ATLANTA — It's been a year and a half since the City of Atlanta revealed it was retesting DNA evidence in the Atlanta Child Murders case. So far, it hasn't said anything about the results.
A former prosecutor is standing firm in his belief that Wayne Williams is connected to those deaths -- even as Williams' new defense attorney insists he's innocent.
While Williams was convicted of killing two adult men, he was never charged in the children's deaths. Prosecutors said evidence connected him, but decided against charging him in the children's deaths because he was already facing life in prison for killing the men.
Joseph Drolet wrote the book on Wayne Williams. He says he doesn't have a doubt Williams was involved in the 21 children's deaths 42 years ago.
"I don't believe it, the evidence shows it," he said.
He understands the intrigue that surrounds the Atlanta Child Murders case, decades after he helped close it. However, he said that doesn't change the facts.
"Most people are totally unfamiliar with what I am telling you right now," he said.
At the time, the District Attorney's Office built the case around fibers that matched Williams' home, car, and family dog that were found on the victims' bodies.
"Most people didn't sit through a 9-week trial. They haven't seen all of the evidence, they don't understand the fiber evidence and the strength of it," Drolet said.
However, Defense Attorney Janis Mann questions investigators' conclusions. She just signed on as Williams' new defense attorney last week and said she doesn't think the prosecution proved its case.
"He was truly convicted in the media, and by social and political pressure. Not by evidence, which is an absolute travesty. His case is a perfect example of what can and does go wrong in the court system when it is driven not by scientific evidence, and not by facts, but by public perception and misunderstanding," Mann said.
Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms reopened the investigation into the Atlanta child murders a year and a half ago, and police sent two DNA samples to a specialty lab in Utah.
"At the time he became a suspect, we didn't know he was the right person, and then the more we looked, the more we looked at the fibers," Drolet said. "The more people came forward, the more it was clear that this was the man."
Williams was denied parole in 2019. He'll next be eligible in 2027. APD said the case is still active and open.