his line (our family members were not allowed to go through our line), and I remember my mother mentioning it to me and asking why he would ask whatever he asked her about her hair. John never commented on any younger females' hair, but only the more mature women. He seemed fixated on their hair. It was as if he almost could not restrain himself from inquiring of them regarding their hair.

My Family Kept Up with "The Stocking Strangler" News

I remember it so well, that one unpleasant and shocking (for more reasons than the obvious) day opening the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer to read the headlines of the latest news of "The Stocking Strangler." What I saw next made goosebumps cover my entire body and fear overwhelmingly consumed me. There on the front page of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer was a sketch of a "suspect" in "The Stocking Strangler" slayings, and it was the epitome of John, my co-worker, angular face/square jawline and all!

Police Sketch of a Suspect

Police Sketch of a suspect in "The Stocking Strangler" killings

Police Sketch of a suspect in "The Stocking Strangler" killings

My family were all in agreement that the sketch of the suspect in "The Stocking Strangler" slayings looked just like my co-worker John. I informed my family how John would ask about the older and mature women's hair, just as he did my mother.

Although I was a shy girl then, when it came to something of this nature, I could not help myself but to make inquiries of John. When I went to work after reading the latest and seeing that sketch in the newspaper of the suspect, I went up to John and looked him straight in the eye and asked if he had seen that sketch of the suspect in "The Stocking Strangler" killings, which looked just like him. Yes, I said that very thing to my co-worker, "...which looks just like you."

John looked me back straight in the eye without flinching or hesitation, and said in his usual calm and soft-spoken voice, "Yes, and the police questioned me."

My heart almost stopped beating at hearing this straight from John's own mouth! Then without missing a beat, I went on to inquire even more. I asked, "They did? Why would they question you, John?"

He said that he jogged in the Wynnton area!

I then inquired further, "Do you live in the Wynnton area?" He said that he did not.

I just turned away from him and clocked in and started working, with my thoughts reeling in an attempt to process the reality of what had just been said to me. I told my family of what John had told me.

He just Wanted to be My Friend

Thankfully, my dad, who was known to run off all males who came calling for me (except my husband to be, who was out in Texas at the time in basic training in the Air Force), answered the door. John told my dad that he wanted to talk to me. My dad politely told John that I was busy preparing plans for my wedding (which was the truth), and reminded him I was an engaged young woman. John said he understood all of that, but he still insisted on speaking with me. He told my dad that he just wanted to be my friend.

Now that I think about it this day, John must have followed me home, as I would sometimes walk home after work, as we did not live too far from the store. I did not have my own car. It was odd that John came for a visit when he did ...just after I had questioned him about that sketch of the suspect, which he acknowledged being a suspect.

Over the years though, I wondered if John actually did not come to visit me, but wanted to be around my mother! Those thoughts creep me out to no end. As I previously mentioned, my family did not live in the Wynnton area. Obviously, too, my mother did not live alone.

I often wonder now, whether I should have contacted the police back then to mention to them how John would fixate on, and inquire of, the older more mature women about their hair. He also would work during the day at the grocery store when all of the older women worked as cashiers. For some reason, the thought of doing that never entered my mind, maybe being I was so young? And I was so busy planning my wedding.

Just Curious as to Your Thoughts - Thank you for taking the Poll

A broken lamp on the floor

A broken lamp on the floor

The Strangler's violent murdering spree continued just 24 hours later with an attack of yet another older woman, 78-year-old widow Mildred Dismukes Borom. This time, he would kill her. Being the killer was not able to kill Ms. Schwob, maybe his insatiable desire to kill was so overwhelming that he couldn't wait another day to strangle the life out of yet another one of his chosen and unfortunate victims.

The stalking "Stocking Strangler" must not have had a chance to obtain one of Ms. Borom's stockings, as the newspaper reported that a Venetian-blind cut from a window of Ms. Borom's home was used to strangle the life out of her. There were signs that Ms. Borom fought for her life. A broken lamp was found at her feet.

Stocking Strangler victim, Janet Cofer  From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Janet Cofer From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Janet Cofer was the last known victim of "The Stocking Strangler," and it was on the night of April 19,1978. As in his usual and preferred manner, the killer strangled the life out of Ms. Cofer with a stocking.

Her son, Mike, was not at his mother's home.

The Killings Stopped

Just as I had been married and moved to Tampa, Florida, where my husband was stationed in the Air Force, the killings stopped. I don't remember hearing of this news, but I am sure my family must have told me. However, all of that seemed like a nightmare to me, and I was looking forward to starting my new life with my husband in a new state.

After six years in the U.S. Air Force my husband had gotten out of the Air Force and we moved to a state where his family now lives. I haven't been back to my home town in so many years. After my dad died, my mother moved away, and all of my siblings are now grown (of course), married and live elsewhere too.

I'm out of Here!

Leaving for Tampa, Florida on my wedding day

Leaving for Tampa, Florida on my wedding day

1970 Mug Shot of Carlton Gary (Albany, NY), apprehended in 1984 for  a couple of the 1977-78 slayings in Georgia

1970 Mug Shot of Carlton Gary (Albany, NY), apprehended in 1984 for a couple of the 1977-78 slayings in Georgia

Not until just recently, I happened to wonder whether "The Stocking Strangler" was ever caught. It wasn't until 1984 that a Carlton Gary was indicted and arrested for a couple of the murders in my home town. After reading a bit about Gary, the facts just did not add up in my mind. To me, Gary seemed more focused on burglarizing, as I remembered the time when an envelope filled with money in plain sight was not even touched. Gary is still on death row in Georgia! There's no doubt that Carlton Gary is a criminal and even a murderer (of a woman in Albany, NY), but there is plenty of doubt he is "The Stocking Strangler" for now DNA testing has cast such doubt.

There are many bizarre twists and turns in this story of "The Stocking Strangler" and it was even reported that he had an accomplice, who Carlton Gary later said did the actual killings. This accomplice's name is John Lee Williams, who did time in prison until Gary later recanted saying he made it all up. Mr. Williams was then released from prison.

As if the Columbus Police Department didn't already have its hands full in dealing with this mysterious and heartless murderer, things became even more bizarre.

A strange letter was sent to the Columbus Police Department claiming to be from "The Chairman of The Forces of Evil," informing the police that "they" were going to start murdering black females if they did not catch "The Stocking Strangler" soon! To make a long story short, it turns out there was no such group, but, believe it or not, he was one black man, William Henry Hance, who was enlisted in the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, which adjoined the City of Columbus. This man had murdered three women and was so paranoid about being caught and labeled as "The Stocking Strangler," that he concocted this bizarre story in an attempt to take suspicion off of him and his own dirty deeds.

He later confessed and led police to the bodies. The police hoped he was "The Stocking Strangler," but then Ms. Cofer was found strangled in her home.

Creepy Video made in My Home Town

Silk Stockings Woman's Half Leg

Silk Stockings Woman's Half Leg

Something wicked this way comes.

— Shakespeare's Macbeth

Please take a Moment to take the Poll



Rankin, Bill. "Tests cast doubt on 'Strangler' murders. Convicted serial killer's DNA doesn't match evidence from 1 victim." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 14, 2010.


Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on September 11, 2019:

Hi S. P.,

Thank you for you email via HubPages as relates to this hub. I’ll respond here to your email.

In your email to me you shared that in 1980 you were in the Army stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, and that the FBI had questioned you about strangling the seven elderly women after your aunt had mailed you a birthday card, which was intercepted by the FBI because someone had written “Wynnton Strangler” across the envelope.

I do recall reading back then about a soldier or soldiers who were questioned about a woman who had been murdered by strangulation but that it ended up being a murder unrelated to the “Stocking Strangler” murders, but maybe the murderer was attempting to make it look like another “Stocking Strangler” murder. It did not happen in the Wynnton area of Columbus. I think I remember one soldier may have been arrested for that murder and another just questioned. My memory may not be correct about that though, so I’ll have to try to dig up those old articles about the soldiers.

Thank you again for your email.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on March 18, 2018:

Yes, for sure, Shan ...

Shannon Henry from Texas on March 17, 2018:

Too bad the didn't have the technology available then that we do now. I'd like to believe there are less innocent people in prison for heinous crimes they never committed.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on March 17, 2018:

Hi Shan, Yes, for sure ... to say the least!

I wanted to give a brief update as I saw where Georgia had executed the man they thought was the Stocking Strangler. They waited four decades to do so! From what I read on Google, Carlton Gary didn’t have any last words. So, that really adds to the mystery but I do hope he was the real Stocking Strangler. I just have doubt because of the circumstances as I had written in my article, and I’m not the only one.

Well, we do know Carlton Gary was a bad man and had murdered in Albany, New York, but was he the Stocking Strangler?

Shannon Henry from Texas on March 16, 2018:

Came back because of a notification and saw the update. I still find this tale to be incredibly creepy.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on March 16, 2018:

Thank you, Frank!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on March 16, 2018:

a great update!!!!!!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on March 15, 2018:

UPDATE: Tonight, March 15, 2018, Georgia executed the man arrested four decades ago known as the Stocking Strangler. I do hope he was the true Stocking Strangler, but his lawyers still believe he was not the Stocking Strangler, as many others do not believe he was either, as there were many facts in the cases that did not add up. Carlton Gary was indeed a bad man, but was he the real Stocking Strangler?

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on October 26, 2017:

Hi Mike and Dorothy! Thank you so much for reading. Yes, truly heinous indeed ... It was not easy to write about this one for sure but being I lived right there at that time, I thought I could share my own personal account, thoughts and concerns. I do hope the real murderer is rotting away somewhere too! I can imagine you both have seen your share of the criminal mind in action ...

Mike and Dorothy McKenney from United States on October 25, 2017:

Amazing article. We are both former police officers and fascinated with stories of true crime. I hope the Strangler is rotting away somewhere. Truly heinous.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on September 04, 2017:

Hi Leigh, thank you for sharing about the new book too! I pray the true person responsible for these heinous crimes comes to justice finally! The poor victims' families are long overdue for closure.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on September 04, 2017:

Hi T. A. Powell: So you're the author of the book? Were you a detective during that time? I will check it out. Thank you for letting me know. I do hope the true identity of the killer is known and brought to justice finally, unless he is already dead. I'll never forget the terror my home town experienced.

Leigh on September 04, 2017:

The truth has finally been revealed. Read Lords of the Harvest, by TA Powell. I will be following closely now - to see if justice will prevail in the Columbs Stocking Murder case. Buy this book! It is beyond fascinating!

T.A. Powell on September 04, 2017:

Now all these years later and after extensive researching, you can read the truth about the Columbus killings... Read the new release, "Lords of the Harvest: A True Crime Investigative Memoir" by T.A. Powell. The evidence trail in this book will shock you and leave you as to no doubt about the killer's true identity...a serious piece of forensic work. It's on Amazon- 2017

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on July 24, 2016:

Hello Dear Ann, again,

I am blessed to see you here this day again on my hubs reading! Yes, this one is a heart-stopper and not in a good way. I struggled with publishing this one, but I know so many love to read True Crime stories, and this is one humdinger of one no doubt about it. Can you even imagine living right there while these horrendous deeds were happening? It's hard to read about such evil, but even worse to have lived right there. Creepy, indeed!

I hope and pray that the real "Stocking Strangler" is in prison somewhere too! Yes, DNA is a wonderful thing and hopefully they can still use some of the DNA that was gathered from back then to know for sure in the murders where they just don't know.

These murders are so surreal to me for these cases had so many twists and turns and for the police to be so close at the crime scene where the woman survived and not catch him, raises other questions in my mind.

Hahaha, well, some humor is needed to break up the seriousness of this terror hub! I think the rest of my hubs are back to my "norm" of hubs ...thank goodness!

Peace always, sweet woman

Ann Carr from SW England on July 24, 2016:

You certainly grabbed my attention from the start and kept it going through this one, Theresa! How creepy to have had that conversation after the e-fit likeness; I would've felt really uncomfortable.

I hope they did catch him; DNA can be used so well these days. There is such evil in this world and it's well nigh impossible to get into such an evil or disturbed mind.

Having gone from your 'peaceful' hub to this one, I'm wondering what's coming next! Just kidding!


Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on June 27, 2016:

Hi there, Happylovejoy,

So nice to meet you, and I love your hubber name!

Creepy and then some to say the least ...and imagine living right there when these brutal murders had taken place! Just the thought of it still creeps me out to this day.

I am hoping that is exactly what happened and the real "Stocking Strangler" is in prison and/or dead. It boggles my mind how evil a human being can become with no remorse, seemingly.

Happy blessings

Kawai from Singapore on June 27, 2016:

This story really gave me the creeps.. To think killers could be amongst us, our neighbor, friend, colleague! Very interesting read and I believe what comes around goes around - if the police didn't catch up with him, something else would..

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on May 23, 2016:

Hi sg,

It was truly terrifying beyond our comprehension to know there is one out there whose mind is so consumed with such evil. I do hope the true "Stocking Strangler" is in prison or dead. Yes, my co-worker at the time had too many coincidences to not take seriously. Scary thought and too close for comfort!

That too will forever be a mystery as to why he showed up at my house, but I'm relieved my dad was home when he did show up.

Thank you for reading this real life horror story.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 23, 2016:

How terrifying this would have been! It does take a very sick person to rape a woman old enough to be his grandmother! My money is on your co-worker! I am so glad that you father did not let him talk to you! Who knows what he may have done or said!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on May 13, 2016:

Dear Sha,

Oh, dear heart, you are one intelligent woman, even in your 20s. I see nowadays they actually do the voice recognition and then investigate further the one's whose voice is recognized. Plus, maybe the amount of fluid is enough for today's DNA.

It is interesting that the one who they have on Death Row, Carlton Gary, was actually into burglary and so with your experience, they did say that he, Carlton Gary, left Georgia and traveled to Florida, committing burglaries. So, he is certainly a bad guy and in prison for murdering the woman in Albany, NY, and his MO was more along this line, and maybe not the older women. The "Stocking Strangler's" MO was always older, more mature women, and he was not concerned about robbing them.

So, it does give one a lot to ponder, and I hope and pray the one who committed the violent crime against you, is already in prison or dead.

The timeline of '81 or '82 fits the time Carlton Gary would have been in Florida.

Yes, precious heart, thank God he didn't slit your throat!

Hugs and peace always

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 13, 2016:

Faith, there actually was very little of his fluid when they did the rape kit. Also, the cops thought they might know who it was because a similar rape had happened not far from where I lived. I asked them to do an audio lineup. I told them I'd never forget the voice, but they refused because I never saw his face. I do know it was a black man. This happened in the early 1980s, say '81 or '82. I was 24 or 25. Thank God he didn't slit my throat!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on May 12, 2016:

Oh, Dear Sha, I'm so sorry about those ugly memories. My heart just breaks for you having to experience such a horrifying crime against your person. I know you have written of your story before. You are most certainly a "brave warrior" without a doubt. You are a strong and beautiful person. I wonder if they kept the evidence back them, that maybe DNA could not find that person who violated you then? I can't remember what the statute of limitations is on such a crime. Were there any other rapes in your area reported then?

I am thankful to God that you are still here with us now, sweet friend.

As far as this "Stocking Strangler" serial killer and my co-worker being questioned by the police ...that is all I know. They very well could have interrogated him thoroughly. All I know is when I saw that sketch and I immediately thought of him, I felt compelled to just ask him did he happen to see that sketch of a suspect in the killings, and then for his answer to be what it was ...unnerving to say the least!

I think I may have left work after that to get the final details of my wedding done, or either when I did go back to work, I don't remember seeing him after that incident at my house. However, he could have very well just been working on different days after that?

It is pretty suspicious to me too, no doubt, about his fixation with older women's hair. I have always been one to notice how people interact with others for some reason, just observant, I guess. So, when I had noticed how he would make those inquiries to older women about their hair, a red flag went up in my mind, long before any sketch appeared in the newspaper.

You are brave to read this hub, especially with it being a true crime article. It sounds like the crime against you may have occurred within a couple of years of these crimes?

Peace and hugs

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 12, 2016:

Faith, when I read the intro it brought back ugly memories of something that happened to me when I was in my 20's. I was asleep in my little cottage in South Florida and was awakened by a body on top of me, a washcloth over my face, and my own butcher knife held to me throat. The guy kept saying, "don't move or I'll kill ya" while he raped me. Then he walked me (still with my face covered) to a closet, shoved me in and put a chair under the handle, as he slid out the way he came in: through jalousie windows. I'm highly claustrophobic and busted out of the closet once I was sure he was gone. As I was running out of the house to get away and call for help, I discovered he'd stolen my Seiko watch and all my money (I had just closed my checking account with intent of switching banks). I'll never forget his voice. However, because I didn't see his face, Ft. Lauderdale police didn't bother trying to find the guy who attacked me.

If your co-worker was a suspect in the case, why didn't the police question him further? Or did he just tell you he was a suspect? You were very brave to confront him. Thank God your dad answered the door when he came to your house! Did you ever see him after that? What happened to him? I don't think the right guy was arrested. Your co-workers fixation with older women's hair is not just creepy, but weird. Choking the victims with their own stockings puts his face pretty much right there in their hair. Pretty suspicious, don't you think?

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on May 03, 2016:

Hi Genna,

It is so great to see you this day! Oh, no need for any forgiveness, as I surely understand for I have not been able to be on here much myself due to regular life circumstances.

Yes, this "human creature" reminds me too of the Boston Strangler. You certainly have keen insight. It was a surreal experience concerning my co-worker and his being questioned by the police, coupled with the other facts!

Thank you for your kind words.

It has always been perplexing to me how he could slip through the fingers of law enforcement when they were right at the scene that one time. It brings up a lot more questions in my mind .

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 01, 2016:

Hi Faith. I've been away for a while on a work sabbatical, so please forgive me in being so late in reading your amazing story. This is excellent writing, Faith -- from your description of this Georgia community and your home town, to the human creature that crept with horrific and silent stealth into the homes of these poor unsuspecting victims. This killer was determined and patient in a way that slid chills down my spine. He reminded me of the Boston Strangler.

What a beautiful of photo of you! And you were spot on about John's odd behavior with the older ladies and his fixation with their hair; it was so strange. And how the sketch looked so much like him. You were very brave to confront him about the sketch, but your instincts were right. And to think he followed you home. Thank goodness your father was there.

Another way in which this story reminds me of the Boston Strangler is that they were never truly sure they caught the right man. Such horrors as these may "stop," but it is for a reason, especially for socio/psychopaths. The killer may have been arrested for something else and imprisoned, moved to another location and changed his MO, was killed, etc. Without DNA evidence, can they really be sure?

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 10, 2016:


I do wish you would consider it, but I also understand what you are saying about giving them the "right" to rationalize their behavior which can lead to problems.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 10, 2016:

No, Theresa, I have not, but may at some point. You see, if their "reasoning" is made too public, it will only give them the "right" to rationalize their behavior. As it is, there are enough problems in this arena.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 09, 2016:

Oh, my, Deb,

How fascinating and terrifying at the same time ...your interviewing serial killers! Have you done a hub on that yet? It would certainly make a terrific topic for a hub, being you have firsthand knowledge. I wouldn't have written this hub if it hadn't been for the fact that these horrific murders happened in my home town, plus with my little connection there with a "suspect" in the slayings.

You're right, that is certainly sad. Seems most of them had good qualities or gifts but their minds were sick and they were unable to control themselves for whatever reasons.

I think your insight about my coworker is spot on, and it is the best reason that I can think of now, why he would even say anything to me ...

Thank you for reading and providing interesting comments to add a lot to the topic of this hub.

What kind of job did you have when you interviewed serial killers or was it part of research for a book?

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 09, 2016:

I interviewed serial killers, so I have a little insight in some of their concerns. Oddly enough, Phil Jablonski, used to decorate his envelopes to me with some of the most beautiful artwork. It's such a sad thing that he was unable to put his art to a good career.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 09, 2016:

Oh, Wow, Deb,

Thank you for sharing that with me about Ann Rule, and her doing volunteer work with Ted Bundy, and it does sound logical to me, just as your keen observations you have relayed here how he felt comfortable enough to tell me what he did. I was, and still am, one who accepts people for who they are and treat them with kindness, until I have to set up boundaries, obviously, especially with this one and with enough suspicions here, I was wise to take a step back.

Deb, you certainly have provided much to think on here in your commenting. I never really thought about the aspect of a killer needing someone to talk to and feel safe to share little tid bits here and there.

I never knew that about Ted Bundy and it is certainly interesting that Ann Rule was able to put the pieces together with what he had confided in her, and was caught!

I appreciate you and your great comment, which adds much interest to this shocking real life horror story.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 09, 2016:

Ann Rule, author of The Stranger Beside Me, used to do volunteer work with Ted Bundy. To make a long story short, he confided his warped interests to her and she figured out the rest. She was strictly a "friend," and was somewhat captivated with his charisma, but not enough to be "at risk." I suspect that the young man that you knew who have eventually confined in you, too, since you had an idea of what he was like. After all, you "accepted" him to some degree, he felt, and that is sometimes enough for the veil to be dropped.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 09, 2016:

Hi Deb,

Yes, my mother had short, dark hair.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 09, 2016:

Hi Nell,

Thank you so much for reading this real life horror story. Yes, it does remind one of Jack the Ripper, but he killed prostitutes, whereas this guy killed older women living in the affluent area of the city. I am reminded of the Boston Strangler being this guy strangled the women with their own stocking. Creepy and scary no doubt!. To have lived there during the time the killings were going on, but then perplexing they stopped after I married and moved away. Apparently the murderer did too.

As far as who the real "Stocking Strangler" is, I hope it is Carlton Gary, the one in prison, but there is so much doubt now, especially with DNA testing.

Yes, Thank God my family is safe.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 09, 2016:

Did your mother have short hair?

Nell Rose from England on April 09, 2016:

Wow! I read every word, and couldn't 'put it down' so to speak! I think you were right, I reckon it was john! scary stuff! It reminds me a bit of 'Jack the Ripper' over here in England, back in 1888 he murdered lots of women, but they never found out who he was, some say an American, others say a Doctor and others something to do with the Royals, we will never know, great story, horrible reality, and thank goodness your family were safe!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 06, 2016:

Yes, Dearest Maria,

I thought of you and your own horrific ordeal, sweetie, and that you may not be able to read of these brutal murders of these poor women. I debated with myself about publishing for the sheer facts of the heartlessness and brutality. I think I may have blocked these chilling crimes out of my mind intentionally or something for years, even though I wasn't a victim. I remember our whole city feeling like we were held hostage.

Love you


Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on April 06, 2016:

Dear Theresa,

You did an amazing job sharing the chain of these heinous killings. Any "brutal true life horror story" takes me some time to absorb these days.

You are one brave lady and your father's protectiveness warms my heart.

Love you, Maria

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 05, 2016:

Another brave to come and read ...you, dear Bill,

You're exactly right, especially the crime of rape and it has nothing to do with desire or anything, but power, just as you have stated. So, obviously, there was something going on there against these particular women who lived in the affluent part of the city.

And too, as you have said again, they want to be God and take things literally into their own murdering hands and kill. Well, we certainly know what God has to say about those who murder and shed blood ...

Yes, it was a fearful two years for all the citizenry of my home town.

Thank you for taking time to read such a brutal true life horror story.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 05, 2016:

Hi ChitrangadaSharan,

Thank you for bravely stopping by to read here. Yes, a thriller story of the most heinous kind, a real one!

I'm so glad you found this presented well and thoroughly interesting, especially being it is such a violent and brutal story to retell. I know, I cannot even begin to comprehend the horror those poor women went through ...it is truly unimaginable.

I was surprised at myself, too, back then, for I was so shy and quiet (I grew out of that), but I've always had strong convictions about right and wrong and not about to let something slide if I have it on my mind.

I do hope the one they have in prison is the true "Stocking Strangler" and he is certainly where he needs to be (even if not the true one, for he is a bad guy).

If he had answered my question, which was, "Did you see that sketch in the newspaper of the Strangler suspect?" And if he had of answered no and went about his business, I probably would not have thought anything, but I still would have mentioned that it looked identical to him.

But when he immediately said, yes, and that he offered up more by saying they questioned him already as a suspect ...I could not help but to ask why would they do that, and then him offering more information about jogging in that particular area of town ...he was in great shape too, so, as you can imagine, my young mind was reeling and trying to process what he just told me.

I appreciate that about the photos ...and I know you are talking about the non-victim photos, etc. I purposely chose the one at the beginning to be non-murderer photo, as I did not want to see the face on my profile page over and over of that Gary man, no matter what. I would just have to unpublish it, but being I found that art piece with the woman taking off her stockings, I thought, that will work just fine.

Thank you so much for reading and sharing!

I appreciate you.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on April 05, 2016:

Ho Faith,

I guess that was enough excitement to last a life time. I'm no psychologist, but I'm told those kind of crimes are caused by a desire for power and to control. Such as it is, there is probably no greater control than to control whether someone lives or dies. You certainly had a scary experience, and thanks for sharing it with us.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 05, 2016:

What a scary and dramatic story! I feel I have just watched a thriller movie.

You have presented this hub so wonderfully. But I feel so sorry for the women involved. What a horrible fate, Scary indeed!

Your pictures are so beautiful and you were so young at that time to just ask him point blank questions.

It seems this John had a strange fascination for older women.

All together a thoroughly interesting read! Thanks for sharing!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 04, 2016:

Hi Linda,

Thank you so much for reading. I had been noticing a lot of true crime hubs here, and I thought, well, I certainly do have that to write about, but as I just commented to Shyron, it was a difficult decision to do so.

Your comment does make me feel better, saying that it is a good topic for a hub.

Oh, yes, it is so hard to even comprehend what those poor women experienced. God rest their souls.

I doubt they ever did anything in this world to hurt anyone else, and then to suffer such a fate.

I appreciate your comments, as always.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 04, 2016:

Hi Shyron,

Thank you so much for bravely reading my horrifically brutal true life story here. I was so apprenhensive about writing this one and publishing it just for its sheer violence that had to be relayed ...plus, I did wrestle with myself because I'm very careful in not divulging too much personal information such as where I live and such on the world-wide web because of those out there in the world such as I have written here. Then I was noticing how many true crimes hubs are published here on HubPages, so I thought that it may be okay because I no longer live in that state and I don't tell where I live now ...however, I may have slipped up here and there in my commenting on other's hubs. I take all of that seriously because I want to make sure to protect myself and even more so, my family.

Anyway, really good observation there about the hinge pins! I've been trying to figure that out too but that is exactly what they reported had happened and I remember reading it in the newspaper back then with much fright. Wonder if the poor woman's door could have been installed wrong? Because, otherwise, it would have had to been ajar but if so then no need to take the hinge pins off ...so strange. Now, most of these homes were built in the 19th century and are on the national historic register, so I wonder were they built differently? These murders keep having more and more questions than there are answers, which makes the whole mess the more baffling to me.

What really bugs me is why on Earth did they not catch him that night the woman pressed the alarm and the police arrived in two minutes at her home with him still there around the premises? They should have blocked off all streets going in and out of the neighborhood and they would have caught him!

All I know, Shyron, is they do have that Carlton Gary in prison but now with DNA testing, there is much doubt cast as to his guilt as far as these murders. I have no clue about my co-worker other than what I have written and that is he told me the police questioned him and he jogged in the Wynnton area, plus he was identical looking to the police suspect sketch after those two who survived were eye witnesses ...and with his bizarre inquiries with older women about their hair whenever they came to shop at that store ... It is all too strange to try to comprehend. I pray they do have the right man in prison!

Blessings and hugs to you too

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 04, 2016:

This is a very scary and dramatic story, Theresa! It certainly makes an interesting hub. I feel so sorry for the women involved. What a horrible fate.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on April 04, 2016:

Theresa, wow! I am glad your dad was home when John came calling, I would have been scared to confront someone that could possible be a murderer. Was he the accomplice? Did you ever find out?

I am curious about the Hinge pins that the strangler removed, because in most cases the Hinges would be on the inside of the door.

Glad you are safe.

Blessings and hugs

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 04, 2016:

Hi Nicole,

Thank you for reading this real life horror story. Yes, these poor women suffered a fate that is unimaginable.

That is a mystery for sure, especially being after getting married and moving away, I never went back there and as far as I know my family never heard from him again. I could ask my brother if he remembers anything as he is just a year younger than I am. My sisters are five and ten years younger than I am and so they were too young to remember such, I believe.

Well, they arrested that Carlton Gary in 1984 for a couple of the murders and he is still on death row, but now with DNA testing doubt has been cast on whether they caught the right man.

Nicole Young 07 from Chicago Illinois on April 04, 2016:

poor women, the story sends chills to my spine, I just couldn't imagine being killed in that manner. Until now, I am still wondering what ever happened to John, your co-worker. I was wondering if the police were able to catch the serial killer or he is still on the loose up to this day :(

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Carry on, girlfriends ...it's all been good!

Thank you both for adding much more interest and insight to the topic of this hub, which is a disturbing topic, so I'm thrilled to see it draw your interest.

Y'all are always welcome on my hub space and it's no problem if you need to have a side bar discussion.

I appreciate both of you intelligent ladies spending time here, please know.

Yes, you may be right about dodging a bullet, Shan! See, it certainly helps to talk things out with others who can offer new perspectives.

Sweet dreams, ladies ...

Shannon Henry from Texas on April 03, 2016:

Hahaha! We've both been guilty of that. Sorry, Theresa! This hub has just been so fascinating! At least most of our chatter has been related to this hub.

Speaking of, in answer to your question - I'd have to say that if he came to say goodbye, you dodged a really scary bullet! People don't just suddenly flee because someoen suspects them unless there is reason to.

Suzie from Carson City on April 03, 2016:

"Yes, damned if you do and damned if you don't sometimes. Still, I hate to upset people. It makes me feel bad because my motives are not to upset, you know? It's more than caring what others think of me, though it is painful when someone cared for changes their opinion of me. But I guess that's life too."

WOW Shan......Out of that lengthy comment...this paragraph just jumped out a struck me hard! I can't get into all that I absolutely want to say to you.....You are an entire hour-long $300.00 session, girlfriend!...Just take these few notes: People UPSET THEMSELVES by their perceptions and REACTIONS to your actions (which as you say, are not intended to hurt anyone) If you're going to "feel bad"...have a valid reason but certainly not that someone made you feel badly. That person is responsible for their own actions and reactions. YOU are only responsible for your own. We don't really KNOW that someone has changed their opinion of us....maybe they have, maybe not....and so what if they do? All that's important is that you know who you are. If they do not, well that's their issue.

Oh my.......Talk to you soon. I have to stop using Theresa's hub to chat!!!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hi Shan,

I just read and shared Paula's excellent hub so it should show up on your feed.

Believe it or not, all of that does get easier as you get older ...you are so young, gifted and a deep thinker and, too, obviously a deep thinker, and that's who you are, but I have never wanted to upset anyone either. I was such a people-pleaser back in the day, and that in and of itself can wear one out!

As I commented to Linda up there, I don't remember seeing my co-worker again at work, but I was so close to my wedding date, that I think I only may have been at work a couple of days after that, but I can't remember. I know I was so busy with finishing up my wedding details, as my dad told him when he did show up at my house, so I know I wouldn't have been at work much longer. Maybe he was coming to tell me goodbye?

Rut roh, about the crime channel and being alone ...girlfriend, you need to put on a comedy and relax!

Hugs and much love always

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Oh, okay, Paula, I see it, will do.

I just read your excellent hub and shared it everywhere as I think it deserves another go around here and in cyber world.

Shannon Henry from Texas on April 03, 2016:

No one else to be! It is more of an offense when I notice or remember details about the person I am speaking too. Friends do not like to feel under the microscope, so to speak, though I don't purposely do it and I don't try to over-analyze. I just make connections to things I have observed with current thoughts or ideas I have on my mind and I am more likely to remember things about people I am trying to connect with. Because I care. No harm intended. It's particularly annoying if someone is already angry with me, I've found, so I definitely do not do that when someone is trying to argue with me. LOL. Thankfully, that is not often.

Yes, damned if you do and damned if you don't sometimes. Still, I hate to upset people. It makes me feel bad because my motives are not to upset, you know? It's more than caring what others think of me, though it is painful when someone cared for changes their opinion of me. But I guess that's life too.

Anyway, I can understand exactly why you noticed his fascination with the hair of older women. I know from experience that cashiers are usually alert to what others around them are doing and saying. It's part of making sure everything gets paid for. People try anything these days. One cashier at my store and a manager got mace sprayed in their eyes one night for checking inside an open box. It just looked tampered with. It almost makes me not want to check inside things, but we are supposed to. And check underneath he carts. I notice when people forget things in the cart that fell, things like that. It's harder at self-check where there are 8 registers to watch all at once and people needing assistance so that others are not seen. I'm sure more theft happens there than other registers. Anyway, my point is that it is natural that you noticed his odd line of questioning. It's quirky for sure, but even more so in light of the murders. Chilling for sure.

How long did you work with him after you confronted him and he came to your house? Just curious.

They're right in saying you presented this hub quite well. It's not just the terror of the town, but yours personally that can also be felt.

Paula, what is that hub title of yours? Sounds interesting. I'll have to reread the comment and see if you mentioned it. The test? Is it like finding Waldo or the search and find things? I am good at those and word searches. I just look and see most of the time, no need to search. But my memory of the picture details is not always that great, especially if I am tired. The more alert I am mentally and the better off physically I am, the more of those kinds of details I notice. It is useful at work. I can also have a conversation with someone and remember the most random things said, things that seem irrelevant or nit-picky even and then people sometimes think I've missed the bigger picture. LOL

Oh, I am home alone and just realized my husband left the crime channel on!!!! LOL Not good timing for this hub...or maybe so. ..

But you just made me laugh out loud. Good thing no one is here to hear. LOL. Scooby Scooby-Doo where are you? You've got some work to do now!

Suzie from Carson City on April 03, 2016:

Oops! Theresa...I have a double comment...same one. You may want to delete the 2nd one. I just noticed that....

And BTW shanmarie....I insist on being SCOOBY.....I've practiced saying, "Ruh-Roh!"

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hi Paula,

I total agree with your comment to Shan, and your mother's brilliant example there!

That is too funny about your friends never learning to place a bet with you LOL.

I can always tell when someone is being untruthful, as I notice something in their voice changes or they start doing something different in their stance. It's the little things that give people away, and they probably don't even realize they are telling on themselves.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hahah now see there, Shan,

I made the above comment before reading Paula's comment that just popped in, and so we are in agreement about not caring about what people think, as we must be who we are no matter what others may think.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Oh, dear Shan,

You just go ahead and be yourself, people will become upset if you do something and if you don't do something in this life ...

Paula is an amazing woman too, and women should be celebrated every day.

Bless you both

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hi there, The Detail Diva, Paula, the still young, bright and focused one,

I believe it and I know you deserved that title and so I will toot your horn here! I can just see you blowing everyone away with your attention to detail and your keen intuitive skills. Your job sounds so interesting. Well, these crimes surely involve mental issues along with criminal, so there you go.

Oh, I am going to look up your hub! Sounds fascinating.

The Flash Observation does sound fun. I do wish I had gone into a field such as a profiler or some sort of behavioral analyst type job. I am fascinated by people and how they interact with others.

Thank you for sharing of that part of your life.

Suzie from Carson City on April 03, 2016:

We need to hang out more often.....I say, "Too bad what people like or don't like!" Naturally no one likes to see someone with a talent or someone who has an intuitive gift! That gives us a leg up on everyone else.

Like my mother always said...."Honey, don't EVER trust a friend who insists you have cake & ice cream when you're on a DIET!!" LOL I'm sure you get the message!

Do you have any idea how much money I've won on BETS? When someone argues with me for instance, about something or someone in a movie we may have seen?....Well trust me Shan, I'm a tightwad. I NEVER put money on anything unless I'm 100% positive I know what I'm talking about! My friends never learn....they will still bet me and lose every time! LOL!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

P.S. Martie,

We do have rampant killings in the inner cities where the gangs usually are taking over. Even in the city in which I work and have about an hour commute, there is gang activity, and it is so sad because most times part of the initiation into a gang is that they make the person go out and just shoot an innocent person! It's as if there is no value whatsoever nowadays placed on human life.

Very sad for the human race.

Shannon Henry from Texas on April 03, 2016:

Oh my gosh, Paula, not to stick my nose in your conversation with Theresa, but I totally understand the detail diva thing! However, I would argue that it is not something to toot the horn about even if you wanted to. It gets me in trouble sometimes! People are put off by it and I don't even realize I'm doing it sometimes!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hi Linda,

Thank you for reading this real life horror story. You know, I don't remember having seen my co-worker after that, so I must have been ready to leave for my husband was taking his final test out in Texas for Tech School in the Air Force and then he would be on his way for our wedding. So, if I went back to work, I just don't remember seeing him at work ...so maybe he left town then? Or maybe I blocked it from my mind?

Once I was married and moved off with my husband to Florida and then Texas, I really never thought about it again. Then something reminded me one day when I was Googling something about my home town, and I saw reference to "The Stocking Strangler" and it all came back.

Those were two terrifying years for my home town, believe me.

Yes, hide those stockings real good!

Suzie from Carson City on April 03, 2016:

Theresa..... I worked for the State of NY with Crisis Prevention & Intervention for many years. I had only minor involvement with law enforcement. Although it was Behavioral Analysis, it centered on mental health as opposed to the Criminal end of it. It would be much easier for you to read my old hub "The Talk Therapist." Describing it could take forever!

Yes, Theresa, you would be terrific in that venue, being you are so observant. I am very much so and also like you, I "study people" and have a keen knack for "detail"....Now, pls know I am not blowing my own horn...but I had a nickname given me by my staff as "The Detail Diva"....LMAO! No kidding.

I'm serious when I say you would be good at that. I don't know if you ever had occasion to take a class or an exam in any of your studies with relationship to Flash Observation, but it is extremely fascinating. With practice, someone can become truly amazing at it.

You are given an 8X10 color photo which is simply FILLED everywhere with HUNDREDS of things, people, places, etc.....you have 45 seconds to focus on it and then it is removed from your sight. You then immediately list every single detail in that photo that you recall & keep writing until you can think of no more....Sound like fun? It is! I got so good at it, I scared even myself! LOL I would always invariably have a list twice as long as anyone's.

Ahhhh but that was when I was young and bright & focused! Now, I pray I can find my way to my bedroom and remember which side of the room my bed is on!...........LOL!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hi Martie,

Yes, truly terrible and horrifying indeed ...Good question, especially after that one night when he was still there strangling the woman who had pressed the alarm that rang next door. Back in the day, there was no such thing as the ADT alarm systems and no one really thought to put videos in their homes then either. They should have closed off all entrances to that neighborhood that night until they found him!

Well, they believe they caught him, that Carlton Gary, but now DNA is inconclusive, and who has been on Georgia's death row ever since 1984! And he is a bad guy who should be in prison, but is he "The Stocking Strangler"?

I'm sorry your country is rampant with evildoers too who prey on the mature and older people, but this guy did not want to rob them, but rape and murder them with their own stockings. So, he is truly one sick person with severe mental health issues.

These serial killers sometimes get away with murdering for years and years and then are caught finally. One never truly knows about another person and what's really going on in his or her psyche.

Yes, rest in peace ALL victims.

Thank you for the "excellent, and well-presented" ...I appreciate that so much.

Peace and blessings

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on April 03, 2016:

OMG-this is so sad and scary. I have to be honest-I would have quit my job at that store after seeing the sketch of the strangler. How did you have the courage to go back? Did you work there again after he came to your house? If you did, you are one tough person. Thanks for sharing this nightmarish story. This should be on 48 hours murder mystery or criminal minds. Yikes! Locking my doors and hiding all nylon stockings tonight :0

Martie Coetser from South Africa on April 03, 2016:

How awful, and scary! How was it not possible to find the killer? At least I know how the citizens felt, as all mature people in South Africa, as well as our farmers, are since 1994 the soft targets of lawless and extremely brutal criminals. Not a week goes by without two to three of these senseless killings. Most of the criminals get caught, but there must be thousands of them roaming this country.

RIP, all victims of heartless murderers!

Excellent article, well-presented!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Yes, they did both have alias names. I guess that makes it harder for law enforcement to track them down for sure.

Shannon Henry from Texas on April 03, 2016:

I thought it might be, but it had mention of John Lee under it and looked a little different to me. Though, I do think that bottom picture looks more like the sketch than some of the others. It says he was listed as John Lee Mitcell in one book and John Lee Williams in another. Even Gary had two different alias names. Weird.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Oh, no, those are all of Carlton Gary, but thank you !

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

LOL, Shan, that is too funny about Scooby Doo and all ...

Oh, thanks! I will check out it now.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Oh, I think you, Paula and I would all be great profilers! Women do have that intuition about people. I, too, am observant of people, and so that is why I noticed my co-worker and his strange fixation with older women and their hair, plus his very calm demeanor, quiet disposition and very low, soft-spoken voice.

Really! Which blog? If it is a picture from back in the day, I would know instantly if it is the same John, but if it is a recent photo, not so sure. However, he should still have those distinct facial features.

Shannon Henry from Texas on April 03, 2016:

Now I have visions of Nancy Drew, Boxcar Kids, and Scooby Doo and the like! Except not as children, of course. LOL

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hello again, Dick Tracy No, 1, Paula,

Now, in reading your comment to Dick Tracy No, 2, Shan, I am curious what kind of work did you retire from doing?

I do have an interesting job, as our office attempts to keep public officials and public employees ethical ....hahaha an arduous task to say the least. I have about three more years to retire. Maybe we can all get together somehow and form our own private detective agency, but like you, I will just want to enjoy not being burned out by then.

Shannon Henry from Texas on April 03, 2016:

Wouldn't that be something? LOL

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hi Dick Tracy No. 1, Paula,

Oh, I love it ...your detective work! I was so apprehensive in publishing this hub just for the sheer brutality of the crimes. However, guess who I thought of who would be interested in reading this hub ....You LOL I know you love solving mysteries. As I stated before, I would not have published it if it weren't for these killings happening in my home town and then with my little added bit of a mystery.

So, I am loving your interest and keen sense of intuition about this bizarre mess.

You make valid points for sure about them releasing someone, and as relates to my once low crime rate in my home town, and that an outsider would have moved on after one crime. Exactly, there were no robberies or burglaries committed with the strangler killings, but he did rape them after punching them in the face, and tying their own stocking around their necks. So, to me, that rules out Carlton Gary as he was known for burglarizing and robberies, but he did murder the one woman up in your neck of the woods.

So, they would still have all of the DNA, hopefully, from the rapes, and should perform a DNA test now on all of the previous suspects. There is no statute of limitations on murder, so I don't think there would be any legal issue with them doing that now.

I wish you were present there with me when I confronted my co-worker as you would just know he was not kidding, plus he was not known to be one who kids around with others or at least not at work that I ever remember.

Maybe I should have inquired of him why he did show up at my house unannounced and how did he know where I lived!

I think you, Shan and I missed our calling in being Behavioral Analysts, FBI agents or detectives. Women have such a keen sense of intuition and they excel in those fields.

We'll have this mystery solved before too long ...LOL

Shannon Henry from Texas on April 03, 2016:


I think I found a picture of John Lee Williams at the bottom of this blog article. Unless it is the Gary guy?

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hi MsDora,

It was certainly a time of horror and shock for our entire community.

Yes, thank goodness the killings finally stopped! So, I'm thinking the killer must have moved on somewhere else?

Oh, yes, I know God and His angels always have me covered.

I never really considered at that time, that my co-worker could have been kidding with me, as some others have suggested here too, and I pray that is the true reality. However, the fact with that the police suspect sketch looking identical to him, his jogging in the area and his noticeable fixation of older women and their hair, it is hard for me to discount all of that together.

Having said that, I truly hope that is the case that he was kidding with me, but ... he was never one to kid around with others like most young men do.

Peace and blessings

Shannon Henry from Texas on April 03, 2016:

Hahaha! Sometimes I think I would like to be a profiler. I notice things and remember things about people, mannerisms, and things said. Human behavior fascinates me. But I am no Dick Tracy. I'll leave that to the other sleuth in the house. ;) Besides, she has a very valid point that they must have had good reason to believe that the John guy was not his accomplice after all. Unless he's really good at fooling the police or a good lawyer.

Suzie from Carson City on April 03, 2016:

Shanmarie....LOL...You too? Well, You and I would be a deadly duo working cold cases! I'll always be hooked on this kind of work. Although I was really done and burnt out by the time I retired, I do miss the work. I'm too old to deal with the emotional side. I used to be tough. Now I'm an old softy!....P.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hi, Dick Tracy No. 2, Shan,

Y'all are awesome to be so concerned about the true killer being brought to justice, so we can all have some peace about it.

Me too, Shan. That fact alone would help.

Suzie from Carson City on April 03, 2016:

Faith...No doubt Carlton is where he should be for the crimes he actually did commit. He recanted about having an accomplice and the Prosecutor would have checked that out thoroughly. They don't let people out of prison unless proven 100% not guilty of what they were imprisoned for. The guy probably had a half way decent attorney who was able to track back his whereabouts for each murder. That's not easy to do but when it's life or death, people will put forth the effort. So if he had alibis, they had to release him.

I love solving mysteries. A lot of things keep going over in my mind. Your town was nearly crime free, which clearly says the culprit was a local or someone nearby. A drifter would have committed ONE murder and moved on. Also, just murder (and he raped them too, right?) with no burglary is very unusual.

There's also no doubt that your fellow employee was a bit "weird," which you were astute enough to notice. Theresa, I'd give anything to have been present when you confronted him. I'd also love to know why he went to your house!....Thanks for putting up with my detective work!! LOL

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Oh, P.S. Paula,

Thank you for telling me you think I did a good job in putting all of this together, as I soon realized that this hub could have gone on forever, and decided to try to focus solely on when I lived there during the time of the actual killings taking place and attempted to convey the fear that gripped my home town.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hi there, Dick Tracy ...I mean, Paula,

Yes, exactly! I was thinking Albany is up there in your neck of the woods, but being you did not mention it in your first comment, I thought I was mistaken. I agree with you too, after catching up on what all happened after I married and moved away, the facts just do not add up to believe, in my mind, that Carlton Gary is "The Stocking Strangler," although he is certainly a bad guy who needs to remain in prison. From what I read about Carlton Gary, he was more into committing burglaries and robberies for money, and so with that envelope filled with money left in plain sight in that one strangler killing, just does not add up, for surely Gary would have snapped that envelope up in a hurry.

That's just the thing, Paula, I have no clue whether my co-worker still continued to work there and live there in my home or moved away too. I'm sure my manager back then has since long retired from the A&P, so I wouldn't know who to ask or inquire of there, as I have been away so long too.

I'm wondering if that other John Lee Williams is the same John?

Maybe as has been reported, Carlton Gary did have an accomplice who actually did the killings? So many questions left unanswered and a lot of doubt is cast on the many twists and turns of this whole mess, that it all makes my head spin.

Since it has been so many years, hopefully, the real killer, whoever he is, is dead now or in prison serving time for other crimes.

Thanks for the sleuth work, Paula!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Aw, thank you, dear Mike,

I never really thought about it in that way, but sure enough, my Heavenly and Earthly Fathers protected me. Who knows how close we come throughout our lives to danger that we may not even have a clue about.

I know that I have had many close calls in my life, and know that God surely must want me still here for a reason ...

Oh, now I am reminded of another time when I was in high school, but it is not enough to write an entire hub about though. We moved to another neighborhood, but I wanted to still go to my same school, so I had a long walk home to our new home. Anyway, I would pass this family-owned fabric store, that my mother would always go to, "Kilpatrick's" and I remember it being a really long cement block building painted bright green.

Each day when I passed by their store, their son would be standing in the doorway and smile and just watch me walking by. I must add that he was quite a good looking young man with sparkling eyes and great friendly smile.

Anyway, one day we heard of the shocking news of a girl in my school named Truly Johnson being killed (raped) in the woods behind Kilpatrick's. Turns out she wanted to take a short-cut to the store, but never made it. She had very long hair the same color as mine and we looked very much alike. Thankfully, they arrested the son and he is/was in prison for the murder. I can't help but to wonder if he thought she may have been me taking a short-cut that day? Yikes ...

Yes, it was odd that after I was married and moved off to Florida for four years, and then two years in Fort Worth, Texas, the killings just stopped. So, I do wonder if the killer moved away to another state to commit crimes and maybe he is in prison somewhere for other crimes. I read that the one they have on Georgia's Death Row for a couple of the stranglings, Carlton Gary, did go to Florida for a few years and commit burglaries and robberies. Gary was caught in Athens, Georgia in 1984. However, I have no clue about my co-worker and whether or not he moved off somewhere too.

I still do wonder why John showed up at my house that one day. Maybe, he was just kidding with me when I asked him those questions, and wanted to make sure I knew he was kidding ...I hope that is the real case, but with that identical police sketch of the suspect in the killings and then with his strange fixation, plus with him jogging in the Wynnton area, I just don't believe he was kidding with me.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts here.

Peace and blessings always

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 03, 2016:

What an experience, Faith! Glad the killings stopped, but it would feel much better if we knew for sure that the strangler was caught. Happy that you and you members remained protected and safe through all this. I wonder if John found humor in the fact that he scared you?

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hi John,

Oh, for sure about the real life killers, especially when they do their dirty deed in your home town!

Thanks for your concern to share that little bit with the police about my then co-worker. All that I could add was how he seemed fixated on older women's hair and would even comment to them or inquire of them about their hair.

However, coupled with that strange behavior and with him jogging in the Wynnton area, does give one pause and raise a bit of suspicion in my mind.

Long before the killings ever began, I did notice his odd fixation, plus with the added fact that his choice of employer happened to employ older women as cashiers during the day.

Maybe the FBI will read this and find him to test his DNA ... and who knows, maybe he is the same John Lee Williams who was arrested and jailed, but later set free?

Thank you for stopping by to read, as I know you are busy with your new site.


Shannon Henry from Texas on April 03, 2016:

Paula, I was snooping around online last night as well. Too creepy and too much of a mystery not to. I was trsying to find a mugshot of the John Lee guy. That would answer any questions and put the mystery at least partially to bed, I think, but I can't find any. There has to be a public record of it somewhere.

Suzie from Carson City on April 03, 2016:

OK Theresa! I'm in disguise as Dick Tracy right now....LOL I read as much as was available online about this Columbus mystery. You certainly did an excellent job of covering the story & all the many facts.

I don't know though....the guy in prison who killed a woman in Albany (in my neck of the woods BTW!) It does not sound like he's the man who terrorized your town & committed all those murders. All the lab work has ruled him out via DNA.

I'd really like to know whatever happened to that fellow employee of yours...did he stay around for long after all of it? Does anyone know where he went or what's he's doing? The whole thing makes me leery & I don't think he should have been ruled out as easily and quickly as he was....

You never know Theresa.....some cold cases have been solved after more than 50 years!!.......I'm glad you moved away! LOL. Paula

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on April 03, 2016:

Hello Theresa. Just as cats are rumored to have nine lives, you may be the woman with nine miracles. I know of two now. I surmise (picture me tipping my Sherlock Holmes hat back) that John came to your house to find out if you actually knew anything and if you did, then who knows what. Thank goodness for protective Fathers and their ways in getting rid of curious boys. You moved shortly after, I wonder if John moved also.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on April 03, 2016:

Theresa, I find real-life murders much more chilling than fictional stories. i feel that even though so many years have passed you should go to the police with your concerns about your then coworker John. They probably won't do anything but at least it would clear your mind that you told them.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

For sure. Thank you again, Devika!

Peace and blessings to you

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 03, 2016:

Definitely a sick mind. You did a great job! Take care now!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Hi Devika,

It's so great to see you stopping by to read. Thank you so much for the great comment. I'm glad you like the presentation and detail.

This is one of those stories which could go on forever, with its continuing twists and turns. I had to do a lot of editing because it was getting too long, so I attempted to focus on creating the sense of fear that gripped my home town. I do hope I was at least successful in capturing that horror through my writing.

It is a shocking tale of how depraved a sick mind can become and the lengths the killer went through to satisfy his compulsion to kill. Then the mystery of the killings just stopping ...thankfully, and my hope is that whoever is truly the real killer is in jail somewhere for something!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 03, 2016:

Hi Faith Reaper, you have shared a well-researched hub and I had no idea of this story. In detail and I am impressed at how you put everything together with such determination and truth.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Oh boy, I guess I qualify nowadays for the "older/mature" category ...eeks!

I like that ..."daring" and that may be a first for me. Aw, thank you and bless you too.

I do have a couple of possibly "daring" fiction stories in the works, but don't hold your breath LOL Did you vote in my polls?

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on April 03, 2016:

LOL, but you make old look good.. :) this was a daring piece and wonderfully written.. bless you girl...

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 03, 2016:

Oh, so you have the inside scoop on the specifics, Frank ...Okay, I won't mind you talking to yourself. Tee hee

As far as research, well, really just concerning whether they had ever arrested anyone for the murders being I was living there during the time they were taking place, so we were reading the newspaper daily. Yeah, no Google back in the day ...I know you remember those days too : )

Well, the DNA only placed Carlton Gary at one murder, so there is doubt cast with so many murders and whether he actually did the killings.

Thanks for the fantastic, being you are the expert on murder, stranglings and mayhem and such ...well, in the fiction world at least, you are the expert. Oh, don't know about "my calling" ...you mean being a snoop dog LOL

Yeah, we all have to get old don't we ...

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on April 02, 2016:

oh.. he was arrested on Oct 2nd.. but charged on the 17th.. don't mind me I'm just talking to myself.... How much research did you do.. it was so worth the wait.. I'm still trying to figure out how this is up my alley.. in Dec.. 2010 good ole DNA connected him .. yeah you did work hard on this and you did a fantastic job with it Faith... I think this is your calling... thank you for keeping me posted and finally getting it to press.. oh you were a little hottie back in the day.. not so much now...Only joking :)

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on April 02, 2016:

Yes, they creep me out too much too, but even more so when the real deal comes to your home town!

I'm sure the book would clear up a lot of facts as the author conducted interviews with everyone involved, including the detectives, etc. That's true about not keeping it around.

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