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Without probable cause to hold him, the task force agents had to let him go. He was again let go, but the task force kept him under constant surveillance. He was convicted the following February in the deaths of Cater and Payne. The case, though nearly 40 years old, has never been far from the minds of those who lost loved ones.

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It has also sparked public interest through the years. The case has continuously sparked controversy over the decades. A total of five DeKalb County cases were reopened by Graham and his detectives: those of Balthazar, who was found strangled Feb. Leach said Thursday that she had been let down over the years, not knowing for sure who killed her teen son. Atlanta native Wayne Williams was convicted in the deaths of two adults in Police also think he is responsible for at least 22 of the young men's deaths, but he has never been tried for them.

Fulton County Sheriff's Office. Listen Live. Very Hot. Afternoon T-storms. Wsb traffic on-demand. Wsb weather on-demand. More Audio Replays. Atlanta child murders: 29 black men and boys killed in case that terrified nation. Published: March 21 PM. All the dead were black. Williams, then 23, was suspected of killing at least 29 black men and boys in a month span from to Williams, now 60, is serving life in prison in the two murders.


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Williams, now 60, is serving life in prison in the murders of Nathaniel Cater, 27, and Jimmy Ray Payne, 21, who were among about 29 black men and boys slain in and around Atlanta during a month killing period from to The series of killings, the majority of which were of children, became known as the Atlanta child murders.

Convicted killer Wayne Williams is pictured leaving court during one of his pre-trial proceedings in Williams, now 60, is serving life in prison in the murders of Nathaniel Cater, 27, and Jimmy Ray Payne, 21, who were among about 29 black men and boys slain in the Atlanta area during a month killing period from to in and around Atlanta.

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The Rev. Johnny L. Jones of the Second Mt. Bell was one of about 29 black men and boys killed in a month span from to in and around Atlanta. Wayne Williams, now 60, is serving life in prison in the murders of two of those victims, Nathaniel Cater, 27, and Jimmy Ray Payne, The boys are four of 29 black men and boys convicted killer Wayne Williams is suspected of killing during a month period from to in and around Atlanta. Williams, now 60, is serving life in prison in the murders of Nathaniel Cater, 27, and Jimmy Ray Payne, Related Police to re-test evidence in Atlanta child murder cases.

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"Killing at Hell's Gate" starring Robert Urich, 1981, made-for-TV movie

He was When her parents went out, Michelle unlocked their cable box, and we watched R-rated movies. I got lost in books; she was boy crazy. My parents were married; hers were divorced. My dad was a stockbroker; her biological father had given up his parental rights to her. Sol never tried to adopt her, and she never took his last name. Burly and gruff, Sol stood more than six feet tall, wore a dark brown hairpiece, and despite carrying a good 50 extra pounds around, often went shirtless, a lit cigarette dangling from his lips.

Elaine had big, wide-set brown eyes and pale skin, with dyed pineapple blond hair. She cut a glamorous figure, and the couple seemed constantly surrounded by friends and family. The Salomons had a taste for the good life. Greek statuary surrounded their large swimming pool. There always seemed to be new toys—a large-screen TV, VCRs, and clothes—at their home; even a baby grand piano showed up, although nobody played it.

During occasional mother-daughter lunches, Elaine took Michelle and me out in the Rolls to dine on the top floor of the Bonaventure Hotel downtown. There were suggestions of ties to the Israeli mafia. An ad hoc band of Israeli nationals, it was thought to be involved in insurance and credit card fraud, drug trafficking, extortion, and other illegal activities in several states. By the U. Justice Department assembled a task force of federal, state, and local agencies to investigate potential Israeli organized crime.

Lured to the Bonaventure Hotel, the two were killed and dismembered, their body parts stuffed into plastic garbage bags and scattered across the San Fernando Valley. Other rumors surfaced: that Sol was an Israeli intelligence agent, a drug dealer, or maybe a gun runner, and the family was on the lam for one of his unknowable offenses.

I recall an afternoon when my dad blasted through our front door, rattled after Sol showed him several Uzis that he was selling. A t first I began poking around the case only in small doses.

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It took time before I was able to confront things head-on. As an adult, I collected old news articles about the investigation, only to file them away. When I recalled the inconvenient detail that I was supposed to be with Michelle at her house the night her family disappeared, I sidelined myself. A turning point for me came in That winter, I returned to L.

Back in the Valley, I kept bumping into memories, stirring up that old, creepy feeling. Can we talk? Marge agreed to meet with me along with Dorene Laffer, her niece, for lunch. At 91, Marge was frozen in time. She had the same yellow cotton candy updo. She wore white slacks and a floral-print blouse.

Despite her advanced age, she remained sharp as our three-hour conversation moved from the Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset to her studio apartment behind the Whisky a Go Go. The room was filled with photos of Elaine, Michelle, and Mitch, but none of Sol. Marge theorized how the family was murdered over a bad business deal.

She was very unhappy. There were stacks of cash hidden behind picture frames and who knows what else, she claimed. The truth as she now unspooled it was that Elaine was miserable. Marge revealed that her daughter had been having an affair and wanted desperately to leave Sol.

Marge was a woman who seemed to constantly weigh the balance between money and compromise, until one compromise too many had been made. She remembered the tens of thousands of dollars she spent on the psychics and crackpots who turned up at her door—anyone who offered even the remotest shred of hope. Marge turned incandescent when describing how Hollywood courted her for the movie rights to the saga.

But she darkened again as she recounted how her dreams of Hollywood justice and a pot of money evaporated when the case ground to a halt. I sat there, my teenage self and my adult journalist self inhabiting the same space like a nesting doll. The conversation unnerved me. I live on a fixed income. I expected a Jewish grandmother, stoic with grief. Instead I met with something of a damaged hustler. Hoping our meeting might close the door on this horrific episode, I had opened another.

M argie died four years later, in , and my digging remained gradual. It was like therapy with few of the benefits, and so years slid by before I built any momentum piecing together court documents, newsclips, and interviews. A thuggish John Belushi look-alike, Rader grew up on the streets of London. In , two years after landing in the U. He received immunity in exchange for testifying against his cronies, among them a Hollywood plastic surgeon.

Rader was the owner of Mr. Motor, a European car repair shop in Reseda. Sol was said to buy used cars at auction that Rader then fixed up and resold, according to various accounts. It was with Rader that Sol attended a car auction in Rosemead the night he disappeared. Dorene Laffer told me that Sol and Rader had a nasty falling out two years earlier and that she was shocked when Elaine informed her they were in business together. Rader quickly became a person of interest to the LAPD. Not only was he the last person believed to have seen Sol alive but quite possibly Elaine, too.

About p. Harvey is at the door. Police questioned Rader on October 14, the same day Dorene said she spoke with him. Rader denied being in business with Sol but said in his statement to the police that the two did go to the auction, leaving from Mr. Motor together. According to the report, Rader also claimed that Sol had been selling Uzis, revolvers, and automatic handguns to other Israelis and that he was manufacturing silencers and transporting the weapons in his work vans.

The Israeli restaurant was closed that evening, and the car auction ended at 5 p. In one he got them from Elaine; in another he grabbed them out of their mailbox. As the investigation lurched forward, the police discovered that Rader had ties to three other unsolved missing-persons cases. The couple bought and sold luxury cars with Rader. According to reports, Rader told the police that Peter Davis was involved in fencing stolen jewelry and guns. This, the police would learn, was two months after a Burbank businessman named Ron Adeeb told relatives he was going to see a man about cars and vanished.

The man was later determined to be Rader. LAPD detectives believed that all parties had been murdered, and Rader was the prime suspect. But they lacked three significant elements to prove his guilt: a motive, witnesses, and the bodies. F or a year the Salomon case hit dead end after dead end. Despite the unmistakable signs that the worst had come to pass, Marge refused to give up hope. The Laffers established a trust fund to help bankroll a reward. Marge made public appeals. At 70, Marty continues to work as a forensic accountant and has testified at numerous trials over the years as an expert witness.

Last November I sat in his office near Wilshire and Beverly as he and Dorene enumerated their grievances with the investigation. For one thing, the police asked them to go to Mr. The Laffers said the police never ran a check on the car, which would have revealed that it had been stolen. In Marge Malarowitz hired the last of a revolving door of private investigators, Joe Sampson. Born in London, Sampson believed he had a line on Rader and his world. He lived next door to the Davises in Granada Hills and was said to have worked for the couple in the past, repairing their cars.

But the police initially viewed Paulle as a non-starter, and he returned to London, driving cabs again. Convinced that Paulle knew more than he let on, Sampson flew to London several times to try to persuade him to talk about Rader. But Paulle remained silent each time, apparently in fear of his cousin. He finally caved and spoke to Sampson when, at the P.

The Cable Car Murder

But Paulle refused to cooperate further unless he was granted immunity from prosecution for the murders. Initially his focus was Rader and working with Scotland Yard, but he wound up speaking with Paulle as well. Bird retired in after 26 years on the force. In his conversation with me, Bird made sure to point out that it was only after flying to Los Angeles and speaking to the LAPD that Paulle implicated himself, saying that he not only helped bury the bodies but also was present during the murders.

In addition, he claimed that Rader confessed to killing Adeeb. Motor office the night of October 12, He beat Mitch to death with a baseball bat and strangled Michelle. Rader went back later that night, returning with trash bags and his promissory note to Sol.

Paulle was apparently accustomed to Rader dispatching people.

Mobster Places Defendant at 1981 Killings

As Paulle chatted up Peter Davis, Rader shot him in the head. Paulle said that he ran into Joan as he fled the scene and then saw her body the next day. They supposedly dumped the corpses off Interstate 5 on the way to Bakersfield. Bird told me it strained credulity to think Paulle happened to be present when Rader killed multiple people on different occasions. He was just there, and then he helped dispose of the bodies. Police administered four polygraph tests to Paulle.

He failed them all. But Ashley never took us to the mine shafts. He only took us to areas where he thought there would be shallow graves. As we spoke, Bird bristled, recounting this brutal homicide case that got away.


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But I had no evidence to prove that. Four days after Paulle arrived in Los Angeles, police arrested Harvey Rader for the murders of the Salomon family, holding him without bail. The D. I t was a bad miscalculation. Paulle got on a plane to England, and although Sampson flew to the United Kingdom and pleaded with him to come back and testify, he refused. Now retired, Leslie H.

Police pin hopes for break in 34-year-old murder to cable receipt

Abramson had become something of a celebrity defending Erik Menendez, who was accused with his brother, Lyle, of murdering their parents in For years all court documents pertaining to Paulle were under seal. Although later unsealed, most of the documents were either missing or not publicly available. At numerous junctures he expressed confusion about his rights and the potential ramifications of his statements, sounding as if he was in a gritty cop farce. Even a layman could see how the Municipal Court judge came to the conclusion that Paulle had been strong-armed.