Key players in Gary's arrest remember when

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - News Leader Nine sat down with some of the key players in the arrest of Carlton Gary in the 80's. They remember the events surrounding the murders well, and set the scene for how Columbus was during that time.

When you bring up the Columbus stocking stranglings, many residents will have a "remember when" story.

Mayor Jim Wetherington shared, "I remember the city was in turmoil. Everybody was so afraid when the sun went down that this was going to happen to them."

Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren agreed, "We had officers staying in homes of people who considered themselves potential victims, we had officers out at all hours of the night, on top of buildings."

"They were boarding up so to speak. They had private security checking their homes and it was an awful time for us here in Columbus," added Wetherington.

Mayor Jim Wetherington was the chief of police at the time of Carlton Gary's arrest and Police Chief Ricky Boren was an officer.  They both helped work the crime scenes in the late 70's when the murders took place.

Mayor Wetherington remembers the sense of urgency within the public safety department, "We wanted to apprehend the person who was committing the crimes and we had every available officer working in the Wynnton neighborhood when all these things were going on: the Sheriff's Department, the GBI, the police department."

Once Gary was arrested in 1984, Boren says the Columbus community was a little more at ease, "For the biggest part, relief. People wanted to actually see him, to be able to put a face with the crimes that happened in Columbus."

"They were relieved we arrested him but I think the effects of that are here today. People are concerned about what happened then and could it happen again," Wetherington added.

Boren told News Leader Nine the stocking stranglings had a lasting impact on Columbus, as it was the first major serial killing to take place, "I think it turned a quiet community into a community with a lot of regard for safety in the fact that they knew you couldn't just leave windows or doors open at night. Things safety-wise that people had been used to doing at one time. I think they took a different view of safety."

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