WTVM Editorial 3/19/18: Infamous case now over

(WTVM) - For the many Columbus detectives who investigated the infamous Carlton Gary "Stocking Strangler" case, his execution last week, after thirty years of appeals, finally brought closure to them and his victims' families.

There were eight victims Columbus police believed were all attacked by Gary back in the late 1970's. It was a sensational case.

Carlton Gary was convicted in just three of the murders in which he beat, strangled and raped his elderly female victims. But three murders were enough to earn him the death penalty.

One of the eight women attacked and the only one to live to tell about it gave testimony that became the keystone of the case against Gary.

A woman named Gertrude Miller, who survived what police think was the first of Gary's brutal assaults and rapes in September of 1977, testified during his trial. She confidently identified Gary as her attacker. Many court observers at the time believed Miller's compelling, first-hand account naming Gary as her attacker was the turning point of the trial.

Gary's story became national news in the '80s and '90s.

For thirty years, Carlton Gary tried to appeal his death sentence. There was always some interesting new evidence that appeared as if it might prove Gary's innocence.

Yet each time, the court rebuffed his appeals. The highest court in the land rejected Gary's last-minute petition last Thursday and he was finally put to death.

Thanks to the hard work of investigators, prosecutors, and brave witnesses like Gertrude Miller, Carlton Gary had more than "his day in court", he had many days.

Now, 30 years after Columbus was paralyzed by fear, the case is finally over and the patient families of the victims can now feel they have received a measure of justice.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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